While some of these technologies are developing at a much slower pace than their manufacturers would have us believe, and others end up dying a slow death there is no doubt that we are experiencing big leaps in the sciences and technology.
Take artificial intelligence (AI); while robots aren’t roaming the streets just yet and there is still some way to go before machines are as intelligent as humans in all areas, for example reasoning and thinking abstractly, AI that specializes in one area (also known as Artificial Narrow Intelligence or ANI) is behind an impressive array of technologies.
Examples include voice-activated assistants such as Alexa and Siri, smart home products such as Google’s Nest and the new generation of self-driving cars whose predictive capabilities are being continuously refined thanks to an ever-increasing amount of available data. It is thanks to this dataset that machines are becoming better and faster at predicting our likes and dislikes; Netflix and Amazon are cases in point.
Truly intelligent machines that can compete with and easily outperform the human brain may seem like a long way off from a smart speaker that can dim the lights for us, but experts in the field agree that machine superintelligence is actually right around the corner.
While sceptics talk about job losses and ultimately a very real threat to humanity, its champions argue that AI will be what liberates us from repetitive tasks allowing us the time to further our own intelligence and creative thinking.
Only time will tell who is right and who is wrong but one thing is for certain – the only way for AI is forward.