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What alchemy and astrology can teach artificial intelligence researchers

Artificial intelligence (AI) research is rapidly bringing us closer to a new technological revolution. However, Computer Science professor Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland believes that in order to get the best out of this technology, researchers and engineers should be careful not to repeat the mistakes of legitimate scientists who got sidetracked by overly optimistic, pseudo-science projects such as alchemy and astrology.

What the professor has in mind here, is the many projects aiming to build machines that look and act just like humans. According to Shneiderman, aspirations of this kind “seem like counterproductive wishful thinking and B-level science fiction.” People that are serious about developing useful AI solutions, should be focusing on applications of AI that are “more functional, if less glamorous”, as they seek to expand the capabilities that humans have at their disposal, instead of creating mechanical versions of us.

Read more: What alchemy and astrology can teach artificial intelligence researchers

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