Collection: The Future Is Now

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The world’s getting better all the time

CapX

If you closely followed the news this year – and how could you not? – this has been an exhausting one. I thought about recommending to you, fittingly, Bloomberg’s «Pessimist’s Guide to 2028» (oh snap, there I did it), but then I came across something more uplifting. Treat yourselves to 82 developments and achievements that were actually quite great in 2017. Here’s to hoping that quote will hold for a little longer: «Ever since the Enlightenment and the invention of Science, we’ve managed to create a tiny bit more than we’ve destroyed each year.»

Published in Weekly Filet #260
    In collection: The Future Is Now

    There’s No Fire Alarm for Artificial General Intelligence

    Machine Intelligence Research Institute

    Looking at the discourse around artificial intelligence through the lens of a fire alarm is quite eye-opening, and, well, alarming. «There is never going to be a time before the end when you can look around nervously, and see that it is now clearly common knowledge that you can talk about AGI being imminent, and take action and exit the building in an orderly fashion, without fear of looking stupid or frightened.»

    A.I. versus M.D.

    The New Yorker

    Somehow, computers outsmarting humans in games tend to get way more attention than in areas in which the consequences will be a lot more far-reaching. Take medicine. Algorithms are already beating humans’ accuracy in analysing brain scans or detecting skin cancer. This New Yorker piece offers a deep dive on how it works and what it means. (Plus, and that alone is worth the click: the definitive illustration of the mind-body-problem)

    Click Here to Kill Everyone

    New York Magazine

    «You can think of the sensors as the eyes and ears of the internet. You can think of the actuators as the hands and feet of the internet. And you can think of the stuff in the middle as the brain. We are building an internet that senses, thinks, and acts. This is the classic definition of a robot. We’re building a world-size robot, and we don’t even realize it.» An important text by security expert Bruce Schneier on how dangerous the internet is becoming, why markets won’t help and why regulation is needed, but hard to do.

    Yuval Harari, author of «Sapiens» on AI, religion, and 60-day meditation retreats

    The Ezra Klein Show

    Can humans expect empathy from superintelligent entities once they are here? What does it mean when your doctor is an algorithm? And what will people do when there is no more work for them – or will there? your doctor is an algorithm? A super interesting talk with Yuval Harari, the author of «Sapiens» and now «Homo Deus». So many takeaways, but what instantly stuck with me: how he describes religion as a virtual reality game.