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German computer scientist Jürgen Schmidhuber—who has contributed to various AI innovations like speech-recognition technology—predicts artificial intelligence will surpass that of humans by the year 2050. "[AI] will see little point in getting stuck to our bit of the biosphere," he tells the Guardian in an interview Tuesday. "They will want to move history to the next level and march out to where the resources are. In a couple of million years, they will have colonised the Milky Way."

What happens before that? Schmidhuber is building an electronic brain consisting of one billion neurons—or one one thousandth the number contained in the human cortex. He calls his project "true AI," one that can function much like a baby by "setting themselves little experiments in order to understand how the world works," according to the Guardian. "We aren't that many years away from an animal-like intelligence, like that of a crow or a capuchin monkey," he says.

Not everyone is convinced: One scientist told the Guardian that Schmidhuber is setting up AI to disappoint, much like the vaunted Segway, which was promoted as an invention as important as the PC, but ended up at best a niche product, and at worst a laughingstock.

Go deeper

9 mins ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.