Two of the major issues most of us face online in the 21st century are privacy and security. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anyone 25 years ago, at the dawn of the public internet, who promised a more private and secure online future. Still, most technology companies have showcased projects which claim to give a glimpse of the future only to fade away into obscurity.
A few years ago Adobe introduced a feature in Photoshop that would remove unwanted objects from photos. The demonstrations of such functionality, were, of course, perfect. A photo with a number of distracting telephone poles and wires, or even people, could have the unwanted objects removed with just a few clicks.
Here we are years later and you still need to be a Photoshop guru– which requires training and experience– to remove most unwanted objects from a photo. Google promised the same thing a few years later, but here we are, moving rapidly into the 21st century– long after Google scanned hundreds of billions of our photos and we still cannot get rid of those poles or people in photos. But let me pick on Adobe first.
Not to pick on Adobe, but the Photoshop publisher has a project which can take a recording of a person’s voice and match it up with any typed text so it sounds as if the person is speaking whatever you want them to say, in their own voice.
Where is that? Hidden away somewhere, obviously.
In an era where we can FaceTime or Skype from one place on planet earth to nearly any other place (with enough Wi-Fi signal) technology companies still have difficulty with the basics– privacy and security.
Now, our senses are being attacked with artificial intelligence. Already there are AI-inspired bots that can write new articles which read as if they were written by humans. Add a human-like voice to the mix and will we be able to tell the difference between humans today and future journalism and broadcasters which are controlled by AI algorithms?
Earlier this week Google gave yet another demonstration of the future, in this case its popular Assistant application which has become so mature it sounds human. Give it a listen.
This is an example of artificial intelligence at its best– human-like.
To date, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and even Microsoft’s Cortana, all sound like, well, artificial assistants. Yes, they have improved and sound more human-like, but Google’s Assistant demonstration is the first that sounds– for lack of a better term– human.
Many of these advancements have yet to take on a more public role, yet the technology continues to advance. Will there be a time when artificial intelligence needs to identify itself as being non-human?
I hope so.