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What To Do When Machines Do Everything by Ben Pring, Paul Roehrig, Malcolm Frank

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1When Machines Do Everything

Artificial intelligence has left the laboratory (and the movie lot) and is in your building. It's in your home. It's in your office. It's pervading all the institutions that drive our global economy. From Alexa to Nest to Siri to Uber to Waze, we are surrounded by smart machines running on incredibly powerful and self-learning software platforms. And this is just the beginning.

To date, we've been enjoying—without even really noticing—various forms of “weak” artificial intelligence (AI). It's how Amazon recommends just the right gift. How Netflix suggests the perfect film for your Sunday evening. Or how Facebook fills your newsfeed. These forms of AI have been welcome little helpers, making our days just a bit easier and more fun. Once we start using them we stop thinking about them. In just a few short years, these machines have become almost invisible to us in our personal lives.

Now AI is transitioning from being our little daily helper to something much more powerful—and disruptive—as the new machines are rapidly outperforming the most talented of us in many endeavors. For example:

  • Games of intellect: AI platforms can now out-compete us at some of our most challenging games—Jeopardy!, Chess, and Go. Google's AlphaGo beat world champion Go player Lee Sedol by a score of 4–1 in March 2016.1 This was a convincing win, but not a rout. Yet with the current rate of technological advancement, in just a few years it will be inconceivable for a human ...

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