From Pygmalion to Bladerunner, we keep falling for our robot creations. But then, what else is AI good for?
For her, all seven deadly sins: Brigitte Helm as Maria in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, 1927. Photo by UFA/Paramount
Artificial intelligence is arguably the most useless technology that humans have ever aspired to possess. Actually, let me clarify. It would be useful to have a robot that could make independent decisions while, say, exploring a distant planet, or defusing a bomb. But the ultimate aspiration of AI was never just to add autonomy to a robot’s operating system. The idea wasn’t to enable a computer to search data faster by ‘understanding patterns’, or communicate with its human masters via natural language. The dream of AI was — and is — to create a machine that is conscious. AI means building a mechanical human being. And this goal, as supposedly rational technological projects go, is deeply strange.
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