What does one (possible) dystopian future, one journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance, and one takeover by artificial intelligence get you? 3 to read!
We live in an age where the rise of the machines is imminent.
Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Machine-Generated Summary of Current Research is a compilation of extensive research on the widely used power source for phones, watches, and electric cars. Over 53,000 papers and articles about lithium-ion battery technology have been published in the last three years, so it’s no surprise that the subject has become a popular study. However, the book does not contain any characters, banter, epic plotlines, or personality.
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The publication instead condenses the collected research, using a machine learning algorithm that includes texts based on academic approval, relevance, and review. Article summaries are then automatically generated for each chapter, which can include hyper-linked passages that direct you to the original research papers (Digital download copy here for those interested).
Lithium-Ion Batteries can be compared to a Reader’s Digest for scientists and researchers, delivering one-hundred-eighty pages of abridged research, as opposed to hundreds of thousands of documents.
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Artificial Intelligence is a controversial subject. With technology advancing so rapidly, many fear that all the science-fiction stories about robots taking over the world may actually come true. And that debate doesn’t look like it will end with this newest development.
GPT-2 is one of the latest AI creations from OpenAI, a nonprofit lab backed by Elon Musk. It is a machine that could generate synthetic text samples and perform simple language tasks like answering questions and basic reading comprehension.
The project was announced in February and is still in development. OpenAI has stated that they are afraid to release the machine out to the public out of fear of the implications it could have, though they are willing to give researchers a smaller version to experiment with.
A reporter from The Guardian was able to observe the AI in action. When it was given the first line from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the machine began writing, albeit in a rambling version of Orwell’s style. The same thing occurred with other famous novels as well, so the AI still needs some work.
Still, the idea of a robot able to write is profound. Will we soon be reading books from robot authors?
You can read more about OpenAI’s machine here.
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Isaac Asimov’s books are crucial to the sci-fi genre, and he wrote a ton of them. He wrote and edited hundreds of novels, and many of them have gone on to influence generations of writers. He was also a professor of biochemistry at Boston University. Not too shabby.
Asimov’s writings didn’t necessarily predict technologies, but they were predictive and inspirational to current trends. For example, Elon Musk famously sent Asimov’s Foundation series to Mars with the first launch of his Falcon Heavy Rocket. So Asimov didn’t only inspire writers, he also inspired billionaire industrialist tycoons. Of his millions and millions of words written, here are a select few that showcase his wisdom (and humor). Enjoy! And consider giving sci-fi a try.
1. If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
2. Can the word ‘best’ mean anything at all, except to some particular person in some particular mood?
3. There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.
4. Any planet is “Earth” to those that live on it.
5. Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
6. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
7. The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘That’s funny…’
8. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
9. The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
10. In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.
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New advances in computer technology continue to surprise and excite us, but it is difficult to tell where these advances are going to take us in the future. The world of AI is changing rapidly and since people are freakin’ out about our impending obliteration at the hands of the robot community, AI researchers have decided to teach robots a lil sumthin’ sumthin’ that’ll decrease this potentiality considerably; that sumthin’ is empathy.
Empathy: the difference between right and wrong, the capability to put oneself in another’s position, to understand or feel what another is feeling. Knowing that, yes, taking candy from a baby is easy, but also pretty mean. Lots of people are incapable of this or struggle to practice it, but now we’re just going to teach robots how to do it.
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The question is how are scientists doing this? Using literature of course!
Researchers at the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology have turned to literature to teach robots how to behave appropriately in human society. Remember reading fables as a child in order to learn morality? The tortoise and the hare? The ant and grasshopper? The boy who cried wolf? Well, now our robotic frenemies are reading the same.
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The Quixote system, an ethical value system for robots, has been invented by scientists to teach robots how to behave like a protagonist from a novel they have read. AI can now illuminate key aspects of narrative including time, space, characters, and plot. The decision process is apparently marked by a reward system. Tasty robot treats perhaps.
That being said, we have been warned and warned again about this whole artificial intelligence stuff. Some of the smartest people on the planet have given us their opinion. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, says advanced AI “could be more dangerous than nukes.” Physicist Stephen Hawking said that AI would be glad to be “the end of humanity.” NOT COOL.
It’s crazy to think that our extinction could be caused by weaponised hacker robots. But this could be avoided if AI read a story about a fox and a crane having dinner together. Anything to save humanity as we know it, right?
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