(via SourceFed) Google is doing the best thing in science yet. They're creating a "Brain-styled neural network," which they're feeding random information off from YouTube.
So far, the computer knows what a cat is. That's awesome. (It's also great that it's what it learned from YouTube.) This isn't really the first step towards artificial intelligence, Google made that first step a long time ago, but it's a big one, and it means we might be close to seeing a singularity-like event.
The fact that the computer is learning how to identify and define things like 'cats' means it will likely soon come up with a definition for 'human,' and that will answer a pretty big question.
I don't think you can just ask a computer what a human is. I would assume it'd be obvious to anyone that a computer's estimation of what a human is would just be a useful set of guidelines that aren't representative of some deep, universal truth.
In fact, that's my point. I love the idea of a computer that can learn, because I think it makes it a lot more obvious, and a lot more undeniable, that the way we categorize things isn't some magic, universe-piercing insight, it's just a categorization set that's useful to us. Our goals are to survive, so we're good at categorizing things in ways that relate to our biological survival.
Google's brain computer's goal would be to successfully interact with humans. So, it's going to learn how to categorize things in a way that enables it to achieve concept-overlap between itself and the people it talks to.
SourceFed has already given us an example of people freaking out because it's totally going to kill us all. And it's not going to do that, because it's got no reason to. What I'm really looking forward to seeing is the people who get obsessively indignant about how it's totally not a human or whatever, and it's an abomination, or shouldn't have equal status, basically the whole spectrum of anti-robot racism is what I think we have to look forward to.