Nearly everyone has encountered the term AI these days, but most people have no idea what it actually is. By definition, Artificial Intelligence is any form of intelligence displayed by a machine. Whether it’s playing chess or solving massive problems that are just too big for the human intellect to work through in such a short space of time. If you consider how the AI programs written to date are primarily focused on a single task; you will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that’s the extent of their capabilities at present. Even when they get to a point where they can combine multiple functions into a single AI, it would still be a long way off from proving actual sentience in the human sense.
You may have seen headlines about AI some time ago, about AI programs writing other AI programs, and yet, as fancy as that sounds, it is still not quite what you would think. Even in this case, it’s still an example of an AI working on just a single task, namely writing other AI programs. One massive achievement for AI computing happens to be a problem that geneticists have been trying to solve for more than five decades. It’s called the “Protein Solving Problem” and it’s basically about figuring out how proteins form into the three-dimensional shapes that they do. There are so many permutations to this problem that figuring out in person would take a massive team of scientists and roughly the same amount of time it took the universe to form. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s real, and they have used Artificial Intelligence to run through all of the possible protein configurations in a fraction of the time.
So the jury is not yet out when it comes to proving how smart AI can be because, in reality, it’s changing at a rapid pace, and the capabilities are improving every year. The question is not whether AI will ever get to a point where it can have a conversation with you; it’s more a question of when. For the time being, we can spend the time wondering what we’re going to do about it when it finally happens.