One of the most exciting things going on in the world of tech as we approach 2016 is the advancement of artificial intelligence technology. One of the biggest steps taken in the industry is the improvement of so-called “cognitive computing.” Cognitive computing is when a computer is capable of interpreting human meaning out of questions spoken in natural language. In other words, it doesn’t need to be given specified commands. They aren’t programmed to give a set response to a predetermined question posed in a specific way. They “hear” human speech, interpret what is being asked or said and determine an appropriate response.
Does that make us obsolete?
As with any major scientific advancement, the idea of artificial intelligence is scary to a lot of people. One of the fears, and our literature and movies often depict this fear, is that artificial intelligence could grow smart enough to rise up and overthrow humanity. That level of artificial intelligence is probably very far away still.
A more legitimate fear, and a fear that could be realized very soon, is the idea that artificial intelligence can grow smart enough that it no longer needs us. If we create something autonomous, it can take our jobs, do them better than we can, and make us obsolete. For some, that may be a fate worse than death at the hands of a robot apocalypse.
According to developers, the answer is “no”
In a recent survey of 529 artificial intelligence developers, 47% said that machine learning software still requires human input some of the time. Just 2.6% reported that human input wasn’t required at all. That means that approximately 97.4% of the most advanced computers in the world still need the human touch.
You can expect the cognitive computing industry to continue to grow in the coming years and expect artificial intelligence to become even more advanced. But according to the leading researchers in the field who understand the concept of artificial intelligence more than anyone else, even as these computers and programs are designed and released into the world, they will still need a team of humans to keep them working properly. It seems that humans don’t need to worry about losing their jobs to artificial intelligence anytime soon.
But now that computers can interpret and respond to questions, it’d be interesting to see how they’d answer the question: “Do you still need us?”