To reach full autonomy in any fully automated device it must finish its task in such a way that human control is unnecessary. We know when the automation is excellent when there are no manual controls and we call it repair and bring in a specialist if something goes wrong.
Four examples of full automation in existence are.
- Home and mobile computer connectivity
- Mail sorters
- Hundred million dollar military drones
These four are specifically intelligent in varying degrees.
- Process control under household conditions
- Adapting to new hardware and networking
- Reading addresses written with poor penmanship and odd fonts
- Adaptively avoiding detection to reach a reconnaissance vantage point
These four are good enough for their markets.
Examples of not being good enough, as indicated by their lack of any substantial market penetration, are these four.
- Autonomous vacuum cleaners
- Autonomous cars (without a driver's seat)
- Unpiloted private or passenger aircraft
- Narrowly targeted medical nanites
The question, "How good is good enough?" is this one:
What is the challenge for researchers and engineers to provide ENOUGH intelligence into these kinds of autonomous vehicles to make them better than current methods in the minds of policy makers and consumers?
Stepping back to look with a scientific eye at what is acceptable, consider how unsatisfactory the existing equivalents of the above four are.
- Manual vacuuming misses anywhere from 10% to 90% of the dust depending on the surface, blows microbes into the user's lungs, and produces additional health risk when disposal is required.
- Human beings drive cars regularly, but they are driving what is technically a piece of heavy equipment in pedestrian situations when tired, drunk, high, while text messaging, or while simply loosing focus.
- The human resources required to deploy, guide, and land vehicles that have no other obstacles than topographical features and other aircraft is significant and leave open not only human failure but hijacking.
- Chemotherapy, antibiotics, and other pharmacological interventions often only delay the progress of disease and sometimes produce other negative outcomes of varying scope from symptoms worse than what is being treated to death.
Many things that are manual are like that. They need to be automated. Artificial intelligence, especially miniaturized and low cost artificial intelligence, is critical to achieving anything like excellence.
What makes something intelligent enough. What specific research and engineering efforts can bring the items that aren't good enough into the realm of consumer demand and supported by policy?