Embracing the robot

  image edited by Fernando Kaskais Azuma Hikari, the virtual home robot from Gatebox. Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty Robot relationships need not be kinky, exploitative or fake. In fact they might give human relationships a helpful boost John Danaher is a lecturer in the Law School at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the author of the blog Philosophical Disquisitions. His latest book is Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications (2017), co-edited with Neil McArthur. Edited by Nigel Warburton There is a heartbreaking scene in the middle of Blade Runner 2049 (2017). The hero of the movie, a replicant called K, lives a drab existence in a … Continue reading Embracing the robot

Algorithmic wilderness

A drone offers a unique bird’s eye view as part of a forest fire surveillance system in the Landes region, France. Photo by Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Robo-bees and drone-seeded forests: can technology mend our broken relationship with the natural world? by Henry Mance is a political correspondent at the Financial Times. He writes Strangers’ Gallery, a weekly satirical take on politics and culture. He lives in London. Edited by Sally Davies I’ve tried many ways to free my brain from my iPhone. I’ve invented rules, bought books, deleted apps, installed other apps. But the only thing that reliably works is to leave the phone at … Continue reading Algorithmic wilderness

Are Robots Quietly Taking Over The World?

image edited by Fernando Kaskais Meet Our New Overlords by Capitalist Exploits By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at Intelligence is easily the most profound qualifier for why we humans rule planet earth. It’s also only the smallest percentage that makes all the difference. Consider that we share about 90% of our DNA with blimmin’ mice for goodness sake. And yet the differences couldn’t be starker. In fact, we share fully 99% with chimpanzees, and even though we’ve all met “those people” who make us wish for a chimp, for the most part we humans trump chimps by most any metric. Intelligence is also the most dangerous. … Continue reading Are Robots Quietly Taking Over The World?

Waiting For the Robot Rembrandt

A BEAUTIFUL DREAM: This series, called “Deep Rembrandt,” was displayed in Category 3, Machine Art / Human Aesthetics. It was generated with Google’s Deep Dream AI software.Courtesy of the Artificial Intelligence Art and Aesthetics Research Group What needs to happen for artificial intelligence to make fine art. BY HIDEKI NAKAZAWA The cellist Jan Vogler famously claimed that art is what makes us human. But what if machines start making art too?Here’s an example of a piece of art made by an artificial intelligence (AI): A BIT OF ART: A computer trained with images of graffiti produces its own art by spraying water … Continue reading Waiting For the Robot Rembrandt

How We Make Gods

ILLUSTRATION BY JONATHON ROSEN Taking lessons from the rise and fall of divinity in online games. BY JASON ANTHONY From the moment he arrived, Egor lived for mayhem. The time was 1982, and the place was the first online game world, called MUD (short for Multi-User Dungeon). Before Egor there had been duels, pranks, and the occasional fire-breathing dragon, all amiably playing out in the MUD world, hosted on the servers of the University of Essex. A rough kind of social contract had held. Egor was the screen name of a player who set out to test the limits. He … Continue reading How We Make Gods

AI, Karma & Our Robot Future

Wang Zi Won, Mechanical Avalokitesvara, 2011. Urethane, metallic material, machinery, electronic device (CPU board, motor), 60 x 150 x 57 cm. Courtesy Gallery Huue. Two artificial intelligence scientists discuss what’s to come. A conversation with Steve Omohundro and Nikki Mirghafori In 2016, viewers of HBO’s Westworld were treated to a sci-fi thriller in which participants in a Wild West–themed immersion experience—an amusement park of sorts—robbed, killed, fell in love, and lived out a host of other adventures with artificially intelligent robots who were almost indistinguishable from human beings. The blockbuster show was fodder for TV-loving Buddhists, some of whom opined that the endless loop of the … Continue reading AI, Karma & Our Robot Future


Quantum computers have to deal with the problem of noise, which can quickly derail any calculation. JOSEF BSHARAH FOR QUANTA MAGAZINE AUTHOR: PHILIP BALL AFTER DECADES OF heavy slog with no promise of success, quantum computing is suddenly buzzing with almost feverish excitement and activity. Nearly two years ago, IBM made a quantum computer available to the world: the 5-quantum-bit (qubit) resource they now call (a little awkwardly) the IBM Q experience. That seemed more like a toy for researchers than a way of getting any serious number crunching done. But 70,000 users worldwide have registered for it, and the qubit count in … Continue reading THE ERA OF QUANTUM COMPUTING IS HERE. OUTLOOK: CLOUDY