25 July 2009

Outsmarting Man? ~ Intelligent Machines Emerge

John Markoff writes in the NYTimes that Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man...
"While the computer scientists agreed that we are a long way from Hal, the computer that took over the spaceship in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” they said there was legitimate concern that technological progress would transform the work force by destroying a widening range of jobs, as well as force humans to learn to live with machines that increasingly copy human behaviors. The researchers -- leading computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers and roboticists who met at the Asilomar Conference Grounds on Monterey Bay in California -- generally discounted the possibility of highly centralized superintelligences and the idea that intelligence might spring spontaneously from the Internet. But they agreed that robots that can kill autonomously are either already here or will be soon."
While the worrisome end of the spectrum certainly appeals to the neo-luddites and fearmongers, I prefer to emphasize the positives: savvy machines will be that much more capable of serving us and helping us prosper, stay healthy, and live vibrant, vital lives.

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