So apparently I was way off when I thought the limits of artificial intelligence were met whenever Teddy Ruxpin made the cassette tape crossover. How was I supposed to know what they were when the bear didn’t tell me?!?
There is still a lot to learn about A.I., though, and two of the greatest think tanks in the world are coming together to see if they can’t just crack the metaphorical code. NASA and Google have teamed up to launch the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, to be hosted by the Ames Research center, where they’ll house a quantum computer that international researchers are encouraged to spend time with. The goal is to study quantum computing’s role in how an artificial system can adapt to learning. You can’t know what’s in a room unless you give it a door or a window, and they’re hoping the Lab offers insight previously untapped. It’s something people like Alan Turing are probably spinning in their graves over.
The press release talks a bit about what makes designing smart computers so challenging, though the language is on a a sub-layman’s level that doesn’t really give any details about anything. Here’s the most useful paragraph as far as getting into what they’re working with:
We’ve already developed some quantum machine learning algorithms. One produces very compact, efficient recognizers — very useful when you’re short on power, as on a mobile device. Another can handle highly polluted training data, where a high percentage of the examples are mislabeled, as they often are in the real world. And we’ve learned some useful principles: e.g., you get the best results not with pure quantum computing, but by mixing quantum and classical computing.
Since nobody mentioned HAL 9000, Terminators, or RoboCop, I have to assume no one is taking this project very seriously, and that all of our lives will soon be in danger. But then I also felt that way when Teddy Ruxpin told me all politicians are actually space lizards, and we’re still here!
For a fun use of artificial intelligence, check out this video game created almost entirely from A.I. It isn’t Mass Effect, but it’s something.