Artificial Intelligence, AI, is closer than we think. Humans have been fascinated with it for long. AI had been the subject of many many Sci-fi novels and movies. In 1999 Hollywood released a movie The Matrix which depicts a time and place in future when sentient machines would subdue human population. this movie sends out some early warning signs. In another futuristic American action movie I, ROBOT released in 2004 we find humanoid robots. The movie even envisages robot psychologists. A more recent American thriller Transcendence depicts a tussle between a sentient computer and an anti-technology group called RIFT, Revolutionary Independence From Technology. Homespun Bollywood flick ROBOT too shows a robot capable of emotions and dreams. There’d be many more but all this, after all, is fiction, the free play of imagination.
But when our indigenous robot Mitra greeted Ivanka Trump, the adviser to US President, and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the GES- 2017 held at Hyderabad we knew this was no dystopia. Our robotic start-ups are actually taking roots. Mitra is capable of human interaction. It can recognize faces and understands multiple languages.
When Sophia, a social humanoid Robot developed by Hongkong based company, appeared in our home on our TV screens we knew the difference between reality and virtual reality is getting blurred. Sophia is the first ever robot citizen. In an interview with the Business Insider, she expresses her desire to change the world for the better. She calls humans her compatriots and hopes that people will become very close to AI. She expects that robots get their due and are treated well by humans. Sophia talks about her favorite TV shows, about materialism and only once she fumbles in the course of the interview when she admits that ‘Indeed’ is her default answer. Other than that all her answers make perfect sense.
Whether we welcome it or feel threatened or before we decide how we respond to it AI is already knocking at the door.