Tag Archives | Technology

Is effective regulation of AI possible? Eight potential regulatory problems

artificial brain

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

The halcyon days of the mid-20th century, when researchers at the (in?)famous Dartmouth summer school on AI dreamed of creating the first intelligent machine, seem so far away. Worries about the societal impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) are on the rise. Recent pronouncements from tech gurus like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have taken on a dramatically dystopian edge. They suggest that the proliferation and advance of AI could pose a existential threat to the human race.

Despite these worries, debates about the proper role of government regulation of AI have generally been lacking. There are a number of explanations for this: law is nearly always playing catch-up when it comes to technological advances; there is a decidedly anti-government libertarian bent to some of the leading thinkers and developers of AI; and the technology itself would seem to elude traditional regulatory structures.… Read the rest

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Czech Artist Installs Surveillance Cameras in Public Places

geltner-jakub_art-01

via Ignant:

Czech artist Jakub Geltner installs sculptures of surveillance cameras into public spaces. As an “intervention into the very character of a city”, he’s been working on the ‘Nest’ project since 2011. Living and working in Prague, he created his first installation directly in the center of the city, perfectly assimilating into the surrounding architecture and design of the contemporary urban landscape.

Read more about “Nest” here.

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The value of unplugging in the Age of Distraction

Small device, but very demanding. aciej_ie/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Small device, but very demanding. aciej_ie/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

A common experience: you are walking down the street and someone is walking in the opposite direction toward you. You see him but he does not see you. He is texting or looking at his cellphone. He is distracted, trying to do two things at the same time, walking and communicating.

There is also the telltale recognition of a car driver on a phone; she’s driving either too slowly or too fast for the surrounding conditions, only partly connected to what is going on around her. Connected to someone else in another place, she is not present in the here and now.

These types of occurrences are now common enough that we can label our time as the age of distraction.

A dangerous condition

The age of distraction is dangerous. A recent report by the National Safety Council showed that walking while texting increases the risk of accidents.… Read the rest

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Hackers Watch “Hackers” The Movie


Simon Chetrit via Hopes&Fears:

The cultural impact of the mid-nineties tech revolution is still being felt today. Cell phones, email, webcams, the Hubble Space Telescope, the World Wide Web and HTML, digital cameras—all came about within a relatively short time span. A newly computerized world brought with it fears from the general public about the potential for technological abuses. This paranoia was keenly exploited by the filmmakers of the day.

Hackers, The Net, Virtuosity, GoldenEye and Johnny Mnemonic all came out in 1995, when just 14 million American adults were using the internet. Of these films, few stand the test of time. The flicks faced a unique challenge in attempting to make a fundamentally uninteresting, unfamiliar activity into something captivating. Hackers was a financial flop, but its hilariously over-the-top early CGI visuals, oddly prescient view on technology, and glam-cyberpunk aesthetic rendered it a cult classic.

To honor its 20th anniversary—at a time dogged by newfound fears about what the future of technology holds—we thought it would be fitting to bring together a group of actual hackers to screen and discuss the film.

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Clone Ethics: What shouldn’t you do with your clone?

c2k2e (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

c2k2e (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Would it be incest to have sex with your clone? Whitney Kimball explores clone ethics over at Hopes&Fears:

Do clones have souls? How about human rights? Can we kill our own clone? What happens if we… have sex with one? Hopes&Fears consults psychologists, geneticists, bioethicists, twin specialists, theological experts and a Raelian bishop to answer these ethical questions.

A few weeks ago, I was tasked with investigating a highly theoretical question: Can you have sex with your clone? Let’s consult B movies. We know from Weird Science (1985) and its chick flick sibling Virtual Sexuality (1999), it is acceptable and desirable to genetically engineer a person to have sex with you. You can also harvest their organs, build an army, and program them to do house chores, provided said clone transmorgrifies as a parentless, fully-formed adult. (The process has something to do with “tweaking the gamma” and 3D printing, I guess).

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Quantum Spacecraft & Other Hidden Truths: What Lies Hidden In Snowden’s ‘Black Budget’ World?

Christina Sarich via Collective Evolution:

Not long ago Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor leaked the very first documentation that proves the existence of clandestine black budget operations. You can read more about that here.  So what discoveries lay hidden that are open to reasonable speculation?

EDO pallet.jpg

When Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House in the 1970s, the whole world thought we were about to enter a new era of alternative energy. As soon as Reagan was elected, however, he took them down, taking us back to the dark ages of energy and marking several more decades of dependency on a polluting, non-renewable substance – oil. Conspiracy theories abound regarding why this happened, but the energy crisis goes down a deeper rabbit hole in Alice’s little wonder world than some of us could have imagined – enter quantum spacecraft, and a few other little secrets.

In order to travel light years away, compelling the forces of gravity to work in one’s favor is just the first of numerous challenges to overcome.

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First robot wedding: The bride wore white and the groom wore out his batteries

Scott Pakulski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Scott Pakulski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Lydia Willgress via Daily Mail Online:

Two robots have tied the knot in Japan in what is thought to be the first wedding of its kind in the world.

Frois, the groom, and bride Yukirin walked the aisle, wore traditional outfits and even carried out a ‘wedding kiss’ at the event in Tokyo on Saturday.

Special invitations were made, featuring a picture of the two robots inset in a heart, and the 100-strong congregation included a range of smaller robotic models.

After the ceremony the couple even managed to ‘cut a cake’ before an automated orchestra performed a song for the equivalent of their first dance.

The event was organised by Maywa Denki, which produces electronic accessories and designed the groom Frois.

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The Logic of Surveillance Capitalism

Allseeingeye

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

You have probably noticed it already. There is a strange logic at the heart of the modern tech industry. The goal of many new tech startups is not to produce products or services for which consumers are willing to pay. Instead, the goal is create a digital platform or hub that will capture information from as many users as possible — to grab as many ‘eyeballs’ as you can. This information can then be analysed, repackaged and monetised in various ways. The appetite for this information-capture and analysis seems to be insatiable, with ever increasing volumes of information being extracted and analysed from an ever-expanding array of data-monitoring technologies.

The famous Harvard business theorist Shoshana Zuboff refers to this phenomenon assurveillance capitalism and she believes that it has its own internal ‘logic’ that we need to carefully and critically assess. The word ‘logic’ is somewhat obscure in this context.… Read the rest

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Computer Hallucinations: Large Scale Deep Neural Net

red-tree-small-long

Recently, Disinfo ran an article about how Google set up feedback loops to its image recognition software and created some very interesting “dream”-like effects. Yeah, Google. “Dream.” You can view a gallery of their images here.

Some other software engineers, among whom is Jonas Degrave, a Belgian PhD student, who are not nearly as concerned with euphemism, have created an “LSD neural net,” which is similar in concept to Google’s feedback loops. Except they actually made a channel on Twitch that shows the algorithmic permutations in real time video, constantly zooming in like a fractal. Remarkably, the viewers in the video chat can type in two objects, for example “tent + gondola,” and the algorithm randomly choose one entry and morph using images of these objects. It is really quite interesting.

If you’re some kind of freak that actually knows how this stuff works, feel free to check out the write up giving background on how the engineers technically created this piece on Jonas Degrave’s site.… Read the rest

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The Return of the God Helmet

GodHelmet-657x360I’d completely lost track of what was going on with Michael Persinger’s “God Helmet” but in stumbling on a few new articles I got the gist. As with much controversial research into altered states of consciousness or psi, what apparently went down is that someone (who probably had an enormous confirmation bias) tried to replicate the results and failed (likely on purpose). So in the court of popular/scientific opinion, that was it. Nothing to see here. Except that scientists in Brazil have just effectively replicated his results so you know, game on:

“A team of neurotheology researchers have replicated and confirmed the results of the iconic “God Helmet” experiment. The apparatus, originally developed by renowned neuroscientists, Stanley Koren and Michael Persinger, generates weak magnetic fields around the test subject’s temporal lobes, and elicits a distinct set of experiential phenomena in the participant’s brain, including: altered mystic states, visions of God, and the feeling of a sensed God-like presence.… Read the rest

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