Robots Are Evil: The Sci-Fi Myth of Killer Machines

ZM_EricRobot“When the world’s most celebrated living scientist announces that humanity might be doomed, you’d be a fool not to listen.

‘Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history,’ wrote Stephen Hawking in an op-ed this past May for The Independent. ‘Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.’

The Nobel-winning physicist touches briefly on those risks, such as the deployment of autonomous military killbots, and the explosive, uncontrollable arrival of hyper-intelligent AI, an event commonly referred to as the Singularity. Here’s Hawking, now thoroughly freaking out:

‘One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.’

Hawking isn’t simply talking about the Singularity, a theory (or cool-sounding guesstimate, really) that predicts a coming era so reconfigured by AI, we can’t even pretend to understand its strange contours. Hawking is retelling an age-old science fiction creation myth. Quite possibly the smartest human on the planet is afraid of robots, because they might turn evil…”

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The Awesome Sight of Sunrise and Sunset in New Zealand

“Filmmaker Martin Heck spent four months traveling across New Zealand, sleeping under the stars, hiking mountains, and exploring the country’s one-of-a-kind landscape. This is the first entry in a multi-part series, culled from his time-lapse footage of night and day…”

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Video Artist Creates Dreamy Worlds Using Vine

“Vine: the six second looping medium primarily used for amusing selfie song coversprank videos, and memes. There’s also, however, a variety of incredible and often overlooked art projects hidden within the platform. Although these artistic and sometimes incredible Vines may be difficult to dig up, there are a myriad of creative gems in the archives, as well as a budding community that surrounds them—such as the Vine-makers strutting their stuff in institution-type scenarios, including the Vine Arts Symposium in Brooklyn last month.

Tom Shea is one such creator. A graphic designer and photographer, the Utah-based visual artist posted his first Vinejust a week after the app was officially released for iOS in January 2013. 335 posts and 26,000 followers later, he now touts the app as his favorite creative outlet.

His first 100-or-so posts focused on personal interests, including trail-running with his dogs, but his creative use of the platform changed after he uploaded a panoramic video portrait of Utah’s Antelope Island. Gaining traction as he broached more obscure and imaginative themes, Shea soon earned his hauntingly beautiful, narrative-style Vine of the Great Salt Lake a feature in Vine’s ‘Editors Picks.’

Since then, his Vines have shifted ever more towards the surreal…”

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Monster Planet Nicknamed “Godzilla of Earths”

'mega-Earth' Kepler-10c and the lava world Kepler-10b“A giant rocky planet roughly twice the size of Earth and with nearly 20 times as much mass has been spotted in orbit around a faraway star. The planet is the first to be classed as a “mega-Earth” – an alien world that dwarfs the other rocky planets known to exist outside the solar system.

Researchers cannot say whether the planet is hospitable to life, but if it has an atmosphere and clouds, the surface could be cool enough for life to survive.

In line with global rules for naming heavenly bodies, the planet goes by the official name of Kepler-10c. But Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, called it ‘the Godzilla of Earths’…”

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The End Is A.I.

matrix_revolutions“In 1993, Vernor Vinge wrote a paper about the end of the world.

‘Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence,’ writes Vinge. ‘Shortly after, the human era will be ended.’

At the time, Vinge was something of a double threat—a computer scientist at San Diego State University, as well as an acclaimed science fiction writer (though his Hugo awards would come later). That last part is important. Because the paper, written for a NASA symposium, reads like a brilliant mix of riveting science fiction, and secular prophecy.

‘The Coming Technological Singularity’ outlines a reckoning to come, when ever-faster gains in processing power will blow right past artificial intelligence—systems with human-like cognition and sentience—and give rise to hyper-intelligent machines…”

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Photographer Uses 130-Year-Old Camera to Capture Images of Modern England

england“In the age of Photoshop, cell phone snaps, and digital photography, British photographer Jonathan Keys stands out with his passion for the collodion (or wet plate) process, an early photographic process that was invented by Frederick Scott Archer in the 1850s. Armed with his 130-year-old wooden Circa camera and a lens from the 1920s, Keys roams the streets of Newcastle, capturing striking images of present-day England in a classical, black-and-white aesthetic.

Keys’ unique photos juxtapose the past and the present in intriguing ways. At first glance, many of his street shots depicting Edwardian architecture and cobblestone walkways look like they could have been captured over a century ago, but closer examination reveals telltale signs of the present: sleek cars, contemporary graffiti, electric street lamps, modern hairstyles and outfits. The photographer’s preferred method of capturing scenes of the digital era in a historical city using an old, analog process raises fascinating questions about time, permanence, and technology…”

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We’ll Find Alien Life in This Lifetime, Scientists Tell Congress

SETI_telescope“Humans have long wondered whether we are alone in the universe. According to scientists working with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the question may be answered in the near future.

‘It’s unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth,’ Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing Wednesday (May 21). ‘I think that situation is going to change within everyone’s lifetime in this room…’”

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