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It looks like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Russian President Vladimir Putin aren’t the only ones who’ve envisioned a nightmare scenario where “killer robots” stalk through neighborhoods murdering innocent Americans (or Russians).
A group of artificial intelligence researchers from nearly 30 countries is boycotting one of South Korea’s most prestigious universities over concerns about a recent partnership with an “ethically dubious” arms manufacturer with the stated purpose to design and manufacture “autonomous weapons systems”.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and its partner, the weapons manufacturer Hanwha Systems, one of South Korea’s largest arms dealers, are pushing back against the boycott, saying they have no intention of developing “killer robots” – even though the description of the project clearly states its goals, per the Guardian.
“There are plenty of great things you can do with AI that save lives, including in a military context, but to openly declare the goal is to develop autonomous weapons and have a partner like this sparks huge concern,” said Toby Walsh, the organiser of the boycott and a professor at the University of New South Wales.
“This is a very respected university partnering with a very ethically dubious partner that continues to violate international norms.”
What’s worse, the scientists say, is Hanwha’s history of manufacturing and selling cluster munitions and other arms that are banned in more than 120 countries under an international treaty that South Korea, the US, Russia and China have not signed.
As we pointed out earlier this week, China’s lack of data protection laws and its determination to overtake the US as the world-leader in AI technology poses a serious threat to US technological hegemony. As Russian President Vladimir Putin once said, whoever dominates the AI race could one day rule the world.
Well, another advantage that China has in its AI push is its reputation for strict surveillance and law enforcement – which provides for plenty of use-cases where China can test its nascent technology. Case in point: Police in Shenzen are using AI and facial recognition software to install “smart” traffic cameras that can identify and fine Chinese citizens who jaywalk – a crime that is the subject of strict enforcement in China, per the South China Morning Post.
World-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking passed away Tuesday, leaving behind a legacy of innovation when it comes to understanding black holes, time and space, and the universe in general.
In recent years, Hawking, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, was outspoken on a variety of issues, often addressing societal, environmental, and existential dilemmas plaguing humanity.
In 2016, he speculated that alien life exists but warned humanity to be cautious about pursuing relations with it, comparing extraterrestrials’ intentions to some of the worst exploitations humanity has inflicted on itself.
On multiple occasions, he echoed the sentiment that when the Native Americans first encountered Christopher Columbus, it “didn’t turn out so well.”
Hawking was also deeply skeptical of artificial intelligence.
“Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don’t know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it,” he said last year.
“Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.”
Google’s artificial intelligence technology may sometimes seem like it’s reading our mind, but neuroscientists at Canada’s University of Toronto Scarborough are literally using A.I. for that very purpose — by reconstructing images based on brain perception using data gathered by electroencephalography (EEG).
In a test, subjects were hooked up to EEG brainwave-reading equipment and shown images of faces. While this happened, their brain activity was recorded and then analyzed using machine learning algorithms. Impressively, the researchers were able to use this information to digitally re-create the face image stored in the person’s mind. Unlike basic shapes, being able to re-create faces involves a high level of fine-grained visual detail, showcasing a high level of sophistication for the technology.
Via: Defense News:
Rapid advances in artificial intelligence and military robotics have some concerned that the development of Terminator-like killer robots will be humankind’s downfall. But that doesn’t seem to worry Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, who addressed the impact of technology on democracy at the Feb. 16-18 Munich Security Conference.
“Everyone immediately then wants to talk about all the movie-inspired death scenarios, and I can confidently predict to you that they are one to two decades away. So let’s worry about them, but let’s worry about them in a while,“ Schmidt said.
H/t reader Squodgy:
Why not just stop there and use them for peaceful purposes?”
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With all of the recent advances in artificial intelligence, are you starting to get worried? You really have to wonder how long it will be before human beings become redundant.
Maybe you should be concerned. In many cases, robots can easily replace humans in the manufacturing industry, the medical system, and even food service. Some theories suggest that offering universal basic income is the first step toward ushering in a world in which robots have all the jobs and humans live off the goodness of the government…for as long as that lasts. (Check out this documentary for more information.)
But losing job opportunities isn’t the only reason for concern. Not only is today’s AI extremely advanced, but it also has the capability to learn. Recently, many people were alarmed when an AI called Alpha Zero learned how to play chess in 4 hours, then beat world champion human chess players using moves never seen before.
We live in a society that is obsessed with oversharing. While it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tune out the trivial bits of people’s lives that we don’t care about, we can still choose not to sign up for social media accounts to preserve our own privacy. We can also take comfort from the idea that our private thoughts will always remain our own – at least for the time being. You might want to enjoy that last bit of privacy while you still can because a creepy new AI looks set to change that very soon.
Japanese researchers have now developed an AI machine that can take a look into your mind with an uncanny degree of accuracy. It studies the electrical signals within your brain to determine the images you are looking at or even just thinking about, and then it can create images of it that are startlingly reliable.
The project is being carried out at Kyoto University under the leadership of Professor Yukiyasu Kamitani. The researchers are creating the images using a neural network and information culled from fMRI scans that detect the changes in people’s blood flow in order to analyze electrical activity. This data enabled their machine to reconstruct images such as red mailboxes, stained glass windows, and owls after volunteers stared at pictures of these items. In addition, it was able to create pictures of objects the participants were simply imagining, including goldfish, bowling balls, leopards, crosses, squares and swans with varying degrees of accuracy.
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