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Can We Build AI Without Losing Control Over It?

The fear over intelligent machines taking over and killing us all has been around for some time now. The Terminators glowing eye and the smoldering ruins of a once thriving city remain imprinted in our minds. Just how warranted are these fears? And perhaps more importantly, what are we doing about them? Sam Harris, author of books on diverse topics…

Surviving the Future and the Role of Science Fiction

Change is not constant. It is increasing. Through technological innovation and scientific discovery, we are populating a planet that becomes less and less recognizable each day. This will likely have many benefits—for instance, the possibility of immortality and augmented abilities—but also many potential pitfalls. In Future Shock, Alvin Toffler details the uncertainty brought forth through these changes. “To survive, to avert…

Mind Control: From Thought to Robotic Limbs and Beyond

We’re still in the early stages of understanding just how the brain works. That being said, we know enough to start considering all the possibilities regarding merging it with technology—including that of mind control. In The Brain Electric, Malcolm Gay talks about the current drive among many intelligent scientists and wealthy entrepreneurs towards merging mind and machine. He begins with…

Immortality Through Silicon

From the outside the difference between the biology of our brain and the technology in a computer couldn’t be more dramatic. One has living cells and neurotransmitters, neurons and blood vessels, the other has wires and circuit boards. Despite this, the principles that govern how they work are close enough that many believe they can crossover—that our mind can be uploaded…

Our Data Is Revealing Who We Are

We know from our own experience that people’s impressions of us can sometimes be rather inaccurate. And while that doesn’t stop us from making snap judgments and relying on first impressions in regard to others, it does point to the difficulty in trying to read and understand who someone is. As good as we think we are at interpreting people, we…

How Will Our Relationship with Robots Evolve?

“The ancient Shinto religion, practiced by 80 percent of Japanese, includes a belief in animism, which holds that both objects and human beings have spirits. As a result, Japanese culture tends to be more accepting of robot companions as actual companions than is Western culture, which views robots as soulless machines. In a culture where the inanimate can be considered…

Information and Disruption in the Future

“Everywhere, newly empowered citizens and networks of citizens are challenging the established order in ways never before imaginable—from building new business models to challenging old autocracies.” Alec Ross explores the current changes and future possibilities regarding our lives and the industries that populate the globe. “The near future will see robot suits that allow paraplegics to walk, designer drugs that…

The Three Laws of Robotics

Intelligent machines are not far off. The phone in your pocket is already more powerful than many older super computers. As things progress and self-learning algorithms become smarter, it becomes essential to safeguard ourselves from possible harm at the hand—erm, robotic limbs—of the machines. Isaac Asimov, the great sci-fi writer and witty cultural critic laid out his own set of…

The Internet Diet

“The Net has become my all-purpose medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.” Nicholas Carr describes the tumoltuous relationship between his brain and the internet. Something that at first seemed harmless and in many beneficial, but that soon took a turn for the worse. “Calm, focused, undistracted, the…