Economist AI plugThe Economist is famous for its excellence at forecasting the past and its weakness at forecasting the future.

Its survey on AI (9th May) is a classic. The explanation of deep learning is outstanding, but the conclusion that we should not worry about superintelligence because today’s computers have neither volition nor awareness is, well, less impressive.

The magazine’s leader seems to agree, saying that “even if the prospect of what Mr Hawking calls “full” AI is still distant, it is prudent for societies to plan for how to cope”. But it then goes on to make the outlandish claim that this “is easier than it seems, not least because humans have been creating autonomous entities with superhuman capacities and unaligned interests for some time, [namely] government bureaucracies, markets and armies.”

Must try harder.

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