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Our Final Invention

Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

4:00pm, October 22, 2013

Computers already make all sorts of decisions for you. With little or no human guidance, they deduce what books you would like to buy, trade your stocks and distribute electrical power. They do all this quickly and efficiently using a simple form of artificial intelligence. Now, imagine if computers controlled even more aspects of life and could truly think for themselves.

Barrat, a documentary filmmaker and author, chronicles his discussions with scientists and engineers who are developing ever more complex artificial intelligence, or AI. The goal of many in the field is to make a mechanical brain as intelligent — creative, flexible and capable of learning — as the human mind. But an increasing number of AI visionaries have misgivings.

Science fiction has long explored the

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