Beyond Asimov: how to plan for ethical robots

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As robots become integrated into society more widely, we need to be sure they'll behave well among us. In 1942, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov attempted to lay out a philosophical and moral framework for ensuring robots serve humanity, and guarding against their becoming destructive overlords. This effort resulted in what became known as Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics: Today, more than 70 years after Asimov's first attempt, we have much more experience with robots, including having them drive us around, at least under good conditions. We are approaching the time when robots in our daily lives will be making decisions about how to act. Are Asimov's Three Laws good enough to guide robot behavior in our society, or should we find ways to improve on them?


Silver screen machines: These are the all-time best movies about A.I.

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There are some great tech documentaries out there, but sometimes you just need a good feature film. But which one to choose for the discerning A.I. fan? Combing through the cinematic archives, we've made our picks for the best A.I.-themed movies you have to see before you die. Or, at least, before the machines take over and we're put to work in the dung mines with no time for frivolous entertainment. Artificial intelligence wasn't formed as its own official discipline until the mid-1950s, but the first "must watch" movie on this list pre-dates this by more than a quarter century. Made by German expressionist filmmaker Fritz Lang, Metropolis is an epic science fiction film which has inspired countless other movies in the genre.


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The term "artificial intelligence" is being thrown around a lot lately. But what is artificial intelligence, really? With A.I.'s like Siri, Cortana, and more, the world is approaching what is known as The Singularity, the era of the machine. Though these A.I. are nothing like James Cameron's Skynet in the 1984 sci-fi smash hit The Terminator, it is imperative to understand where artificial intelligence came from in order to fully comprehend where it is going next. Many filmmakers and authors were afraid of the rise of artificial intelligence and attempted to capture this fear in many notable and influential works of fiction that are still relevant today.


Google buys maker of fascinating, creepy robots

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Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a company that builds robots that mimic the movements of humans and animals with stunning dexterity and speed. "We are looking forward to this next chapter in robotics and in what we can accomplish as part of the Google team," Boston Dynamics co-founder Marc Raibert said via email. Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the past six months, according to The New York Times, which first reported the news on Friday. Earlier this month, the Times reported that Google has named former Android chief Andy Rubin as the company's lead for its robotics projects. On its YouTube channel, Boston Dynamics has videos of its impressive robots, including WildCat, a four-legged robot designed to run fast in all terrains, Cheetah, which tops 28 miles-per-hour, and Petman, a human-like robot that balances himself as he walks, squats and does calisthenics, and simulates human physiology by controlling its temperature, humidity and sweating, according to the company.


DARPA sees future wars won with hypersonic weapons and artificial intelligence

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md -- In comments that conjure up dystopian images of a future dominated by robot soldiers controlled by Skynet, researchers with the Pentagon's futuristic think tank said they are working on better ways to merge the rapid decision making of computers with the analytical capabilities of humans. In fact, scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency, or DARPA, are even looking into advanced neuroscience in hopes of one day merging computerized artificial intelligence with the human brain. "I think the future [of] warfighting is going to look a lot more like less incredibly smart people working with more incredibly smart machines," said DARPA Deputy Director Steve Walker during a briefing with reporters at the 2016 Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber conference here. "And how those two things come together is going to define how we move forward." Walker said researchers are already finding ways to help machines better collaborate with human operators.