Sunday, August 23, 2015

John Markoff

John Markoff is the author of Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots.

From his Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross:

GROSS: So it in part is a question of will machines help us do our work or leave us unemployed?

MARKOFF: It is. It's an increasingly intense question that's being debated now in society. But it goes way back to the dawn of interactive computing. And I noticed this first in these two laboratories that were on either side of Stanford University in the mid-1960s. There were two pioneers of modern computing. One was John McCarthy, who was actually the person who coined the term artificial intelligence. And he was on one side of campus, and he created a laboratory in 1962 called the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. And at that point, he thought it would take just a decade to design a working AI - something that was as intelligent and as capable as a human being. On the other side of campus, there was another engineer whose name was Douglas Engelbart. And we know him probably because you've heard that he invented the mouse, and he was one of the people who pioneered the idea of hypertext that led to the World Wide Web. And Engelbart really believed deeply that we should use machines to augment our senses and our intelligence and sort of bootstrap the collective intelligence of the human species to benefit mankind. And I realized those were two different philosophical stances. And it created two different communities within the computer science world. One was the AI community and the other with the IA community, which later became called the human-computer interface community. And since then it's been, you know, more than 40 years, 50 years, those communities have largely progressed without speaking to each other, in isolation. And it seems like now is a good time that they maybe should work on converging their powers.

GROSS: What's an example, in each category, of a robot that we're using now and that one we'll probably be able to use in the near future?

MARKOFF: Well, so an artificial intelligence robotic device that I think probably will become familiar to all people is a self-driving car. We...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue