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Mark Buchanan

Our Robot Overlords Might Be Delayed

Research in artificial intelligence seems to have hit a wall.
But can it untie a knot?

But can it untie a knot?

Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Are you stressed out about the singularity? Living in fear of the day when computers decide that humans are no longer necessary? Not to worry, say some leading experts in artificial intelligence: Research in the field might have actually hit a wall.

No doubt, AI is everywhere. Computers assess financial news, identify viruses and even act as physics theorists, analyzing flows of fluid and heat. So-called deep learning algorithms allow services such as Google Translate and Apple’s Siri to outperform people on many basic tasks. With big tech companies such as Google and Facebook pushing the technology further, some people believe that human-level intelligence is just around the corner.