The media update team investigates some of the most common myths about artificial intelligence and debunks them.

Myth 1: Artificial intelligence is only one type of technology

There are no specific attributes that make a machine artificially intelligent. Instead, AI refers to any of an array of components that fall in the field of AI. Any machine, computer programme, or computational method that uses one or more of these components can be considered artificially intelligent.

Components include learning, problem-solving, prediction, and the ability to understand language, among others.

To build an AI system, developers first need to determine which of the many parts that fall under AI they need. This step is crucial, as Catherine Dabbs, a representative of the data intelligence company Newsclip, explains: “When it comes to developing AI-powered engines, the first step is to identify the components of AI that can be combined to serve your purpose.”

“For Newsclip, these components were natural language processing and machine learning. They enabled us to build a Data Engine that rapidly processes the vast amounts of data generated by the media.”

Myth 2: Artificial intelligence is going to take away human jobs

A major concern is that AI’s growing use will lead to job losses. While it is true that advances in technology have led to employment disruption in various industries, many sectors have been able to adapt to these situations by re-training workers to fill in gaps created by new technology.

Jobs that rely on routine tasks are likely to feel the brunt of increased automation. However, research by consulting firm Capgemini indicates that out of 1 000 organisations surveyed, which have implemented AI-based systems, 80% said those systems have created new jobs.

Capgemini’s head of strategic innovation, Tom Ivory, told Bernard Marr on Forbes, “The key is that AI could lead us into arguably one of the biggest social and economic revolutions the world has ever seen. Something that came close was in 1900 when the automobile, telecommunications, the aeroplane, and mass electrification all came together at once, radically changing the world, from the late 1800s to the 1920s.”

This is why education, or ‘reskilling’ as Ivory called it, will be critical to society adapting to the changing employment situation. Further, jobs requiring innate human characteristics, such as empathy, creativity, and, critically, human contact, cannot be replicated by AI systems – at least not yet.

Myth 3: Artificial intelligence means artificial consciousness

Thanks to science fictions movies and TV shows, many think that the goal of developing AI is to recreate human consciousness in a machine; which is definitely not always the case.

Human consciousness is not thoroughly understood or easily defined, making it problematic to try and recreate. While there are developments within the realm of AI that mimic the way humans perform tasks, neuroscience is too complex to be fully applied to machines and AI at this stage.

To change public perceptions of the goal of AI development, it’s vital that people understand the place of AI technology in our world. Humans are superior to machines in things such as perception and reasoning. AI machines, in turn, have faster reaction times, perfect memories, and are better at calculations than people are.

To change public perceptions of the goal of AI development, it’s vital that people understand the place of AI technology in our world.
Google’s director of research, Peter Norvig, in an article for Business Insider, explains the concept this way: “In some cases, it would be unintelligent to mimic how the human brain works. If the task is to multiply two 10-digit numbers, then using a human brain alone would be an error-prone mistake. It would be more intelligent to use a tool such as a calculator or computer.”

AI, in its current form, can’t mimic how humans think and how we make decisions, but there are a number of other things it can help us with. The question is not whether machines will become smarter than humans, but rather how ready we are to embrace a relationship with AI that benefits humanity.

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Newsclip recently showcased the capabilities of their AI-powered Data Engine, which can analyse thousands of media clips in minutes. Read more in our article, Newsclip demonstrates the power of AI in text processing.