AI will play a big part in our future, but at this stage it seems rather average

A friend of mine has got into the habit of saying “OK Google!” into his phone every few minutes. The voice-activated assistant (Google Now) immediately springs into life, he asks it a question, and occasionally it gives him what he is after. The failure rate is pretty high, but he stubbornly insists that the more he uses it, the better it’ll get. He’s committed to the long game. He believes in a future where we’ll talk freely and without embarrassment to non-human entities. So do Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google; they’re all keen to convince us that their own brand of artificial intelligence is more human-like than any competitor. In China, Microsoft’s popular chatbot Xiaoice has just become a trainee anchor on live television. Facebook’s personal assistant, M, continues to…


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