The latest Marvel/Avengers movie, Age of Ultron is hitting cinemas right now. The anticipation of watching makes me feel like I’m a kid again.

Cool Technology, Flawed Superheroes, Sophisticated Villain, Random Jokes… What’s not to love?

These types of movies pose a recurring question: Is artificial intelligence (AI), as portrayed in the movies, closer than we think?

During a recent interview featuring Dr. Peter Diamandis with Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Workweek), Diamandis explained how Moore’s law, continues to make real progress towards AI.

Most of us interpret Moore’s Law to be: since 1965 the number of transistors fitting onto a single computer chip has been doubling every two years until the present day. 

Peter Diamandis stated the average US $1,000 computer in 2010 was capable of 100 billion calculations per second.

He predicts that by 2023 as Moore’s Law continues the $1,000 PC (in today’s money) would have the computing power of 10 to the power of 16 (10^16) or 10,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second. This is the understood to be the level of complexity matched in the human brain.

Roll forward 25 years (2048) and the “$1,000 computer” will have enough computing power equal to that of the entire human race.

The contrary view is that computers are only capable of being tools and complements to humans. According to Peter Thiel in Zero to One, “computers are far more different from people than any two people are different from each other: men and machines are good at fundamentally different things. People have intentionality – we form plans and make decisions in complicated situations. We’re less good at making sense of enormous amounts of data.

“Computers are exactly the opposite: they excel at efficient data processing, but they struggle to make basic judgements that would be simple for any human… computers don’t yearn for more luxurious foods or beachfront villas… all they require is a nominal amount of electricity, which they’re not even smart enough to want.”

I’m inclined to believe Thiel’s perspective will hold true for the next 20 years. However if Moore’s law continues unbound, then maybe in the next 50-100 years we will face AI that is similar to what we see in the movies…