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AI and the Transformation of the Human Spirit


Humans have always viewed computers as superior to machines because they can do ___ (fill out the blank). This objection dates back to Ada King, a 19th-century mathematician and Countess de Lovelace. After she wrote the first computer program—a means of calculating Bernoulli numbers on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine—she declared that human thought would always be superior to machine intelligence because we alone are capable of true originality. Computers are predictable and mechanically producing their results, she claimed. A pocket calculator is faster and more likely to make mistakes, but it does not do anything more than what we can do with pencil and paper. It is not capable of proving or conceiving original theorems.

When Deep Blue beat chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, Kasparov immediately accused the IBM scientists behind Deep Blue of cheating, precisely because he saw true originality and creativity in the computer’s moves. This is King’s complaint all over again—only humans are really creative, and a computer that appears to be must secretly have a little man behind the curtain pushing buttons and pulling…

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