Will a computer — let’s call it an algorithm, because it might look very different to a computer; indeed it might appear, ahem, human — ever be smarter than a person?

This question has been pondered by some of the world’s finest intellects. In 1950 British mathematician Alan Turing formulated his eponymous test to see whether a computer could mimic human thinking. More recently, Stephen Hawking — aware of the irony of his reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with the world — concluded that it represented a danger to the human race. Israeli historian and futurist Yuval Noah Harari warns that we cannot foretell whether, and how deeply, AI may penetrate, and literally take over our minds...

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