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Putin Weighs in on Artificial Intelligence and Elon Musk Is Alarmed
Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent remarks about the future with artificial intelligence prompted alarm from Elon Musk.
Divining what the Russian President Vladimir Putin really thinks has implications not only for his country but for the future of the rest the world. Recently, Putin has been expressing some feelings about artificial intelligence that have both intrigued and puzzled observers.
AI came up in Putin's September 21st conversation with Arkady Vorozh, the head of the Russian tech giant Yandex, during a tour of the company's headquarters. As Vorozh explained the potential of artificial intelligence, Putin seemed to show ambivalence towards its positive intentions, asking when will AI “eat us”?
After pausing to consider the unexpected remark, Vorozh replied “I hope never”, pitching AI as just another tool.
"It’s not the first machine to be better than humans at something,” remarked Vorozh. An excavator digs better than we do with a shovel. But we don’t get eaten by excavators. A car moves faster than we do…”
But Putin did not sound convinced, pointing out - “they don’t think,” presumably referring to the fact that an excavator is not intelligent while AI would be.
On the other side, Putin has previously acknowledged the importance of AI to the future of humanity and global politics. Speaking to students across the country about science on September 1st, at the start of the Russian school year, Putin said that “the future belongs to artificial intelligence.” And whichever nation will be at the forefront of the technology, will rule the world, according to the Russian President.
“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” explained Putin. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”
In the 45-minute open lesson, attended via satellite links by students and teachers from 16,000 schools for a total audience of over one million, Putin also expressed his desire that no one should “monopolize” the AI field. He also offered that Russia would share what it learned with others in the word.
“If we become leaders in this area, we will share this know-how with entire world, the same way we share our nuclear technologies today,” maintained Putin.
Putin’s words prompted a reaction from Elon Musk, who famously continues to warn about the dangers posed by future AI. In a tweet, Musk cautioned that competition for “AI superiority’ could result in World War 3.
During the visit to the Yandex headquarters, Putin also managed to poke fun at the AI robot designed by the company. Watch that here:
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.