Artificial intelligence to usurp human type?

Among other things, the competition between human and artificial intelligence was pondered during a panel session at CTO Forum on Wednesday.

Panelists from organizations such as NASA Ames Research, The Boeing Co., and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) detailed their technology visions and took questions on other developments, such as the potential of artificial intelligence.

“The question of surpassing human intelligence is a very tortured one because you have to [realize] what that means,” said panelist William Mark, vice-president of information and computing sciences at SRI International Inc.

Panelist Gene Rogers, CTO at Boeing, said, “AI [artificial intelligence] has not moved along as quickly as the innovators have predicted.”

Each panelist gave his own perspective on the technologies to watch. Mark listed three development areas: speech and language recognition; formal methods, which involves development of advanced models to prove properties of systems, such as what has been used for microchips; and massive multiplayer games.

“We see [multiplayer games] as a real paradigm for a new [level] of interactivity with computing,” Beck said.

Rogers cited “smart aero services,” which could allow aircraft to detect changes in air flows, nano-satellite networks, and biotechnology. Advances in biotechnology could allow “micro-biotic” surgical techniques or, for example, a patient’s digestive system to be tracked via a lozenge swallowed by the patient, which he noted sounded like something out of the 1960s movie, “Fantastic Voyage.”

Grid computing was cited by panelist Rob Pennington, director of computing and data management at NCSA. Panelist Henry McDonald, director of the NASA Ames Research Center, cited artificial intelligence, which he said is in the same long-term development process as the Internet.

McDonald stressed that funding issues are critical to the development of new technologies. The government used to fund two-thirds of development and one-third came from private industry, he said.

“Today, only one-third comes from government and two-thirds comes from industry, and industry is a short-term commitment,” McDonald said.

Pennington thanked the Linux development community for helping to continue advancements in computers.

“Without the Linux community, we would not be making the transition in the computational space that we’re in,” Pennington said.