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Monday, January 02, 2017

Editorial: Artificial intelligence isn't the scary future. It's the amazing present. | Chicago Tribune

"The year 2017 arrives and we humans are still in charge. Whew! The machines haven't taken over yet, but they are gaining on us." writes

South Korean Go game fans watch a television screen broadcasting live footage of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match, at the Korea Baduk Association in Seoul on March 9, 2016.
Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/Getty Images

Google's DeepMind AlphaGo computer program recently beat the world champ at Go, a complex board game, while Japanese researchers plan to build the world's fastest supercomputer for use on artificial intelligence projects. It will do 130 quadrillion calculations per second, which is, um, really, really fast. Ask Siri for details. She can explain it better than we can.

The essence of artificial intelligence is massive, intuitive computing power: machines so smart that they can learn and become even smarter. If that sounds creepy, you are overthinking the concept. The machines are becoming quicker and more nimble, not sentient. There is no impending threat to humanity from computers that become bored and plot our doom. HAL, the computer villain from "2001: A Space Odyssey," is fictional.

Yet ... advances in the field of artificial intelligence occur at such a breakout pace they are redefining the relationship between man and machine. Computer scientist David Gelernter says the coming of computers with true humanlike reasoning remains decades in the future, but when the moment of "artificial general intelligence" arrives, the pause will be brief. Once artificial minds achieve the equivalence of the average human IQ of 100, the next step will be machines with an IQ of 500, and then 5,000. "We don't have the vaguest idea what an IQ of 5,000 would mean," Gelernter wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

OK, that's a little bit creepy.
A basic test of AI tolerance is your opinion of the self-driving car, which belonged to the sci-fi future a decade ago. Today you can hail one in Pittsburgh. Driverless vehicles rely in part on a form of artificial intelligence known as deep learning — algorithms that can make complex decisions in real-time based on accrued experience. Ford wants to have an autonomous truck on the roads by 2020. The great promise is that robot drivers will never make dumb mistakes at the wheel or fail a Breathalyzer test. But they could render obsolete entire professions: long-distance trucker, for example, or cabbie.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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