Visions of the singularity: how smart can AI get?

Where’s my cargo? Alfredo Caliz/Panos DANKO NIKOLIC has spent his life studying human intelligence. Lately, however, he’s been thinking about the artificial kind. Just how smart can AI get? Are we really headed towards the so-called technological singularity? That was the topic of a debate in Berlin last month. Nikolic, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, stood up in front of an audience of artificial intelligence researchers and made a bold claim: we will never make a machine that is smarter than we are. “You cannot exceed human intelligence, ever,” says Nikolic. “You can asymptotically approach it, but you cannot exceed it.” For those who accept the possibility of the singularity – a date in the not-so-distant future when machine intelligence outstrips our own…


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