“Well, you seem like a person, but you're just a voice in a computer,” says Theodore. “I can understand how the limited perspective of an inartificial mind might perceive it that way. You'll get used to it,” claims Samantha, the artificial intelligence system in the movie ‘Her’ and the self-aware computer programmed to have immense knowledge and a friendly personality.
Artificial intelligence, as discussed in a previous blog, is the science of making machines accomplish tasks that require human intelligence. The famous Turing test suggests that the moment a computer is recognized as a human through its responses, artificial intelligence has arrived.
In the near-future world of the movie, systems such as Samantha are organizing people’s days, sharing insights on life and even composing original pieces of music. Their roles move from assistant, to creative individual, to a proactive aide who takes initiative, ultimately shaping the user’s life and its outcomes. In other words, we witness the technology’s progression from being a helpful device to being a life companion. But how far along this progression are today’s artificial intelligence systems?
Currently, we experience fragments of Samantha in our daily interactions with technology, from the personalized recommendations on e-commerce websites to the voice recognition search on smartphones.
Independently creative systems are being constructed with the help of intelligent algorithms. Emily Howell, a program that released its first album in 2010, and Lamus, which composed music recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra are two examples. Such creative improvisation is a key aspect of artificial intelligence research as it forms a vital part of sustaining dialogue and remaining adaptive. In the future, we could enjoy unrestricted conversation with our computers and even derive inspiration from them, much like interactions with Samantha.
Also interesting to observe is the technology’s potential role as a supportive companion—a position many envision for artificial intelligence systems. One example is Paro, a socially-interactive robot that uplifts the elderly through therapeutic actions and sounds. In addition, advances in assistive technology such as eye implants that combine computing, sensors, and algorithms, alongside wheelchairs that can be controlled by the user’s thoughts illustrate the life-changing potential of artificial intelligence.
Intelligent, proactive systems that conduct conversations could also impact the enterprise. Such systems could, for instance, handle entire customer relations operations—from asking questions and obtaining feedback, to organizing information and collaborating with professionals to achieve desired strategic outcomes.
Computing intelligence that is self-aware represents the final frontier of this futuristic technology. Famed artificial intelligence expert Ray Kurweil predicts that computers will pass the Turing test by 2029, while further inventions seen in the film, including pin-sized cameras, could reach us as early as 2020. Others predict that the technology will evolve into function-specific programs that accomplish particular goals as opposed to the all-in-one role that Samantha plays.
How do you think the self-aware computer will impact us? Leave us your comments in the section below.