Artificial intelligence must not replace the thinking human mind

01-11-2016 |   |  By Paul Whytock

Artificial Intelligence (AI) should not replace or seek to replace human thinking. This is a view held by 7000 people surveyed recently across seven countries.

AI has been billed as possibly the greatest innovation that could work harmoniously with humans or destroy them. And when it comes to AI the views of emanate personalities like British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking and Microsoft founder Bill gates are well documented.

Professor Hawking’s believes success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history but unfortunately it might also be the last unless we learn how to avoid the inherent risks. Humans limited by slow biological evolution couldn’t compete and would be superseded by AI.

But despite that, 63% of Germans feel that AI in future electronic devices is a good idea. That is one of the results of the Electronica Trend Index 2020 survey. Consumers feel it is important for smart robots to know their limits with 84% saying they want intelligent household robots, smart cars and medical electronics. But they don't want them to make human thinking obsolete.

When it comes to self-driving cars people want intelligent electronics to help them but clearly want to stay in overall command and 54% of German consumers surveyed said they had reservations about letting a future smart car take control and drive them to their destination autonomously. But if an intelligent automobile monitors traffic situations and only intervenes when the driver makes a mistake behind the wheel that is completely different. Approximately 60% of Germans were positive about that type of assisted driving. From that survey result it is safe to assume that humans see AI as being a technical panacea for human error.

When asked about electronic healthcare the survey's results found that 82% want electronic safety technology to make living at home safer for elderly people. That includes things like connected emergency alert systems, fall detectors in floors and intelligent mattresses. One particularly interesting result relating to robotics showed approximately 80% thought artificial hands which use bioelectronics to help patients touch and feel, and implantable eye sensors to improve their vision would be a beneficial step forward.

However, the use of medical robots to perform surgery in hospitals met with concern among those surveyed despite the advances being made in keyhole surgery from remote locations.

The use of medical wearables such as devices to measure and record heart rate, blood sugar or body temperature in real-time were seen as positive by 67% of the people questioned.

There is no doubt that manufacturers of electronic components and systems are keen to encourage the development of robotics because it is a valuable and reliable source of revenue. This was confirmed in a survey by analysts MarketandMarkets which determined that articulated robots will lead the global industrial robotics market and that market is predicted to reach a value of almost $80billion by 2022.

The final word goes to Professor Hawking and his warning that if not properly managed thinking machines could spell the end of civilisation and that the rise of powerful AI could be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.


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By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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