In the world of science fiction, robots given artificial intelligence often play a menacing role capable of killing human beings either on their own volition or at the behest of their programmers. Think movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Blade Runner” or even "I, Robot," for instance.
However, even with all of the recent advances leading to an increasing daily reliance on artificial intelligence, the prospect of technology running the show and outpacing humans may still be a long ways off, a Google executive said this week.
“There is a lot that machine learning doesn’t do that humans can do really, really well,” Diane Greene, Google’s senior vice president of cloud businesses operations, said Tuesday at the Code Enterprise conference in San Francisco. “Nobody expected some of the advances we are seeing as quickly as we’re seeing them but, the singularity, I don’t see it in my sentient lifetime.”
Greene’s comments came in response to a question wondering how far off “the singularity” — which refers to the prophesized moment when artificial intelligence surpasses that of humans— is. They also came just hours after Google hired a group of leading experts in artificial intelligence onto its team.
As shown by Google making those recently announced hires, artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly important component for businesses that rely on the technology to quickly extract insights from large data sets that are stored in the cloud. In addition to Google, other technology companies like Microsoft and Nvidia are competing in the market to provide the service to companies and consumers.
Businesses and investors alike have noted that improving technology is an important part of long-term planning. AI offers the ability for companies to quickly adapt to new and unexpected challenges as well as new questions that may arise.
“You don’t plan for the highest likelihood scenario. You plan for agility,” Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist, said earlier this week.