I thought I would write a great introduction to AI for dummies.

But being a dummy myself, I am not classified to talk about AI for dummies.

The very first time I heard about Artificial Intelligence was a lecture from a monk at ISKCON in 1990.

He had said that the world is going to be swept by this wave in some form.

He had a master in the computer’s from IIT and a Ph.D.  in neuroscience.

Well, you don’t believe it right.

Looking back, I don’t believe it either.

At that time, I was wondering what prompted him to be a monk at ISKCON. I could not find that answer, but I do appreciate his foresight now.

Sometimes, it takes me a lot of time to assimilate.

There are better-written introductions to AI. You could find one of them here.

A simple definition would be – “Machines doing things that I do, faster and better than me.”

I have to agree, Smartphone and the access to Internet changed my life.

My mother and me despite being in the same house, talk to each other more on WhatsApp. The only thing she requests my help is if for some reason WhatsApp or youtube is not working! She has discovered her community and her preferred content in both those mediums. In fact, she watches TV less. I am sure you have your stories.

The best thing about Smartphone and the access to Internet opened up the possibility of  Innovation at Scale. All you needed was an Idea.

I think in the same breadth and depth, AI is going to impact us.

It is a wave, irrespective of your attachment or indifference is going to affect you.

The continuous democratization of technology behind AI, availability of computing power, decreasing the cost of being connected, algorithms as service, reduces the pressure on ‘How to Solve it.’

The focus shifts to ‘What to Solve’ and ‘Why we are Solving.’

Kevin Kelly in his Ted talk, present a case for the opportunity that awaits us all.

If I think, which is quite unnatural, I list the problems that are of interest to me and can be solved at scale by AI.

All of the below could look foolish.

 Education for All.

We can start looking at reducing the demand-supply gap of teachers in our country. Good teachers are increasingly hard to find, decreasing in numbers.  So would it be possible for us to create avatars of good teachers and make them omnipresent? It is not AI, which is going to be the differentiator, but the combination of a great teacher and AI, that can be available at all times.

Access to Healthcare

Here again, the demand-supply gap is huge, and cause of many deaths are a lack of access and awareness to basic health. Doctors are already overworked, and a careful mix of AI and human intervention can work wonders.

On a different note and as a specific example, the number of deaths owing to depression pains me. I think the primary cause, is the lack of someone to share in confidence.

If I am depressed, I call up twenty people and make them depressed. Naturally, after that, I feel better.

However, on a serious note, I think it is possible and necessary to create a helpline that becomes pervasive and reduces the number of deaths owing to depression.

Better Customer Service

I am denied this as a fundamental right. No single brand cares about me, despite them heavily advertising the opposite.  If you are in trouble, just pray that the trouble goes away on its own.  All customer service is just lip service. If you have doubt, call any brand’s advertised call center and enjoy the fun. I can understand the brand’s point of view. I am just one in a billion, and they simply do not care. They will be happy to see me walk away as regarding scale; I just do not matter to them. I can write a thesis on the repeated shabby treatment handed to me, but I do not want to keep whining.

I am of the opinion, that AI will get into this faster than the previous two areas.

There are other possible areas and opportunities, but I indulged in things that were close to my heart.

I do not think the AI apocalypse is true, but we cannot ignore it. I think more than ever, humans are needed to make AI successful, and unless we are willing to democratize our knowledge with machines, the successful adoption of AI in any endeavor will take a longer time than expected.

Seth Godin, in his imitable style, says the following

“The question each of us has to ask is simple (but difficult): What can I become quite good at that’s really difficult for a computer to do one day soon? How can I become so resilient, so human and such a linchpin that shifts in technology won’t be able to catch up?

It was always important, but now it’s urgent.”

Read his article about 23 things that computers are better than human.

I do lose sleep thinking about our soldiers guarding in the dreaded Siachen glacier and wonder if our borders can still be safe if robots are guarding that inhuman terrain.

For now, all I can say is  I sleep better knowing our soldiers are guarding!

Jai Hind!

What do you think?

Is AI going to affect you?

Do you care?

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)