Digital Futures

How Far is Too Far? | The Age of A.I.

In this video, Iron Man a.k.a Robert Downey Jr. talks about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), joined by Will.I.Am and Mark Sagar.

In this video, we’ll meet two different visionaries exploring identity, creativity, and collaboration between humans and machines.

Before summarizing the video, first, let’s talk about what is A.I.?

The elaboration of A.I. is Artificial Intelligence. Let’s look at these terms individually. The term artificial can be anything that is made by human beings which is not natural. And the term intelligence is the ability to understand, think, and learn. When we combine these two together, we get a broad area of computer science that makes machines seem like they have human intelligence.

The goal of AI is to mimic the human brain and create systems that can function intelligently and independently. Some people say that the age of AI is here but why don’t we see flying cars or robotic maids bringing us lunch?

Well, when it comes to AI, a robot is nothing more than a shell concealing what is actually used to power the technology. AI can manifest itself in many different ways. If you have ever asked Alexa to order your food or browse Netflix movie suggestions or youtube homepage, then you are actually interacting with AI without realizing it and that’s kind of the point.

AI is designed so you do not realize that there is a machine calling the shots. In the near future, AI is expected to become a little less artificial and a lot more intelligent. As AI becomes more intelligent, it will obviously take on the role of an intelligent worker. While most of the repetitive and largely time-oriented tasks can be automated using AI, we will still need human experts who can build and maintain these synthetic BOTS and work on strategic and creative aspects of a job.

So in conclusion, AI is a boon that can help optimize any job. This means that as always, it’s not AI versus humans rather it is a combination of humans and AI versus the actual problem statement.

Video Summary

Technology is advancing faster and taking less time to be widely adopted than ever before. It took nearly 10,000 years to go from writing to printing press but only about 500 more to get e-mail. It seems we are the dawn of a new age. The age of A.I.

AI is a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers. AI is teaching the machine and the machine becoming smart. Intelligence used to be the province of only humans, but it no longer is. We don’t program the machines. They learn by themselves.

Mark Sagar made ‘Baby X‘. Baby X is a lifelike simulation of a toddler. It can see through a web camera and listen through the microphone. It is about exploring the nature of how would we build a digital consciousness if it is possible. It is not possible but it can be done by making AI as life-like as possible. Baby X is driven by virtual muscles and virtual muscles, in turn, are driven by a virtual brain.

The brain is the most complex system in our body. It has 85 billion neurons that receive non stop receiving, processing, and sending information. Baby X brain is nowhere near as complex but that’s the goal. Instead of neurons, it has nodes. The more the nodes exposed, the more they learn.

Baby X uses a type of AI called object recognition. Basically, it’s how a computer sees. How it identifies an object or tells the difference between a spider and a duck. Baby X needs to learn from scratch by basically sifting through enormous piles of data to search for patterns. So eventually, it can pick up a car or pick out a criminal in a crowded photograph.

Musician Will.I.Am wants to make his own digital avatar and Mark Sagar will help him to get his digital avatar. A digital avatar can be made by using AI. For that, we have to capture all the textures of someone’s face, teeth, how someone’s face deforms to form different facial expressions. Even voice can be matched too by using some recorded samples. By doing these, a different musician in a different town with a different approach can give the same problem a shot.

Gil Waeinberg wants to create a new technology that will explode new ways to be expressive and to be creative. Using AI a robot can make music like other musicians. This robot can improvise too. This can be done with a mix of other musicians too.

Here machine learning plays an important pole. It is an ability to find patterns in data. Jason Barnes a musician told Gil that he lost his arm and he asked for Gil’s robotic arm. After that, Gil built a prosthetic arm for Jason with two sticks. One stick can operate with a mind of his own, understanding the music and improvising. Another stick can operate based on what you tell it with your muscle and each one of the sticks can play 20 hertz which is impossible for any human being.

This innovation inspires Gil to make the Skywalker Hand. Skywalker hand uses ultrasound tech. Ultrasound provides an image and you can see everything that’s going on inside of the arm. This hand can do almost what a human hand can do. What began as one man’s pursuit to innovate music through AI and robotics unexpectedly became something much greater.

Back to Will.I.Am avatar part.

It’s really important to capture someone’s feelings but it’s quite impossible. The biggest challenge Mark faced was creating Will’s avatar personality just like Will.

Finally, Mark created Will’s digital avatar and it looked exactly like Will and sounded exactly like him.

Can we make Avatar that can think of its own, feel emotion? Impossible?
Well, maybe with both Human and AI interaction it can be made.

Video timeline

00:00 Introduction
03:00 Baby X
09:39 I Am My Data
13:39 Modern Cyborgs
18:00 Skywalker Hand
27:20 The Avatar
33:18 Ending Credit

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