Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft have announced a partnership to address the benefits and challenges associated with artificial intelligence.
All five are deeply involved in artificial intelligence research. For example, Amazon offers web developers machine learning capabilities and sells the Echo, a voice-controlled, personal robot. Google has DeepMind, the machine that processes information like the human brain. IBM has Watson.
But like all intelligence, the artificial kind falls along a spectrum. At the bottom is weak A.I. (or narrow A.I.), which is a non-sentient program focused on a narrow task. Think of Apple's Siri.
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At the other end is strong A.I. (also called full A.I. and artificial general intelligence). It doesn't exist yet, but If it did, it would have the full range of human cognitive abilities and probably then some. A number of recent movies feature A.I. beings, including Her, Ex Machina, Chappie, and of course the 1984 classic, The Terminator.
Even before society finds itself having to deal with time-traveling, autonomous, killer robots, it should be developing best practices in this relatively new area of research. We've already seen versions of A.I. doing some pretty wacky things. Take Microsoft's Twitter bot, Tay, which in less than day began unleashing racist, inflammatory tweets and had to be deleted.
And so far, the A.I. at the wheel of self-driving cars hasn't proved itself perfect yet. A self-driving Tesla crashed earlier this year and two days ago, so did one from Google.
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