Gigaom brings you our unique analysis and commentary on the present and future of AI.
Arthur C. Clarke famously said that any technology that is sufficiently advanced is "indistinguishable from magic." And the fact that we're surrounded by technology and really don't understand how they work, means it kind of feels like we're surrounded by magic all the time. I mean think about it, you can pick up a phone and call someone on the other side of the world and talk to them as if they're there in the room with you. We don't really know how that works at a low, low level; we don't really understand it. Or how a radio can take the invisible waves that come through the air and change those into high fidelity sound.
Computers are, of course, no exception and artificial intelligence even more so. Artificial intelligence is a technology that sits on top of another technology, computers, that we don't really understand. They're so far out of our frame of reference--the idea that there are billions of transistors that sit on an area the size of a postage stamp all storing 1s and 0s, but render them in a way that they're able to do things that look intelligent. Because of that, AI looks like magic. And because we don't really understand it, people have a tendency to overestimate what it can do. And that's, in the end, where I think a lot of the fear and concern about AI comes from, is that it still feels like something very akin to magic.