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Artificial intelligence is already there

THIS is the future, as researchers see it for the year 2030. And much of it already exists - though often not so mature. We already talk to our cell phones or Alexa. We can now switch on the heating or the light via work app. When shopping online, the providers now remember what we like and suggest similar products. The basis of all this? Artificial intelligence, short AI.

What does Artificial Intelligence mean?

That is difficult to say, because even "human intelligence" is not firmly defined as a term. KI is about building a computer that can solve problems on its own. It is programmed using algorithms, that is, instructions on how to solve a particular problem. A good comparison from the net:

So it's about teaching a machine so much that it can solve problems without a human being. The prerequisite for this, however, is that she learns independently.

Why do we need Artificial Intelligence?

An AI is already in many different areas, from search engines like Google, to vacuum cleaner robots, to diagnosing illnesses, monitoring public places and calculating stock prices. Self-learning computers are already available in almost all areas of our lives. And Artificial Intelligence will radically change our lives over the next few years and decades. Many scientists are convinced of this - among others at Stanford University in California / USA. In 2016, researchers published a comprehensive report on artificial intelligence. You said back then that Artificial Intelligence will influence our lives in the following five important areas:

Would not it be nice not to do the laundry again or wipe the floor? There are already small helpers who vacuum or even the smart refrigerator, which reports when the milk is all. In the future, however, there will be networking in the service and service sector. The goal: a "smart home" - a fully networked digital home in which an intelligence, such as the personal assistant, coordinates everything. In addition, the researchers see great potential in robots or drones that deliver packages or clean offices. This requires more powerful hardware such as computer chips and sensors and further developments, including speech recognition.

Who is being treated and who is not?

It can not be denied: A computer can on average do far more calculations per second than a human - you could say the machine thinks faster. In situations that are about people's health, it can make a big difference. So there are already diagnostic programs that determine the ideal treatment option based on the history of a patient - and that far faster than any human could. The problem: A diagnostic program knows only the data that feeds it. And if it is instructed to pay attention to the costs, could theoretically such a program decide that a critically ill, a certain expensive treatment no longer get - because it is not statistically worthwhile. On the other hand, care robots might compensate for a shortage of care workers or rehabilitation robots could help people with their therapy. In 2016, for example, a talking rehab robot named Roreas was introduced in Erfurt to help stroke patients get back on their feet. Dresden researchers of the HTW call their robot "August the Smart". He can perceive his environment and interact with people.

Artificial intelligence is already used in camera surveillance, among other things. In the future, the danger emanating from a place or a person should be accurately calculated. The problem: The data that humans provide to the program can contain a "bias" - in English - "bias". Karen Ullrich recently warned about that. The woman from Leipzig is currently doing her doctorate on machine learning in Amsterdam. The area of research is about how an artificial system learns from examples and then draws general conclusions from them. At the congress of the Chaos Computer Club, which took place in Leipzig at the end of the year, Ullrich warns against distortions in the data and brings as an example the program COMPAS from the USA. It is intended to determine which offender will relapse after a conviction and which will not. The basis for the program is an algorithm that is fed with data provided by the judicial officials. Then this bias comes into play: In the US, significantly more Afro-Americans are condemned compared to their share of the total population. This fact alone leads to distortions. However, the algorithm does not see the sociological or economic context for crime. For him, it simply means: black skin = risk factor. This is of course highly discriminatory.

Relaxing on the street

Another field in which researchers expect big changes is traffic. Self-driving cars will make a large part of private cars obsolete. The researchers' vision: in cities, residents will be able to share self-driving cars and always be able to call one when necessary. Of course, having fewer cars on the roads has an impact on urban planning and general infrastructure. The downside: Even truck drivers are probably replaced by self-propelled vans and thereby lose tons of their work.

Beautiful new (working) world

And that's the point that worries most critics: the progression of Artificial Intelligence will cause our world of work to change radically. Occupations will become extinct and many people will probably no longer be needed - from parcel couriers and cleaning technicians to factory workers. How should the victims then earn their living? For many, work also has something to do with meaning - how will the future world of work do justice to this? These are questions that the experts have to discuss - including at the CES in Las Vegas, the "Consumer Electronics Show" (9.-12.1.2018). There, the industry has become even more self-critical, say observers. This also speaks about critical issues such as privacy. Around 170,000 visitors are expected at CES. They hope that technical progress will not only make communication easier for users, but will also enable a more uncomplicated, longer, and more productive life. The technology supporters see entire cities that are networked and automatically take care of waste disposal, recycling or repairs. And are thus fully in line with the trend. A preliminary report from CES states that people are open to new developments and spend money on them. And in Germany, according to a study, every eighth uses so-called "smart home" applications - and the trend is rising.