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Has artificial intelligence outwitted us already? Not quite.

When the term "artificial intelligence" (AI) was first coined in the 1950s, the ultimate dream was to create a technology more intelligent than humans. Since then, AI research has experienced ups and downs. However, since the rise of machine learning — particularly deep learning — it seems AI is finally gathering momentum, with each success story followed by another.

Today, there are a variety of tasks AI systems can do better — and faster — than humans. Even creativity — an area long thought to be inaccessible to AI systems — is within reach. In 2017, the computer software AlphaGo Zero beat its predecessor at the Chinese board game "Go" by making a move that no human would ever have contemplated. The software was not trained with human data, but only with data from games played between computers. Entirely eliminating the need for human input was impressive in itself, but move 37 became a landmark in AI research because it proved an AI system could move beyond the data it was given as input, demonstrating its creative ability.

Are AI systems about to outperform humans?

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Category: Science