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What Siri Can Tell Us About the Future of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence could potentially reinvent what it means to be human. As we shift many kinds of work, even knowledge work, to machines, we may need to rethink economic distribution and the social contract among citizens.

Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, refers to AI as an “enabling technology” and points to Siri as the beginning of an AI revolution.

“After 50 years of promise for AI, in the last two or three years there’s been a tipping point where we have seen some real advances,” Kelly said. “The most common example would be using Siri or Google voice on your phone, where it can understand what you’re saying—something that people said would never happen. There is lots of evidence that that’s just the beginning of a series of changes that are going to happen really fast in the next couple of years.”

Kelly said that many of our expectations of AI will likely be proven wrong.

“The greatest challenge of AI actually turns out to be the fact that we don’t know what it is,” Kelly said. “We don’t really have a very good working definition of our own intelligence, our own consciousness, our own smartness, so when we try to make these things artificially, we run into a lot of problems of language and preconceptions.”