Earlier this month, Ray Kurzweil presented a paper at the Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence Conference which proclaimed that strong AI will be possible within the next 25 years: 2029, specifically, is the year he’s suggested a machine will first pass the Turing Test. If he’s right, what a time to be alive! Even if he’s wrong by a few decades, centuries or millennia, we’ve still got a lot to look forward to in our lifetimes. Techniques pioneered by AI researchers have been finding their way into mainstream applications for years, and this trend will continue as computing power increases and researchers invent ever-smarter algorithms.
While I’m not sure strong AI will arrive quite as quickly as Kurzweil thinks it will, I’m firmly in the camp that thinks it will arrive one day. I see no reason to believe that the human brain (or any kind of “brain” for that matter) is endowed with some mystical property that provides its intelligence. Although Kurzweil’s timeframe seems a bit on the optimistic side, it will take only one or two propitious findings in the fields of computer science or neuroscience to catalyse AI research and bring the goal of strong AI much closer.