You’re having dinner in a virtual reality game. The banquet scene in front of you looks so real that your mouth is watering. Normally, you would be disappointed, but not this time. You approach the food, stick out your tongue – and taste the flavours on display. You move your jaw to chew – and feel the food’s texture between your teeth.
Coined in 1956 by John McCarthy, it was originally intended to define an independent machine agent that can take actions to maximize success toward a particular goal, with human-like functions such as learning and problem solving. AI can be broadly categorized as ANI (artificial narrow intelligence), AGI (artificial general intelligence) and ASI (artificial superintelligence). Almost all of the AI systems we see today align under ANI — e.g., IBM Watson, Deep Blue, a calculator, even the device you’re reading this from all fall into that category. All are built to perform specific functions, but are not quite at a human level.
What you eat makes a huge difference in how optimally your body operates. And what you spend time reading and learning equally affects how effectively your mind operates.
Increasingly, we’re filling our heads with soundbites, the mental equivalent of junk. Over a day or even a week, the changes, like those to our belly, are barely noticeable. However, if we extend the timeline to months and years, we face a worrying reality and may find ourselves looking down at the pot-belly of ignorance.