By Joshua Steier
Technology & Innovation Writer
Since the advent of the first digital programmable computer in the 1940s, people have had an intense fear that someday, artificial intelligence would take over humanity.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s artificial intelligence became the new fad. New research areas evolved over time and led to many new technologies that we use daily.
For example, the Netflix recommendation system was created through teams that participated in a data science competition, which led to a predictive algorithm that recommends new movies based on past experience.
The data science aspect of artificial intelligence is called machine learning. Essentially, machine learning deals with classification and prediction, based on a training and test set.
The training set is put into the software and is used as the model to predict on. Then, a set of data called the test set is processed, and the predictive model is judged for accuracy.
This was used in the creation of a model that could predict which Supreme Court judge would dissent given the nature of the case. Furthermore, in the financial world, bot trading is quickly changing the playing field. The creation of an algorithm that can read stock data and produce a current analysis can generate a great profit for the user.
Google’s driverless cars, originally created as Stanley at Stanford University, are great examples of artificial intelligence. In other words, the applications of artificial intelligence are ubiquitous.
An important area of artificial intelligence research is in computer vision. Computer vision is essentially the processing of media through the computer. The power of computer vision is in facial recognition software, which can be used to catch criminals.
Facebook recently has created an algorithm that can detect media that violate Facebook’s policy, which is more efficient than relying on the Facebook community. The software could potentially identify fake news as well, which means more reliable news posted on social media. The fear that “machines are taking over the world”, is currently groundless, as artificial intelligence has not been able to achieve consciousness. The new abilities we have, from preventing the violation of Facebook’s policies to a computer that can beat a chess grandmaster are here to benefit us. The same technology used to develop IBM Watson as a jeopardy champion, is also used to help treat cancer. Therefore, artificial intelligence is to be welcomed and not feared.
In other words, Facebook’s decision to have an algorithm determine which media violate their policies, is nothing to be alarmed about. In fact, Facebook has started giving lessons on artificial intelligence to educate the community. According to Business Insider, “Facebook has released an explainer on artificial intelligence…”
There is a lot of information available on artificial intelligence in general, a simple Google search yields fruitful results.
Additionally, artificial intelligence plays an important role in natural language processing and predictive coding. For example, it’s possible to create a model and predict who would be most likely to commit a crime based on texts they’ve sent, tweets, or even Facebook posts. This sort of analysis even exists in Google Maps, where the shortest distance can be achieved using Djikstra’s algorithm.
Artificial Intelligence plays a fundamental role in our daily lives whether we realize it or not. Therefore, there’s no need to fear, artificial intelligence is here.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.
Contact Joshua Steier at