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CIM IN THE NEWS: GAZETTE July 21, 2008: SURVIVAL OF THE MACHINES: SINGULARITY

last modified 2009-03-04 11:50

SURVIVAL OF THE MACHINES: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND SINGULARITY In the movie The Terminator, set in the not-too-distant future, computers become smart enough to break free of the tyranny of their human masters. Of course, the computers round up and kill the humans. It doesn't look like a lot of fun in the movie. A few researchers at McGill's Centre for Intelligent Machines are working toward a moment that feels inspired by science fiction: a tipping point when smart computers themselves become capable of creating smarter computers, at a speed and in a direction we cannot predict. That moment is the Singularity. Among the scientists who see the Singularity as, at least, plausible is Benoit Boulet, a robotics researcher and director of the McGill Centre for Intelligent Machines. Boulet's colleague at CIM, Jeremy Cooperstock, teaches AI at McGill. He has a more guarded view of the Singularity than does Boulet, but, as he explains, "The potential for one of these areas to do harm is such that we should look at these doomsday scenarios and consider them."

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