UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Great Expectations and Daunting Existential Risks

The starting point is to understand the basic definitions of key concepts such as Robotics, AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Single-Task AI, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), Strong AI, and Generative AI (e.g. ChatGPT and Google Bard). Artificial Intelligence refers to intelligence programmed into and demonstrated by machines. This capability is in contrast to the natural intelligence manifested by humans and other animals.

Put more succinctly; AI refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that ordinarily require human intelligence, such as perception, reasoning, learning, decision-making, obstacle avoidance and path planning.

Robotics is the design, construction and operation of physical machines that autonomously carry out functions ordinarily ascribed to human beings, such as obstacle avoidance, path planning, language processing, perception, reasoning, learning, and decision-making. Put dif­ferently, Robotics is the intelligent connection of perception to action in a machine.

With the advent and growth of AI, most robots are driven by AI-based automation. Single-task AI systems are designed to perform a specific task or set of functions rather than being able to perform a wide range of tasks. They are also called traditional AI systems. Single-task AI is typically developed using Machine Learning algorithms that are trained on a specific data set to perform a particular function.

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