Tag Archives: Hi-Tech

The Seven Deadly Sins of Predicting the Future of AI

We are surrounded by hysteria about the future of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. There is hysteria about how powerful they will become how quickly, and there is hysteria about what they will do to jobs.

As I write these words on September 2nd, 2017, I note just two news stories from the last 48 hours.

Yesterday, in the New York Times, Oren Etzioni, chief executive of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, wrote an opinion piece titled How to Regulate Artificial Intelligence where he does a good job of arguing against the hysteria that Artificial Intelligence is an existential threat to humanity. He proposes rather sensible ways of thinking about regulations for Artificial Intelligence deployment, rather than the chicken little “the sky is falling” calls for regulation of research and knowledge that we have seen from people who really, really, should know a little better.

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized



Love in the time of robots

It is summer 2002, mid-morning in a university research lab on the edge of Osaka, Japan. Two girls—both dressed in pale yellow, with child-puffy cheeks, black shoulder-length hair, and bangs—stand opposite each other under fluorescent lights. More precisely: One is a girl, 5 years old; the other is her copy, her android replica. They are the same size, one modeled on the other, and they are meeting for the first time. ¶ The girl stares hard into the eyes of her counterpart; its expression is stern and stiff. It seems to return her gaze. ¶ A man is videotaping the pair—he is the father of one, creator of the other—and from off-camera he asks, “Would you like to say something?” ¶ The girl turns to him, disoriented. She turns back to the android. ¶ “Talk to her!” he says. “Hello.” ¶ The girl repeats the word, quietly, to her robot-self. It nods. ¶ Her father feeds her another line: “Let’s play.”


Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Reportages


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Elon Musk Will Not Help Lead a Climate Leap

The finger snapping started at an unlikely moment, in a session called “benchmarks for racial and economic justice.” OK, not an obviously inspiring name. But as the ambitious political demands popcorned around the room, the energy surged, and the snapping reached a crescendo.

  • “End corporate welfare as we know it.”
  • “Get the combustion engine off the roads within 10 years.”
  • “A massive expansion of public housing, built on the principle of development without displacement.”
  • “All 5,000 diesel trucks servicing the port upgraded to locally manufactured electrics, financed by a new public bank.”

As the afternoon sun danced in the courtyard fountain of the Audubon Center at Debs Park, 60 movement leaders from across the city—and from a sparkling spectrum of causes—gathered to share their wildest dreams of a different Los Angeles. This was the founding meeting of a new coalition, gathered to draft a document called the “L.A. Leap Manifesto”: a vision for a carbon-free city by 2025. Over two days, a clear picture emerged of a city that values all of its residents, as well as the natural systems—water, soil, air—that we all depend upon to thrive. No one and no place to be treated as disposable.

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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Economy, North America


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The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans

It was a tense summer day in 1835 Japan. The country’s reigning Go player, Honinbo Jowa, took his seat across a board from a 25-year-old prodigy by the name of Akaboshi Intetsu. Both men had spent their lives mastering the two-player strategy game that’s long been popular in East Asia. Their face-off, that day, was high-stakes: Honinbo and Akaboshi represented two Go houses fighting for power, and the rivalry between the two camps had lately exploded into accusations of foul play.Little did they know that the match—now remembered by Go historians as the “blood-vomiting game”—would last for several grueling days. Or that it would lead to a grisly end.Early on, the young Akaboshi took a lead. But then, according to lore, “ghosts” appeared and showed Honinbo three crucial moves. His comeback was so overwhelming that, as the story goes, his junior opponent keeled over and began coughing up blood. Weeks later, Akaboshi was found dead. Historians have speculated that he might have had an undiagnosed respiratory disease.

Source: The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans – The Atlantic

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Posted by on October 23, 2017 in Uncategorized



Meet Erica, the world’s most human-like autonomous android – video 

With his robot Erica, Hiroshi Ishiguro, the so-called bad boy of Japanese robotics, aims to redefine what it means to be human

Source: Meet Erica, the world’s most human-like autonomous android – video | Technology | The Guardian

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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Asia


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How our smartphones stop us from living in the moment

As a teacher who has long witnessed and worried about the impacts of technology in the classroom, I constantly struggle to devise effective classroom policies for smartphones. I used to make students sing or dance if their phones interrupted class, and although this led to some memorable moments, it also turned inappropriate tech use into a joke. Given the myriad deleterious effects of phones – addiction, decline of face-to-face socialisation, deskilling, and endless distraction, for starters – I want students to think carefully about their phone habits, rather than to mindlessly follow (or not follow) a rule.

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Posted by on October 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Silicon Valley has been humbled. But its schemes are as dangerous as ever

Just a decade ago, Silicon Valley pitched itself as a savvy ambassador of a newer, cooler, more humane kind of capitalism. It quickly became the darling of the elite, of the international media, and of that mythical, omniscient tribe: the “digital natives”. While an occasional critic – always easy to dismiss as a neo-Luddite – did voice concerns about their disregard for privacy or their geeky, almost autistic aloofness, public opinion was firmly on the side of technology firms.Silicon Valley was the best that America had to offer; tech companies frequently occupied – and still do – top spots on lists of the world’s most admired brands. And there was much to admire: a highly dynamic, innovative industry, Silicon Valley has found a way to convert scrolls, likes and clicks into lofty political ideals, helping to export freedom, democracy and human rights to the Middle East and north Africa. Who knew that the only thing thwarting the global democratic revolution was capitalism’s inability to capture and monetise the eyeballs of strangers?

Source: Silicon Valley has been humbled. But its schemes are as dangerous as ever | Evgeny Morozov | Technology | The Guardian

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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Economy


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La geopolitica dell’intelligenza artificiale

Vladimir Putin ha almeno una qualità, parla senza peli sulla lingua. La settimana scorsa ha detto chiaro e tondo quello che la maggior parte del mondo mormora sottovoce: “Il paese che sarà leader nel campo dell’intelligenza artificiale, dominerà il mondo”.Di solito l’intelligenza artificiale (Ia) è evocata nell’ambito di cambiamenti positivi, per esempio nella sanità o nella regolazione del traffico, o negativi, come il suo impatto sull’occupazione o la possibilità che l’Ia sviluppi un giorno una “coscienza” capace di imporsi ai suoi creatori, gli esseri umani.Ma è raro che se ne parli in termini geopolitici come ha fatto in modo così diretto il presidente russo. La cosa più strana è il contesto di questa dichiarazione: non una grande conferenza strategica come quella di Monaco – dove nel 2007 Putin aveva denunciato “l’unilateralismo americano” – ma una teleconferenza seguita da più di un milione di studenti russi in occasione dell’inizio dell’anno scolastico!Dopo questa dichiarazione Elon Musk, il padrone di Tesla e di SpaceX, ha subito postato un tweet: “Si comincia…”.

Source: La geopolitica dell’intelligenza artificiale – Pierre Haski – Internazionale

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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Elon Musk’s ideas all sound unhinged. That’s the point.

Elon Musk is launching a new company, and the idea sounds totally crazy. That sentence could have been written in 2002, when he founded SpaceX; in 2004, when he joined Tesla; or even in 1999, when he founded All three of those ventures sounded insane at the outset. All three, in different ways, led to tremendously successful businesses. This time, we’re told, the concept may be his craziest yet. Confirming a Wall Street Journal report from last month, the explainer site Wait But Why on Thursday laid out Musk’s vision for a company called Neuralink whose goal is nothing less grandiose than to change the fundamental nature of human communication forever. Its plan is to embed computer chips in our brains that will eventually facilitate what Musk calls “consensual telepathy” between people. This could make possible an era in which people beam thoughts and images directly into one another’s minds, obviating the need for language. And that’s a good thing, Musk tells Wait But Why’s Tim Urban, because superintelligent A.I. is coming, and we’re going to need to be way smarter if we want to stop the machines from taking over the world and subjugating the human race. Whew!

Source: Elon Musk’s ideas all sound unhinged. That’s the point.

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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Uncategorized



The Mozart in the Machine

Sometime in the coming decades, an external system that collects and analyzes endless streams of biometric data will probably be able to understand what’s going on in my body and in my brain much better than me. Such a system will transform politics and economics by allowing governments and corporations to predict and manipulate human desires. What will it do to art? Will art remain humanity’s last line of defense against the rise of the all-knowing algorithms?In the modern world art is usually associated with human emotions. We tend to think that artists are channeling internal psychological forces, and that the whole purpose of art is to connect us with our emotions or to inspire in us some new feeling. Consequently, when we come to evaluate art, we tend to judge it by its emotional impact and to believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Source: The Mozart in the Machine – Bloomberg

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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized


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