If you grew up in the 80s, one of your most captivating moments as a kid might have been playing Super Mario Bros. on a console for the first time!
People were amazed by the way consoles, like Nintendo, had the power to display interactive moving images on their TVs.
A possibility of interaction between 2 devices and a human being, at such an engaging level, was indeed genuinely spectacular back in the day!
Today, it’s a given. Devices like Google Home and Alexa have taken this interaction between devices to a whole new level, listening to our commands and operating our interconnected devices for us.
Our gadgets are all seamlessly integrated into the worldwide web, and we can generate meaningful interactions to make our lives better. Be it the ability to set our air conditioning to an optimum temperature, or letting our refrigerator order milk for us and paying with bitcoins, everything has become a norm of our daily lives.
So how is all this made possible?
To understand, we explore the ‘trinity’ of modern technology consisting of AI, IoT, and Blockchain, the union of which has the power to transform our world as we know it today!
AI or World Domination?
If your perception of Artificial Intelligence is some extraordinarily intelligent Robot trying to build a robot army to defeat humans, you may be disappointed by reading this chapter.
(Robotic researchers believe that Robots cannot rule the world for the simple reason that they cannot reproduce themselves!)
Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy; however, it is progressing at a rapid pace. In essence, it is just a human endeavor to imbibe a machine with our narrow sense of ‘superiority of intelligence’ over other organisms. However, we haven’t been successful in developing an Arnie like T900 so far!
Companies like Boston Dynamics have been making steady progress in Robotics thanks to the development in machine learning applications and AI in general. They recently showcased their most advanced Robot- Atlas, which can perform complex gymnastics maneuvers. It is exciting news as biological dexterity was impossible to imagine and replicate just a few decades ago. (Even our favorite robots R2D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars had rigid mechanical movements).
When did this revolution start?
If we were to look at the history of AI, it dates back to the ancient philosophers who tried to describe the human mind with symbols. However, only in 1956 did it gather momentum with John McCarthy coining the term at a conference in Dartmouth.
It is also interesting to note that Alan Turing was the first to propose the question, “Why can’t machines think like humans in their problem solving and decision-making abilities on the available information?” in his paper in 1950 titled Computing Machinery and Intelligence.
Technology leaders like Elon Musk, are betting big on AI and have acquired companies like Open AI, and Neuralink. Neuralink aims to integrate an AI chip with our brains to generate brain-machine interfaces that connect humans with computers as soon as 2021.
Whereas, Open AI bot which is the learning algorithm of Open AI has already defeated some of the best Esports human players in the world! With the help of AI the bots in games are outperforming their human counterparts!
How do machines learn to do all this?
Any learning broadly entails acquiring a mental or physical grasp of the subject. Learning has a feedback loop associated with the response from our senses. Machine learning replicates our process of learning. It is an application layer that provides a feedback loop to the machines to improve itself without any specific programming needs.
It’s how our machines keep learning and evolving to understand our needs better. You may not be aware, but some of these AI applications have become an integral part of our lives.
Imagine, what would we do without the Traffic updates while planning our trip, or those product recommendations while shopping? Have you ever wondered about spam removal from our emails and our phone’s ability to distinguish our face from the rest of the world?
Everything revolves around the ability of machines to learn and predict to the highest degree of probability. Even while writing this journal, the software is predicting the words before I complete my sentence comparing it to my style of writing through the words I have used before!
Machine learning and AI is not only changing the fundamentals of our understanding of our own ecosystem but answering some of the age-old questions which troubled humanity for centuries!
Evolution of human-made objects- IoT
Life on Earth evolved from single-celled organisms to more complex multicellular organisms. The interaction among organisms began with simple information sharing and symbiotic relationships to survive and thrive in an ecosystem.
Similarly, modern technology has enabled human-made objects to interact with one another, exchange information, and co-exist in a connected ecosystem. This ecosystem of connected devices capable of communicating at various levels is what is known as the Internet of things or IoT.
By plugging in our gadgets to the internet and enabling them to send and receive signals, perhaps we have successfully replicated primitive life on Earth! However, it would be interesting to see how it evolves, especially with the pace of the development of AI. In Business, IoT would be influential in unlocking new business models, which could be possible with only the human workforce.
Especially during the COVID pandemic, companies are considered an ecosystem of connected machines to change the way they think about business as usual. The amount of data generated by connected sensors alone has risen by 40% in 2020.
IoT has also influenced how facilities are managed commercially and have reduced operations and maintenance costs by 25% without the need for intervention.
Due to the pandemic, San Francisco is looking to experiment with Robot delivery services, especially at a time when social distancing is a must. Even in dire times, our modern technology is able to provide us with innovative solutions.
The Building blocks of Decentralisation
“We’re gonna take the power back!” Rage Against the Machine
Centralized systems are vulnerable to data breaches, frauds, mismanagement, and abuse of power. When RATM wrote this song, they were venting out their frustration against such systems in place- from governance to financial systems.
However, with the introduction of distributed ledger technology, much of it is changing for good. More organizations are adopting this technology to share and synchronize their transactions rather than keeping the data centralized in a traditional ledger. A DLT system uses independent computers, referred to as nodes, to maintain and share transactions.
Many of us may have heard the buzz word “Blockchain.” A blockchain essentially is a part of distributed ledger technology and literally a portmanteau of two words block and chain.
The reason it’s called a blockchain is that the data or the list of records is stored in chunks of blocks which are linked to one another using cryptography resembling a chain. Each consecutive block is a cryptographic hash of the previous block, transaction data, and a timestamp. Hence, the data cannot be modified. This ensures an unprecedented amount of security of data. The applications of this technology are both revolutionary and challenge our standard practices.
For obvious reasons blockchain has garnered popularity in the domains where data security is most important. It’s no wonder that banking and finance are impacted the most by this technology.
Healthcare is another industry that deals with sensitive personal data and needless to mention that it makes a lot of sense to adopt this technology in the healthcare domain.
Modern technology has helped us not only progress in a positive direction but also helped us through thick and thin.
It remains to be seen how technology would evolve over the years, but the breakthroughs, especially in the trinity of modern technology, seems to be the way forward for the exponential growth in our understanding.