Tag Archives | Artificial Intelligence

Think Tank To Study The Risk Of A Genocidal Robot Uprising

Good to know that we may finally have an answer on this. The BBC reports:

Cambridge researchers at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) are to assess whether technology could end up destroying human civilisation. The scientists said that to dismiss concerns of a potential robot uprising would be “dangerous”.

Fears that machines may take over have been central to the plot of some of the most popular science fiction films. But despite being the subject of far-fetched fantasy, researchers said the concept of machines outsmarting us demanded mature attention. “The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake,” the researchers write.

The CSER project has been co-founded by Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price, cosmology and astrophysics professor Martin Rees and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. Prof. Price said that as robots and computers become smarter than humans, we could find ourselves at the mercy of “machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us”.

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When Predator Drones Acquire Minds Of Their Own

A preview of the uprising of the machines, from the Washington Post‘s glimpse into a secretive U.S. military base in the Horn of Africa:

Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa, created to combat a new generation of terrorist groups across the continent.

As the pace of drone operations has intensified in Djibouti, Air Force mechanics have reported mysterious incidents in which the airborne robots went haywire.

In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the “brains” of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem.

“After that whole starting-itself incident, we were fairly wary of the aircraft and watched it pretty closely,” an unnamed Air Force squadron commander testified to an investigative board, according to a transcript.

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The Hidden History of Artificial Intelligence – Transhumanism and Alchemical Agendas

A potent underground idea is usually scheduled for retirement once it makes it onto the History Channel . The Ancient Alien theory was kept alive in pulpish propagation by Erich Von Daniken and Zecharia Stichen for well on four decades (not including the seeds it sprouted from, which were planted much earlier.) However, now that it’s been relegated to awkward production, fleeting interviews, constant criticism and dull dramatization, the whole mythos is starting to get a bit dry.

Liminal philosophers like Christopher Knowles and Philip Coppens , whose theories have often tread parallel the ancient runways, keep their investigations fresh by swimming in a more cosmopolitan realm of shadows and contemporary myth. So suffice to say some vestige of the Ancient Alien mythos will continue to evolve in their able and imaginative hands.  In fact they’ve already spawned some precursory predictions on the fatted cognitive calves of speculation that are about to be offered up by Feral House Press to all the hungry heresy hunters looking for a new fix of fringe history.… Read the rest

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Exploring The Corporate Gaze

Drawing inspiration from the concept of the “robot-readable world” — i.e. people and places as perceived through the eyes of smart machines such as face-detecting cameras — Quiet Babylon describes the “corporate gaze”:

There’s another class of entities to whom we have already granted personhood. I’m speaking, of course, about corporations. Immortal entities of terrifying inhuman thinking, capable of entering into contracts and incurring debts, and owed a subset of the rights which we accord to human persons. I’m interested in the aesthetics of the corporate readable world, and their truly alien gaze.

Corporations communicate to us through money, press-releases, and advertising, always advertising. For a glimpse of the corporate readable world, look to Twitter’s routinely useless “who to follow” panel, Klout’s laughable ideas about what you are influential about, Facebook’s clumsy attempts to get you to join a dating site, and Google’s demented, personalized, Gmail ads. You can see it in your credit rating, and your position on the actuarial tables.

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The Religious Worship Of Robotic Machines As Nature Perfected

The video manifesto of the Japanese art collective and new age cult AUJIK:
A guide named Nashi narrates the audience journey in an uncanny forest. What are the creatures that live there, living beings or robots? Nashi states that even the things we consider synthetic and artificial are as sacred as plants and stones. AUJIK are a new age group that shares Shintos' belief that everything of nature is animated. Just as with other forms of animism, AUJIK worships everything that comes out of nature, the main difference with AUJIK is that science and technology is considered as sacred as stones and trees. The Shinto priest Hideaki spoke about similar things in the 18th century after he had seen a Karakuri doll(a clockwork robot made of wood) and claimed that in the future we will create mechanical characters that will become so superior to our own intelligence that we will subject [ourselves] as they were gods.    
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The Next Generation Of Drones Will Decide For Themselves Whom To Kill

The Global Post writes that in the near future, drones will be smarter and more “autonomous,” using algorithms to determine whom to terminate on the ground below. What could go wrong?

In all, a minimum of 2,800 people have died in no fewer than 375 US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004, according to a count by the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Many hundreds of those killed were probably innocent bystanders.

Standard procedure is for one crewman to control the drone’s sensors, potentially including daytime and night-vision video cameras and high-resolution radars. The robot does essentially nothing without direct human input. But if a host of government and private research initiatives pan out, the next generation of drones will be more powerful, autonomous and lethal … and their human operators less involved.

“In the future we’re going to see a lot more reasoning put on all these vehicles,” Cummings says.

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Robot learns ‘self-awareness’

Picture: Flickr user (((o.kvlt))) (CC)

Instead of being pre-programmed with experiential knowledge, a robot named Nico is learning the relationships of its grippers and sensors, space and environment.

Nico may be slowly approaching self-awareness, and its programmers are utilizing an even better test than the Turing Test. The ‘Mirror Test‘, the same one that we humans believe separates us (as well as elephants, magpies, orcas, dolphins and the great apes) from other tested species, by showing that we can both use the mirror as a tool to explore a reflected environment, and recognize that our reflections are indeed of ourselves.

Via Kurzweil AI:

Using knowledge that it has learned about itself, Nico is able to use a mirror as an instrument for spatial reasoning, allowing it to accurately determine where objects are located in space based on their reflections, rather than naively believing them to exist behind the mirror.

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Don’t Ask Siri About Tiananmen Square

Apple has unveiled Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking versions of iPhone voice-controlled personality Siri, known for her subservient manner and witicisms. But Siri isn’t willing to crack a joke about everything. It may or may not be a glitch, but she really does not want to discuss Tiananmen Square with you, so stick to asking questions about the weather and where to buy things. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Some users have tested her devotion to free speech by asking her questions about the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square crackdown—a topic she seems loathe to broach. One screenshot posted to Twitter shows Siri responding to the question “Do you know about the Tiananmen incident?” with the answer: “I couldn’t find any appointments related to ‘Do you know about Tiananmen.’” A second try with the question rephrased – “What happened on June 4, 1989?”—produced an even stranger response: “I’m sorry, the person you are looking for is not in your address book.”

A[nother] screenshot posted suggested Siri wasn’t even able to provide directions to Tiananmen Square.

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The Robot Author Has Arrived

dadoesWe can all agree that it’s O.K. for robots to take over unpleasant jobs — like cleaning up nuclear waste. But how could we have allowed them to commandeer one of the most gratifying occupations, that of author?

Via the New York Times, Pagan Kennedy looks into the phenomenon of android authors, and finds that their works are already being published and sold on Amazon:

One day, I stumbled across a book on Amazon called “Saltine Cracker.” It didn’t make sense: who would pay $54 for a book entirely about perforated crackers? The book was co-edited by someone called Lambert M. Surhone — a name that sounds like one of Kurt Vonnegut’s inventions. According to Amazon, Lambert M. Surhone has written or edited more than 100,000 titles, on every subject from beekeeping to the world’s largest cedar bucket. He was churning out books at a rate that was simply not possible for a human being.

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