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Olga Zeveleva
22 October 21:36.
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Which new technologies have potential to change the world in the coming years?
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Everyone in the world is interested in where we are going, the new technologies, what impact they are going to have on products and lifestyle. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing, the internet of things - all these categories are being spoken of. I actually looked to each one of those with great hopes for improving our future as humans. 

One additional category that is already becoming very prominent is that of personal assistance. Personal assistance can be like the Amazon Echo, Siri, Cortana, Bixby on Samsung Phones. I can ask questions. I like the Amazon Echo because I never have to lift a finger, I never have to pick up a phone, I never have to address even a watch to get something done, and I can ask questions. Last night at my hotel room, I just said “Play song with lyrics…” And I gave some lyrics to the song. And it started playing the song, it didn’t respond back ‒ “Here is the answer, here’s the song you’re looking for.” It actually did what I directed it to do.

One category that is already becoming very prominent is that of personal assistance. What is my idea of a perfect personal assistant? What you need today gets done yesterday.

So, understanding human speech the way a human being would is very important to me in all the personal assistance we have. 

We’re also looking forward to a future of robotics. Humanoid robotics. Robotics that walk and have hands to manipulate things. That field is growing much more slowly than computer science and other sorts of digital products, but someday I envision machines that walk around and help you very much. 

What is my idea of a perfect personal assistant? What you need today gets done yesterday. So artificial intelligence is probably the key of the categories you did mention because it applies to almost everything in life including personal assistance. 

We do not have computers that sit back and say, “What should I do and what is the best method to approach this problem?” They only obey instructions that really come from humans.

But we can speak of examples that we have today: machines that can play chess better than any humans. They can come up with answers and make decisions for calculations and big data much faster than any human does. And we sort of call it intelligence. My entire life we have called this thing “artificial intelligence” ‒ a script set of rules determining better performance than a human seems like intelligence. But when I was very young, I was taught that that really is simulated intelligence. It pretends to be intelligence. It looks like intelligence, but it’s not like a human brain. My entire life from a very early age, from the first program I ever wrote on a computer ‒ a computer that could do one million things a second still couldn’t solve a simple problem. A human brain can look at a problem and say, “How can it be solved?” We do not have computers that sit back and say, “What should I do and what is the best method to approach this problem?” They only obey instructions that really come from humans. 

Maybe a computer will even have consciousness and feelings. But we can’t say that, because we do not know how the brain is structured, otherwise we could make a brain. Right now, it takes 9 months to make a brain.

What’s the problem? We do not know how the brain is wired. We act like we know 10 000 things about the brain. But really there’s a big black hole as to how it is structured. You can predict that machine will someday be able to analyze as much data as fast as human brain, and maybe that implies singularity where you can’t predict what’s beyond it. Maybe the computer will start thinking for itself, maybe it will become real and even have consciousness and feelings. But we can’t say that, because we do not know how the brain is structured, otherwise we could make a brain. Right now, it takes 9 months to make a brain.

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