In 1965, philosophy professor Hubert Dreyfus, a staunch critic of artificial intelligence, boldly claimed that a machine would never beat a human at the game of chess. It would only be two years before the sceptical scholar was himself checkmated by an MIT-developed computer. By 1997 machines were advanced enough to defeat one of the greatest chess minds of his time – Garry Kasparov. In 2015, our species’ finest player of the very intuitive and “human” game of Go repeatedly conceded to Google’s computer.
“Wake up, Monsieur le Comte! You have great things to do.” Those are the words, which, uttered by his personal valet every morning, would rouse the celebrated 19th century thinker, Henri de Saint Simon. But for most of us, struggling to wake up in time for school or work, or leaving home at daybreak to reach a far-away well, greatness is not the first thing on our minds.