Take a second to think about the smartphone in your pocket. When you were born, the idea of such a small, powerful computer was a sci-fi dream — and now these devices are everywhere, transforming personal health, relationships and business transactions so completely that life without them seems impossible.
We’re entering a new era of technology that’s bound to shape the lives of our children more substantially. It’s the era of artificial intelligence, and a group of academics and industry leaders gathered at the MIT Tech Conference on Saturday assured a full audience that the seeds of this robotic revolution are already planted and growing.
‘We’re only at the beginning,’ Rob High, chief technology officer of IBM Watson, a business unit centered around the titular computing system, said during a keynote speech at the conference. ‘We’re going to see lots and lots of advancements.’
That’s pretty amazing, considering where AI stands today. We’ve already created a smiling robot that can comfort people, a robotic third arm that can play along when attached to a human drummer and software that can steer cars without human drivers. One of the biggest goals for tech developers now — including the people at Facebook — is to create programs and robots that are capable of fully understanding the nuances of human speech and expression.