Tech Trek: What’s Up With Artificial Intelligence?

Illustrations by Maggie Thrash. It sometimes feels like we’re sitting around waiting for Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to “happen.” I think, unconsciously, most of us are expecting a big, earth-shattering moment when a fully articulated robot is revealed—one that looks and sounds human. TA-DA! A.I. has arrived! Except, surprise! A.I. is already here. If you watch a movie or show with an artificial intelligence in it, that A.I. typically is a humanoid robot. They are shaped like us, and speak like us. There are some exceptions, like in Her, (an excellent, I think) movie about a guy who falls in love with his computer’s human-sounding operating system. For the most part, though, the general public associates A.I. with robots resembling actual people. This goes back as far as the silent film…

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