The Future Of AI: Is Something Different This Time? For classes in computer science, religion and ethics, business, and mathematics: the biggest shift in AI research has come through two developments. The first is the new capacity for machines to learn for themselves. The other development driving this wave of excitement is the ubiquity of Big Data. It’s critical to emphasize that we don’t need machines to go all Matrix or SkyNet on us (meaning a fully self-aware, fully evil AI). Machines just have to become intelligent enough, in the way that scientists are already developing, for society to run into difficulties.