Another AI winter could usher in a dark period for artificial intelligence

Since its earliest days, AI has fallen prey to cycles of extreme hype—and subsequent collapse. While recent technological advances may finally put an end to this boom-and-bust pattern, cheekily termed an “AI winter,” some scientists remain convinced winter is coming again…

“If we were shooting for the early 2020s for us to be at the point where you could launch autonomous driving, you’d need to see every year, at the moment, more than a 60 percent reduction [in safety driver interventions] every year to get us down to 99.9999 percent safety,” said Andrew Moore, Carnegie Mellon University’s dean of computer science, on a recent episode of the Recode Decode podcast. “I don’t believe that things are progressing anywhere near that fast.” While some years we may reduce the need for humans by 20 percent, in other years, it’s in the single digits, potentially pushing the arrival date back by decades.