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No Need to Panic--Artificial Intelligence Has Yet to Create a Doomsday Machine


Hal9000, the "evil" artificial intelligence of the film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

A University of Sheffield professor discounts fears that artificial intelligence could surpass human intelligence and lead to the end of mankind any time soon.

Credit: Wikimedia

Last year saw several major figures in science and industry raising concerns about artificial intelligence (AI), chief among them physicist Stephen Hawking, who warned AI could surpass human intelligence, potentially leading to the end of humankind. However, University of Sheffield professor Tony Prescott says the day people create such dangerous AI is far off.

Numerous tests have been proposed for gauging the progression of computer intelligence, from computing pioneer Alan Turing's Turing Test to the more exacting Lovelace 2.0 test announced last year. The last year also saw a computer "pass" the Turing Test, but Prescott says the winning chatbot, which purported to be a 13-year-old that spoke English as a second language, was more a clever gimmick than a true evolution in computer intelligence.

Prescott believes for the foreseeable future AI's intelligence capabilities will be entirely defined by the humans creating and working with it, and "it will be a long time before these tests will demonstrate anything other than how far machine intelligence still has to go before we will have made our match."

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