Sam Harris: Can we build AI without losing control over it?
Published on Oct 19, 2016
Scared of superintelligent AI? You should be, says neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris — and not just in some theoretical way. We’re going to build superhuman machines, says Harris, but we haven’t yet grappled with the problems associated with creating something that may treat us the way we treat ants.
Sam Harris’s work focuses on how our growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.
Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. Harris’s writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics — neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, spirituality, violence, human reasoning — but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.
Harris’s work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in the New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and many other journals. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), the Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology and elsewhere. Harris also regularly hosts a popular podcast.
Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.
Monica Byrne: A sci-fi vision of love from a 318-year-old hologram
Science fiction writer Monica Byrne imagines rich worlds populated with characters who defy our racial, social and gender stereotypes. In this performance, Byrne appears as a hologram named Pilar, transmitting a story of love and loss back to us from a near future when humans have colonized the universe. “It’s always funny what you think the future is going to be like versus what it turns out to be,” she says.
Novelist, writer, culture critic and playwright Monica Byrne thinks that there’s an infinite number of stories to tell, and she intends to tell as many as she can.
Novelist, writer, culture critic and playwright Monica Byrne deftly avoids the traps of conventional fiction by inventing mold-breaking characters who express themselves in surprising ways. Her first novel, The Girl in the Road, has garnered acclaim both inside and outside the spheres of science fiction.
In addition to her work on her new novel The Actual Star, Byrne is a resident playwright at Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern in Durham, NC. Her story “Blue Nowruz” was commissioned for TED2015 by Neil Gaiman. She holds degrees in biochemistry from MIT and Wellesley.
Juan Enriquez What will humans look like in 100 years?
We can evolve bacteria, plants and animals — futurist Juan Enriquez asks: Is it ethical to evolve the human body? In a visionary talk that ranges from medieval prosthetics to present day neuroengineering and genetics, Enriquez sorts out the ethics associated with evolving humans and imagines the ways we’ll have to transform our own bodies if we hope to explore and live in places other than Earth.
Juan Enriquez thinks and writes about the profound changes that genomics and other life sciences will bring in business, technology, politics and society. A broad thinker who studies the intersections of these fields, Enriquez has a talent for bridging disciplines to build a coherent look ahead. He is the managing director of Excel Venture Management, a life sciences VC firm. He recently published (with Steve Gullans) Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Shaping Life on Earth. The book describes a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, themselves and other species.
Enriquez is a member of the board of Synthetic Genomics, which recently introduced the smallest synthetic living cell. Called “JCVI-syn 3.0,” it has 473 genes (about half the previous smallest cell). The organism would die if one of the genes is removed. In other words, this is the minimum genetic instruction set for a living organism.
Kevin Kelly: 12 Inevitable Tech Forces That Will Shape Our Future
SXSW Interactive 2016
In a few years we’ll have artificial intelligence that can accomplish professional human tasks. There is nothing we can do to stop this. In addition our lives will be totally 100% tracked by ourselves and others. This too is inevitable. Indeed much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends which are already in motion, and are impossible to halt without halting civilization. Some of what is coming may seem scary, like ubiquitous tracking, or robots replacing humans. Others innovations seem more desirable, such as an on-demand economy, and virtual reality in the home. And some that is coming like network crime and anonymous hacking will be society’s new scourges. Yet both the desirable good and the undesirable bad of these emerging technologies all obey the same formation principles.
Kevin Kelly has been publisher of the Whole Earth Review, executive editor at Wired magazine (which he co-founded, and where he now holds the title of Senior Maverick), founder of visionary nonprofits and writer on biology, business and “cool tools.” He’s renounced all material things save his bicycle (which he then rode 3,000 miles), founded an organization (the All-Species Foundation) to catalog all life on Earth, championed projects that look 10,000 years into the future (at the Long Now Foundation), and more. He’s admired for his acute perspectives on technology and its relevance to history, biology and society. His new book, The Inevitable, just published, explores 12 technological forces that will shape our future.
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