Quo Vadis? Where Will AI March Towards?
2022 was a good year for artificial intelligence.
It is the year that saw the first chat bots pass the Turing test – Google’s LaMDA passed it mid-2022, while Open AI’s Chat GPT passed it in December.
Last year, businesses have also adopted AI in some form – whether it is machine learning, in utilizing chat bots for customer service, or in robot process automation – doubling adoption rates in 2017.
Four years after Edmond de Belamy, the first ever artwork created by artificial intelligence, there was another first for AI art when Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, created on AI generator Midjourney with prompts by Jason Allen, won the art competition for last year’s Colorado State Fair.
But again, for all that magic to happen, it all begins with a human being typing in a prompt. AI art requires a human being to give it commands on what to draw reference from, what to create. Chat bots, for now, exist only to respond to stimulus provided by a human user. Théâtre D’opéra Spatial could not exist without Jason Allen.
That, perhaps, is the difference between AI and humanity: the prompt. We have our prompts, the intangible things that give us our personalities, that determine why we do what we do. Call it our fears, desires, our motivation, our ability to be creative, to have agency. Give it abstractions such as our ‘mind’ or ‘soul’. Whatever it is, it’s what sets artificial intelligence from human intelligence.
However, that’s for now. Where will the ever-onward march of artificial intelligence take it?
Artificial intelligence for text, speech and vision, such as the ones mentioned above, will become a more intrinsic part of our everyday lives. Generative art will become more prevalent in the art and creative space, which could help artists bridge gaps in technique or save time in the ideation/conceptualisation process.
On a larger scale, fintech AI is expected to begin taking over credit decisioning, especially in credit qualification, limit assessment and pricing. When used correctly, this could make the finance industry fairer and more equitable.
Edge-based AI, which uses local context-based learning and synchronize with the central model at the appropriate times, will be more widely-used. This lower-bandwidth, energy-saving artificial intelligence will drive AI use especially in developing countries, and help first-world economies manage their carbon footprint.
It’s actually a rosier picture than the doom-and-gloom Skynet-uprising future that’s usually associated with the advancement of AI. And I hope it is. Just as we are the universe experiencing itself, as said by the great astrophysicist Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, perhaps the creation of AI is simply humanity trying to understand itself.
One day, within these machines, we will discover for ourselves the meaning of our existence.