TIME

THE TRUTH ABOUT ROBOTS

Artificial intelligence is powerful—and misunderstood. What we need to know to protect workers

IN 2015, A MAN NAMED NIGEL Richards won the title of French-language Scrabble World Champion. This was especially noteworthy because Richards does not speak French. What the New Zealander had done was memorize each of the 386,000 words in the entire French Scrabble dictionary, in the space of just nine weeks.

Richards’ impressive feat is a useful metaphor for how artificial intelligence works—real AI, not the paranoid fantasies that some self-appointed “futurists” like to warn us about. Just as Richards committed vast troves of words to memory in order to master

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME3 min read
In HBO’s Gen Z Drama, Euphoria Isn’t Happiness
GEN Z IS SAD—OR SO THEIR ELDERS HAVE HEARD. AND IT isn’t just teen angst. Too young to remember 9/11, they had relatively peaceful childhoods that have given way to existential struggles on both political and environmental fronts. Adults haven’t been
TIME2 min read
The E.U. As Black Comedy
EUROPE IS IN A PRECARIOUS STATE AT the moment: Britain is fumbling toward Brexit, terrorist attacks have wreaked havoc on several cities, another economic slowdown looms. In order to combat these challenges, the European Union has been working dilige
TIME2 min read
Zombies Who Live For Coffee, And More
JIM JARMUSCH BRINGS SO MUCH off-kilter subtlety to his films—pictures like the 1984 deadpan comedy Stranger Than Paradise or the more recent vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive—that his ideas feel like secrets slipped from classmate to classmate u