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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Artificial intelligence researchers, who have seen little recent progress toward the creation of a machine that thinks like a human, have largely halted such work in favor of applying what's been discovered so far, says a leading AI expert.

What's going on: Andrew Moore, dean of computer science at Carnegie-Mellon University, tells Axios that while current AI displays impressive capability in visualization, speech, and difficult games, it still contains "no magic."

"We have pretty much stopped trying to mirror human thinking out of the box. We are focusing on engineering [what has already been invented."

Why it matters: Moore's remarks align with a growing chorus of doubt in the AI community that current methods can attain what the field calls "artificial general intelligence." In September, for instance, Geoff Hinton, one of the field's most-respected pioneers, said researchers needed to start over.

  • Moore says that does not mean he is a pessimist: Even if AI researchers make no further breakthroughs, improving the discoveries already made — such as in interpreting speech — "will lead to big advances" in the future.

Moore's personal focus now is on "low-power computing" — the invention of chips and hardware that can operate at a fraction of current power — "10 milliamps instead of half an amp," he said.

  • Moore also cited an advanced self-driving chip that uses so much power that it raises the car computer's temperature by 10 degrees. That means that even more energy must be used to cool it down.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
3 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.