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Purdue University changing the view of Artificial Intelligence

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Posted at 7:58 AM, Mar 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-14 16:34:02-04

WEST LAFAYETTE — The hottest topic right now is the elevation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As scientists and researchers across the nation work to develop the technology, those at Purdue University are changing the view of AI.

For decades, speculation about AI has been reserved for science fiction movies. But fiction is getting closer to becoming a reality, thanks to computer scientists at Purdue University. AI is getting smarter, giving us a better idea of what will be possible in the future.

"I mean, people have been building AI for a very long time, but it's only the last few years it has changed the landscape entirely in science and technology," Aniket Bera, Associated Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University, said.

And by the looks of it, it's here to stay.

"Are we at the beginning of this big change, or are we at the end? Right? A lot of these times, I keep on feeling ok. We have saturated a lot of these mathematical models. Maybe we are reaching a tipping point of what we can do," Bera said.

Bera said AI would continue to get more elaborate as technology advances.

"This robot will actually look like a real dog and probably, I mean, eventually something if it becomes indistinguishable from reality, then that's probably a stopping point," Bera said.

A stopping point that he's hoping to break through by helping AI comprehend human emotions. A task that has not been done yet.

"It doesn't interact with humans, and humans do with other people, so we are hoping to bring all of these aspects of humans human behaviors and human emotion into these kinds of robots," Bera said.

Purdue has already introduced robotic delivery of food to students on campus. And the robotic dog is next on its list of AI accomplishments.

"Many researchers across the world are working on AI technologies. I won't be the last," Bera said. "There are many people working on this. But they're very few people working on making sure that five years from now, the human element still remains. And that's why bringing in all these human factors into building technologies is very critical."

"Like any other system that comes along, it's going to radically change what happened but not going to change everything," said Bradley Dilger, English Professor at Purdue University.

Dilger is exploring ChatGPT.

"So there's two parts of it. There's this machine learning part which is figuring out how language works, and then there's the database which is all the stuff that they put into it," Dilger said.

ChatGPT is becoming more useful in classrooms, like assisting with research and papers.

"The amount of stuff that you did in college and that I did in college. The amount of time it took us to look up stuff was way more," said Dilger.

Although there has been some pushback about it and how it may be creating learning barriers for students.

"ChatGPT is like the tenth thing that was going to kill writing. The first thing that would kill writing was printing because we had too much writing," Dilger said. "Then the second thing that was going to kill writing was typing because we didn't have handwriting anymore, and then it was going to be spell check that was going to kill writing, and it was going to be the internet that was going to kill it none of those things killed it."

Dilger said it's not taking away the ability to teach and learn. Instead, it's evolving the standards.

"It's up to us as instructors to make sure that we keep the standards up for quality right and that we use all these changes," Dilger said.

Changes that come with putting trust into technology. An obstacle we are all adapting to while navigating through this new phenomenon.

"Trust is a two-way process. I think for the robot, trust is how to optimally solve a problem. For humans, it's how to accept these things in the next ten years," Bera said.

Bera said eventually, they want to explore using AI to assist with mental health.

He said they recently received a small grant, working with Community Health Behavioral Center to incorporate and implement AI into their workflow.