Who’s Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?

Would it be an exaggeration to say we caress our smartphones? Our connection to them is emotional: We paw at them idly and endlessly. There are times when your phone can be your best friend. That might soon change. Google and Microsoft are betting big on artificially intelligent helpers—not like Apple’s Siri, which is stuck only on its products, but a device-agnostic digital personality that follows you wherever you go. As Google’s founders put it in their annual letter: “[O]ver time, the computer itself—whatever its form factor—will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.” The smartphone could soon become obsolete. Dematerialized. Right now, we use phones because they’re the fastest way to get all of our stuff:…


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