“The power of technology is such that it far outstrips our ability to completely control it especially how it impacts future generations”. Ominous and cautionary words from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft at a developer meet in 2018. As much as AI and ML empower, it begs three very important questions. First, will Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) be used to impose the preferences and prescriptions of the superior echelons of society? Second, are AI and ML likely to remain in the control and command of human beings? Third, does it matter?
By its very nature, Machine Learning, or the learning of human knowledge by machines using algorithms, can move from the rudimentary stage of humans providing the logic and codes for a machine to function in a particular way to the more advanced stage of machines teaching themselves. This can happen very fast as the learning curve of machines is much steeper than that of humans in general. Can machines learn on their own? Do we have examples from the real world? Siri and Cortana use ML and AI to teach themselves. Errors have occurred as the Amazon Alexa eavesdropping case showed and Facebook chatbots creating their own secret language created waves of fear. There are supporters on both sides of the AI-ML divide. Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have advised extreme caution while Dhruv Batra and Mark Zuckerberg (both of Facebook) have termed concerns about AI-ML “irresponsible”.