What is AI—Artificial Intelligence?
We’ve been reading about AI in the news lately, but what is it? In simple terms, Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science that simulates human intelligence by performing functions such as reasoning, problem-solving, learning, and decision-making. The “intelligence” is based on algorithms with certain sets of rules. All this must be fed into the system by humans, of course, but once there, these machines get better and better at their tasks without further external interference. The question is, how far can they go?
We Use AI Now Without Realizing It
The autocorrect and suggested responses that feature on our smartphones and computers are products of AI. So are the targeted ads that pop up when we visit shopping portals. It knows what we want. A couple of years ago while researching a book, I searched for the retail prices of large diamonds (really large). I’m still getting hopeful ads.
Right now, high school and college students are using AI to complete assignments. Bloggers use AI to create content. Journalists use AI to write routine news articles, reducing (they say) bias and allowing them to focus on in-depth articles. AI has the ability to spot trends, analyze data, and eliminate factual errors. So here’s my question:
Will AI Ever Replace Authors? Will AI Write Novels?
Have you heard about ChatGPT? Created by Open AI, an AI and research company,ChatGPT is a “natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that can assist in tasks such as composing emails, essays, and computer coding.” Currently it’s open to the public, free of charge, because ChatGPT is in the research and feedback-collection phase. Why does that make me nervous?
Yesterday my son John asked ChatGPT to write a short mystery set in Scotland in the style of Connie Berry. Here’s the story:
A SCOTTISH MURDER
The small Scottish town of St. Andrews was in shock as news of the murder of local businessman, Alexander MacKenzie, spread like wildfire. MacKenzie had been found dead in his office, bludgeoned to death with a golf club, one of his own from his golf course.
Detective Inspector Lorna Smith was called in to investigate the case. As she began to gather evidence and interview suspects, it became clear that MacKenzie was not well-liked in the community. He had a reputation for being ruthless in business and had made many enemies.
One suspect was MacKenzie’s business partner, Douglas Robertson. The two men had been in a bitter dispute over the ownership of their golf course, and Robertson had a history of violent outbursts. But when Smith questioned him, Robertson had an alibi – he had been playing golf at a different course at the time of the murder.
Another suspect was MacKenzie’s mistress, Isabelle Campbell. She had been having an affair with MacKenzie for several months, but their relationship had become strained in recent weeks. But when Smith checked her alibi, Isabelle was at her Yoga class at the time of the murder.
As Smith delved deeper into the case, she began to suspect that the real killer was someone who had a hidden motive for wanting MacKenzie dead. She started to investigate MacKenzie’s past and found out that he had been involved in a land-grabbing scheme, forcibly buying properties from the residents of the town.
Finally, Smith received a tip-off that led her to the killer – MacKenzie’s neighbor, John Ferguson. He had been one of the residents whose property was taken by MacKenzie and had held a grudge against him for years. In a fit of rage, he had killed MacKenzie.
In the end, justice was served and the killer was brought to trial. But the residents of St. Andrews would never forget the shocking murder of their powerful businessman, and the truth behind his actions that led to his demise.
Will AI ever win an Agatha or an Edgar?
Clearly, not yet.
What do you think? Will AI one day take over our world, create its own belief system, and make us all slaves? Or does machine self-awareness exist only in dystopian fiction?