The success of IBM’s computer Watson in beating two former Jeopardy champions has resulted in more dire warnings that computers will one day take over the world. However, the search for true Artificial Intelligence is not easy, with the joke amongst people working in the field is that we are always ten years away from creating it.
For years the project’s development was overshadowed by the more ambitious quest for Artificial Intelligence, but scientists working in Seattle accepted that A.S. was a more realisable ambition within their own lifetime. Yesterday they finally unveiled the domestic computerised robot ‘Kevin’ who is so stupid that every day its owner will experience a wonderful life-affirming sense of their own human superiority. ‘You tell it to open the door and it pulls the door into its own face.’ explained proud project leader Carl Kinear. ‘You ask it the capital of Argentina and it shrugs and says ‘Madrid?’
For decades psychologists have reported computer-users feeling a sense of worthlessness and inadequacy as their machines asked them technical questions they didn’t quite understand. To ensure that digital technology actually improves the quality of life, scientists finally realised that the key was to make robots even dumber than humans are.