Limitless horizons for artificial intelligence were suggested as success was achieved by IBM’s artificially intelligent system Watson won the quiz show ‘Jeopardy!’ competing against the human champions of the quiz.
Soon afterwards, potential was seen in this initiative and it was converted from a science project to a moneymaking business by the IBM leaders, initiating with health care.
But the next few years turned out to be quite discomfiting for the game-show winner. IBM executives admit that their introduction of this technology into medicine proved to be way more difficult than their anticipation. There was a mountain of frustration and costly ventures on Watson’s early projects. The program was scaled back, redeployed and was shelved at times. All these struggles by IBM to commercialize Watson point to a sobering fact that commercialization of new technology, no matter how promising it is, is always accomplished in short steps and never in giant leaps.
Even with all the challenges that Watson has faced, the TV victory has still assisted Watson in fueling interest from the public in the fields of AI and the rest of the tech industry. Money has been poured into the AI initiatives by the large corporations like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. AI companies have been bought by these corporations to speed up the development pace.
As compared to 2010, the investment total reached more than three and a half times, i.e. 8.5 billion, as Quid, a data analysis firm, reported.
This has led to the superior environment the software engineers are treated with, almost like star athletes.
“We’re definitely at a peak of excitement now,” said Jerry Kaplan, co-founder of a long-forgotten AI startup from the 1980s, also a computer scientist, entrepreneur and author. “Expectations are way ahead of reality.”
For human kind AI has always been a term linked with science fiction. Humans have always perceived robots in two major ways, either as machines helping them and thinking for themselves, or as the ungrateful creations that will lead to judgement day and wipe us all off the face of the earth.
However, the reality seems quite subtle, the automated voice on your smartphones and computers is a kind of an AI. So are the advanced features of Google’s Search Engine.
AI is also playing a vital part in detecting patterns in cancer research and it is hoped that AI will one day lead to the treatment of cancer.
From the very beginning of computer age, the field of artificial intelligence has rolled through cycles of optimism and disillusion. It was encouraged by a number of people due to the positive portrayal as a movie robot and also due to the success of Watson as a game show contestant.
The story told by tech in all these years tells AI backers to keep backing. Veterans from the Silicon Valley argue that us people overestimate what can be achieved using the new technology in the next three years, and underestimate the potential technology can show in the next 10 years.
It took a decade for the predictions made in the 90’s about how the World Wide Web would lead to the advancements in media, to turn out to be true. So we have to give AI its required time to evolve.