Thinking Machines: From Magic to Normal
“Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable.” – Joseph Krutch (Writer)Since the 19th century, we have undergone several stages of machine revolutions.The first stage was mechanisation. The advent of modern production methods eased and sped up manufacturing, massively increasing output and ushering in the Industrial Revolution.The late 60s brought the age of the working computer. In 1967, an IBM infomercial, ‘The Paperwork Explosion’, predicted a dystopian future where unstoppable progress had created so much paperwork that it threatened humanity’s very existence, a development that could only be reversed with IBM’s advanced business machines. “They take care of the paperwork so you don’t ha ve to,” concluded the ad, with the cast adding, “Machines should work. People should think.”The current age of machine revolution is now celebrating a 20-year anniversary – in 1997, chess supremo Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM’s Deep Blue, rocketing fledgling AI technology into the public eye. It was a task many deemed impossible at the time, as many more did before Google Deep Mind’s AlphaGo defeated the world number one board game Go player in January las t year, a decade ahead of expectations.As always, the most ambitious and innovative continue to stret...
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