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Read the passage.

Robots Are Cool, but AI is the Future

Many people don’t realize that there is a difference between robotics … and artificial intelligence (AI). While robots do use AI, the two fields are entirely separate. Robotics is concerned with the building of machines. These machines connect with the real world by using sensors, and they can be programmed to perform tasks. Additionally, robots usually operate independently or semi-independently. AI involves computer algorithms that can learn, perceive, problem-solve, understand human language, and use logic and/or reasoning.

To clarify, a robot can be a human-operated machine arm that is used to weld car parts. AI can, without using the Internet, debate a human opponent on complex topics. Robots carry out instructions. AI mimics human intelligence.

Robots are more a part of our everyday life than ever. They vacuum houses, build cars, perform operations, monitor homes, and assemble furniture. AI is a relatively new invention, but it will soon be a regular part of our lives. So, how will we use it?

We already do!

Virtual “helpers” on our mobile and home devices are one way in which AI has infiltrated daily life. They can operate electronics via voice command. We can ask them to turn lights and faucets on and off, lock and unlock doors, and order food, clothes, and other retail items. Or, we can have them operate smart devices so that they can open and run applications, translate foreign languages, and check email. In addition, we can use artificial intelligence to conduct a search or schedule appointments online, or to use devices to set an alarm or find directions.

Audiobooks: A Case Study

As these applications master the human language, AI will branch out into a variety of human endeavors, including the entertainment industry. Audiobooks (fiction and nonfiction narrated by authors and voiceover actors) are one of the largest-growing markets of the last three years. Once an afterthought of the publishing industry, audiobooks have become an increasingly profitable source of revenue for publishing companies. In 2018, about $940 million in audiobooks were sold—24.5 percent more than the previous year.
However, the process of creating audiobooks is laborious, tedious, and expensive. It can take a narrator several hours to read a single chapter of a book, depending upon its length. Multiply that by the number of chapters in a book, and it could take days to finish recording. Finally, the recorded audio must be edited, processed, mixed, and mastered. In the end, an audiobook can take over a month to produce. On top of that, publishers must pay everybody involved. It could cost thousands of dollars to create a final product.

AI, however, is revolutionizing the process. Every day, AI algorithms learn how to speak like real human beings. They learn new words, languages, dialects, and accents. They can mimic natural breaths and pauses. Currently, AI can duplicate English spoken by a woman from India or a man from London. All anybody would need to do to produce an audiobook is feed the text into a computer. Instead of a week to create a final product, the “performance” could take an hour or two. The editing step would be unnecessary, so the audio could go straight to mixing and processing. With AI, the whole project could be completed in a fraction of the time it would take with humans—at a fraction of the cost.
Increasing the Quality of Human Life
Reading all those books will naturally make AI smarter, and when it does, it could relieve humans from tedious chores. Cooking, cleaning, driving, shopping, teaching, and even farming could be managed by AI. Humanity could enter a time of unprecedented peace.
This will allow people the freedom to do whatever they want. Did you always want to be a mountain climber, become a novelist, explore the galaxy, study languages, or learn how to make pottery? AI could not only allow it to happen but could also be a significant factor in successfully achieving those goals. Mountain climbers could use AI to choose the best routes, novelists could use AI to help develop plots, and students could use AI to increase comprehension and fine-tune skills. And those galaxy jumpers? Of course, AI would accompany them on their trips to the stars.
There are many predictions as to when AI will become powerful enough to really take off and outperform humans in a variety of capacities. Some believe it will happen soon; others think it will take much longer. Right now, AI continues to impact human beings in a variety of positive ways, from technological innovation to economics to creativity. The prospects for the future are exciting!