AI2: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s effort to map the human brain

Date: January 5, 2015 Published by

  • SEATTLE: Inside the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, known as AI2, everything is a gleaming architectural white.
  • The walls are white, the furniture is white, the counters are white.
  • The field was seen as a failure and went into eclipse.In recent years, however, AI has come roaring back as speech recognition, machine vision and self-driving cars have made progress with powerful computers, cheap sensors and machine-learning techniques.
  • That has started a Silicon Valley gold rush led by Google, Facebook and Apple, drawing outsiders like Alibaba and Baidu in China, all caught up in a frantic race to hire the world’s best machine-learning talent.But the debate over how to reach genuine artificial intelligence has not ended, and Etzioni and Allen are betting that their path is more pragmatic.
  • The power of the new techniques is not disputed, but there is a growing debate over whether they can take the field to human-level capabilities by themselves.”Think of it as Sherlock Holmes versus Spider-Man ,” said Jerry Kaplan, a visiting lecturer at Stanford who teaches a course on the history and philosophy of artificial intelligence, comparing Holmes’ deductive powers with the irrational “spider sense” that tingles at the base of Spider-Man’s skull and alerts him to danger.

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