Artificial Intelligence: What Will the Next 20 Years Bring?


In Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig’s seminal book, Artificial Intelligence: a Modern Approach, the two authors wind up their work with a chapter looking at the future of artificial intelligence (AI). Their book is still the text of choice for teaching AI at many universities and so, I thought, reviewing the predictions they made 20 years ago could help guide us to make better predictions now, for the next 20 years of AI.

Upon rereading the book, though, their predictions from 1995 felt surprisingly salient and topical. There must be something wrong! How could a chapter on the future of AI written 20 years ago seem so similar to the many articles predicting the future of AI being written today? Have we not made any progress worth a mention in the past two decades?

Certainly, things are different today. There is much more enthusiasm and investment going into AI today than at any other time in the past. Maybe Russell and Norvig’s predictions were premature, but they are more imminent today than ever before.

So I can’t help but wonder whether most predictions being made today will still be topical in 2035. Even as recently as 2007, David Orrell failed to mention AI even once in his book The Future of Everything. Predicting the future of technology is indeed a dangerous game!

But let’s take a crack at it anyway, starting with the easier to predict and more immediate and incremental improvements, and then looking further out.

In The Near Term (In the Next 5 Years)

Prediction 1 – Improved speech, voice, image and video recognition will change the way we interact with our devices

Over the next few years, we will continue to see vast improvements in the quality and fidelity of speech, voice, image, and video recognition, and —> Read More