Artificial intelligence (AI) is hardly a new idea. In fact, the first reference to what we now understand as AI dates back to 1863, when Samuel Butler wrote Darwin among the Machines. Butler’s article predicted the rise of “mechanical consciousness” and, like the writers who came after him, the picture he painted was somewhat dystopic.
We now have the privilege of witnessing the world that Butler and so many other writers foresaw. Unlike the inhabitants of their fictional futures, we’re not unduly worried about self-aware robots seizing control.