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.

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What they're saying: Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 26. Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic and Republican lawmakers along with other leading political figures reacted to President Trump's Saturday afternoon nomination of federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

What they're saying: "President Trump could not have made a better decision," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. "Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States."

Amy Coney Barrett: "Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me"

Trump introduces Amy Coney Barrett as nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Photo: Olivier Douleiry/Getty Images

In speaking after President Trump announced her as the Supreme Court nominee to replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett said on Saturday she will be "mindful" of those who came before her on the court if confirmed.

What she's saying: Barrett touched on Ginsburg's legacy, as well as her own judicial philosophy and family values. "I love the United States and I love the United States Constitution," she said. "I'm truly humbled at the prospect of serving on the  Supreme Court."