IMF DEFENDS FED AFTER TRUMP ‘CRAZY’ REMARK
THE HEAD of the International Monetary Fund yesterday defended Federal Reserve chairperson Jerome Powell one day after US President Donald Trump criticised the American central bank, which has been raising US interest rates, as “crazy”. “I wouldn’t associate Jay Powell with craziness,” managing director Christine Lagarde told CNBC in an interview. “He comes across – and members of his board – as extremely serious, solid and certainly keen to base their decisions on actual information.” Trump made the comment in response to Wall Street’s sell-off after the S&P 500 and the Dow marked their worst losses in eight months. The slump triggered a surge of global selling that sent European stocks to a more than an 18-month low yesterday and knocked down Asian shares. Worries about higher borrowing costs have sparked the US stock sales in recent days, while a spike in US Treasury yields and solid US economic data have raised concerns that the Fed may pick up the pace of its interest rate hikes. “Actually, it’s a correction we’ve been waiting for a long time, but I really disagree with what the Fed is doing,” Trump said. “I think the Fed is making a mistake. They’re so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.” Trump tapped Powell to lead the bank but has publicly criticised the Fed under his tenure. | Reuters THE COMBINATION of Artificial Intelligence (AI), in particular machine learning, deep learning and cognitive computing, and robotics to deliver artificially intelligent robots are transfiguring the way we live and work.
However, not all robots are artificially intelligent. Until recently, most industrial robots were rather limited in their functionality and could only be programmed to carry out a recurring sequence of movements. But repetitive movements don’t require AI. If the robot is expected to undertake more complex tasks, AI algorithms and machine learning logic are necessary.
AI is not merely about machines thinking for themselves, but entails a complex set of inputs and outputs that allows the machine to make smart decisions and respond to its environment in real time based on a deep knowledge base, as well as the ability to constantly add to this knowledge through learning.
Perhaps the best-known artificially intelligent robot is Sophia, a humanoid robot modelled after actress Audrey Hepburn.
Sophia is known for her amazing human-like appearance and behaviour and can display a range of human gestures and more than 50 facial expressions. She possesses three distinctively human features, namely, creativity, empathy and compassion.
Among other technologies, Sofia uses AI, visual data processing, voice recognition and facial recognition and is designed to get smarter over time. This enables Sophia to follow faces, recognise individuals, sustain eye contact, answer certain questions, have simple conversations and walk around purposefully.
Sophia has been interviewed on numerous shows in the same manner as humans. Some answers did not make sense, while others have impressed interviewers.
She has appeared on stage as a panel member and presenter in highlevel conferences, discussing how intelligent robots will play an increasing role in people’s lives.
The manufacturers believe that Sophia will eventually be able to serve in health and elderly care, customer service, therapy and education.
But a serious question arises: Does Sophia have human-equivalent intelligence or is she just a chatbot with a face? Although remarkable progress has been made, Sophia still has a long way to go in terms of artificial general intelligence and a sentient being.
What is certain is that we will see many more artificially intelligent robots in our homes.
The first home robots appeared in the 1990s and have assisted with many domestic tasks such as cleaning, entertainment and domestic security. However, the use of more advanced AI technologies in home robots is relatively new.
The newest cleaning robots driven by AI have advanced decision-making capabilities to recognise obstacles and compute the most efficient route; speech recognition to take user commands and report their current status; and interactive drawing capabilities to draw maps of their environment.
In entertainment, artificial intelligent robots, using deep AI and computer vision, are increasingly displaying inimitable personalities and human emotions. They can identify and remember people and have “evolving” personalities to adapt to their owners.
Furthermore, they can interpret users’ facial expressions, vocal intonations and linguistic patterns; proactively start conversations rather than responding to users’ commands; and simulate emotions like empathy. These robots also have the ability to retrieve information and communicate with other connected devices and, for instance, would automatically adjust the music according to the mood of a person.
Artificially intelligent robots are also becoming more common in home security and surveillance. They can recognise faces and detect suspicious sounds, so that it can warn the homeowner of intruders. Some can even predict and disrupt crimes before they occur.
In the coming years, the need for medical rehabilitation will increase as the rate of survival after diseases with severe functional limitations, such as a stroke, will increase. Socially Assistive Robots are already being used in rehabilitation. A milestone was reached when the first artificially intelligent robot in space, named Cimon, arrived at the International Space Station on July 2, 2018. It uses IBM’s famous Watson system and can communicate with people, knowing whom it’s talking to due to facial-recognition software.
Cimon’s purpose is to assist astronaut Alexander Gerst in several investigations by accessing a large amount of relevant information, including photos and videos.
Cimon is smart enough to deal with questions beyond the investigations that Gerst might have.
Cimon is an experiment of human-machine interaction and collaboration in space with the aim of eventually helping astronauts repair damaged spacecraft systems or treating sick crew members.
Artificially intelligent robots create wonderful opportunities, but may also be fear-inducing. For many people, the idea of intelligent robots creates visions of robots that take over the world.
However, the chance that robots want to rise up and dominate Earth are as slim as that they want to drink alcohol or take drugs. That is uniquely human.
But we will still have to ensure that AI and robotics are developed conscientiously and constrained by moral standards and ethics.