The robo-poca­lypse isn't here yet

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Re­gard­ing David Igan­tius’s Nov. 7 op-ed, “Wanted: A leader to help Amer­ica win the AI race”:

Al­though ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence re­search and devel­op­ment is im­por­tant to pur­sue, it would per­haps be ben­e­fi­cial to con­sider the pre­vi­ous “AI scare” — of the 1980s. Then, the boogey­man was Ja­pan, which was go­ing to take over the world via its large “Fifth Gen­er­a­tion” gov­ern­ment pro­gram. That pro­gram did not suc­ceed in achiev­ing its goals, though im­prove­ments in “com­po­nents” (e.g., vi­sion, sen­sors, ma­nip­u­la­tors, etc.) did re­sult from it. In fact, the en­tire field of AI re­search changed direc­tions in that era. Patrick Purtell, Cabin John

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