An anonymous reader writes "Google director of research Peter Norvig and AI pioneer Judea Pearl give their view on the prospects of developing a strong AI and how progress in the field is about to usher in a new age of household robotics to rival the explosion of home computing in the 1980s. Norvig says, 'In terms of robotics we’re probably where the world of PCs were in the early 1970s, where you could buy a PC kit and if you were an enthusiast you could have a lot of fun with that. But it wasn’t a worthwhile investment for the average person. There wasn’t enough you could do that was useful. Within a decade that changed, your grandmother needed word processing or email and we rapidly went from a very small number of hobbyists to pervasive technology throughout society in one or two decades. I expect a similar sort of timescale for robotic technology to take off, starting roughly now.' Pearl thinks that once breakthroughs are made in handling uncertainty, AIs will quickly gain 'a far greater understanding of context, for instance providing with the next generation of virtual assistants with the ability to recognise speech in noisy environments and to understand how the position of a phrase in a sentence can change its meaning.'"
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