The recent win of AlphaGo over Lee Sedol--one of the world's highest ranked Go players--has resurfaced concerns about artificial intelligence. We have heard about A.I. stealing jobs, killer robots, algorithms that help diagnose and cure cancer, competent self-driving cars, perfect poker players, and more. It seems that for every mention of A.I. as humanity's top existential risk, there is a mention of its power to solve humanity's biggest challenges. Demis Hassabis--founder of Google DeepMind, the company behind AlphaGo--views A.I. as "potentially a meta-solution to any problem," and Eric Horvitz--director of research at Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, lab--claims that "A.I. will be incredibly empowering to humanity." By contrast, Bill Gates has called A.I. "a huge challenge" and something to "worry about," and Stephen Hawking has warned about A.I. ending humanity.
How can you tell whether an emerging technology such as artificial intelligence is worth investing time into when there is so much hype being published daily? We're all enamored by some of the amazing results such as AlphaGo beating the champion Go player, advances in autonomous vehicles, the voice recognition being performed by Alexa and Cortana, and the image recognition being performed by Google Photos, Amazon Rekognition, and other photo-sharing applications.
Robot workers ready to take your call? No one expected a computer to beat a human at the ancient Korean board game Go for another few years at least. So when Google's "AlphaGo" artificial intelligence won against champion player Lee Sedol last month, there were ripples of shock and awe. A far more complex game than chess, this was a "holy grail" moment for machine learning, an important milestone in history. South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol, right, puts the first stone against Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, during the Google DeepMind Challenge Match in Seoul.
Google's AlphaGo beats Lee Sedol at the game of Go In 2016, major automakers like Tesla and Ford announced timelines for releasing fully-autonomous vehicles. DeepMind's AlphaGo, Google's AI system, beat the world champ Lee Sedol at one of the most complex board games in history. And other major advancements in AI have had big implications in healthcare, with some systems proving more effective in detecting cancer than human doctors. Want to learn what other cool things AI did in 2016? Here are TechRepublic's top picks.
It's only March and already we've seen a computer beat a Go grandmaster and a self-driving car crash into a bus. The world is waking up to the ways in which a combination of "deep learning" artificial intelligence and robotics will take over most jobs. But if we don't want our robot servants to rise up and kill us in our beds, maybe we should delete the video of us beating their grandparents with hockey sticks. Thanks to science fiction, we know that the first thing AI will do is take over the defence grid and nuke us all. In Harlan Ellison's 1967 story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream – one of the most brutal depictions of an AI-dominated world – an AI called AM, constructed to fight a nuclear war, kills off most of the human race, keeping five people as playthings.