A Deeper Look at Google DeepMind

Sam S.

Staff Writer

In the world of intelligence, there is a newcomer whose ability to learn could prove useful in the future. Google DeepMind, a company focused on artificial intelligence, aims to add to this world of intelligence. Acquired by Google in 2014 for upward of $400 million, the main goal of DeepMind Technologies is to formalize intelligence so it can be used it in machines.

The artificial intelligence (AI) DeepMind has come up with is promising, as it has learned how to play gaGoogle Deepmind 2 SSmes without the use of pre-programming, which is determining what is to be done beforehand. This is remarkable because other companies developing their own AIs, such as IBM, are developed for pre-defined purposes and are pre-programmed to deal with a specific situation, compared to DeepMind’s general-purpose AI. The applicability of this type of artificial intelligence seems limitless with its ability to learn and to perform certain everyday tasks and services, but like all computer systems and software, DeepMind is not devoid of its share of occasional bugs.

These bugs, however, must be taken seriously because if DeepMind’s AI fails to comprehend a certain variable in the environment, it could spell disaster and cause harm to others or to the environment.  For example, this type of AI could have the application of traveling services such as flying a jet airliner. If the AI malfunctions, human lives are in danger, and that would not resonate well with those still skeptical of DeepMind’s capabilities. One small mishap, and it all goes down into a dispute over its reliability.

There are countless opinions on this type of artificial intelligence, ranging from optimism of its applications to fear of a situational apocalypse resembling the Terminator movies. Brandon Hadley, freshman, says, “It’s kind of scary to have to put so much trust in this AI because it could accidently cause World War III if there’s a bug.” His point is a valid one because if this type of technology goes anywhere near military use, which it may, it could end in a cataclysmic disaster due to misunderstanding of the variables in its environments or use with bad intent. This fear, albeit somewhat irrational, is very real in the minds of people in the society, and it can be very difficult to change their minds on something that they are afraid of.

On the other end, this type of AI could save a good portion of time by receiving training in certain tasks to complete so humans do not have to do them and waste their own time. DeepMind could do public service, serving in a role as simple as a taxi driver getting busy Americans to their job on time. To clarify, this type of artificial intelligence could be installed in a many number of ways, as long as the hardware is sustaining. Brett Parker, freshman, said, “This could be really helpful doing things that harm humans, or waste their time.” Although the advantage of these technologies could benefit humans, it could also replace some of the workforce and cause many to be unemployed if it is implemented in such a way.

This problem is one that has already taken its effect in factories, as efficient robots have already taken the place of some unfortunate factory workers. This downside causes dispute amongst the community, as it frustrates those it affects by putting them out of the job they worked hard to get. Taking jobs is not exactly popular since most of the working class has kids to feed and bills to pay. Due to its downsides, this AI might take some time to finally find an audience and settle into the minds of people here in the U.S. Regardless of its downsides, humanity will keep delving deeper into intelligence and deeper into what makes a mind.

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