Friday, 24 November 2017

Artificial Intelligence

What if the next time you were hungry, you could tell your kitchen to cook a meal for you?
What if with a simple touch of a button, you could get your house to clean itself?
And what if I told you this could all be possible?
With the work of artificial intelligence or AI.

Dear readers, allow me to take you on a journey on the wonders of Artificial Intelligence.

AI is something that is becoming more advanced everyday and is disrupting our world.
To most people, the idea of artificial intelligence is fascinating, which it truly is
I mean, who wouldn't want a robot to do all our chores for us, who we can communicate with or maybe one which can even advice us like a little companion?
It truly seems like a dream come true
Some of us, including I myself, were surprised that intellectuals like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawkings and Bill Gates were genuinely concerned and against the idea of advanced AI.
Now, don't get me wrong, they are actually perfectly fine with AI at its current state right now, but are very against the idea of AI becoming better.

Because they fear the day artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence
They fear what might happen when our creations become more advanced than we are
That fear has actually been around for ages
But what made that fear a near reality was in 1997
When a robot named Deep Blue, beat the World's Best Chess Player at his own game
That moment went down in history as the first time robots defeated us
That was the first and certainly wasn't the last
In the mid 2000's a robot named Watson beat the two best players at Jeopardy, a game which requires tons of memory, analytical thinking and speed
In 2016, just last year, Google's AI beat the world's best player at a game called go, a game which requires strategy, and is generally much harder than chess is
People were impressed, but they were fearful
Machines had defeated world champions
Machines had defeated some of the best of the human species
Naturally, people had been hoping humans would win in the fight against robots and were devastated to find the outcome
And they shouldn't have been
The machines were victorious, yes
But, was it superior?
No, no it wasn't
The machine wasn't victorious because it was just intelligent, the machine was victorious because of its human creators!
Always, a machine's triumph is a human's triumph
That's something we tend to forget when humans are surpassed by our own creations
People need to realise that it isn't all about 
Human Vs. Machine
and instead,
Human Plus Machine
What if we combined our strengths and worked side by side?
Machines have tactics, we have strategies
Machines have memory, we have experience
Machines have objectivity,
We have passion
Human plus machine isn't the future, it's the present
And we don't get to choose when and where technological progress stops
We can't slow down, in fact we have to speed up
Our technology excels at removing difficulties and uncertainties from our lives
And so we must seek out for ever more difficult and ever more uncertain challenges
We should not worry about what machines can do today
Instead, we should worry about what they still cannot do
Because we will need the help of these new intelligent machines to turn our grandest dreams into reality
And if we fail, if we fail
It's not because our machines have become too intelligent or not intelligent enough
It's because we have grown too proud of ourselves and limited our ambitions
Us humans are not defined by our skills
There is one thing only humans can do
And That's dreaming!
So let us dream big!

By: Shveenita Alyza
Published by: Ethan Richard

Saturday, 18 November 2017

"83 years" read the clock

"That's longer than the average human" I thought as I pulled my sleeve over my watch and put my luggage in the compartment.
I was 18 years old and until now, I couldn't pick a side.
You see, the world was in controversy, and there were two parties involved, For PTP, were people who wanted the personal timepiece in their lives, those who supported the goverment's decisions to deem it compulsory to constantly have this piece with you. FPTP's argued that the watch could help save lives, that by counting down the time you have left on Earth, it could prevent you from being in a threatening situation.
The opposition however, claimed it was basic human rights to have the option to -

"Trays up, we're going to take off soon" I heard the flight attendant say as I handed her my empty glass of water, not realising I'd been zoning out.
When she continued down the aisle, I resumed my thoughts.

Anyways, the opposition argued they should have the right to choose for themselves whether they wanted to have that timepiece or not, that a clock counting down the moments you have left on Earth only ensures you don't live the life you were supposed to, don't make the decisions you were supposed to, don't have the story you were supposed to.
But on the other hand, the Earth is already underpopulated as it is and I'm not too against the idea of the government taking extreme measures to ensure our survival.

I took a break from my thoughts and allowed myself to rest my eyes, remembering I'd been deprived of sleep.
16 hours to go before we land. I looked out the tiny window next to me to see the South Pacific Ocean.
Even 40,000 ft in the air, the ocean was enthralling to look at. I made a mental note that in the 83 years my timepiece claimed I had left to live, I would pay a visit to one of the pristine beaches of South Africa.

While I searched for my headphones to distract myself from turbulence, I felt a buzzing on my wrist, followed by a beep.
A chorus of beeps. Then I realised the high pitched sound came from more than one timepiece.

Everyone had 12 minutes to live,
Above 40,000 ft in the air
The damn plane was going to crash.

By: Shveenita Alyza
Published by: Ethan Richard

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