In my last post on artificial intelligence, I deferred to Robin Hanson on his claim that strong AI achieved through brain emulation is far easier than weak AI based on manual programming in order to focus on my core claim that weak AI is preferable for behavioral reasons. Robin worked in the 80s as an AI researcher at Lockheed and in the early 90s as a researcher for NASA, so he clearly has more expertise than I do on the question of what is feasible in the field.
Though I doubt Robin’s claim less than I would if he weren’t making it, I doubt it nonetheless. In part this is because of pessimism that we will ever be able to fully emulate the biology of the brain. As Timothy Lee argues, biological processes are bottom-up; computers are designed top-down.
But more importantly, after today I’m actually pretty impressed with the state of weak AI. Via Adam Gurri, I found Engadget’s post on an IBM supercomputer that seems to perform quite well against human competitors at Jeopardy. Watch the videos embedded in the article; they are surprising and delightful.
After watching that, how can anyone think that weak AI is futile?