Web Log: Where artificial intelligence currently stands

Ever since automation entered our lives in the form of robotic arms on car production lines and canning factories, humankind has feared the rise of the robots. From 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL to Ex Machina’s Ava, we have been playing out Doomsday scenarios where we meet our end at the (impressively lifelike) hands of artificial intelligence. Although this is Hollywood fiction there has been a resurgence in serious debate on whether AI could threaten the survival of humanity. Computer scientists Eric Horvitz and Thomas Dietterich write what I consider to be a good primer on AI as it currently stands. They address risks in realistic terms: programming errors in AI software, cyberattacks, and automation without the ability to override, like a self-driving car ploughing through undetected roadworks. There’s also…

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