Tag Archives | Alternatives

Asteroid Day: A global day of awareness slated for June 30, 2015

AsteroidDay

via Astronomy.com:

Astrophysicist Brian May, founding member and lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, joined Lord Martin Rees, the UK Royal Astronomer, at the London Science Museum today to host a press conference to announce Asteroid Day, a global awareness campaign to educate the world about asteroids. The event was linked to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where Ryan Wyatt, director of the Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization, hosted astronauts Tom Jones, Ed Lu, and Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart. Bill Nye, the Science Guy and CEO of The Planetary Society, joined via video from New York.

A central focus of the event was the release of a 100x Declaration, calling for the hundredfold increase in the detection and monitoring of asteroids. Lord Rees read the declaration, which resolves to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future.”

The declaration calls for three key actions:

  • Employ the available technology to detect and track near-Earth asteroids that threaten human populations
  • A rapid hundredfold (100x) acceleration of the discovery and tracking of near-Earth objects
  • Global adoption of Asteroid Day on June 30, 2015, to heighten awareness of the asteroid hazard and efforts to prevent future impacts.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Day You’ll Prefer Robots to Humans

via The Singularity Hub:

Peter Diamandis on Dec 01, 2014

Finally, the robot revolution is arriving.

There’s a Cambrian explosion in robotics, with species of all sizes, shapes and modes of mobility crawling out of the muck of the lab and onto the terra firma of the marketplace, about to enter your home and your shopping experience.

Here’s why…

4 Converging (Enabling) Technologies

Four converging tech areas enable the revolution. I write about this in detail (both the technologies and business opportunities) in my next book BOLD (coming out February 2015). See if this makes sense…

  1. Sensors: The sensors that cost you $10 today would have been military secrets costing you tens of thousands of dollars 20 years ago. Sensors that listen, look, feel and navigate are plummeting in cost, size, weight and power consumption, thanks to the smartphone revolution.

Read More: http://singularityhub.com/2014/12/01/the-day-youll-prefer-robots-to-humans/

Read the rest

Continue Reading

American cultural imperialism has a new name: GAFA

Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

via Quartz:

In France, there’s a new word: GAFA. It’s an acronym, and it has become a shorthand term for some of the most powerful companies in the world—all American, all tech giants. GAFA stands for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.

The phrase is used by newspapers, blogs, and talking heads on TV—see here and here and here (all links in French). It even appears in the local version of “The Internet for Dummies.” Le Monde’s economics editor, Alexis Delcambre, tells Quartz that GAFA first appeared in his newspaper in December 2012. “GAFA is not used very often, but when used, it is almost always on critical topics, including taxes or personal data,” he says.

In the US, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are generally praised as examples of innovation. In the French press, and for much of the rest of Europe, their innovation is often seen in a less positive light—the ugly Americans coming over with innovative approaches to invading personal privacy or new ways to avoid paying their fair share.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Asimov’s Three Laws Are Not an International Treaty

Lima Pix (CC BY 2.0)

Lima Pix (CC BY 2.0)

via Slate:

Recently, Elon Musk voiced his concern (again) that developing artificial intelligence is “summoning the demon.” If you read his comments, though, you saw he wasn’t warning that the operating system from Hercould do more than break Joaquin Phoenix’s heart. Musk was specifically discussingdefense contractors and autonomous weapons. That’s consistent with his recent “Terminator” warnings (and that sentence fulfills my obligation to mentionTerminator in an article about artificial intelligence). It also echoes the legal position advocated by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (which has as unambiguous a name as you’re likely to find) that autonomous weapons “appear to be incapable of abiding by the key principles of international humanitarian law.” Opposition to killer robots seems as uncontroversial as opposition to the Killer Clown and support for “Killer Queen.” However, if you look closely at international law, it doesn’t have anything to say about artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is AI a Myth?

81cHkXqlUrL

via Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

A few weeks back the technologist Jaron Lanier gave a provocative talk over at The Edge in which he declared ideas swirling around the current manifestation AI to be a “myth”, and a dangerous myth at that. Yet Lanier was only one of a set of prominent thinkers and technologists who have appeared over the last few months to challenge want they saw as a flawed narrative surrounding recent advances in artificial intelligence.

There was a piece in The New York Review of Books back in October by the most famous skeptic from the last peak in AI – back in the early 1980’s, John Searle. (Relation to the author lost in the mists of time) It was Searle who invented the well-know thought experiment of the “Chinese Room”, which purports to show that a computer can be very clever without actually knowing anything at all.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence

Eddi van W. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Eddi van W. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Vanity Fair:

Kurt Andersen wonders: If the Singularity is near, will it bring about global techno-Nirvana or civilizational ruin?

THE GREAT SCHISM

Artificial intelligence is suddenly everywhere. It’s still what the experts call “soft A.I.,” but it is proliferating like mad. We’re now accustomed to having conversations with computers: to refill a prescription, make a cable-TV-service appointment, cancel an airline reservation—or, when driving, to silently obey the instructions of the voice from the G.P.S.

But until the other morning I’d never initiated an elective conversation with a talking computer. I asked the artificial-intelligence app on my iPhone how old I am. First, Siri spelled my name right, something human beings generally fail to do. Then she said, “This might answer your question,” and displayed my correct age in years, months, and days. She knows more about me than I do. When I asked, “What is the Singularity?,” Siri inquired whether I wanted a Web search (“That’s what I figured,” she replied) and offered up this definition: “A technological singularity is a predicted point in the development of a civilization at which technological progress accelerates beyond the ability of present-day humans to fully comprehend or predict.”

Siri appeared on my phone three years ago, a few months after the IBM supercomputer Watson beat a pair of Jeopardy!

Read the rest
Continue Reading

“They Did What They Liked”: Chevron and Dow on Trial

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

“They want me to be bankrupt, they want my wife to leave me, they want me to jump off a building,” says Steven Donziger, a lawyer based in New York City whose team won an unprecedented judgment against Chevron in 2011. That year, an Ecuadorean court found Texaco guilty of having polluted close to 2,000 square miles of the Amazon basin with crude oil, toxic wastewater, and other contaminants. The country’s Supreme Court eventually ordered the company’s successor, Chevron, to pay $9.5 billion for environmental remediation, medical treatment, and other relief for those affected. But Donziger’s victory painted a bull’s-eye on his back. The lawyer says he’s been watched; that he’s had laptops, thousands of documents, bank statements, and tax returns seized by court order and handed to Chevron’s lawyers; and that friends and supporters have been turned against him by threats of ruinous lawsuits.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Facebook threats and the Supreme Court: a guide to today’s case

John Marino (CC BY 2.0)

John Marino (CC BY 2.0)

via Gigaom:

The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the appeal of a man who went to prison for posting violent rants on Facebook. The case will shape the future of what people can and can’t say online, and is being closely watched by the tech industry, domestic violence groups, and civil libertarians.

Here’s a short overview of the facts and the law, and where to learn more.

What did the man write on Facebook to land in such trouble?

Anthony Elonis, a 31-year-old man from a small town in Pennsylvania, served more than 3 years in prison over a series of Facebook posts in which he threatened to kill his ex-wife, strap a bomb to his chest and shoot up a kindergarten class. Elonis says he never intended to harm anyone, and the Facebook posts — many of them rap lyrics quoting Eminem — were just a way of  a venting, and that the violence he described was no more than hip hop-inspired hyperbole.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

High school girls build kick-ass robots

Rebecca Selah (CC BY 2.0)

Rebecca Selah (CC BY 2.0)

via The Verge:

Girls don’t like robots.

Fredi Lajvardi heard that a lot. As a high school science teacher in urban Phoenix, he ran into roadblocks whenever he tried to recruit girls to the school’s robotics club. Male students and even some teachers offered a variety of excuses: they’re not good at building things; they don’t care about engineering; they don’t know how to use power tools.

Lajvardi didn’t believe it, even when female students said they weren’t interested in the robot team. To Lajvardi, it was a puzzle that needed a solution. He was born in Iran but his family moved to the US when he was one year old. As a high school student in Phoenix during the Iran hostage crisis in the early 1980s, he got beat up for being Iranian. It didn’t matter that he’d left Iran as an infant; the bullies just saw his otherness and hurt him for it.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Kim Dotcom wants to take his Internet Party to the U.S.

Via Gigaom:

Controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is getting ready to take his political ambitions to stateside. Dotcom announced on Twitter Monday that his Internet Party is going to launch in the United States in 2015:


Dotcom added that the party will be run and financed by U.S. citizens, and that he would only “help with public relations.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Dotcom has dabbled in politics. The former executive of the now-defunct Megaupload storage service helped to launch New Zealand’s Internet Party in early 2014.

Read Here: https://gigaom.com/2014/12/02/kim-dotcom-wants-to-take-his-internet-party-to-the-u-s/

Read the rest

Continue Reading