AI – Will it Solve our Problems?

Have you checked out ChatGPT yet? If not, you are one of the few. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used for some time now, but is becoming more obvious with chatbots available for anyone to play with.

The definition of artificial intelligence is technology that enables computers to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings (that’s us). A subset of AI, ‘machine learning’ means that AI computer systems have the ability to learn and optimize processes without having to be re-programmed.

As exciting as this sounds for the technical minded, for others this can seem a little scary. Will I be out of a job? Will machines take over the world?! I’m not a subscriber to any doomsday theories, and one thing I have learned over my ‘cough-cough’ years on this planet, is that we are an adaptable species – to an extent.

We adapt specific jobs and whole industries as technology and markets change, however we still face the same types of issues and problems. Every generation still needs to learn to work together, communicate, plan, and solve problems.

Computers may appear to be able to solve problems for us, but unless we ask the right question, they can’t give us the right answer.

Older generations might recall the wonderful book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In it they spent a lifetime building an almighty computer to answer “the ultimate question”. The computer eventually worked out the answer was 42. They were shocked and a tad disappointed by the answer, but perhaps they just didn’t have the right question.

The first step in all problem-solving techniques is to be able to describe the problem, and you’d be surprised how often I see this poorly done.

Computers are a wonderful invention. I couldn’t imagine life without them. But we intelligent beings also need to maintain our own ‘machine learning’, not only to justify that term intelligent beings, but so we can be sure we are asking the right questions.