Tag Archives | Artificial Intelligence

Sympathy for the Robot

Johnny 5 and CHAPPiE: Heralds of the End Times or cute widdle wobots?

Cute widdle wobots or heralds of human extinction?

[Editor’s Note: This article may contain spoilers.]

Most of the time, I couldn’t care less about a computer’s feelings. I distrust them, frequently cuss at them, and occasionally smash them to pieces. Pretty callous, right?

You’d think a colorful robot on the silver screen would tug at my heartstrings, but no, not really. They usually make me uneasy. I didn’t bat an eye when C-3PO got blasted apart in The Empire Strikes Back. As a kid I thought The Terminator was super-cool, but seriously, it wasn’t a big deal to see half of his face crunched off—he’s tough, he can take it, he’s just a machine!

Things were different with Neill Blomkamp’s CHAPPiE.

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End Times Canines


Whether your think artificial intelligence is fact or fiction, the beginning of a brave new world or the end of this one, for many of Japan’s robot dog owners, doomsday has already come in the form of the end of the production of their really remarkable canine companions. Here’s the lowdown from RT Daily News

AIBO pet dogs are the world’s first home entertainment robots with artificial intelligence (AI). They can speak, sense, and express their feelings – which encourages many owners to treat the toys as real family members. The gadgets are even known for developing their own unique personalities.

Many who bought the dog robots now feel abandoned by Sony, which canceled the production of AIBOs in 2006. The last tech clinic for the toys was closed in March 2014, creating a massive shortage of spare parts.

Sony sold more than 150,000 units between 1999 – when they were created – and 2006.Read the rest

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Is this life real?

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Mathew Francis at Aeon.co:

Our species is not going to last forever. One way or another, humanity will vanish from the Universe, but before it does, it might summon together sufficient computing power to emulate human experience, in all of its rich detail. Some philosophers and physicists have begun to wonder if we’re already there. Maybe we are in a computer simulation, and the reality we experience is just part of the program.

Modern computer technology is extremely sophisticated, and with the advent of quantum computing, it’s likely to become more so. With these more powerful machines, we’ll be able to perform large-scale simulations of more complex physical systems, including, possibly, complete living organisms, maybe even humans. But why stop there?

The idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds. A pair of philosophers recently argued that if we accept the eventual complexity of computer hardware, it’s quite probable we’re already part of an ‘ancestor simulation’, a virtual recreation of humanity’s past.

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Davos Says: 7 Reasons Why Elon Musk Is Wrong To Believe Intelligent Robots Will One Day Kill Us All

Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

Jim Edwards writes at Business Insider:

A panel at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland has just completely dismantled the idea — currently trendy in the tech sector — that artificially intelligent robots, lacking morals, may one day independently decide to start killing humans.

The idea has been spread, somewhat tongue in cheek, by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who has even suggested that the robots may even thwart any humans who try to escape them by blasting off to Mars.

AI research is advancing rapidly inside private companies right now like Facebook and Google. That R&D is mostly a secret, which is why people like to speculate about it. Plus, everyone loves the Terminator movies, in which killer AI robots are the main protagonists.

The panel was hosted by two UC Berkeley professors, Ken Goldberg (who studies robotics) and Alison Gopnik (who studies psychology).

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Have We Been Tricked Into Fearing Artificial Intelligence?

Global Panorama (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Global Panorama (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Erik Sofge at Popular Science thinks that we’ve been duped into fearing artificial intelligence by the fear-mongering media. Are we being too cautious? Not cautious enough?

via Popular Science:

Earlier this week, an organization called the Future of Life Institute issued an open letter on the subject of building safety measures into artificial intelligence systems (AI). The letter, and the research document that accompanies it, present a remarkably even-handed look at how AI researchers can maximize the potential of this technology. Here’s the letter at its most ominous, which is to say, not ominous at all:

Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.

And here was CNET’s headline, for its story about the letter:

Artificial intelligence experts sign open letter to protect mankind from machines

BBC News, meanwhile, ventured slightly further out of the panic room to deliver this falsehood:

Experts pledge to rein in AI research

I’d like to think that this is rock bottom.

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Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankind

Stephen Hawking in CambridgeNot to be outdone by Silicon Valley superhero Elon Musk who recently warned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is “our biggest existential threat,” British genius Stephen Hawking tells BBC News that AI could spell the end of mankind:

Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.

He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.

But others are less gloomy about AI’s prospects.

The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak.

Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next.

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Automation Makes Us Dumb

FANUC R2000iB AtWork.jpg

“Human intelligence is withering as computers do more, but there’s a solution,” says Nicholas Carr in an essay for the Wall Street Journal:

Artificial intelligence has arrived. Today’s computers are discerning and sharp. They can sense the environment, untangle knotty problems, make subtle judgments and learn from experience. They don’t think the way we think—they’re still as mindless as toothpicks—but they can replicate many of our most prized intellectual talents. Dazzled by our brilliant new machines, we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves.

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down.

It has been a slow process. The first wave of automation rolled through U.S.

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Elon Musk Warns Artificial Intelligence Could Wipe Out Humanity

As one of the most celebrated of technology pioneers, Elon Musk (Tesla cars, SpaceX, etc.) knows a thing or two about where technology is headed, and he’s not at all sure there will be a positive outcome for humanity per this interview with Walter Isaacson for Vanity Fair:

Tesla and SpaceX C.E.O. Elon Musk said he was worried that people didn’t understand how fast artificial intelligence was progressing, and expressed his concern that, in a worst-case scenario, a “super-intelligent” machine might decide to destroy human life.

Musk was speaking to Walter Isaacson, the president and C.E.O. of the Aspen Institute, on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. Musk, uncharacteristically wearing a suit, detailed his fears after teasing the announcement of Tesla’s secretive project called “the D.”

“I don’t think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing. Particularly if [the machine is] involved in recursive self-improvement .

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Computers Will Be Like Humans By 2029

Spike Jonze - Her“Her” here we come! That’s the prediction of Ray Kurzweil, futurist in chief at Google, reports CNBC:

In less than two decades, you won’t just use your computers, you will have relationships with them.

Because of artificial intelligence, computers will be able to read at human levels by 2029 and will also begin to have different human characteristics, said Ray Kurzweil, the director of engineering at Google.

“My timeline is computers will be at human levels, such as you can have a human relationship with them, 15 years from now,” he said. Kurzweil’s comments came at the Exponential Finance conference in New York on Wednesday.

“When I say about human levels, I’m talking about emotional intelligence. The ability to tell a joke, to be funny, to be romantic, to be loving, to be sexy, that is the cutting edge of human intelligence, that is not a sideshow.”

The Oscar winning movie ‘Her,’ which was about a man who fell in love with his operating system, foreshadowed many of Kurzweil’s predictions about how artificial intelligence (AI) will evolve…

[continues at CNBC]

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Computer Program ‘Eugene Goostman’ Passes Turing Test

'Eugene' wants to know where you live. It's not a secret, is it?

‘Eugene’ wants to know where you live. It’s not a secret, is it?

The program convinced humans that that it was a 13 year-old boy. You can chat with it here.

A programme that convinced humans that it was a 13-year-old boy has become the first computer ever to pass the Turing Test. The test — which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans — is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime.

Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations.

Eugene Goostman, a computer programme made by a team based in Russia, succeeded in a test conducted at the Royal Society in London. It convinced 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, said academics at the University of Reading, which organised the test.

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