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Technology and Marketing:

Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Journalists?

Computing technology has already transformed our world, and innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI)  indicate that the transformation process has only just begun. In September 2014, a computer wrote an LA Times article on the earthquake that had occurred that morning. It included the location and size of the quake, and the distance of the epicenter from major California cities. No human input was necessary for the story: the article was developed through Artificial Intelligence (AI). It was comprised of data collected from the USGS Earthquake Notification System, and created by an algorithm developed by the “author” (an LA Times journalist/programmer). Does this report of informative data reflect the total value of journalism? Or is there more to be considered regarding the effect of automating writing services? The rise of AI is raising questions about the future of human-to-human communications.   

 


AI Gives Computers Human-like Capabilities:


Three recent developments in digital technology have revolutionized AI, bringing it closer than ever before to developing a truly “human” machine:


1    Faster Computation Capacity:


The 2007 development of the Graphics Processing Unit opened the door for exponentially faster data processing. Designing to improve graphics experience in gaming, the GPU quickly became one of the most critical components of supercomputer architecture because of its speed of processing. Faster processing brought the machine closer to the speed of human brain processing. 

 

2    Big Data:


“Big data” is the aggregate accumulation of data in all the worlds’ databases. When these databases connect with each other, they trade and share digital information, informing and educating each other. These transactions also cause their computation capacities to speed up. Using Big Data ultimately also improves and speeds Big Data.

 

3    Improved Algorithms:


No longer linear, today’s computing systems “stack” connections of data as those are recovered. Also speeding up the process, this concept has been dubbed “deep learning” because of the way it allows computers to reach more succinct determinate points than ever before.

 

Together these three technological evolution have created a foundation from which truly intelligent AI can flourish.

 


AI Can Replace Human Endeavor:


In some cases, AI is already replacing people.  A computer can process vast quantities of stock opportunities or financial markets infinitely faster than a human can. There are several industries now that are accessing the AI opportunities to improve their systems. Medical diagnosing is one industry where AI may prove to be literally a life saver. In tests, AI computers access medical Big Data much more quickly than can the doctors, and can evaluate a much larger database of options in the process. 

 

And many industries are betting heavily on further evolution in AI. AI-managed automation systems are sprouting up. Google’s driverless cars are only one iteration; Google is one of the biggest investors in AI companies. In 2014, Sentient-Technologies raised over $100M to further their quest for truly human-like AI.

 


Should AI Replace Human Endeavor?


Despite its seemingly blinding potential, many people are less than enthused about the rise of these big machines, including Elon Musk and Bill Gates. Stephen Hawking has commented that AI “could spell the end of the human race”. In their estimation, an unfettered explosion of future AI projects may unleash “unintended and disastrous consequences” on the human race.

 

One commentator questions whether it is possible to program morals and ethics into a machine. Selecting an option from an array of options is not the same as making a wise choice, based on relative values of good, evil, conscience, etc. Another group of commentators parse out the aspects of human cognition into five categories, and surmise that computers will never have the capability of duplicating all of them effectively. They concede that computers clearly dominate the “data and information” categories, and may even be programmed to be comprehensive on the “Knowledge” and possibly even the “understanding” categories. However, they surmise that only humans have the capacity to bring true “wisdom” into any worthwhile endeavor, and are, therefore, irreplaceable.

 


AI Should Do What All technology Does – Enhance the Realities of Being Human:


It is not yet proven that computers can be programmed to demonstrate common sense, intuition or creativity, all of which provide the human race with the advancements they enjoy today, including advancements in artificial intelligence. Human intelligence consists of a composition of abilities (learning, reasoning, problem solving, perception, and understanding of language) that creates a unique consciousness in every human being. It is that consciousness that still sets human intelligence apart from artificial intelligence. Some have suggested that future AI endeavors create “consciousness- free” AI services so that we can harness the power of the computing as an enhancement to the human creative process.  As yet, there has been no computer with a bestseller on the NYT Best Sellers list. For we who write, we hope AI will ensure that there never will be.  





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