Tag Archives | Futurism

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!

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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.

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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.

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Spooky alignment of quasar axes across billions of light-years with large-scale structure

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

via Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence:

New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the Universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. The team has also found that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to be aligned with the vast structures in the cosmic web in which they reside.

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centers. These black holes are surrounded by spinning discs of extremely hot material that is often spewed out in long jets along their axes of rotation.

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God’s Lonely Programmer

Duncan Verrall (CC BY 2.0)

Duncan Verrall (CC BY 2.0)

via Vice:

In the beginning there is darkness. The screen erupts in blue, then a cascade of thick, white hexadecimal numbers and cracked language, “UnusedStk” and “AllocMem.” Black screen cedes to blue to white and a pair of scales appear, crossed by a sword, both images drawn in the jagged, bitmapped graphics of Windows 1.0-era clip-art—light grey and yellow on a background of light cyan. Blue text proclaims, “God on tap!”

This is TempleOS V2.17, the welcome screen explains, a “Public Domain Operating System” produced by Trivial Solutions of Las Vegas, Nevada. It greets the user with a riot of 16-color, scrolling, blinking text; depending on your frame of reference, it might recall ​DESQview, the ​Commodore 64, or a host of early DOS-based graphical user interfaces. In style if not in specifics, it evokes a particular era, a time when the then-new concept of “personal computing” necessarily meant programming and tinkering and breaking things.

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10 Reasons Why Our Universe Is A Virtual Reality

Tom (CC BY 2.0)

Tom (CC BY 2.0)

via Listverse:

Physical realism is the view that the physical world we see is real and exists by itself, alone. Most people think this is self-evident, but physical realism has been struggling with the facts of physics for some time now. The paradoxes that baffled physics last century still baffle it today, and its great hopes of string theory and supersymmetry aren’t leading anywhere.

In contrast, quantum theory works, but quantum waves that entangle, superpose, then collapse to a point are physically impossible—they must be “imaginary.” So for the first time in history, a theory of what doesn’t exist is successfully predicting what does—but how can the unreal predict the real?

Quantum realism is the opposite view—that the quantum world is real and is creating the physical world as a virtual reality. Quantum mechanics thus predicts physical mechanics because it causes them. Physics saying that quantum states don’t exist is like the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Quantum realism isn’t The Matrix, where the other world making ours was also physical.

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Cyborg engineers, virtual doctors and wristbands to detect cancer: Futurologist reveals how tech will transform healthcare

By Sean MacEntee via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Sean MacEntee via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via The Daily Mail:

Within the next 30 years, the global population is set to increase by almost 3 billion up to 10 billion, and this rise is set to put a heavy burden on the healthcare industry.

Futurologist Peter Cochrane has predicted how he believes the world will cope with this extra demand, and which technologies are set to revolutionise medical treatment over the next 25 years. 

His forecasts include lighting that helps people recover from illness, virtual surgeries and wearables that detect cancer molecules.

Read More: Daily Mail

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What will life be like in 2064?

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via World Economic Forum Blog:

That an octopus called Paul had a better success rate than Goldman Sachs when predicting World Cup results (credit to the Wall Street Journal for the headline “Octopus Beats Vampire Squid”) tells you something about the wisdom of guessing the future in public.

Guessing what the world will look like in 50 years’ time, however, is pretty safe, as I won’t be here to see myself proved wrong. Or will I?

If Google’s director of engineering has his way, we’ll all be around indefinitely – in the cloud at least. AI (artificial intelligence) guru Ray Kurzweil is one of a number of technologists, inventors and futurists who believe that the ability to upload our minds to the web, create virtual bodies, and thereby live forever, is within touching distance.

Kurzweil invented the first flat-bed scanning and optical character recognition systems, foresaw the internet explosion and correctly predicted that a computer would beat a chess Grandmaster by the turn of the century.

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50 Years of the Jetsons: Why The Show Still Matters

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via The Smithsonian:

Although it was on the air for only one season, The Jetsons remains our most popular point of reference when discussing the future.

It was over 50 years ago that the Jetson family first jetpacked their way into American homes. The show lasted just one season (24 episodes) after its debut on Sunday September 23, 1962, but today “The Jetsons” stands as the single most important piece of 20th century futurism. More episodes were later produced in the mid-1980s, but it’s that 24-episode first season that helped define the future for so many Americans today.

It’s easy for some people to dismiss “The Jetsons” as just a TV show, and a lowly cartoon at that. But this little show—for better and for worse—has had a profound impact on the way that Americans think and talk about the future. And it’s for this reason that, starting this Friday, I’ll begin to explore the world of “The Jetsons” one episode at a time.

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The Irreverent, Allegorical, Satirical, Psychedelic Opus That is Closure in Moscow’s Pink Lemonade.

Journey deep down the rabbit hole with Closure in Moscow and their allegorical, psychedelic opus that’s soaked in a perfectly balanced brine technology and satire.

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pink lemonadeThere’s no group of creatives that has it tougher than today’s musicians. Their craft is exceedingly simple to steal, consume, judge, then cast aside like yesterday’s Hot n’ Ready crust (what this shockingly red handed dork who looks like he went straight from a wedding to reviewing a 5 dollar pizza doesn’t tell you is that it’s the most inexcusable food of all time).

To be fair, we have a right to be skeptical. The vast majority of today’s music is formulaic, predictable, shallow, devoid of any deeper meaning and often crafted for the sole purpose of grabbing the attention of the nearest industry turd. Then there are bands like my guests, Closure in Moscow.

Closure has always leaned toward the “all-in” approach with their music, but their latest release, Pink Lemonade, pushes the chips forward like nothing I’ve ever heard before.Read the rest

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