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AI also encompasses familiar voice-activated assistants like Google, Siri, and Alexa, as well as online chatbots, often impersonating helpful customer service agents. Even so, a robot vacuum cleaner that inadvertently bumps into walls and turns around is not a true AI; it's merely a wellengineered machine lacking learning capabilities. Just because it bumped into a wall minutes ago, or even last week, doesn’t mean it won’t bump into the same wall again. It has not learned. AI, at its core, involves reasoning, perception, learning, problem-solving, and even creativity. Yes, creativity! Today, AI-driven design programs can generate a variety of creative visuals in a matter of minutes, often with no human input. To test this out, I logged into an AI design program. I signed up, asked it to draw a chainsaw battling a lawn mower. That produced nothing interesting, so on my second attempt I asked to see a chainsaw fighting a dragon, and this image was the best of four options. DEMYSTIFYING THE BLACK BOX: HOW AI OPERATES While understanding the inner workings of AI might seem intimidating, let's break it down: 1. O bjective function: It all starts with a clear goal, referred to as the objective function. For example, it might involve predicting the next element in a given sequence of text. 2. D ata collection: Enormous datasets are gathered and segmented into “tokens”, which can be phrases or words. These tokens are then fed into the AI model for analysis. 3. N eural network: A complex web of interconnected nodes known as a neutral network is constructed. These nodes store and process information. 4. Training the brain: During this phase, the neural network discovers patterns and context, learning from the data. It becomes capable of distinguishing the context of a word like “bank”, whether it relates to a financial institution, a shopfront, or the bank of a river. 5. T raining the toddler: To refine the system, AI is asked to generate various outputs (e.g., emails) and then humans grade them for accuracy. These scores are then used to improve the system. 6. L aunch: Finally, the AI system is released and feedback awaited. Continuous refinement and improvement are essential to its success. THE DARK SIDE OF AI As with any emerging technology, AI brings both promise and concerns. Criminals are quick to exploit new tools, leading to the rise of increasingly sophisticated scams and impersonations, thanks to the advancement of deep fake technology. While we can currently detect many of these scams, deep fakes will only become more convincing with time, posing risks to personal and financial security. Picture this in your near future. Your daughter calls you from an unknown number. She says she has been robbed and lost her phone, so is using another’s. “Please send some emergency funds to get me out of a jam”. The voice you recognise, even the words and phrases she uses. Ask her a test question like, “What’s the name of your dog? And the AI bot scamming you will know that too. Additionally, the military has adopted AI for various applications, including drones that could eventually replace human pilots and ground-based killer robots, raising questions about the potential consequences of "emergent behaviours." Or as some may put it, “go rogue”. Imagine an AI drone with explicit instructions to fire on anyone driving a Ute with a mounted machine gun. How perfect is the “sight” system? Could it mistake a farmer’s Ute with a load of water pipes as a military vehicle? In the next instalment, we will take a hands-on approach, learning how to harness AI effectively. I'll share my experience of teaching ChatGPT my writing style in under an hour and offer guidance on how you can start using AI effectively. Your homework is to sign up for an AI chatbot and explore its capabilities - from answering questions to drafting letters. The more you interact, the better the results. Ask it to write a letter, then ask it to do better. Or to make it more friendly. While AI may not be available in pill or injectable form just yet, it's already reshaping the way we live and work. YOUR INPUT MATTERS We're eager to hear about your experiences with AI. Please email the editor and share your thoughts and stories about how AI is impacting your life. Your insights will help us explore this dynamic technology further. Your contribution could shape the future of AI and its integration into our daily lives. OPINION Chainsaw vs Dragon as generated by AI. NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 21