It’s the stuff of sci-fi movies and dystopian, end-of-humanity nightmares — and now, of mind-numbingly dull white-collar work. After decades of premature promises, artificial intelligence is finding its way into all sorts of businesses. Its arrival has been low-key. That’s primarily because the line between ordinary software and AI software has blurred as artificial intelligence has been adapted to narrow, unsexy tasks. But there is a difference. AI programs can look at a confusing situation, make an informed guess about what’s going on and act on it — and learn from what happens. The result has been progress so fast that people are now asking themselves two very different questions: What can we do with this to make money, and how do we stop it from going awry? AI could usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity or unprecedented inequality. Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, among others, have a deeper fear: That we may be, in Musk’s words, “summoning the demon.”
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CSN Editor: A good brief summary.