Artificial intelligence is powerful—and misunderstood. What we need to know to protect workers

IN 2015, A MAN NAMED NIGEL Richards won the title of French-language Scrabble World Champion. This was especially noteworthy because Richards does not speak French. What the New Zealander had done was memorize each of the 386,000 words in the entire French Scrabble dictionary, in the space of just nine weeks.

Richards’ impressive feat is a useful metaphor for how artificial intelligence works—real AI, not the paranoid fantasies that some self-appointed “futurists” like to warn us about. Just as Richards committed vast troves of words to memory in order to master

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME2 min readPolitics
Ross Perot
I ONCE ASKED ROSS PEROT, WHO DIED JULY 9 AT 89, TO TELL ME the secret of his success. He said that he sells umbrellas when it’s raining. He knew there was a right place and a right time to take advantage of an opportunity. And boy, did he ever! I’ll
TIME11 min readPolitics
Uncertain Justice
Who is Brett Kavanaugh? That may seem like an odd question. For a few weeks last September, the world learned almost everything about Kavanaugh: his tenure as a judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals and as a White House lawyer for President George W. Bu
TIME4 min readSociety
What Revived The Case Against Jeffrey Epstein
THE CHARGES FACING FINANCIER JEFFREY Epstein involve child sex trafficking. But when prosecutors presented the details, this one stood out: the girls he’s accused of sexually abusing are no longer children. “While the charged conduct is from a numbe