Artificial Intelligence. What began as a fantasy is now reality today. From film to video games, artificial intelligence can be found in one way, shape, or form. At Seamgen, we are excited about the directions AI will go, as we enjoy the benefits of today’s AI — Google Assistant, Siri, Roomba.

Media and pop culture has provided and popularized interpretations of AI since the 1960’s, but the AI of today is different than our past interpretations. This post compares and contrasts AI interpretations over time.

Background

Today’s understanding of artificial intelligence is often paired with computing, yet, the subject itself has philosophical origins based around the mechanics of human thought and emotion.

An early precursor to the AI interpretations we would see in the late 20th and 21st centuries is Isaac Asimov’s 1942 short story, Runaround.  The story introduced the earliest laws of robotics.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

 

Although created for science fiction purposes, the laws give robots, who by extension are AI, human aspects. Personifying the robots also creates a moral expectation toward their actions. While the fantasy of AI includes law-abiding robots, the AI of today is more simplistic, without the need for morals (yet). Along with a moral code, science fiction has produced stereotypes to characterize AI interpretations. From hostility to companionship, interpretations of AI have evolved with the times.

AI interpretations

Film

First on our list is Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

artificial intelligence hal

Within the film, the computer H.A.L. 9000 demonstrates social skills in addition to logic and reasoning.  HAL interacts with the cast, but it also participates in activities such as chess.

The capabilities of HAL are very human-like and within the realm of science fiction; commonly, AI like HAL is labeled artificial general intelligence. During the 1960s, human reasoning and emotion in AI was believed to be capable within the next several decades.  The film’s portrayal of HAL reflects that time period’s expectations and ideologies of AI.

In contrast to the portrayal of H.A.L 9000’s artificial general intelligence, the AI developed today is application centric, catered towards specific problem solving. With the rise of Big Data in various industries, AI and machine learning help develop solutions to handling the mass amounts of information now available today. Common examples are banks using AI to detect credit fraud, and media players, such as Spotify, using AI for music recommendations.

20th century interpretations of artificial intelligence found it coming to life within robots and sentient computers. While H.A.L. 9000 showed off the capabilities and dangers of AI, media like Star Wars portrayed AI in a friendly and comedic manner. C-3PO and R2-D2 are sentient AI that showed artificial general intelligence through lore in the case of C-3PO and mechanics of R2-D2.

artificial intelligence star wars

AI today

AI in science fiction gave us the expectation that robots would one day become on-par with, and eventually exceed, human intelligence. Today, we have AI that learns from our actions to more efficiently and accurately serve us.

Although we do not have the witty AI shown in Star Wars, the actions and tidbits of personality in C-3PO and R2-D2 can be found in AI today.  Voice assistant AI, such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana function similarly to C-3PO, as they are able to answer questions and complete tasks through speech recognition and language processing.

Voice assistant functions are not the only method in which AI is aiming to help out conusmers. Smart technology, such as Nest’s Learning Thermostat and other home automation devices, utilizes AI to make tasks more convenient by learning consumer habits. Check out our home automation article for more details.

Music

AI being developed as voice assistants, and for music recommendations, shows how personal and seamless the transition has become. AI in music is not limited to music recommendations; now, AI is playing a role in composing, too.

For The Beatles fans out there, they have a new song, sort of.  Sony CSL Research Laboratory has created an AI for music composition and their recent song, Daddy’s Car, is in the style of The Beatles. Flow Machines, the AI behind the project, has labeled itself the

“Artificial Intelligence for the future of music.”

What do you think?  We strongly approve, and we’ve even included the recent project for you all to check out.

Video Games

Another overlooked usage of AI today is video games.

As gamers, we interact with AI quite often. Single player campaigns see this most often with enemies trying to win through strategy. Any move that an enemy makes, from buffing themselves, to debuffing the player, to taking advantage of the environment, is all done through a preset AI, programmed to use given means to win.

Enemies are not the only AI-controlled figures, as NPC’s (Non Player Characters) like store merchants have their own AI. From battling trainers in the new Pokémon Sun and Moon to fighting demons in Shin Megami Tensei, AI is the reason bosses can be so darn tough!

artificial intelligence pokemon

Living through the digital revolution and rise of big data has also caused an increased perception of the AI effect.

Despite advancements in artificial intelligence, public perception is still based around science fiction narratives. Lacking the type of AI seen in science fiction, the advancements in computing are often overlooked and not considered AI.

Examples of overlooked AI can be seen in online customer support systems, that have chat bot AI’s, and the new trend of self-driving cars. Whether or not it is recognized by the mainstream as AI, the features and conveniences of today’s applications have created a society where AI is becoming the norm.

Don’t believe me?  Here are a couple examples of unique AI currently being developed.

Wallet AI
Narrative Science

Thanks for tuning in! Want to know more about AI? Check out the timeline below and also check out our other blog posts highlighting tech trends and updates.

Timeline of AI and Robotics
Mobile App Security for Developers and Dummies
Team Collaboration Tools: Slack vs. Microsoft Teams