Artificial intelligence at hand; future beckons; what to do?

artint3Last year, MidLaw reported Steve Wozniak’s pronouncement (delivered at an event in Raleigh) that Moore’s Law is coming to an end. The limits of the continuing expansion of computer power are in sight, Wozniak said.

Well, not so fast. Ray Kurzweil begs to differ. Kurzweil and others believe that Moore’s Law can run for another 5 or 10 years (expanding computer power by cramming more and more capacity into smaller and smaller spaces) – and then other laws (or paradigms) will take it from there.

In 5 years’ time, these guys now predict, we’ll have the hardware needed to replicate the human brain. By 2029, we’ll have the software.

In short, as Vivek Wadwha says, we are approaching the time when our cell phones will be smarter than we are. The prospect of genuine artificial intelligence is upon us. It has come much faster than expected.

Some see great threats in this, portending the end of the human race. Others see promise.

I hear that these are real concerns – either way. When I attempt to think at the same scale, I can’t get outside my old boxes. The greatest tool I know that we have for getting a grip on these challenges is to provide a “practical liberal education” for as many members of our little species as will reach for it. And, I am talking about a liberal education – not mere preparation for the workplace. I am talking about Nereus-Mendenhall-style education.

And if you are a lawyer, it’s back to what we first came here to do: “creative, interpersonal, social and persuasive.”

We appear to be heading into a wide-open future. How else can we get ready?

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