Artificial Intelligence

John McCarthy, a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI), predicted in the 1960s that an intelligent computer would be created in four to 400 years. That remains a reasonable estimate. We are only beginning to understand our own brains, so we do not know what it takes to create intelligence and self-awareness.

It is possible that these things require the complexity and the peculiarities of biological brains, and that no amount of techno-tinkering will bring them about. Or we may suddenly find one day that we have created a mind. (We may not find out: an intelligent computer might decide that the sensible course was deception.)

More capable AI might be derived using biological tissue attached to artificial systems: chips and components of mammalian brains. If this were the route to sentience, the ethical issues would be enormous.

In any case, simulation of intelligence, which is what Deep Blue and all other computers currently do, will grow ever more subtle. An unintelligent system can be taught to recognize human emotions, for instance, using the same processing and algorithms used for more familiar tasks.

So even if computers do not achieve real intelligence, there will be a steadily growing list of things they can do better than most people.

See these movies for more on the topic.

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The futures depicted in the movies