Why do futurists keep thinking that computers with human level intelligence and beyond are always just around the corner?
Most of it, I think, is to sell books.
Why do we get excited when a computer finally beats the best human chess player and treat this as some sort of milestone? Why do we create robots that walk around on two legs and get excited when they can climb stairs, or robots that mimic human facial expressions?
Because we humans, spurred by Hollywood SciFi, from Bender to Data, love us some good robot servants and play toys and with each new development we can see that coming to be.
Why does the Turing test rely on being unable to distinguish between human and AI or numerous research programmes seek to replicate the workings of he human brain by mimicing neural networks or seeking the sort of ‘parallel processing’ found in organic brains?
Because the human mind is the A-number-1 example of intellect in our universe and, maybe, just maybe, we can learn better computer architectures by studying from the best. Neural nets, modeled on our brain studies, have become an important tool in the advanced computer landscape. The new phase change memory, also modeled on brain architecture, will give neural nets a turbo charge.
Research into AI theory of mind and multiple other examples plus the (often hyperbolic) claims of those in the field about the imminence of replicating human like thought all suggest that we are very interested in machines that are capable of human like cognition.
Modeling the human brain in all its wondrous capabilities is the Holy Grail for the techno-nerds and fiction writers but the goals of business and government may be something less. Machines for super specific cognitive tasks narrowly focused would propagate like rabbits across the military, industry and eventually, the rest of society.
Nwr is spot on. We’re not looking for overlords. We're looking for intellegent but limited slaves.
Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.