Can we speak comparatively? How does AI compare to random variation, differential reproduction, and evolution? Similarities? Differences? AI now in its single cell stage today, and a primitive cell at that? Will cells combine as they evolve, with many early variations that are not fecund, but an extremely rare variation that becomes a fecund hybrid? Or perhaps these comments are just metaphorical nonsense?
AI is a buzz word, always in the press, and companies run to commercialise it, even when alternative, established methods exist. A lot of what is termed AI is simple pattern matching, yet we use the word intelligent to describe it.
The principles and techniques have been around for a long time. The model we have of the neuron seems to work well, and is established. The methods we use to train networks of these neurons has settled (genetic algorithms and back propagation). The real progress (besides finally having the CPU power) has been in structuring the networks to give them the opportunity to excel, by creating software that uses the networks to create their own data. Deepmind's alpha zero is a fantastic example of this, a great bit of software surrounding a bunch of standard neuron models, that is able to master any two player game (with perfect information). So whereas we have a good model of the neuron, and how networks of them can be structured to excel at different types of problems, what we dont have is an understanding of how the brain manages networks and builds the "software" around them.
Most of my recent experience has been with genetic evolution simulations and I can honestly say it has helped me (real world) understand peoples behaviour better. It has also helped me understand my wife's, post chemo, symptoms. A lot of the best work in AI has come from studying and trying to understand the biology of the brain, with Biology knowledge as important as computer coding experience.
I often see things in simulations that apply to the real world, traits, afflictions, skills, etc. Always the most relevant results come when natures own rules are modelled as closely as possible.
As for AI killer robots, I do think they will be a major factor in a war soon.