The rise of a technology has Bill Gates issuing warnings of an apocalypse. Elon Musk, too. Even Stephen Hawking.
What’s worrying these technologists? It’s Artificial Intelligence or AI, an idea whose time has come—it is incubating in science labs and being deployed by start-ups and industrial units alike.
Why are Gates and Co. worried? Specifically, it’s over machine learning, an early form of AI that has in recent years become mainstream, causing both delight and nervousness among AI experts and technology companies.
AI involves building computers capable of taking smart decisions by themselves, the way humans do. Machine learning and various other sub-fields such as deep learning are the means to achieve AI.
Google announced this week that it is rethinking all its products to base them on AI; it has created a new unit called Google.ai to facilitate this shift.
The revival of interest in machine learning has been driven by a confluence of factors, such as the massive increase in computing power, emergence of neural networks (connected transistors that replicate the structure of neurons in the human brain) and the easy availability of vast amounts of data, thanks to the Internet.
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