Throughout history, ground-breaking technologies have emerged which completely change people’s lives. These changes can be incredibly dramatic, and often unimaginable to those who came before them. For those who lived before the change, the technology, and the people who use it, can be difficult to understand. This kind of dramatic change is known as a ‘Singularity’. This was originally a term used in maths, and now applied to the world of tech and artificial intelligence (AI) development.[i]
What is AI Singularity?
Researchers believe it’s likely that AI will continue to evolve until it is capable of thinking at a human level. Some even believe that its power could continue to grow exponentially past this point.[ii] Systems which are designed to write code, like ChatGPT for example, may learn to constantly improve themselves. This could continue until they reach Singularity – the point at which they overcome human control.ii This conclusion is not a given, with the possibility that AI systems may not actually be able to improve themselves.ii However, it is interesting to consider the current state and implementation of AI, and imagine its potential in the future.
Harnessing the power of AI in practice
Modern dentists have many challenges to overcome in their day-to-day work. Complex patient needs, high treatment expectations, and ageing populations play key roles. The current AI implementations in dentistry are exciting, and offer the clinician a whole host of benefits. However, there is likely far more to come from harnessing innovative technology. Modern technological innovations are already used in the practice, like intraoral scanners and digital treatment planning software. These have made strides in the digital dental space in recent years. However, they are lacking in some areas (especially when compared to extraoral scans).[iii] They leave much to be desired when it comes to more complex cases which require higher levels of accuracy.
Looking to the future, clinicians might expect AI to be integrated into these types of systems. AI driven technology is predicted to revolutionise digital scanning, producing highly accurate 3D scans and far out-performing anything currently used in practice today. This technology would allow clinicians to provide their patients with more predictable care, with improved efficiency for both the dental practice, and lab.
Looking to the future
It is impossible to predict what life might look like after reaching the point of Singularity. It is likely to play a key role in the future of problem-solving, helping to relieve some of the pressures of daily life faced by a busy working society.[iv]
For now, the future of AI is still relatively abstract, however, as continuous innovations are made in this area, this is an exciting time for those looking to implement the technology in their practices in the years ahead.
Stephen Claffey Managing Director of Dental Pathway™ and the Independent Dental Advisory Board™
[i] Futurism. Singularity: Explain It to Me Like I’m 5-Years-Old. Accessed Jan 24. https://futurism.com/singularity-explain-it-to-me-like-im-5-years-old
[ii] New Yorker. Can We Stop Runaway A.I.? Accessed Jan 24. https://www.newyorker.com/science/annals-of-artificial-intelligence/can-we-stop-the-singularity
[iii] Kernen, Florian, et al. “Accuracy of intraoral scans: An in vivo study of different scanning devices.” The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 128.6 (2022): 1303-1309.