[Following editorial has been published in The Indian Express on 15th March 2016. Read through it and try to answer the questions that follow. Please do not copy and paste answers. The objective of this exercise is to get you in the groove of answer-writing. Try to write in your own words. Don't hesitate to write in a bulleted-format, if you are uncomfortable in writing in paragraph form.]
On Sunday, after a hat-trick of wins, Google’s AlphaGo programme surrendered a game of Go to a human, South Korea’s Lee Se-dol. The news made waves in Korea, which read it as a reaffirmation of the anthropocentric universe. That’s because Korea is mad about Go, with 24-hour TV channels covering tournaments non-stop. At first, the significance of the series of human-computer Go games in Seoul was not appreciated in the rest of the world. Computers have repeatedly defeated chess grandmasters, right, so what’s the big deal?
The deal is actually remarkably big. Chess is a relatively limited game, and computers win because they can visualise the whole decision tree of a game from opening gambit to checkmate, while humans are more likely to lose the plot. Go is the world’s most statistically complex game, with millions of possible outcomes. It is useful to think fuzzily about 20 moves ahead, not to the end of the game, and that gives humans an edge over machines, which are traditionally exact. In short, a programme is unlikely to defeat a human. But AlphaGo, a project of Google’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind, won three games straight. Was it, Asimov forbid, thinking like a human?
But it’s just a game, right? It is, and weirdly enough, many aspects of human behaviour can be modelled as maximisation games. The possibilities for deep, human-like intelligence in autonomous connected devices are both amazing and fearsome. Autonomous devices are deployed in a wide range of formats, from the home thermostat to complex weapons systems. The possibility that machines can think like humans, and better than us, raises humankind’s second-oldest anxiety after the fear of death: The rise of the machines. For now, it’s only a game, and the machine has won 3:1. Humans can be sporting about it.
1. What is Google's AlphaGo programme?
2. What is meant by Artificial Intelligence? Give some examples of AI in action in our day-to-day lives?
3. What are some examples of latest advancements in the field of AI? Where does India stand in this field?
5. What is the history of game Chess? Where was it invented? Who currently is the world champion in the game of Chess?
6. "The possibilities for deep, human-like intelligence in autonomous connected devices are both amazing and fearsome". Explain (200 words)
7. What is Turing's Test? What is the purpose of such tests?
8. "The ethical dilemma of bestowing moral responsibilities on robots calls for rigorous safety and preventative measures that are fail-safe, or the threats are too significant to risk."Comment (200 words)