A Scary new neighbour: Artifical Intelligence

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A Scary new neighbour: Artifical IntelligenceArtificial intelligence is the intelligence displayed by machines, in contrast with the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. 

Artificial intelligence was founded as an academic discipline in 1956, and in the years since has experienced several waves of optimism, followed by AI winter( the loss of funding), followed by new approaches, success, and renewed funding. For most of its history, AI research has been divided into subfields that often fail to communicate with each other.

Now, let us inspect this issue from the perspective of a sane everyday human, rather than viewing scientific definitions and catchwords. This new neighbor is scary but at the very time exciting and enthralling. Many people desire to tour his/her house and fancy to socialize with him/her but are apprehensive of the consequences which may follow (death perhaps).

Isaac Asimov stated the three rules of robotics as follows
–>A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
–>A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
–>A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

These rules have also been portrayed in the movie I, Robot.

There are always two factions to a thought and humans like to t explore them both. Even AI has become a part of that ever persisting dispute on the greater good of humanity.
Can AI create its own personality? Is that ensured? Is that ethical? If it creates its own personality, then it ain’t practicing the human’s order, should it be discontinued? Should it be sustained?

Machines with intelligence might have the potential to use their intelligence to make ethical decisions.

Then arises the most debated problem, the existential uncertainty from AI.

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of human race. Once humans develop AI, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded’ — Stephan Hawking

AI could also solve the many dilemmas with which humans are struggling. They might become successful in recreating human consciousness in a machine, which may yield humans everlasting experience.

The debate can go on and on but shouldn’t something be given an opportunity, a stepping stone or look at history, we humans invite chaos when we forget our principles. These are two contrasting arguments pointing towards the same issue, could that one opportunity invite death?


Lead-based Paints : Are you breathing to illness?

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Lead has been quite useful to mankind since ages, but over the last century, scientists and researchers have discovered the various dangers it poses to the human body.
So, what do we make of the title? In ancient times, white lead was actively mixed with oil to make the most suitable paint as required by the ‘master painters’ of that era. Lead was preferred because of the properties it imparted to the oil-paint, notable ones were washability, less wear and tear and weather resistant. Even,  till the early 1900s, white lead was used by the U.S government to paint the White House and the Capitol building.
But, in recent times, as the world has become more aware of the harms that some of the elements in the surroundings possess, we came to know the various side-effects of the Lead-paint that were used in objects of day to day usages such as household paints and toys. Lead paint is hazardous. It can cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development. It is dangerous to children because it tastes sweet, therefore encouraging children to put lead chips and toys with lead dust in their mouths. Lead is considered a possible and likely carcinogen. High levels may result in death.
Now, considering the situation in India, though many major brands in the paint industry have brought the level of lead in paints to below the allowable  limit of 90 ppm, but even today in many tier 2 and 3 cities and towns, oil-paints having a concentration of lead in excess of 10,000 ppm are being sold. According to report published by Toxics Link titled ‘Lead in Enamel Household Paints in India in 2015’ found that 32 of 101 enamel paints analysed had lead concentration above 10,000 ppm (parts per million), way above the prescribed BIS standards (90 parts per million) for lead in paints. All these 32 paints were from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This situation has arisen because the government of India has failed to keep a check and these paints are mostly being sold by small and medium scale manufacturers who look for profits and have fewer or null resources for consumer awareness programs. As of April 2016, GOI has put up a  page for suggestions on banning paints having more than 90 ppm of lead in them.
The conclusion that can be derived from such studies carried is that we, as a community are still not much aware of the various things that affect us daily, and an initiative must be taken by the government to help spread awareness about the health risks and other dangers associated with various daily usage products.

Probability Theory : A short story

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Probability theory is probably the least understood area by the general population (except for certain gamblers). As a simple example, consider the History professor who was scared of flying and asked his friend one day: “What is the probability that there will be a bomb on an aeroplane?” His friend responded that he really didn’t know, but that it was certainly less than one in a million. So he asked: “Well, what is the probability that there are two bombs on an aeroplane?” His friend responded that (as long as these were independent events) it would be the square of the probability of having one bomb, which is 1 in a trillion – a truly astronomical number. So, from that day forward the History professor always carried a bomb with him when he flew since it reduced the risk of having a bomb on the plane from 1 in a million to 1 in a trillion.

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