The Artificial Intelligence? Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet

Michael Jordan, Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the Department of Statistics at UC Berkeley writes:

This confluence of ideas and technology trends has been rebranded as “AI” over the past few years. This rebranding is worthy of some scrutiny.

Is working on classical human-imitative AI the best or only way to focus on these larger challenges? Some of the most heralded recent success stories of ML have in fact been in areas associated with human-imitative AI—areas such as computer vision, speech recognition, game-playing and robotics.

So perhaps we should simply await further progress in domains such as these. There are two points to make here. First, although one would not know it from reading the newspapers, success in human-imitative AI has in fact been limited—we are very far from realizing human-imitative AI aspirations. Unfortunately the thrill (and fear) of making even limited progress on human-imitative AI gives rise to levels of over-exuberance and media attention that is not present in other areas of engineering.

Second, and more importantly, success in these domains is neither sufficient nor necessary to solve important IA and II problems. On the sufficiency side, consider self-driving cars. For such technology to be realized, a range of engineering problems will need to be solved that may have little relationship to human competencies (or human lack-of-competencies).

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