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.
As I discuss at length in my recent book "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet," our human society is experiencing the very earliest beginnings of an expansively disruptive information revolution. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled algorithms and automated machines are transforming our society, our daily lives, and potentially even our views of what it means to be "human" more rapidly and completely than we can possibly contemplate. Critical uncertainties remain regarding whether -- through our inventions -- we are inevitably outsmarting ourselves. Optimists among us believe that AI-assisted human intelligence will ultimately provide us with near-magical tools for alleviating suffering and realizing human potential. Some holding this vision foresee that super-intelligent AI systems will enable us to comprehend presently unknowable vast mysteries of the Universe, and to solve humanity's most vexing questions such as eradication of diseases, natural resource depletion and world hunger.
In Cadwell Turnbull's sci-fi novel The Lesson, powerful aliens occupy the US Virgin Islands. Turnbull, who grew up on Saint Thomas, says he meets many people who have no idea that the Virgin Islands even exist. "When I first went to Pittsburgh for my undergrad, I would talk to people about the Virgin Islands, and a lot of people just had no idea that we were territories of the US," Turnbull says in Episode 387 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "Because it's so small--the population is a couple hundred thousand people--it's easily overlooked." Turnbull first got interested in fantasy and science fiction from watching shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Vital: The Future of Healthcare is an anthology of short stories. Vital has already gathered stories from leading futurist writers, weaving together disparate visions of what comes next in health and health science. Our visions of the future -- whether dark or hopeful, thrilling or mundane -- have always challenged us to examine our world. What challenges will we face? Vital: The Future of Healthcare aims to explore these questions as they relate to humanity's physical and mental well-being.
The latest Terminator movie, Dark Fate, struggles to give satisfying emotional arcs to its large cast of characters. Writer Sara Lynn Michener says it doesn't help that a large chunk of the movie is wasted on a bombastic action sequence set aboard an exploding cargo plane. "I think there's this idea with, especially, male directors where they get really excited about trying to top what's been done before, but do it even bigger and better and more Michael Bay-ish," Michener says in Episode 386 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Are we really doing that in 2019? Geek's Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley agrees that the cargo plane sequence was silly, and stands in sharp contrast to the sense of realism captured in the franchise's best installments, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
This might sound like the plot from a dystopic future of a sci-fi movie. However, with recent progress, this technology is now taking the leap from science fiction to merely science. Autonomous non-invasive detection of brain activity is potentially useful in multiple domains such as human robot interaction and mental healthcare. It can provide an extra dimension of interaction between user and device, as well as enabling tangible information to be derived that does not depend on verbal communication. Such innovations also mean better brain-computer interfacing.
Current discussions of superhuman artificial intelligence are plagued by flawed intuitions about the nature of intelligence. Intelligent machines catastrophically misinterpreting human desires is a frequent trope in science fiction, perhaps used most memorably in Isaac Asimov's stories of robots that misconstrue the famous "three laws of robotics." The idea of artificial intelligence going awry resonates with human fears about technology. But current discussions of superhuman A.I. are plagued by flawed intuitions about the nature of intelligence. We don't need to go back all the way to Isaac Asimov -- there are plenty of recent examples of this kind of fear.
Booksby.ai is an online bookstore which sells science fiction novels generated by an artificial intelligence. Through training, the artificial intelligence has been exposed to a large number of science fiction books and has learned to generate new ones that mimic the language, style and visual appearance of the books it has read. None of the stories, titles, descriptions, book covers or reviews related to any of the books on Booksby.ai has been written or designed by humans. All books on Booksby.ai are for sale on Amazon.com and can be ordered as printed paperbacks. The stories, titles, description and reviews of the books were generated using char-rnn-tensorflow and training data from Amazon.com and Project Gutenberg.
Intelligent machines catastrophically misinterpreting human desires is a frequent trope in science fiction, perhaps used most memorably in Isaac Asimov's stories of robots that misconstrue the famous "three laws of robotics." The idea of artificial intelligence going awry resonates with human fears about technology. But current discussions of superhuman A.I. are plagued by flawed intuitions about the nature of intelligence. We don't need to go back all the way to Isaac Asimov -- there are plenty of recent examples of this kind of fear. Take an Op-Ed in The New York Times and a new book, "Human Compatible," by the computer scientist Stuart Russell.