Under the hood of the phenomenon known generally as artificial intelligence lies fairly straight-forward mathematics that has been in use for many decades. What has caused this phenomenon to accelerate so rapidly in the past few years is the sustained collection of untold amounts of data in all forms. Through our incessant use of smart devices, social media, GPS and software applications in general, we have now fed machines sufficient data for them to effectively apply deep learning neural network methods.
There are, however, significant misunderstandings around the impact that artificial intelligence will have on our lives. For certain, robotics and AI will destroy some jobs, or at least the most menial aspects of those jobs. But they may just as likely create entirely new forms of work in the future. For certain also, artificial intelligence will change the way we communicate and behave towards each other on an interpersonal level. And there is a danger that we allow this to happen in the wrong way.
At present, there is a misconception that it is the machines and mathematics that may subjugate humanity, whereas in fact it is the data that we feed the machines that is our own undoing. New regulations in Europe in respect of data privacy, whilst apparently costly and inefficient for many companies to implement, are a step in the right direction. We will probably look back at the year 2018 as the beginning of the battle that will take place over the precious resource that we call data. If left ungoverned, there is significant danger that a few large corporations will centralise power and, in many respects, eliminate culture.
This issue of the Journal is broken into three parts. The purpose of these different sections is to unpack the concept of artificial intelligence through a logical progression, starting with the history and a basic understanding of AI, then moving on to a more intricate deconstruction of the idea of intelligence itself, and finally concluding with a forward-looking analysis of the implications that this technology will have for our society.
We would at least hope that the Journal offers some provocative thoughts on the bourgeoning field of artificial intelligence. Happy reading!
Chief Executive Officer