Cogito ergo sum, ”I think, therefore I am”, a concept that since the Modern times has been a way of defining human intelligence.
It has not been long since we first saw incredibly life looking machines like the FACE prototype, which can mimic human emotions and is even able to interact. Also the first programs with Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been invented that as the human brain, they are able to learn from past experiences. These machines could beat humans in games as Chess, Scrabble and even Jeopardy, but never in the ancient Eastern contest of strategy and intuition, Go.
However, Googles AI program AlphaGo, earlier this year, in a contest against Europe’s reigning Go titleholder, Fan Hui, has managed to outsmart the champion. This is a major breakthrough in AI that experts did not expect before 2026.
“The most significant aspect of all this… is that AlphaGo isn’t just an expert system, built with handcrafted rules,” says Demis Hassabis, who oversees DeepMind. “Instead, it uses general machine-learning techniques how to win at Go.”1
This is the first prove that a machine is able to self-teach concepts and develop strategies that are superior to human thinking, setting the basis for a new era. An era where machines intelligence will eventually be able to help us cure diseases, operate more efficiently and help our daily lives in general.
Nevertheless, AI brings also a great risk as it is only a matter of time until we will follow suggestions of machines whose thinking process we cannot comprehend, therefore giving away a substantial amount of control.
Similar to the major turning point some years ago when Internet has become accessible for anybody, and thus creating the world we live in today, these inventions – a program like AlphaGo and a robot like FACE – may just be a new beginning.
As many great artistic and scientific minds have imagined, we are getting closer to a world where intelligent machines live amongst humans. Where robots like FACE are combined with programs like AlphaGo creating an almost perfect artificial human, giving us a scary yet fascinating idea of our future.
Especially when it comes to Sex, robots are predicted to change our private lives. Futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson has recently released a report predicting our future sexual behaviours. He forecasts that, with the growing accessibility of virtual reality, by 2035 most people will own some type of sex toy that interacts with such a virtual reality device. Nonetheless, he foresees that by 2050 we will more commonly have sex with robots than with another human, which will be reflected by a substantial growth of the sex market. This would mean a even bigger isolation of the individual, reducing face to face interaction to a minimum. Some people might say that these predictions are revolting; nevertheless Pearson believes that with a gradual shift towards human – robot intercourse over time, we will adapt and embrace these changes.