Movie Tips From Your Robot Overlords

By Annalee Newitz
Sunday, August 30, 2009
If machines ever become sentient, science fiction movies have conditioned us to expect one thing: Our new mechanical masters will try to take over the world and destroy us all. But the reality of artificial intelligence is a lot weirder than even the machines vs. humanity “Matrix” movies suggest. When AI finally emerges, it will be a lot more like an erudite video store clerk than a superpowered killer.

If you’ve ever bought something at or rented a movie from Netflix, you’ve interacted with a software program that owes its existence to over half a century of research into artificial intelligence. That program composes sentences such as: “Because you enjoyed the movie ‘Godzilla,’ we think you would enjoy ‘Ultraman.’ ” It’s called a “recommender system,” and it’s designed to learn about you and your fellow humans by gathering data about you and drawing conclusions from it; eventually, it will know more about what you like than you do.

via Denis Pacheco

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