Ron Wilson, Altera
In late January the computing world passed—mostly without notice—two remarkable milestones. One marked the end of a beginning: Marvin Minsky, a pioneer and guiding light of artificial intelligence (AI) died. The other standing stone marked a beginning, perhaps of a new era. Only days after Minsky’s death, an article in the magazine Nature reported that a computer had defeated European Go champion Fan Hui in five of five formal games. AI, left for dead by the roadside in the 1970s, has returned, triggering renewed research, publicity-grabbing demonstrations, waves of fear among the robotophobic, and a major rethinking of some categories of systems designs.
Today we are in yet another wave. New results on fronts as diverse as playing human games, identifying photos of objects, showing awareness of situations, and control of autonomous vehicles are all showing promise. Will this time be different?
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