In a recent interview George Dyson discussed the nature of artificial intelligence. Dyson discusses Lewis Fry Richardson’s quote that a computer “is a simple mind having a will but capable of only two ideas.” He stated, “The significance of Richardson’s idea was that he broke with the assumption that computation had to be deterministic, because so few others things in the universe are deterministic. Alan Turing was very explicit that computers will never be intelligent unless they are allowed to make mistakes. The human mind is not deterministic, it is not flawless. So why would we want computers to be flawless?”

When asked whether he believes computers could become “creative and imaginative entities” in the future, Dyson responded, “We have to wait and see. But I am not sure whether computers are just tools. When you look at your iPhone to get directions, are you asking the phone where to go or is the phone telling you where to go? You cannot draw a strict line between active and passive information exchange. If some alien form of life came to earth, they might be convinced that there is a bodiless form of intelligence that is telling its constituent parts to turn left or right. So there is a symbiosis that works both ways.”

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