This is something that most technology companies have been working upon since the early 1900’s. Though there has been a few breakthroughs’ throughout the century. The idea of the machine thinking like us is not that far away from being achieved. So let’s explore on how this fundamental idea of machines thinking like man arrived and then it’s for the readers to decide whether the machines can think like us?
WHAT IS A MACHINE?
A machine is equipment which includes moving parts that are designed to carry out a certain job or function.
The evolution of machines, since the early 1700’s machines were mechanical in nature, that included automobiles, manufacturing machines and common day to day equipment’s with a pulley and lever. At its time, these machines were able to function a single task with comparatively better efficiency than human employees. Though the repair cost was significant, that was easily recovered with the output delivered by these machines.
The initial automation journey had begun by the invention of the all electronic desktop calculator in the year 1956, the first machine that solved mathematical problems with the help of electronic circuits rather than manual mechanism, it did play fair share of contribution to create a concept of universal machine or a.k.a Computer aided with Artificial Intelligence.
The idea of this complex machine was initiated in the early 1800’s, by the first computer invented Charles Babbage between 1873 – 1871. Where still remained the challenge that a computer was successful in accomplishing a single task like for example playing checkers, calculating etc. with utmost efficiency, but that was too early for it to be regarded as a “Thinking Machine.”
In the year 1950, Dr. Alan Turing had invested time in taking the challenges of then mathematicians such as David Hilbert head on by solving the challenge of a computer actively engaging in multiple tasks, by introducing the code phrase ‘Computing’. Dr. Alan Turing clearly envisioned the function of a computer as a series of tasks it needs to achieve with a help of a guideline which we now call as coding commands in computer programming.
Many technological enthusiast further created various versions of computer that solved minuscule problems with high energy driven memory disks and floppies. So did many computer versions perform tasks multitasking in nature through computing, at that time the challenge the computer programmers faced were, that machines required a huge amount of data to be uploaded to conduct such simple tasks, which our human brains could easily solve.
That is when the idea of Artificial Intelligence came to existence, the challenge was how do we measure whether we have achieved AI?, the late Dr. Alan Turing created an imitation game called as the “Turing Test” which competes with a human to understand its logical thinking abilities. This testing protocol laid a foundation in measuring the capabilities of AI at that time,.i.e.1950.
Though widely used even today, many researchers believed this testing protocol has its limitations which excludes human emotions, social requirements, Common logic (Common sense), understand towards human feelings and values and understanding the words and its underlying meanings etc.
So far we have seen various AI bots like Eliza, Sophia and other bots from Hansen Robotics who without a doubt were spectacular, but apart from being a wonder machine it did not yet very well qualify the human like interactions.
LIMITATIONS & CHALLENGES
Even today, many robotics engineers have not been able to fully understand the functions of the human brain, such that replicating the same has been a challenge. So far most AI’s have been successful in incorporating logical, conversational, emotional (To Some extent) behaviors, though these facets can be easily replicated with today’s technologies, our understanding to the fact of common sense and what drives common sense is still a mystery.
I am certain that fully unlocking this technology is not that far it will be achievable within this decade; The question is what are we going to do with this technology? It does not matter whether machines can think like us or not? What would it be doing with this level of intelligence? Is it creation or destruction?