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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

2 mins ago - World

Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

President Biden will convene world leaders on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to push them to do more to end the pandemic — though he's also facing criticism for prioritizing boosters at home.

Why it matters: There is still no functional plan in place to vaccinate the world, and past summits of this sort have flopped. The White House hopes that this virtual gathering will produce ambitious promises, accountability measures to track progress, and ultimately help achieve a 70% global vaccination rate this time next year.

GOP operatives accused of funneling Russian cash to Trump

Jesse Benton, spokesman for the Ron Paul campaign, speaking to reporters in the spin room after the CNN Debate on January 1, 2012. Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

A former senior aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul was indicted this month for allegedly funneling $25,000 from a wealthy, unnamed Russian to former President Trump's reelection efforts.

The big picture: The Justice Department alleges that Jesse Benton, 43, the husband of Paul's niece and a veteran Republican staffer, orchestrated a scheme to conceal the illegal foreign donation with another GOP operative, Doug Wead.

Biden to raise refugee admissions cap to 125,000

Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden administration will raise the refugee admissions cap to 125,000 for the next fiscal year beginning in October, the State Department confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The move comes as the U.S. contends with resettling tens of thousands of Afghan refugees stateside, and as the world faces "unprecedented global displacement and humanitarian needs," the department wrote.