Recently, the game show Jeopardy started showing a 3-day, 2 game exabition match between Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and IBM's lattest computer wonder, WATSON, a computer that can "think" out answers to questions on the game show.
This computer was created over 4 years time, and is the size of old 1940's super computers (Imagine the computing power comparison. The computer you play STO on is stronger then those 40's SUPER computers! How much stronger is WATSON? )
Here is a YouTube video of part of Day 1's competition.
The computer used to run WATSON is an IBM Blue Gene. This is currently one of the most powerful computers in the world (The absolute most powerful is the IBM Roadrunner). The real marvel here, though, is the fact that the computer program WATSON is capable of deciphering clues, hints, and questions, all while formulation an answer.
I just hope AI takes the route it did in the Halo franchise, a (mostly) benevolent and helpful intelligence that enjoys its work of helping us with our tasks and is destroyed before it gets too old and starts feeling itself a god or entitled to more than us or better than us and starts killing us.
Because I really don't want it going all Evil Lincoln, Moriarty, or the entire platoon that went after the Hirogen on us a la Star Trek's track record for self-aware AI.
Or Hal 9000, Replicants from Bladerunner, Lore, Matrix, Mark 5 (Also Star Trek), SkyNet, and the list goes on.