When Will AI Start Outfoxing Humans?

The development of artificial intelligence took big steps with Siri and IBM's Watson. And the progression of that technology is set to grow at an even faster rate in the future, says Ray Kurzweil. 

What's the Latest Development?


In a keynote speech at the South by Southwest festival, futurist Ray Kurzweil gave an incredible vision of what is to come. In terms of artificial intelligence, Kurzweil considers IBM's Watson and Siri to be major advances, taking us closer to the day in which humans will recognize machine cognition as being on the same level as our own, and therefore as equally as valuable. Yet to Kurzweil, machines will serve to enhance our lifestyle, not to rub out the characteristics that make us valuable as human beings. 

What's the Big Idea?

With the aid of nanotechnology and ever more sophisticated biotechnology, Kurzweil believes that humans will be able to stave off death for a very long time, if not become immortal. He also addressed concerns over his concept of the singularity, i.e. when AI begins producing more complex AI that is beyond human comprehension. How can we be sure the machines will not turn on us? It will not be Us vs. Them, says Kurzweil, but rather Us vs. Us. Human war already uses versions of AI. We will corrupt the technology, not the other way around. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Why “shooting the messenger” is a real condition, explain scientists

Harvard psychologists discover why we dislike the people who deliver bad news.

Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study looked at why people tend to "shoot the messenger".
  • It's a fact that people don't like those who deliver them bad news.
  • The effect stems from our inherent need to make sense of bad or unpredictable situations.
Keep reading Show less

Philosopher Alan Watts on the meaning of life

He reminds us that meaning is wherever we choose to look.

Photo: Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Alan Watts suggests there is no ultimate meaning of life, but that "the quality of our state of mind" defines meaning for us.
  • This is in contradiction to the notion that an inner essence is waiting to be discovered.
  • Paying attention to everyday, mundane objects can become highly significant, filling life with meaning.
Keep reading Show less

How to detect life on Mars

If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.

NASA/JPL/USGS
Surprising Science

When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.

Keep reading Show less