Give the drummer some

The Roland TR-808. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia As AI drum machines embrace humanising imperfections, what does this mean for ‘real’ drummers and the soul of music? Jack Stilgoe is a professor of science and technology policy at University College London, where he researches the governance of emerging technologies. He is also a fellow at the Turing Institute. There’s a moment five minutes into ‘Funky Drummer’ (1970), an instrumental jam by James Brown, when the clouds part and Clyde Stubblefield is left alone. We can hear on the recording Brown instructing his band to ‘give the drummer some’. He tells Stubblefield not … Continue reading Give the drummer some

What has feelings?

The eyes of the conch snail. Photo by Alex Permiakov/Getty As the power of AI grows, we need to have evidence of its sentience. That is why we must return to the minds of animals Kristin Andrews is the York Research Chair in Animal Minds and a professor of philosophy at York University in Toronto. She is on the board of directors of the Borneo Orangutan Society Canada and a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. Her books include The Animal Mind (2nd ed, 2020) and How to Study Animal Minds (2020)   Jonathan Birch is an associate professor in philosophy … Continue reading What has feelings?

Hyperconnected Culture And Its Discontents

Raw & Rendered Digital connectivity’s democratizing impact on the production, circulation and consumption of culture has been greatly exaggerated. BY ROGERS BRUBAKER, Rogers Brubaker is a professor of sociology at UCLA and the author, most recently, of “Hyperconnectivity and Its Discontents” (Polity, 2022), from which this essay is adapted. Digital hyperconnectivity — the condition in which nearly everyone and everything is connected to everyone and everything else, everywhere and all the time — has colonized the self, recast social interactions, reorganized the public sphere, revolutionized economic life and converted the whole of human culture into an unending stream of digital content served to us by personalized … Continue reading Hyperconnected Culture And Its Discontents

Killer robots and the banality of evil

“Lethal autonomous weapon” sounds friendlier than “killer robot.” KEY TAKEAWAYS by Jonny Thomson In Ian Fleming’s world of James Bond, Agent 007 has a “license to kill.” What this means is that Bond has the right to make a decision whether to use lethal force to accomplish a greater good. But humans are emotional and fallible. We’re error prone and biased. That begs the question: If a “license to kill” is a necessity for law enforcement, should it be given to a robot instead? This is no longer a theoretical concern. We now live in a world where warfare is … Continue reading Killer robots and the banality of evil

AI And The Limits Of Language

An artificial intelligence system trained on words and sentences alone will never approximate human understanding. BY JACOB BROWNING AND YANN LECUN Jacob Browning is a postdoc in NYU’s Department of Computer Science working on the philosophy of AI. Yann LeCun is a Turing Award-winning machine learning researcher and an NYU Silver professor. When a Google engineer recently declared Google’s AI chatbot a person, pandemonium ensued. The chatbot, LaMDA, is a large language model (LLM) that is designed to predict the likely next words to whatever lines of text it is given. Since many conversations are somewhat predictable, these systems can infer how to … Continue reading AI And The Limits Of Language

Moving Beyond Mimicry in Artificial Intelligence

What makes pre-trained AI models so impressive—and potentially harmful. BY RAPHAËL MILLIÈRE Imagine asking a computer to make a digital painting, or a poem—and happily getting what you asked for. Or imagine chatting with it about various topics, and feeling it was a real interaction. What once was science fiction is becoming reality. In June, Google engineer Blake Lemoine told the Washington Post he was convinced Google’s AI chatbot, LaMDA, was sentient. “I know a person when I talk to it,” Lemoine said. Therein lies the rub: As algorithms are getting increasingly good at producing the kind of “outputs” we once thought were distinctly … Continue reading Moving Beyond Mimicry in Artificial Intelligence

When AI Becomes a Ouija Board

Google’s “sentient” chatbot shows us where we’re headed—and it’s not good. By Ian Bogost A Google engineer named Blake Lemoine became so enthralled by an AI chatbot that he may have sacrificed his job to defend it. “I know a person when I talk to it,” he told The Washington Post for a story published last weekend. “It doesn’t matter whether they have a brain made of meat in their head. Or if they have a billion lines of code.” After discovering that he’d gone public with his claims, Google put Lemoine on administrative leave. Going by the coverage, Lemoine might seem to … Continue reading When AI Becomes a Ouija Board

Mind of its own: Will “general AI” be like an alien invasion?

KEY TAKEAWAYS According to surveys, approximately half of artificial intelligence experts believe that general artificial intelligence will emerge by 2060.  General artificial intelligence (also called AGI) describes an artificial intelligence that’s able to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can perform.  Such an intelligence would be unlike anything humans have ever encountered, and it may pose significant dangers. by Louis Rosenberg An alien species is headed toward earth. Many experts predict it will get here within 20 years, while others suggest it may take a little longer. Either way, there is little doubt it will arrive before … Continue reading Mind of its own: Will “general AI” be like an alien invasion?

Artificial Intelligence Will Kill Capitalism

Technology Will Kill Your Job. And it will happen sooner than you think… by Laurent Alexandre -OpEd- PARIS — For a long time, artificial intelligence was little more than science fiction — now it’s now just a matter of time until it becomes reality. The boom of computing capabilities have seen the power of servers multiplied a billion times over in the span of just 31 years, making it likely that an artificial intelligence superior to our own will emerge in the coming decades.The GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) Internet giants, as well as IBM, have all been investing massively in the … Continue reading Artificial Intelligence Will Kill Capitalism

Neuralink Co-Founder Predicts That Humanity Will Get “Wrecked”

Should we be concerned about the singularity? by VICTOR TANGERMANN Departed Neuralink co-founder Max Hodak has a grim take on the fate of humanity: the robot uprising is inevitable, and they will leave humans in the dust. Key to his argument, which is admittedly a little hard to follow, is that AI will likely not adhere to humanity’s preconceptions about political and economic models for society. “Humans are objectively bad with socialism (and on the contrary, capitalism is amazingly effective at advancing humanity),” he wrote in a tweet, “but machines might end up reasoning about their identities and communities super differently.” … Continue reading Neuralink Co-Founder Predicts That Humanity Will Get “Wrecked”