Man Made

Quite rightly, we stand back in amazement at the progress artificial intelligence is making day by day. This week news broke that doctors in Holland had performed the first robot assisted supermicrosurgery. Our minds boggle at the possibilities, the potential, and the risks.

But the more AI advances the more it makes one stop and think about how far its journey has to go; the smartest AI is still no smarter than a little kid and superintelligence is still decades away, even with the most optimistic (or pessimistic – depending on your perspective) guestimates.

In the meantime all this thinking about how wonderful AI is has led me to reflect on the achievements of humans – if Siri’s so fantastic, then maybe we should give ourselves a little bit more credit for the Triumph Bonneville, an Apollo 5 spaceship, football, kettles, the Pyramids, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Shakespeare’s King Lear, Picasso’s Guernica, ping pong, Thomas Crapper’s plumbing system, the London underground, Doc Martens, Louie Armstrong’s Potato Head Blues, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, a Boeing 787, the ENIAC, Versailles, an artificial heart, the electric light, rugby, a BMW X5, the Crispr editing machine, pizza ovens, Lord Dury of Kilburn’s Reasons to be Cheerful, the Chrysler Building, dog collars, Marc Chagall’s windows in All Saints Church, Elvis Costello’s Pump it Up, braces, Notre Dame, Excel, an English country garden, a Brioni suit, the National Health Service, Christ the Redeemer, Guinness, Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie, the Eiffel Tower, Eton Mess, contact lenses, tennis, Go, Jeopardy, Poker, and lastly, artificial intelligence.

One day, AI will make extraordinary things and add to my spin on Woody Allen’s what makes life living riff But in the meantime we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that real intelligence is still pretty wonderful too.