We live in the greatest time in human history. Only 200 years ago, for most Europeans, life was a struggle rather than a pleasure. Without antibiotics and hospitals, every infection was fatal. There was only a small elite of citizens who lived in the cities in relative prosperity. Freedom of opinion, human and civil rights were far away. Voting rights and decision-making were reserved for a class consisting of nobility, clergy, the military and rich citizens. The interests of the general population were virtually ignored.
Every day brings considerable AI news, from breakthrough capabilities to dire warnings. A quick read of recent headlines shows both: an AI system that claims to predict dengue fever outbreaks up to three months in advance, and an opinion piece from Henry Kissinger that AI will end the Age of Enlightenment. Then there's the father of AI who doesn't believe there's anything to worry about. Meanwhile, Robert Downey, Jr. is in the midst of developing an eight-part documentary series about AI to air on Netflix. AI is more than just "hot," it's everywhere.
A survey of 50 Nobel laureates asked about the greatest threats to mankind has revealed that environmental issues such as over-population and climate change are the biggest threat. Meanwhile, the threat of nuclear warfare and infectious diseases and drug resistance follows in second and third place. Distortion or the truth and ignorant political leaders also ranked highly, with President Donald Trump called out by name in this category. The survey drew responses from almost a quarter of the living Nobel prize winners for chemistry, physics, physiology, medicine and economics. A survey of 50 Nobel laureates posed the question: 'What is the biggest threat to humankind, in your view?
"When you are born, you know nothing." This is the kind of statement you expect to hear from a philosophy professor, not a Silicon Valley executive with a new company to pitch and money to make. A tall, rangy man who is almost implausibly cheerful, Hawkins created the Palm and Treo handhelds and cofounded Palm Computing and Handspring. His is the consummate high tech success story, the brilliant, driven engineer who beat the critics to make it big. Now he's about to unveil his entrepreneurial third act: a company called Numenta. But what Hawkins, 49, really wants to talk about -- in fact, what he has really wanted to talk about for the past 30 years -- isn't gadgets or source codes or market niches.
Imagine being thrown into a morning panic by the sound of a blaring alarm, screaming at you to take immediate shelter. Your Smart TV displays the words "AERIAL DRONE RAID" in all red, and as you attempt to rationalize what is going on, you inch towards the window in sheer disbelief as you discover a decimated cityscape. Rogue armies of drone wasps run amok in search of deviants to poison and kill, unmanned tanks obliterate anything moving on the streets and sophisticated digital twin satellites successfully cripple our electric power grid system with advanced EMT attacks. Cyber criminals have already taken advantage of the situation, broadcasting "deep fake" news of a deadly virus to cause panic and hysteria among the masses. Biohackers take it a step further, threatening to unleash an AI-manufactured strain of the flu unless the government provides them with a sizable paycheck.