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The advancement of AI-fueled technologies like robotics and self-driving cars is creating a confusing legal landscape that leaves manufacturers, programmers, and even robots themselves open to liability, according to legal scholars who study AI, Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports.
Why it matters: As autonomous vehicles take to the road and get into collisions, drivers, insurers and manufacturers want to know who — or what — is liable when a harmful mistake occurs. The degree of liability comes down to whether AI is treated as a product, service, or a human decision-maker.
Another possibility: Going deeper into the system, the AI itself could be held responsible, according to Gabriel Hallevy, a law professor at Ono Academic College in Israel. That still means its programmer or manufacturer could be found negligent as well, or even accomplice to a crime.
Go deeper: Read Kaveh's post.
Venture capitalists, corporations and the federal government are investing in quantum computers, a powerful new generation of machines that one day could help develop new drugs and decrypt secrets.
The big picture: The problems such devices can solve today are still limited. But the technologies are advancing and as China invests heavily in the field, some researchers and policymakers in the U.S. are calling for a national plan to develop fundamental research into commercial products.
"It's a quantum summer."— Chris Monroe, IonQ and the University of Maryland
How it works: Quantum technologies — sensing, communications and computing — all leverage fundamental properties of atoms and their subatomic particles to process and transmit information.
Tech advances: In the past five years, quantum devices have been built by IBM, Intel, Google and Microsoft as well as university researchers and startups like Rigetti Computing and IonQ.
Keep in mind: It is still a speculative field, says Monroe, who co-authored a blueprint for the anticipated House bill. "To get to the promised land, where we get something useful, [quantum computers] will have to be run by a third party," he says. "It can't require a bunch of researchers."
Here comes China (again): The EU, Canada, Australia and the U.K. are all investing in developing quantum technologies — and are potential sources for U.S. collaboration — but they don't match China's scale of investment.
Go deeper: Read the full story.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
U.S. and European companies are being seriously outsmarted while China's Big Tech rivals compete to pull traditional retail businesses into their exclusive, online corporate universes, Steve LeVine writes after his recent trip to China.
Why it matters: Retail is the largest single source of American jobs — and, in the U.S. and most other countries, one of the biggest parts of the overall economy. That Chinese companies are aggressively exploring how to save Main Street and middle-class jobs is terrific; that the U.S. and Europe seem all but flat-footed is not.
The battlefield for Alibaba, Tencent and JD.com is digitalization-in-a-box — off-the-shelf systems that allow virtually any business, from a mom-and-pop shop to a Walmart, to zoom directly into the exosphere of e-commerce.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere, retailers have been filing bankruptcy in increasing numbers. More and more analysts are advising calm — that the trend is ultimately less crucial than one might think because Amazon and other warehouses are snapping up workers in larger numbers than retail workers are losing jobs.
Be smart: Here is where Americans and Europeans may be getting the wrong picture.
Go deeper: Read Steve's post.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Alan Turing and colleagues working on the Ferranti Mark I Computer, 1951. Photo: SSPL/Getty Images
In 1950, Alan Turing, whose 106th birthday would have been yesterday, laid out a test that today in popular culture is known as the gold standard for evaluating AI.
Several chatbots have claimed to "pass" Turing's test by convincing some proportion of human judges that they are human, too.
What's next: As AI researchers notch successes in processing language, playing games, and recognizing images, some of the field's heavyweights like Judea Pearl are calling for a wider approach to creating intelligent machines.
The Turing test captures some dimensions of human intelligence, like emotional fluency and natural language. But how else can intelligence be measured? It's a complicated question, says Jon Crowcroft from the Alan Turing Institute in London. Human intelligence encompasses intuition and common sense, which is informed by our social norms, laws — and the list goes on.
"The Turing test is reductionist — it removes consciousness, emotions and also our rich, constantly changing social structure. It leaves out a bunch of things that make humans human."— Crowcroft
Yesterday's tomorrow: Turing's experiments set off wild optimism as well as fear in the 1940s, writes Diane Proudfoot, a professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and co-director of the Turing Center at ETH Zurich.