The Terminator franchise, The Matrix, I, Robot, Ex Machina, Transformers and more, mankind has always been fascinated by the thought of machines taking over humans. While man has always intended to feel God if not become one, there has always been an intention running parallel in our minds to develop something beyond the understanding of the human mind; to develop intuition, emotions, and intelligence on machines – artificially.
The tons of Hollywood movies we all grew up watching and even some of our Indian films for that matter, have reflected on this thought and experimented on various scales on the consequences of machines dominating humans, posing a threat to our species. If all these were labeled fantasies or man’s wildest imaginations last decade, over the last few years, some of the tech advancements don’t hint so.
With people waking up to the value of data, technology is fast moving towards a data-centric era, where automation, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence are becoming a fast reality. Self-driving cars, automated homes, smartphones that track and identify every life activity are all part of the grander scheme of things. To make things worse, Facebook very recently shut down an artificial intelligence wing after one of the prototypes it was working on started developing an autonomous language.
Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have all been skeptical and acknowledged the risks of artificial intelligence and this incident just arrives as an icing to the cake. If you think we are too early to explore the realm of provoked intelligence, you’re probably wrong because experiments on this have been happening since over two decades.
Man and Machine have come together for a faceoff before and shattering the convention that machines are more powerful and unpredictable arrived a result that set bench-marking standards. It was the month of February in 1996, when two of the most intellectual entities appeared for a bloodless battle. It was IBM’s supercomputer – Deep Blue – on one side and our very own Garry Kasparov on the other.
IBM had specifically built a super-machine to defeat the world champion and when Garry agreed for the faceoff, he was confident on his victory. In fact, so much that he decided to split the prize money 40-60 between the loser and the winner. The match on February 16, 1996 was not just between Garry and a supercomputer but between mankind and a machine. With hopes and tons of technical inferences burdened on his shoulder, Garry kickstarted the match but in vain. In the history of mankind, man had lost to a machine. Garry had not a computer devised by men to make a move so human that he couldn’t notice the trap laid by the computer. Garry shared that he did not foresee any quick material possession by the machine and fell to a trap for a shattering loss. He quoted the move by Deep Blue as extremely human!
In his own words, Garry shared that he had earlier played against a lot of computers but the one with Deep Blue felt different. He shared the he could smell a different class of artificial intelligence across his table. Garry shared that Deep Blue could actually foresee the materialistic advantage of losing a coin and take advantage of its opponent after several moves.
However, in the end, it was a machine developed by humans. Garry understood Deep Blue’s in-game priorities and adjust his gameplay accordingly. His advantage lay on the fact that the computer couldn’t do the same to Garry. With this he fought against an artificially intelligent system that was promising yet inefficient and rigid.
After the loss, Garry won a couple of games in the tournament, restoring faith and hope in mankind. Though this may not seem a serious concern at the grass-root level, the consequences of a machine dominating man can be threatening.
Fortunately, we still have a long way to go and we will always be a step ahead of the greatest systems ever designed. The mind that is trained by innumerable games of chess can outperform any machine and survive a robot-apocalypse. What do you think?