Haley Joel Osment portrayed a childlike android in the 2001 film "A.I." directed by Steven Spielberg. Haley Joel Osment portrayed a childlike android in the 2001 film "A.I." directed by Steven Spielberg. Haley Joel Osment portrayed a childlike android in the 2001 film "A.I." directed by Steven Spielberg. (Photo: Amblin Entertainment)

Artificial intelligence not so intelligent, claim human scientists

Experts say that robots are not much smarter than a rodent or a kindergartner. At least, for now.

"Siri, what's the weather in San Francisco?"

"Today's forecast for San Antonio is..."

"No. San FRAN-CIS-CO!!"

"The rapper Sisqó was born in Baltimore, Maryland."

Sometimes, talking to an artificially intelligent robot is, well, not so intelligent. That's part of a conclusion reached by a team of Stanford University professors who are tracking the technological progress of artificial intelligence.

Yohav Shoham is the Stanford computer science professor who conceived of the idea for the index. “AI has made truly amazing strides in the past decade, but computers still can’t exhibit the common sense or the general intelligence of even a 5-year-old," said Shoham, who studied at Yale University and in his native Israel at both the Technion Institute and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Yann LeCun, a French scientist who heads Facebook's AI research facility, puts it more bluntly. "We’re very far from having machines that can learn the most basic things about the world in the way humans and animals can do. Like, yes, in particular areas machines have superhuman performance, but in terms of general intelligence we’re not even close to a rat," he explained.

Shows like "Black Mirror" often display the dystopian worst-case scenario of what happens when sentient computers become smarter than humans. But, experts believe, robots are more like the childlike android played by Haley Joel Osment in the 2001 film "A.I." directed by Steven Spielberg.

Oren Etzioni, an Israeli scientist, is one of the world's leading experts on artificial intelligence. "There's a brand of science fiction that's very dystopian, that talks about how the world's going to get much worse," he told From The Grapevine. "I'm too much of an optimist to get a lot of pleasure out of reading that stuff."

Nonetheless, robots are becoming smarter – just not overlord smart. Indeed, our homes are becoming more intelligent when we place devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home on our kitchen counter. But, at least for the time being anyway, we shouldn't feel intimidated by this artificial intelligence.

There are robots that move like animals and robots that offer emotional support. There's even a robot that can paint a picture of Einstein and a robot that can fold your laundry. Robots are not taking over the world – yet.

So for now, we can simply sit back and relax. And have a robot bartender pour us a drink.



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