Wired - 4.25.13 by Steven Levy
I’ve had a consistent date of 2029 for that vision. And that doesn’t just mean logical intelligence. It means emotional intelligence, being funny, getting the joke, being sexy, being loving, understanding human emotion. That’s actually the most complex thing we do. That is what separates computers and humans today. I believe that gap will close by 2029.
Google has always been an artificial intelligence company, so it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that Ray Kurzweil, one of the leading scientists in the field, joined the search giant late last year. Nonetheless, the hiring raised some eyebrows, since Kurzweil is perhaps the most prominent proselytizer of “hard AI,” which argues that it is possible to create consciousness in an artificial being. Add to this Google’s revelation that it is using techniques of deep learning to produce an artificial brain, and a subsequent hiring of the godfather of computer neural nets Geoffrey Hinton, and it would seem that Google is becoming the most daring developer of AI, a fact that some may consider thrilling and others deeply unsettling. Or both.
On Tuesday, Kurzweil moderated a live Google hangout tied to a release of the upcoming Will Smith film, After Earth, presumably tying the film’s futuristic concept to actual futurists. The discussion touched on the necessity of space travel and the imminent resolution of the world’s energy problems with solar power. After the hangout, Kurzweil got on the phone with me to explore a few issues in more detail.
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