||We seem to be at a turning point in human history, where activities that only a couple of
decades ago no one in their right mind could have imagined being carried out by a machine are
now falling like duckpins — for instance, soul-less, inanimate machines are now overwhelmingly
the best chess-players in the world, and recently have also become the best Go-players in the
world. Machines today are handily beating people at poker, at video games, at some kinds of
medical diagnosis, and many other things. Self-driving cars that fight their way through rushhour
traffic in big cities seem to be only a whisper away, and machine translation is said by some
to on the verge of putting literary translators of the human variety out of business.
Is human thought really about to be superseded (in fact, left in the proverbial dust) by
artificial thought carried out in the circuitry of humanity’s own technological progeny? Or is
there still a very long way to go, at least in some kinds of domains?
My talk (which will be a little bit longer than this abstract — but not by much!) will claim
that despite appearances, we humans are nowhere near the stage of being replaced in the two
domains mentioned in the title — namely, driving and translating. And I will give reasons why I
think this way.