machines are not omniscient. yet. #luddites

April 10, 2016

this was published at on apr 7


Events in the recent past have given us opposing perspectives on how well Artificial Intelligence (AI) is doing. The sum total of the fallout from these is that the status quo ante prevails: machines are getting pretty good at specialized tasks, but they are still rather bad at being generalists. This may mean that it will be a few more years yet before we are all out-competed for jobs by untiring, unforgetting, unflappable computers that are also ruthlessly logical and omniscient.

The most spectacular event, of course, was Google DeepMind’s dethroning of the reigning world champion in the game of Go, by a devastating margin on 4-1 in a five-game match, after taking the first three in a row. Go is supposed to be much harder than chess, and experts had not expected a machine to achieve this feat for another ten years. The ease with which ‘deep-learning’ algorithms came up with winning techniques was quite amazing.


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