Are we in an AI summer or AI winter?

Neither. We are entering an AI autumn.

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  • The history of AI shows boom periods (AI summers) followed by busts (AI winters).
  • The cyclical nature of AI funding is due to hype and promises not fulfilling expectations.
  • This time, we might enter something resembling an AI autumn rather than an AI winter, but fundamental questions remain if true AI is even possible.
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Big think: Will AI ever achieve true understanding?

If you ask your maps app to find "restaurants that aren't McDonald's," you won't like the result.

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  • The Chinese Room thought experiment is designed to show how understanding something cannot be reduced to an "input-process-output" model.
  • Artificial intelligence today is becoming increasingly sophisticated thanks to learning algorithms but still fails to demonstrate true understanding.
  • All humans demonstrate computational habits when we first learn a new skill, until this somehow becomes understanding.
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Playlist privacy: You can be identified from just three songs

Companies can identify you from your music preferences, as well as influence and profit from your behavior.

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  • New research discovered that you can be identified from just three song choices.
  • This type of information can be exploited by streaming services through targeted advertising.
  • The researchers are calling for musical preference to be considered in regulations regarding online privacy.
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​Why the simulation hypothesis is pseudoscience

The simulation hypothesis is fun to talk about, but believing it requires an act of faith.

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  • The simulation hypothesis posits that everything we experience was coded by an intelligent being, and we are part of that computer code.
  • But we cannot accurately reproduce natural laws with computer simulations.
  • Faith is fine, but science requires evidence and logic.
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​Dyson spheres: The key to resurrection and immortality?

Creating an afterlife—or a simulation of one—would take vast amounts of energy. Some scientists think the best way to capture that energy is by building megastructures around stars.

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  • In a 2018 paper, researchers Alexey Turchin and Maxim Chernyakov published a paper outlining various ways humans might someday be able to achieve immortality or resurrection.
  • One way involves creating a simulated afterlife, in which artificial intelligence would build simulations of past human lives.
  • Getting the necessary power for the simulation might require building a Dyson sphere, which is a theoretical megastructure that orbits a star and captures its energy.
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