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Cover Quote: May 2017

The art and the science of computing have come a long way since HAL was onscreen, and I’d imagine if his inventor Dr. Chandra were here today, he’d have a whole lot of questions for us. Is it really possible for us to take a system of millions upon millions of devices, to read in their data streams, to predict their failures and act in advance? Yes. Can we build systems that converse with humans in natural language? Yes. Can we build systems that recognize objects, identify emotions, emote themselves, play games and even read lips? Yes. Can we build a system that sets goals, that carries out plans against those goals and learns along the way? Yes. Can we build systems that have a theory of mind? This we are learning to do. Can we build systems that have an ethical and moral foundation? This we must learn how to do. ... The next question you must ask yourself is, should we fear it? Now, every new technology brings with it some measure of trepidation. When we first saw cars, people lamented that we would see the destruction of the family. When we first saw telephones come in, people were worried it would destroy all civil conversation. At a point in time we saw the written word become pervasive, people thought we would lose our ability to memorize. These things are all true to a degree, but it’s also the case that these technologies brought to us things that extended the human experience in some profound ways.

- Grady Booch
Don’t Fear Superintelligent AI, 2016
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