“Chatbots: Still Dumb After All These Years”


In 1970, Marvin Minsky, recipient of the Turing Award (“the Nobel Prize of Computing”), predicted that within “three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.” 

Fifty-two years later, we’re still waiting.

That’s pretty funny! It’s not a shocker that Minsky was optimistic about the development of AI—I’m optimistic about all my research projects too—but I had no idea he’d been so rashly optimistic as that.

It wasn’t so extreme as James Watson’s claim in 1998that cancer was going to be cured in two years . . . or was it? I mean, from the perspective of 1998, maybe a cancer miracle cure might have been possible. Just turn off the right set of switches in the cells, and . . . bingo! It could be, right?

But to think in 1970 that they were about to have a machine with human intelligence in just a few years . . . I mean, really, how could they have possibly thought that?? I hope that Minsky at least went back and revisited this prediction and considered what he got wrong.

Anyway, back to Smith’s article: