Ted Dunning is chief applications architect at MapR Technologies.
A long time ago in the mid 1950’s, Robert Heinlein wrote a story called “A Door into Summer” in which a competent mechanical engineer hooked up some “Thorsen tubes” for pattern matching memory and some “side circuits to add judgment” and spawned an entire industry of intelligent robots.

To make the story more plausible, it was set well into the future, in 1970.

These robots could have a task like dishwashing demonstrated to them and then replicate it flawlessly.I don’t think I have to tell you, but it didn’t turn out that way.
It may have seemed plausible in 1956, but by 1969 it was clear it wouldn’t happen in 1970.

And then a bit later it was clear that it wouldn’t happen in 1980, either, nor in 1990 or 2000.

Every 10 years, the ability for a normal engineer to build an artificially intelligent machine seemed to retreat at least as fast as time passed.

As technology improved, the enormous difficulty of the problem became clear as layer after layer of difficulties were found.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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