Emma Boyes
30/08/2011 18:39 | By Emma Boyes, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets
Science fiction into science fact

AI that’s actually intelligent

AI that’s actually intelligent (© 20th Century Fox/Everett/Rex Features)
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Back in the eighties when we started getting computers in our homes, it seemed that everyone thought that making computers in the first place had been the hard part, and that artificial intelligence would appear naturally. Of course, it didn't prove to be that easy.

Sean Holden, senior lecturer in machine learning at Cambridge University explains that truly intelligent AI hasn't happened because our brains turned out to be far more complex than we expected.

He says: "Much of the debate over the possibility or otherwise of AI has centred on whether machines are capable of intelligence. There is at present no known way of building a computer that can do anything that current machines cannot. As some have pointed out, this begs the question of whether our brains are using some as yet undiscovered physical principle to perform a more powerful form of computation. If they are, then our current attempts at AI might well be limited by our current knowledge of what it means to 'compute'."

However, Holden does still believe that one day AI will happen, but that the timescale will be much longer than we previously imagined. He concludes: "I won't be expecting the machines to take over within my lifetime, and while I have no doubt that we'll eventually build something like HAL, I'm not too worried about the prospect. He might turn out to be a nice guy..."

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