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How far will artificial intelligence take us?

["Walt's World with Walter Jones"]
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Walt's World with Walter Jones

I always watch the National on CBC and one of my favourite guests on this show is their science guy Bob MacDonald.

He was on not long ago rehashing the best of science for 2017 and one of the scientific stories he mentioned got my attention.

He talked about a new computer that was developed for playing games and featured artificial intelligence. Computer gamers are not new. They have been playing the experts for years and winning most of the time.

The way they worked was that they were programmed with all of the possible moves that had ever been played for that particular game and they just had to decide which move they were going to make.

That is why they sometimes lost - they were really only looking at moves someone else had made in previous games.

Humans are unpredictable at times and would throw in a new variation and win over the computer.

So, what is so new and great about a game playing computer? Well it seems that this computer was not given any moves or history of the game. It was simply given the rules and told to play - and play it did, not only beating their human components, but coming up with moves that had never been made before.

Why is that so scary? Well here is something you might not be aware of, business and the military have been using gaming theory for years. They use this to try out new strategies and try to improve their chances to win.

So now we have a computer that excels in playing games, but also can think outside the box. It doesn't take a genius to see these two sections of our society will try to exploit this new AI computer. I hope someone higher up than me has his or her eye on that ball. We are living in such an exciting age, wish I had at least 50 more years to experience it.

Walter Jones column appears weekly in the Amherst News

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