Forget Killer Robots: Autonomous Weapons Are Already Online

BY Jeremy Hsu International discussions about lethal autonomous weapons have often ignored the fact that AI weaponry is already coursing through cyberspace. ARLIER THIS YEAR, concerns over the development of autonomous military systems — essentially AI-driven machinery capable of making battlefield decisions, including the selection of targets — were once again the center of attention at a United Nations meeting in Geneva. “Where is the line going to be drawn between human and machine decision-making?” Paul Scharre, director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C., told Time magazine. “Are we going to be … Continue reading Forget Killer Robots: Autonomous Weapons Are Already Online

Could Quantum Computing Be the End of Free Will?

YUSUF AHMAD / REUTERS On the fear that too much processing power will make us cease to be human by RACHEL GUTMAN Faster, more powerful computing has the potential to revolutionize fields from drug delivery to freight transportation. But some are also worried that the computers of the future could also upend what it means to be human. Quantum computing capitalizes on the quantum-physics principle that a particle may be in two states at once, as long as it does not leave a record of either state. Unlike traditional computers, which are made of bits restrained to values of zero or … Continue reading Could Quantum Computing Be the End of Free Will?

Artificial Consciousness: How To Give A Robot A Soul

Victor Tangermann, The Birth of Alexa, Photoshop, 2018  StockSnap/Victor Tangermann by Dan Robitzski  The Terminator was written to frighten us; WALL-E was written to make us cry. Robots can’t do the terrifying or heartbreaking things we see in movies, but still the question lingers: What if they could? Granted, the technology we have today isn’t anywhere near sophisticated enough to do any of that. But people keep asking. At the heart of those discussions lies the question: can machines become conscious? Could they even develop — or be programmed to contain — a soul? At the very least, could an algorithm contain something resembling a soul? The … Continue reading Artificial Consciousness: How To Give A Robot A Soul

We Need to Save Ignorance From AI

DRIVER’S ED: The website moralmachine.mit.edu tests human moral intuition in cases where machines will soon be making decisions, using data types of our own choosing.MIT In an age of all-knowing algorithms, how do we choose not to know? BY CHRISTINA LEUKER & WOUTER VAN DEN BOS After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German citizens were offered the chance to read the files kept on them by the Stasi, the much-feared Communist-era secret police service. To date, it is estimated that only 10 percent have taken the opportunity. In 2007, James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, asked that he … Continue reading We Need to Save Ignorance From AI

Google’s AI Can Predict When A Patient Will Die

 Google/Victor Tangermann by Victor Tangermann  AI knows when you’re going to die. But unlike in sci-fi movies, that information could end up saving lives. A new paper published in Nature suggests that feeding electronic health record data to a deep learning model could substantially improve the accuracy of projected outcomes. In trials using data from two U.S. hospitals, researchers were able to show that these algorithms could predict a patient’s length of stay and time of discharge, but also the time of death. The neural network described in the study uses an immense amount of data, such as a patient’s vitals and medical history, … Continue reading Google’s AI Can Predict When A Patient Will Die

The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics Pioneer Norbert Wiener on Communication, Control, and the Morality of Our Machines

Man as Industrial Palace (1926) by infographics pioneer Fritz Kahn “We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves. A pattern is a message.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Information will never replace illumination,” Susan Sontag asserted in considering the conscience of words. “Words are events, they do things, change things,”Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in the same era in her exquisite meditation on the magic of real human communication. “They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” But what happens when words are stripped of their humanity, fed into … Continue reading The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics Pioneer Norbert Wiener on Communication, Control, and the Morality of Our Machines

We Have No Idea What Having Sex With Robots Might Do to Us

 Realbotix/Esaias Tan/Victor Tangermann by Kristin Houser  There are so many ways the future might play out. Maybe we’ll have flying cars, but maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll live on Mars, but, heck, who knows. But one thing is pretty clearly going to happen: we’re gonna be banging robots. There are lots of people who, even now, are working to make this happen. And it’s not hard to picture how that might go, you know, in a physical sense. But we actually have pretty much no idea how that would affect our psyches. To try to understand what the effects might be before having sex … Continue reading We Have No Idea What Having Sex With Robots Might Do to Us