In my previous articles I have talked about some very interesting technologies. I wanted to research more about AI and AI applications in the Robotics fields. I ended up researching mainly SLAM and Facial Recognition and I would like to take the time to acknowledge some of the amazing possibilities they open but also some of the repercussions they create.
SLAM, as previously mentioned, is an extremely strong tool for mapping and traversing environments. More specifically, it can be used to traverse dangerous caves or collapsed mineshafts to assess damages. Some companies are using drones equipped with SLAM to catalogue their warehouses. Looking towards the future, this strong technology also provides many good solutions to problems that face colonizing a planet or exploring more of the ocean. Using SLAM is a really strong technology that does double time, mapping a new environment and allowing the robot to navigate confidently. Although it could also be used for negative, invasive surveillance and patrol. I believe the technology does more good then bad but it is still something we should be careful with.
Facial Recognition is also a technology with many positives and negatives. One of the main positive features is convenience. For example, it allows us to get into our devices easier and in a seemingly very safe way; everyone has a unique face. Currently, it does have some issues such as everyone currently wearing a mask makes it harder to tell people apart. Many facial ID systems were trained on a mostly white database giving them a large racial bias in their accuracies, and in general the inconsistencies. Looking past some of the issues the technology does provide a lot of options. In the last article, I talked about how facial ID can also be adapted for animals, specifically to identify different bears. This offers a new thread to pull as we now know that this technology can be used for animals and more humane tracking that can yield a large amount of research.
The negative applications of Facial Recognition can be very scary though. I previously mentioned surveillance and this is also a fear with facial recognition. It gives the ability to track someone using security cameras or street cameras. This could also help us find and track criminals or missing persons but it could easily be misused as a way to track anyone. It is also worrying that there are so many systems that have been learning to recognize us from our devices because of how public our information is in this current time. Really, any AI system can be used for good or bad and we should work to have a way of managing and, if need be, restricting access to these systems but also giving creators the freedom to create better systems.
Writing these articles about Artificial Intelligence has been really interesting as it is a field that is newer to me. I have loved looking at how it applies to robotics and hope that you found this short series as interesting as I have. Thank you.
Alex Elliott is a Student Ambassador in the Inspirit AI Student Ambassadors Program. Inspirit AI is a pre-collegiate enrichment program that exposes curious high school students globally to AI through live online classes. Learn more at https://www.inspiritai.com/.