Don’t Fear the Robots

Sunday Review News Analysis By STEVE LOHR October 24, 2015 MENTION artificial intelligence and the image that most quickly springs to mind is an anthropomorphic automaton, a robot. It’s a recurring metaphor that peaks at times of torrid technological change and angst about where technology is taking us. The robot trope is riding high these days, in such books as “The Rise of the Robots,” and in movies like “Ex Machina” and “Terminator Genisys.” A recent cover of Foreign Affairs carried the headline, “Hi, Robot.” A vision of robots threatening jobs and perhaps humanity itself is fueling dire warnings of future trouble — “summoning the demon,” in the evocative phrase of the technologist-entrepreneur Elon Musk. Yet the current obsession puts the mechanized cart before the algorithmic horse, steering attention away from the…

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