Science fiction is an incubator for imaginative minds to create visions that help us to glimpse not only the future, but also something about ourselves in the present. Fueled by the extrapolation of 'what is' into 'what can be', science fiction transports us beyond the horizon of our current technologies enabling us to observe the possible incarnations of scientific progress and to experience and appreciate the many ways this may impact upon us. For example, George Orwell's classic work, 1984, introduced the notion of an omnipresent 'Big Brother' and served as a focal point for discussion about our attitudes, perceptions, hopes and fears about technology, society, and how they intertwine. Also, the concept of rules of ethical conduct for robots was introduced as 'Three Laws of Robotics' by U.S. author Isaac Asimov in his book Runaround originally published in 1942.
With an affection for nerd culture that is inversely proportional to its budget, this lo-fi sci-fi comedy is destined for laugh-filled late-night viewing. "This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy" pays homage to favorites like "Doctor Who" and "Battlestar Galactica" while looking like it cost less than a cosplay effort to make. Serious fan Jeffrey (Daniel Pujol) drags his friends Tom (cowriter and director Christian Nicolson) and Gavin (Lewis Roscoe) to a science-fiction convention. There, they get far more than their passes offer when they're sucked into an alternate universe that looks just like a black-and-white B movie set in space, where they're the heroes who have to fight intergalactic supervillain Lord Froth (Joseph Wycoff) alongside heroine Emmanor (Sez Niederer). Fans of the silliness of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and "Galaxy Quest" will find that Nicolson and his co-writer Andrew Beszant are on their wavelength with this inventive New Zealand film.
Decades of popular science fiction have painted artificial intelligence (AI) as futuristic, mysterious and sometimes campy – on track to become reality around the same time bankers begin driving hover cars to work. Yet AI is now reaching buzzword status, and there's not a hover car in sight. The recent interest in AI could feel like a sudden and disjointed trend – an alluring concept without the technology to support its promises. In reality, AI is the next logical step in a long progression of innovations, in banking and across all other industries. The basic foundation for AI is already in place.
It's not a wave, it's a tsunami. In less than five years, artificial intelligence -- AI, as it's commonly known -- has gone from the stuff of science fiction to the forefront of the news, from scientific journals to the strategic plans of the world's biggest companies. For Laurent Alexandre, surgeon, graduate of France's National School of Administration (ENA), entrepreneur, futurologist and author of the recent book La Guerre des intelligences (The War of Intelligences), this isn't just a trend. It's a coming sea change, one that will disrupt entire parts of our lives by competing with what, until now, was seen as a fundamentally human characteristic: Our intelligence. At the same time, he acknowledges that AI -- at least for now -- is "still utterly unintelligent".
In 1942, Isaac Asimov attempted to lay out a moral framework for how robots can serve humans. The science fiction writer came up with "three laws of robotics", meant to prevent machines from harming their human creators. This is a concept Eric Horvitz, technical fellow, Artificial Intelligence and Research and head of Microsoft Research's Global Labs, has been studying for decades. In 2014, he set up the'One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence', which will study the future of AI every five years for a century. The project's first report last year said that "AI-based applications could improve health outcomes and the quality of life for millions of people in the coming years".
Will it sputter out in a realm of ice, cooling continually as it expands until it reaches the absolute zero of temperature throughout its vast expanse? Will it die in a fiery blast as its component parts rush together faster and faster until they all meet in an enormous fireball? Or will the cosmos live on forever, expanding and contracting in relentless succession? It is the ultimate question that man can ask, and it carries striking overtones of theology and philosophy. Yet, incredibly, astronomers think they will soon know the answer.
In the future we might be able to upload our memories directly onto a hard drive or transplant them into a new body so our consciousness can achieve immortality. It is currently the stuff of science-fiction but technology could reach that point one day. However, it's way more difficult than it sounds -- if we're going to think of the brain like a computer, it's the most complicated computer around. And the human mind is still full of mystery. BBC Earth Lab explores the subject in a new video (below), describing how something as basic as creating a map of the brain, which would be necessary if we want to understand and manipulate its function, requires scientists to plot out the billions of neurons that form the organ's communication network.
Your parents just signed you up for some fancy Stanford Summer course in Artificial Intelligence. To be honest, you have no idea what Artificial Intelligence is except for robots or something; however, grownups think everything will have AI someday, so you better start learning now. You attend one of the best high schools in your country, and you tested well enough to get into the course, but you wonder whether you'd prefer your summers outside the classroom. On the first day, the instructor loads up a game of Pac-Man and asks if anyone has ever seen this game before. You pine for moments of screen time when you can explore the internet for new and interesting games; however, class time and game time have always been strictly and mutually exclusive.
It's not a wave, it's a tsunami. In less than five years, artificial intelligence -- AI, as it's commonly known -- has gone from the stuff of science fiction to the forefront of the news, from scientific journals to the strategic plans of the world's biggest companies. For Laurent Alexandre, surgeon, graduate of France's National School of Administration (ENA), entrepreneur, futurologist and author of the recent book La Guerre des intelligences (The War of Intelligences), this isn't just a trend. It's a coming sea change, one that will disrupt entire parts of our lives by competing with what, until now, was seen as a fundamentally human characteristic: our intelligence. At the same time, he acknowledges that AI -- at least for now -- is "still utterly unintelligent."
In a book written in 1964, God and Golem: Inc., Norbert Wiener predicted that the quest to construct computermodeled artificial intelligence (AI) would come to impinge directly upon some of our most widely and deeply held religious and ethical values. It is certainly true that the idea of mind as artifact, the idea of a humanly constructed artificial intelligence, forces us to confront our image of ourselves. In the theistic tradition of Judeo-Christian culture, a tradition that is, to a large extent: our "fate," we were created in the Such is the scenario envisaged by some of the classic science fiction of the past, Shelley's Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus and the Capek brothers' R. U.R. (for Rossom's Universal Robots) being notable examples. Both seminal works share the view that Pamela McCorduck (1979) in her work Machines Who Think calls the "Hebraic" attitude toward the AI enterprise. In contrast to what she calls the "Hellenic" fascination with, and openness toward, AI, the Hebraic attitude has been one of fear and warning: "You shall not make for yourself a graven image..." I don't think that the basic outline of Franl%enstein needs to be recapitulated here, even if, The possibility of constructing a personal AI raises many ethical the fear that we might succeed, perhaps it is the fear that we might create a Frankenstein, or perhaps it is the fear that we might become eclipsed, in a strange Oedipal drama, by our own creation.
On this week's If Then, Slate's April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a key detail in the new tax plan that could have a huge effect on gig workers in the tech sector--and maybe even robots. They also discuss Apple's "batterygate" iPhone situation: What happened, and what can we take from their unusual apology? The hosts are also joined by Slate's Future Tense editor Torie Bosch to talk about the anthology she co-edited What Future: The Year's Best Ideas to Reclaim, Reanimate & Reinvent Our Future.