Our View: County software purchase is a small step into new era

Recommended Do the words “Artificial Intelligence” scare you? Does “AI” conjure images of computers gone amok, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger’s assassin in The Terminator or Yul Brenner’s gunslinger in West World? If the thought of thinking machines sends chills, small wonder. Pop culture is thick with bad bots, mechanical marvels causing catastrophe both calamitous (Transformers, Skynet ) and humorous (Fembots, Johnny 5). Yet the age of AI is clearly upon us, and if you don’t believe it you aren’t paying attention. Computers have beaten human champions in Jeopardy, chess and the amazingly complex Chinese strategy game of go. But you don’t have to be a grand master losing to Watson, Deep Blue or AlphaGo to see AI. It is operating in computer programs you use, web sites you shop and smart phone apps you fiddle with daily. It tells you what restaurants are nearby without having to type in your location. It is driving cars and keeping drones aloft. It underpins your new digital best friend, be it Siri, Cortana, OK Google or the rapidly expanding Alexa. AI is not likely to take over the world anytime soon, but it is already taking over jobs. No, there is no human-esque…


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