How much should we fear the rise of artificial intelligence?

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Photograph: MGM/Everett//Rex Features Machines, four. Humanity, one. That was the result of the match between Google’s AlphaGo and human champion Lee Sedol at the fiendishly complex game of Go, and it came with a disconcerting question: what next? Where will the machines claim their next victory: putting you out of a job; solving the mysteries of science; bettering human abilities in the bedroom? AlphaGo’s success was down to artificial intelligence (AI): the computer program taught itself how to improve its game by playing millions of matches against itself. But the trouble with using games such as chess and Go as measures of technological progress is that they are competitions. There’s a winner and there’s a loser – and this month’s biggest tech news story…


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