The melding of technologies can make for some interesting bedfellows. Think about it for a moment. The latest evolutions in AI, machine learning (ML), and machine intelligence (MI), is bringing science fact to science fiction. Now comes robotic process automation (RPA), which draws visions of a workforce that consists of both humans and robots.
An interesting headline from a feed I just received starts out with: “Your next coworker could be a robot.” Talk about disruptive technologies.
So far the horizon on this only extends to carving out the more mundane and repetitive tasks that homo sapiens have to do and shift them to robo erectus (early robots – a bit of tong-in-cheek whimsy). However, give it time and it is very likely that your HR manager might well, one day, be a robot (have you seen Sophie or Aeolus or Kuri, or HUBO for example), a device on the Internet of Anything/Everything, using 5G (or 6, 7, 8, 9G, whatever version), and be self-aware. Of course, we are quite a ways away from that and not just for technical reasons but the process has begun.
AI and ML are being seen as the great enablers for MI, and MI is the top of the food chain that will empower the paradigm shift.
The key principle here is workforce evolution. MI is capable of evolving to meet the need – and much quicker than humans. Wouldn’t it be nice if your android HR manager can act in total neutrality in case of a workplace dispute? No favoritism, no politics, just the facts! They work without complaining, make only mistakes based upon human input, require no rest, nourishment, accolades or discipline – only an occasional oil change. They are universally adaptable and reprogrammable.
With the capabilities of modern processors and its peripheral sub systems (memory, storage, data acquisition sensors, interconnect, etc.), such machines have access to virtually every bit of data available. They can even assess physical attributes and actions of subjects and compile this into their MI and ML algorithms.
So now we have these androids and they are imbued with AI. Next comes deep learning. That is something we are just now beginning to comprehend. 2017 saw breakthroughs in deep learning that 2018 promises to expand — self-play, which is quantum leap in deep learning because it makes the leap from universal function approximators to universal knowledge creation. It allows the AI to do things without explicitly designing an environment with these skills in mind. Self-play ensures that the environment is always the right difficulty for an AI to improve. Extrapolate that to the real world and some say this is the first step to cognition.
Further, these androids will be fully connected, wirelessly. So they will always have the ability to expand their knowledge data base. And they do not necessarily need a large bucket on data on-board. Data can be downloaded and offloaded as needed. That leaves more room for computational resources.
There is a ton more stuff to talk about but space limits this discussion. The bottom line is that the capabilities for robots to move up the technological evolutionary ladder is hitting its stride. Lots of issues are emerging as well – ethical, legal, moral, design criterion, power, appearance, even practicability – these things will be uber-expensive – and more.
This is a convoluted topic. We are bordering on the edge of what science fiction is made of, yet it is real world. The assimilation of ubiquitous wireless networks, AI, ML, MI, deep learning and their integration into RPA promises a future world only the best imaginations of yesterday could imagine.
Executive Editor/Applied Wireless Technology
His 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others. Before becoming exclusive to publishing, he was a computer consultant and regularly taught courses and seminars in applications software, hardware technology, operating systems, and electronics. Ernest’s client list has included Lucent Technologies, Jones Intercable, Qwest, City and County of Denver, TCI, Sandia National Labs, Goldman Sachs, and other businesses. His credentials include a BS, Electronic Engineering Technology; A.A.S, Electronic Digital Technology. He has held a Colorado Post-Secondary/Adult teaching credential, member of IBM’s Software Developers Assistance Program and Independent Vendor League, a Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner, and a life member of the IEEE. He has been certified as an IBM Certified OS2 consultant and trainer; WordPerfect Corporation Developer/Consultant and Lotus Development Corporation Developer/Consultant. He was also a first-class FCC technician in the early days of radio. Ernest Worthman may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.