Mastery of AI has been ‘harder than expected’ and ‘future is uncertain,’ says Microsoft’s AI chief

Eric Horvitz speaks at MIT’s EmTech conference  Image: Hope Reese/TechRepublic “I like to think about advances in AI through lens of the history of flight,” Eric Horvitz, director of the Microsoft Research lab told a crowded room at EmTech, MIT’s annual technology conference in Cambridge, MA. “It started as a few guys on a windy beach looking at a kite,” said Horvitz. “And 50 years later, we have a 707.” Kicking off the conference, Jason Pontin, editor of the MIT Technology Review, had asked the audience: “what do we want from smart machines?” It is up to us, he stressed, to determine the parameters for our new technology—how it should be applied, and how it can help us. Horvitz opened the discussion by addressing this question, highlighting the history of…


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