There's a 50% chance that we won't be able to beat artificial intelligence (AI) at anything anymore in 45 years.
A survey of 352 AI researchers and experts revealed what our future with AI might be like. As many have feared or come to expect, AI will surpass our abilities to perform any task before the century ends. From writing essays to performing surgery, there's nothing that AI won't be able to do worse than we do.
Perhaps it's AI that stands to become the defining feature of the 21st century. It's slowly starting to beat human intelligence, beginning with smaller things. For example, Google's AlphaGo AI managed to beat the world's best Go player. It's fun and games today, but sooner rather than later, AI will be able to catch up to us.
According to these experts, AI will start surpassing us one task by one, until it all culminates in 2060. Experts say that AI will translate languages better than humans can by 2024, write essays by 2026, drive trucks by 2027, work retail by 2031, write a best-selling book by 2049, and perform surgery by 2053.
Of course, artificial intelligence programs have already outperformed humans several times. IBM's AI program Watson was able to win at Jeopardy! against the best players in the world. The program Deep Blue, also IBM's, was able to defeat Gerry Kasparov at chess in 1997. Elon Musk has also predicted that self-driving cars will dominate the automotive industry in the next 20 years.
Thus, all evidence points to AI besting human intelligence sooner rather than later. According to the survey results, researchers based in Asia typically predicted that AI will outperform humans in all tasks in just 30 years. Researchers based in North America, meanwhile, predicted 74 years. Thus, culture may have an influence over the opinions we form about technology.
However, this means that experts believe AI will outperform humans at some point in the future. The only point of contention is when it will happen, and not if. Unemployment may hit all-time highs because AI programs will replace human workers at several tasks.
The good news, however, is that there's little chance that the rise of artificial intelligence will bring about the extinction of the human race. Also, versatility will remain a human trait, which AI won't be able to develop for quite some time yet.
Another thing that we humans have going for us is that we can do multiple tasks. AI programs are capable of outperforming us at one task, but not much else. Each program can only master one task at a time, though there has been a program that can learn more than one task.
Still, the prospect is a little frightening. Any task that is formulaic and reliant on technique, AI can learn. That's a majority of jobs, which we can lose to artificial intelligence programs. It's possible that our entire race can become obsolete due to our own actions. However, we won't really know for sure until we get to that point.
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