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Sunday, 30 May 2010

AI - Still Some Way to Go

A year or so ago I wanted to know the mass of the planet Jupiter (never mind why: it's a geek thing), so of course I typed "mass of Jupiter" into Google. Up came a list of hits, with Wikipedia as expected at the top. But above all of that was a single result from Google Calculator:

mass of Jupiter = 1.8987 × 1027 kilograms

It was like the Internet had just spoken to me, and I started to take seriously the suggestions from people like Kevin Kelley that our technology could be developing into an artificial intelligence.

So it was refreshing this week when I was browsing through my Amazon recommendations to find the Evoluent left-handed mouse, suggested to me on the grounds that I'd already bought the right-handed version. And even though it's annoying, I'm a little bit reassured when my Windows XP computer at work (though oddly not my home PC, which is also running XP Pro) spots on start up that my external hard drive is missing and so reports that my total disc capacity has decreased, only to next time warn me that it's just gone back up again.