Are the machines taking over? 

Computer programs with artificial intelligence have now beaten human players in chess, Go and poker. Does this mark the end of the human race?

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Four of the best poker players in the world were beaten to an individual playing their Heads-up, No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament this January. The fact they were beaten by a relative novice was only part of the story. Their opponent was an intelligent computer program, representing the latest in artificial intelligence programming.

Libratus is a machine that has been specially designed to cope with the demands of poker. Its developers, a professor and a Ph.D. student in computer science of Carnegie Mellon University,  think Poker represents the real world better because the players need to strategically reason with imperfect information like people usually do in the real world.

AI relates to various areas such as machine translation, online assistant, data mining, etc

Generative artificial intelligence aims to function in various situation solving multi-task jobs. They are believed to be a big contributor to the automation as they can work more efficiently than many of their robot ancestors do.

There is a lot of cutting-edge research going on within the Cardiff University, which receives funding from various sponsors, including European commission and the Welsh government.

Many funding agencies for research are all supporting AI research across the country.

Dr Steven Schockaert, a senior lecturer and a researcher in Cardiff University focusing on artificial intelligence, said “If you read some news articles, robots are about to taking the world. Actually the state of AI is nowhere near to be good enough to have that kind of threat.”

Some of the hypes about full automation by AI seem to be too optimistic to Dr Schockaert. He thinks it’s difficult to predict how long it will take for AI to out compete human in a certain area. However he added “I think for a very long time, machine won’t be able to do what a human can do. People don’t need to worry about it for now.”

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” says Prof Stephen Hawking

Here in Cardiff, AI industry is also going through fast development like in many other parts of the world. AMPLYFI, a start-up company specialising in artificial intelligence, moved to Cardiff at the end of 2015.

AMPLYFI is supported by the Welsh Government under the digital development fund, and granted the company with a loan of £400,000 for SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) with a zero percent interest showing the government’s interest to develop this high-potential business in Wales.