Thinking Machines: What Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Mean for Our Future

To many, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) conjures images of a dystopian world. Abundant with power-hungry robots and an overthrown humanity.

From ‘The Terminator’ (1984), to ‘Ex Machina’ (2015), intelligent, destructive automata have permeated what AI symbolises. Many believe that machines are “getting too smart” (Martin Ford). Some even believe that they pose “a grave threat to humanity”(Stephen F. DeAngelis).

robot with human body and detachable face

Indeed, when we view the 2016 edition of Gordon Moore’s Law, the…

“Number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled
 approximately every two years”.

This, so far, has proven to be true. At the speed technology is advancing, 2035 overrun with lethal machines is not implausible.

Not all Doom and Gloom

Wall-E the lovable robot

Despite these dystopian representations, an opposing concept of AI is promoted and adored. In the 2008 film ‘WALL-E’, an AI recovers and revives a desolated earth. Similarly, Star Wars’s droids R2-D2 and C-3PO become lovable companions. And, in ‘Robot & Frank’ (2012) an AI is used to assist an elderly dementia patient.

Supportive, intelligent, convenient and valuable. These creations emphasise how AI can assist humanity and aid our development.

However, with such contrasting depictions in the media, many question the motives of AI’s. We question if their advancement is simply a means for control. Or, conversely, are we facilitating in societies development for the better?

To answer this, we must first understand the difference between AI and Machine Learning (ML).

data board


AI requires a computer system to complete tasks like a human would. Either by using visual perception, speech recognition, or decision making. ML, on the other hand, has the ability to assist AI by allowing the system to instinctively learn. What’s more, not only does it learn, but it corrects itself. 

ML learns through practice. It does this without being instructed or programmed. In short, ML focuses on the development of computer programmes. These programmes access data and uses data analysis techniques to evolve.

Far from red-eyed robots, ML is used “dozens of times a day” (Lee Bell). For instance, when you enter a typo into Google the system has learned that misspellings are not intended. From this, it generates an alternative option. The same concept applies when searching for features. Take the ‘Top ten Towns’, for instance. The system has learnt from positive/ negative feedback, which order to list these places. It can then categorise items without being programmed to do so.


Mahesh Pancholi, argues that “there isn’t an area that can’t benefit from AI”. You use AI’s at your bank, in your car and on your smartphone. They can aid in decision-making which can either be accepted or rejected. In addition, the AI/ML will learn from your opinions and improve.

robot and human working together

AI’s can make life more stimulating by perfecting monotonous tasks. In addition, assignments are completed at a faster rate. This, consequently, creates time for other things. Which, in turn, makes your day more productive.

Sites such as ‘Modernising Medicine’ uses AI technology to assist doctors with diagnosing unusual symptoms.

Police have been able to fight crime using lip-reading AI. 

University College London researchers have shown how AI could benefit children via one-to-one tutoring.

The Future

If AI and ML are managed correctly, the potential for immense, progressive change is vast.

At Pansensic, we embrace these technologies to enhance our world. We work with global organisations in a wide range of sectors. These organisations understand that the experiences of their customers/ staff/ stakeholders provide game-changing insights.

Contact the team today to see what data analysis can do for you.


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