Anticipating artificial intelligence

In January, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington DC gave its annual Luddite Award to “a loose coalition of scientists and luminaries who stirred fear and hysteria in 2015 by raising alarms that artificial intelligence (AI) could spell doom for humanity”. The winners — if that is the correct word — included pioneering inventor Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking. In January last year, both signed an open letter that argued for research and regulatory and ethical frameworks to ensure that AI benefits humanity and to guarantee that “our AI systems must do what we want them to do”. Hardly “fear and hysteria”. As AI converges with progress in robotics, cloud computing and precision manufacturing, tipping points will arise at which significant technological changes are likely to occur…

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