Craig S. Smith at the New York Times: “I wake up in the middle of the night. It’s cold.
“Hey, Google, what’s the temperature in Zone 2,” I say into the darkness. A disembodied voice responds: “The temperature in Zone 2 is 52 degrees.” “Set the heat to 68,” I say, and then I ask the gods of artificial intelligence to turn on the light.
Many of us already live with A.I., an array of unseen algorithms that control our Internet-connected devices, from smartphones to security cameras and cars that heat the seats before you’ve even stepped out of the house on a frigid morning.
But, while we’ve seen the A.I. sun, we have yet to see it truly shine.
Researchers liken the current state of the technology to cellphones of the 1990s: useful, but crude and cumbersome. They are working on distilling the largest, most powerful machine-learning models into lightweight software that can run on “the edge,” meaning small devices such as kitchen appliances or wearables. Our lives will gradually be interwoven with brilliant threads of A.I.
Our interactions with the technology will become increasingly personalized. Chatbots, for example, can be clumsy and frustrating today, but they will eventually become truly conversational, learning our habits and personalities and even develop personalities of their own. But don’t worry, the fever dreams of superintelligent machines taking over, like HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” will remain science fiction for a long time to come; consciousness, self-awareness and free will in machines are far beyond the capabilities of science today.
Privacy remains an issue, because artificial intelligence requires data to learn patterns and make decisions. But researchers are developing methods to use our data without actually seeing it — so-called federated learning, for example — or encrypt it in ways that currently can’t be hacked….(More)”