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Artificial Intelligence Drawing Huge Attention

Commentators are suddenly buzzing about artificial intelligence, aka “AI”, which is emerging all around us at a meteoric pace.  Some push deeper into the related but spooky domain of “strong artificial intelligence,” a term that means when machine intelligence will rival that of human beings. Will there come a point in time when the risk of runaway machine sentience might actually emerge, perhaps embodied in a sci-fi personage like the “Terminator”?

This discussion evokes the concept of the Singularity, popularized by American inventor and respected intellectual, Ray Kurzweil. It also vigorously calls to mind his critics, who notably include another American intellect of stratospheric achievement, MIT’s Noam Chomsky.

The NYTimes reports that researchers from Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have recently been meeting to discuss issues like how AI will impact and possibly replace many jobs, as well as change how we travel to our jobs or to the mall, and even how we equip our militaries.

A new report that will be updated on an ongoing basis, from the Stanford group, “One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), funded by Eric Horowitz, notes that its overarching purpose is “to provide a collected and connected set of reflections about AI and its influences as the field advances.”  Today’s tech giants are discussing the possibilities.  It appears that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the storm of debate will grow. Photograph by Alamy, www.theguardian.com.