Challenging The Hype: The Myths And Misconceptions About AI

Whether or not you’re someone who takes an active interest in evolving technologies, it is very likely that you would have come across Artificial Intelligence. And when in 2018, events like Wimbledon start to rely on AI, using player’s emotions to edit highlights, the likelihood of your encounter with Artificial Intelligence increases.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been making headlines drawing attention from tech enthusiasts and experts from all across the globe. While we are already witnessing an increasing adoption of AI-based technologies by tech giants like Microsoft, IBM, Google, and others, in their bid to create apparent solutions to some complex business processes, it is still at an early stage of its evolution, I must say.

And, as it happens to anything and everything new that comes out of the tech world to disrupt and re-define our vision of the existing, AI is not an exception. As such, there are plenty of misconceptions and misunderstandings about AI too. Most of these misconceptions floating around are funny, bizarre, disconnected, blown out of proportion, or they’re just an atrociously imaginary misrepresentation of the evolving technology — or all.

In this article, I’ll debunk some of the most popular myths about Artificial Intelligence, and help you develop an understanding of AI minus the hearsay and misconceptions. So, without much ado let’s get started with some popular myths and misconceptions about AI.

  • AI is going to bring about an apocalyptic machine invasion — This one springs from the sci-fi fiction movies, and often when people discuss artificial Intelligence, they do not fail to express their concerns about AI triggering some apocalyptic machine invasion.

Yes, robots are real, and with the help of AI, they are being made to be more advanced than ever to perform a range of tasks which not more than a decade ago would seem to be nearly impossible without human involvement. But, equating it with an invasion, or making Shakespearean prophecies like “predicting the extinction of the human race and robots and machines taking over the green planet,” is just an over exaggeration.

Let’s make it clear for once and for all that AI is not about creating some “Army of Robots” to combat the human race. It is very much like any other evolving technology and has its limitations.

So, irrespective of how it is presented or instead misrepresented — even though many who were expecting the world to end in December 2012 are now placing their bets on AI-, and the world is not going to end for humans, at least not with AI.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are all the same — Often, when we hear Artificial Intelligence, it is echoed with Machine Learning, Many don’t understand or bother to differentiate between AI and ML for they believe both are same. It is yet another common misconception, mostly among the beginners.

There is a clear line that divides AI and Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence relies on overall human intelligence, and that is what is coded or decoded and adapted to perform specific tasks or solve or simplify complex business processes.

On the other hand, Machine Learning relies on the Data that is sourced from many different sources and capitalizing on the contrastive analysis of these data a solution is developed.

  • Robots will replace all manual and not so high-end technical jobs — While it is true that Artificial Intelligence opens doors to a range of solutions to complex processes involving consistent human efforts otherwise, to assume that AI will take away all manual and less technical or low-paid jobs, is not true. The idea that with AI-based solutions one can eliminate the necessity of human involvement in a job is again an over exaggeration of underlying realities.

If anything, AI is helping and will continue to help make human efforts more effective, precise, and seamless. That said, it is also true that AI will impact the traditional job markets, but it is not going to bring about a catastrophe for workers by snatching their jobs, on the contrary, it will just transform the way we are involved in our jobs today.

For example, let’s take a simple task which a machine is already doing for us, scanning of medical reports for instance. At present, these machines can scan many different medical reports, but with some human effort. Also, it brings to us the results based on our requirements, which means it requires some input from an expert.

With AI this process of scanning will become more advanced, in a way that the results will be more precise and accurate, and less time-consuming. It will still require a certain level of human involvement. Therefore, AI is not about taking away your jobs, but it is about making your tasks simpler and easier to perform.

  • Machines will become more intelligent than humans — Well, if you say that Machines can do something which humans cannot then you’re right, but assuming that with Artificial Intelligence Machines will outsmart humans and the human brain, is merely fictitious.

Machines do things that humans cannot like a sports car can run a few hundred miles in a matter of hours, but humans would barely manage to make a few miles and that too with many stops. But does that mean that the sports car is more intelligent, or better than a human? No, not at all!

While some of the most renowned names in the field of science and technology like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have expressed their concern about super intelligence, it is still beyond the scope of our current understandings. Also, their assumptions and futuristic concerns are often blown out of proportion and presented as machines becoming more intelligent than humans, insinuating that these AI-powered machines will outsmart humans in everything we do.

It is not true as AI-powered machines do and will still require human intelligence, because they don’t develop or grow knowledge on their own. The bottom line is that there is no substitute for a naturally healthy human brain, and any idea that even remotely represents that there can be a better substitute is a myth.

  • Artificial Neural Networks work just like the human brains — If this statement is not making you laugh already then you certainly have no idea about the potentials and complexity of a human mind, and what naturally occurring biological networks in a human brain is capable of.

Artificial neural networks are nothing like the human brain. Our biological neural networks are so complex that even 20 years from now, for the human species to claim that we have even 1% of the knowledge of how they work will be too early.

On the other hand, artificial neural networks have minimal functionality, and they are designed to perform only a limited and particular set of task. Most importantly they do not evolve on their own, like biological neuron networks. Therefore when you think of artificial intelligence, you must know that AI-based neural networks do not compare to human brains, no matter how advanced the artificial NNs are.

Arthur Clarke, one of the most renowned science fiction writers of all times said: “ Any sufficiently advanced technology is no less than magic.” Artificial Intelligence as advanced technology is indeed magical.

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Utsav Kumar

Utsav Kumar

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Content Strategist With A Passion For Evolving Technologies