by Mark Ollig
Keeping up with technology is both challenging and exciting.
Dr. Jennifer Healey, a research scientist at Intel Corporation, is looking ahead 50 years into the future.
While Dr. Healey was at MIT, she developed a wearable device allowing a person to track their daily activities using a video camera and physiological sensors.
This device was the first wearable computer.
Dr. Healey also worked at IBM on next-generation multi-modal smartphones, and helped design the voice-to-speech technology used in Interaction Markup Language.
During a recent “Conversations with Tomorrow” video posted on the Alger website, Dr. Healey stated technology can do things for us which we could never do for ourselves before.
She sees a gradual hand-off to automation during the next 50 years.
This automation will no doubt include autonomous robotics performing more of the tasks currently accomplished by you and me.
Artificial intelligence will become closer to human intelligence, so we can expect to see autonomous robots developing reasoning abilities as they acquire problem-solving skills using logic, and their own experiences.
Future artificial intelligent robots will be embedded with emotional sensing patterns, which, Dr. Healey says, is the foundation of artificial intelligence and rational decision making.
In other words, robots will develop human-like common sense.
These developing emotions will help the robots navigate and interact with humans.
My question is, “Will robots acquire self-awareness by 2064?”
If they do, this will present a whole new set of questions.
Transportation in 2064 will be much different than it is today.
Dr. Healey said a human driving an automobile “is an unnatural act.”
“It’s not like your skin, it’s not like your senses, and it’s not like your body. I have great control over my body; I don’t have that same sense with my car,” she declared.
Dr. Healey believes there will be a strong demand for autonomous, self-driving vehicles in the future.
She said the focus of driving in 2064 will be safety.
Intelligent vehicles, which can communicate with each other, would be able to maintain safe distances from one another, and react faster than a human driver to situations calling for the quick use of brakes, acceleration, or collision avoidance maneuvers.
Currently, the folks driving erratically and passing us on the highways are the supposedly “intelligent” ones driving the cars.
One statistic shows the average American spends more than one full work week stuck in traffic every year.
This statistic I can attest to.
Each workday morning, yours truly drives north on highway 169 without any traffic congestion problems; however, the vehicles in the opposite lanes traveling south (into the city), are usually stop-and-go.
After 5 p.m., this traffic congestion pattern reverses.
If we leave the frenzied-driving routine to our artificially-intelligent car, we could be reading an eBook, texting, watching a movie on our iPad, or simply relaxing, while our taxi-like intelligent vehicle drives us to our destination.
How would you feel about placing your trust in a car’s artificial intelligence taking control of the driving, instead of yourself?
I don’t know about you, but I am usually second-guessing and watching the road when someone else is driving; especially when the driver is the equivalent of an emotional HAL 9000 sentient computer.
This autonomous self-driving car will probably be talking with us, too.
I’m not sure what this means, but I just had a childhood flashback memory of the talking 1928 Porter automobile from the 1960s TV show, “My Mother the Car.”
There have been other talking TV cars, like KITT, the intelligent, logical, computerized car David Hasselhoff drove during the 1980s TV show, “Knight Rider.”
I clearly recall back in the ‘70s, when my father’s new car was constantly trying to convince me that “a door is a jar.”
But I digress.
Dr. Healey envisions artificial intelligence being used to alleviate city traffic routing problems.
She foresees future cities filled with autonomous vehicles, or “intelligent pod cars” traveling throughout urban areas in an orderly-fashion, while networking with each other like ants.
When someone needs to travel to a specific location within the city, an empty pod car will become immediately available.
Healey explains none of these autonomous pod cars would be sitting in a parking lot taking up space; they would be constantly traveling around the city in an orderly fashion, just waiting for the signal to transport us from point A to point B.
She even posted an estimation saying by having pod cars continually on-the-road, over 2 billion parking spaces could be reclaimed.
I learned Dr. Jennifer Healey is a firm believer in artificial intelligence, and how autonomous robotic assistance will be playing a major role in the lives of the people living in 2064.
Technology 50 years from now will take over people’s routine tasks, thus freeing their minds for envisioning and building future technological innovations.