The Limits of Machine Intelligence

EMBO Reports 49177 (20) (2019)

Marta Halina
Cambridge University
Henry Shevlin
Cambridge University
Karina Vold
Cambridge University
1 more
Despite there being little consensus on what intelligence is or how to measure it, the media and the public have become increasingly preoccupied with the concept owing to recent accomplishments in machine learning and research on artificial intelligence (AI). Governments and corporations are investing billions of dollars to fund researchers who are keen to produce an ever‐expanding range of artificial intelligent systems. More than 30 countries have announced such research initiatives over the past 3 years 1. For example, the EU Commission pledged to increase the investment in AI research to €1.5 billion by 2020 (from €500 million in 2017), while China has committed $2.1 billion towards an AI technology park in Beijing alone 1. This global investment in AI is astonishing and prompts several questions: What are the true possibilities and limitations of AI? What do AI researchers and developers mean by “intelligence”? How does this compare to the everyday concept of intelligence and how the term is other branches of cognitive science? And can machine learning produce anything that is truly “intelligent”?
Keywords machine intelligence  artificial intelligence  intelligence  animal cognition  comparative psychology
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