“…the emergence of a mind”
You can accuse him of hyperbole if you like, but I think James Gurney is exactly right. The fact that this sort of thing is happening all around us with increasing frequency is both fascinating and a little spooky.
There’s a sublime scene in the first Terminator movie where a hapless psychiatrist turns off a pager on the way out of a building just as Arnie’s cyborg from the future walks in. Most viewers see the link: how the tiny, primitive devices of today lead to something far more sophisticated (and in that context, sinister) in the future.
There are little fragments of AI in consumer devices that aren’t just incremental steps, they’re markedly different from what came before. They have the flavor of reasoning. Think of mobile apps for pulling songs out of the air, recognizing products from sight, or listening to and understanding our words, translating them.
These are the things in your pocket or just lying around the house right now. On the nightstand. On the kitchen table. They’re convenient and cool, but not much more for most people.
After all, it’s not like they’re walking or anything.