The Grand Frontier of Artificial Intelligence

There are hundreds of intelligent things that computers are doing that are part of our everyday lives that used to require human intelligence.

In 1950, Alan Turing invented a test for determining a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior. At the time, some predicted that so-called "Strong A.I.," that is, artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence, could be achieved in a few decades. Over sixty years later, every machine that has been tasked with simulating human intelligence has failed the so-called Turing Test.


And yet, scientists have become both impressed and alarmed by the tremendous leaps forward in A.I. capabilities in recent years. A.I. has been put into common use by financial institutions, and found promising applications in medical equipment, search technology, games and transportation systems. On the other hand, equal advances have been made in seemingly Frankensteinian creations such as computer viruses and predatory drones, which could prove  dangerous if they have achieved what The New York Times called the “cockroach stage of machine intelligence."

The following Top Five list highlights current and promising future applications for A.I.

5. Autonomous Vehicles

Don't try this at home (you can only do it in Nevada): Take a ride in Google's Robocar, which is operated by a machine, not a human. A law passed in June, 2001 made Nevada the first jurisdiction in the world where autonomus vehicles can be legally operated on public roads. Take a test drive here:

4. "Brute Force Computation"

AI programs are able to examine large numbers of possibilities, such as a move in a chess game or inferences by a theorem-proving program. Discoveries are continually made about how to do this more efficiently in various domains. Right now you can buy a machine to play "master level chess." A $200 purchase gets you 200 million positions analyzed per second.

The short documentary below is about computer chess history that focuses in particular on the 1997 chess match between Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue computer. Watch here:

3. Search Technology

Stephen Wolfram has developed a radical new search engine, which, unlike search engines like Google or Bing, actually computes new knowledge rather than searching through previously published material. Watch Stephen Wolfram on Wolfram Alpha:

2. Nanorobots in our bloodstream.

According to Futurist Ray Kurzweil, the biotechnology revolution will allow us, in the next 15 to 20 years, to reprogram our genes to resist both aging and disease. By mid-century, we may all be kept healthy and young by billions of nanorobots inside of our bodies. Watch Kurzweil here:

1. Cyborgization

If technological progress continues at its current pace, humanity's endgame may be summarized this way: will the machines dominate, or will humans become cyborgs? Cyborgs are basically upgraded humans, complete with cybernetic implants and enhancements. There has already been a human cyborg, Kevin Warwick. Watch here:

Related Articles
Playlists
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less