The Terminator and the Washing Machine
- Erik German
The first time the word “robot” ever appeared in literature in the 1920s, the fictional machines rose up and killed their creators. We’ve been telling the same story ever since. From Hal 9000 to the Terminator, it often seems the measure of a fictional machine’s intelligence is best taken by its wish to do us harm.
It’s a scary vision for some observers, and not just technophobes: Scientists like Stephen Hawking; legacy technologists like Bill Gates; not to mention cutting-edge techies like Elon Musk, have all announced their worries about runaway A.I. killing off the human race.
Remarks like that tend to echo in the press. But how worried should we really be? Talking to the scientists working to solve some of A.I.’s toughest problems offers some answers. And so does taking a closer look at the legendary—and widely misunderstood – match between a supercomputer and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997.
More Like This
Future of Work
A remote Oregon mountainside offers a window into the workplace of the future.
When Dreams Fly
More than 40 years ago, Pierre Sprey set out to build the ultimate fighter jet.
Finding the Code: The Race to Sequence the Human Genome and What It Means
One of biology’s most spectacular achievements -- the race to sequence the human genome -- was billed as a way to end disease. Here's where it led.
From Y2K to 2038, Lessons Learned from First Computer Crisis
The Y2K bug threatened to wipe out computers and disrupt modern society at the end of the 20th century. We all remember the doomsday hype, but what really happened?