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Is AI really as smart as we think?

Submitted on Friday, August 30, 2019

In Professor Brian Cantwell Smith’s new book, The Promise of Artificial Intelligence: Reckoning and Judgment, he argues that despite dramatic advances in the field, artificial intelligence is nowhere near developing systems that are genuinely intelligent.

A quick and accessible read, the book was published by MIT Press on October 8. Its thesis is that while AI may be of epochal significance, human intelligence is of a different order than even the most powerful calculative ability enabled by new computational capacities.

Smith calls AI’s ability “reckoning,” and argues that it does not lead to full human “judgment,” which he describes as dispassionate, deliberative thought grounded in ethical commitment and responsible action.

Taking judgment as the ultimate goal of intelligence, Smith examines the history of AI from its first-wave origins (“good old-fashioned AI,” or GOFAI) to such celebrated second-wave approaches as machine learning, paying particular attention to recent advances that have led to excitement, anxiety, and the current ongoing debate.

Brian Cantwell Smith holds the Reid Hoffman Chair in Artificial Intelligence and the Human.