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Robot Apocalypse

Professor Stephen Hawking has pleaded with world leaders to keep technology under control before it destroys humanity.

venerdì 18 novembre 2016

Stephen Hawking; humanity has less than 1000 years left until extinction

HUMANS have less than 1000 years on Earth before we are wiped out in a mass extinction.
This grim outlook was delivered by Professor Stephen Hawking during a speech addressing the universe and the origins of humans at Oxford Union.
The leading theoretical physicist said the only way for humankind to avoid the very real possibility of extinction was to find another planet to inhabit.
“We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity,” he said.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1000 without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”
This bleak outlook on the humanity is nothing new for the 74-year-old, who earlier this year predicted technology would lead Earth to a virtually inevitable global cataclysm.
“We face a number of threats to our survival from nuclear war, catastrophic global warming, and genetically engineered viruses,” he said in January.
“The number is likely to increase in the future, with the development of new technologies, and new ways things can go wrong. Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time.”
Prof Hawking added that finding another planet was the only chance of survival.
“[We] have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race,” he said.
“However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period.”


More recently, Prof Hawking voiced concern about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.
“I believe there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer,” he said.
“It therefore follows that computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence — and exceed it.”
While admitting AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation, he said it wasn’t without risks.
[AI] could develop a will of its own — a will that is in conflict with ours,” he said.
“In short, the rise of powerful AI will be either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity.”
Despite frequently suggesting the worst case scenario, the world famous cosmologist ended his most recent talk with a call for optimism and intellectual curiosity.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious,” he said
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
HOW CLOSE ARE WE TO FINDING ANOTHER PLANET?
Since 2009, NASA has been working to discover Earth-like planets in the habitable zone — the region around a star in which the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might support water.
The telescope has since confirmed the discovery of more than 1000 planets, with another 3000 “planet candidates” waiting to have their existence confirmed.
“The first exoplanet orbiting another star like our sun was discovered in 1995,” NASA said in a statement.
Exoplanets, especially small Earth-size worlds, belonged within the realm of science fiction just 21 years ago.
“Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamt about for thousands of years.”
Dubbed Proxima b, the planet orbits the star Proxima Centauriand and is only a little more than four light years away from our sun.
British researcher Nick Pope said the development was a game-changer.
“This game-changing discovery may help us answer the question of whether or not we’re alone in the universe — one of the biggest and most profound questions we can ask,” he said.
“Many people believe there are aliens out there and now it’s possible that they’re our galactic next door neighbours.
“Every effort should be made not just to find out more about this planet, but to look for evidence of life — and maybe even intelligent life.”
Despite being Earth’s closest neighbour, it would take 76,000 years to get reach using current rocket technology.
However, there is hope that new technology currently under development could allow us to send a robotic probe to the planet in about 25 years.
In the meantime we just have to hope Prof Hawking’s prediction doesn’t come to fruition.

There is a one in 500 probability that the human race could be wiped out by the end of 2017, a leading mathematician has calculated. The possibility of nuclear war, global warming and artificial intelligence (AI) have all been discussed as potentially lethal for humans, and University of Barcelona statistician Fergus Simpson says there is a 0.2% chance of an apocalypse taking place in any given year of this century.

Simpson based his calculations on the so-called Doomsday Argument, also known as the "Carter catastrophe" after Brandon Carter, the astrophysicist who first proposed it in 1983. The Doomsday Argument is a probability-based theory that uses the number of humans born so far to predict the number still to be born. Simpson calculates around 100 billion have already lived, and so if only another 100 billion will be born, the race must be halfway through its lifespan.

Simpson used football as an analogy for how he made his calculation. "Our key conclusion is that the annual risk of global catastrophe currently exceeds 0.2%," he wrote in a paper published on Arvix. "In a year when Leicester City FC were crowned Premier League champions, we are reminded that events of this rarity can prove challenging to anticipate, yet they should not be ignored."

According to the Daily Mail, Simpson is particularly concerned by the possibility of nuclear annihilation, particularly if countries including North Korea build fully-functioning nuclear missiles.

"When at least eight sovereign states are in possession of nuclear weapons (including one whose leader has executed members of his own family), a head-in-the-sand approach appears both dangerous and irresponsible."

However, there is some good news for people. Simpson calculates there is an 87% chance the human race will survive to at least 2100.

The announcement comes after Professor Stephen Hawking said humans must find a new home within 1,000 years as the earth is doomed. Hawking has mentioned AI as a potential extinction level event (ELE) and has said we must be ready to colonise other planets as an insurance policy in case our planet becomes uninhabitable.


In the world of science fiction, robots given artificial intelligence often play a menacing role capable of killing human beings either on their own volition or at the behest of their programmers. Think movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Blade Runner” or even "I, Robot," for instance.
However, even with all of the recent advances leading to an increasing daily reliance on artificial intelligence, the prospect of technology running the show and outpacing humans may still be a long ways off, a Google executive said this week.
“There is a lot that machine learning doesn’t do that humans can do really, really well,” Diane Greene, Google’s senior vice president of cloud businesses operations, said Tuesday at the Code Enterprise conference in San Francisco. “Nobody expected some of the advances we are seeing as quickly as we’re seeing them but, the singularity, I don’t see it in my sentient lifetime.”
Greene’s comments came in response to a question wondering how far off “the singularity” — which refers to the prophesized moment when artificial intelligence surpasses that of humansis. They also came just hours after Google hired a group of leading experts in artificial intelligence onto its team.
As shown by Google making those recently announced hires, artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly important component for businesses that rely on the technology to quickly extract insights from large data sets that are stored in the cloud. In addition to Google, other technology companies like Microsoft and Nvidia are competing in the market to provide the service to companies and consumers.
Businesses and investors alike have noted that improving technology is an important part of long-term planning. AI offers the ability for companies to quickly adapt to new and unexpected challenges as well as new questions that may arise.
“You don’t plan for the highest likelihood scenario. You plan for agility,” Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist, said earlier this week.

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