AI: Our New Best Friend

The fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution is here. If change is led by the right people, we will have ethical machines, says Intel's Lama Nachman.

  • We're entering the fourth wave of the Industrial Revolution, says Genevieve Bell, cultural anthropologist and fellow at Intel. You can chart humanity's progress through four disruptive stages: Steam engine, electricity, computers, and now AI.
  • AI is already all around us, but what will it look like at scale? What will life be like when "suddenly all the objects around us are capable of action without us directing them?" asks Bell. Will fully scaled AI be a boon or an existential threat to humanity?
  • Speaking at The Nantucket Project, Lama Nachman, director of Intel's Anticipator Computing Lab, affirms her optimism. "My belief is that, really, ethical people and ethical researchers are the ones who are going to build ethical machines."
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Machines probably aren’t interested in global takeover. Here’s why.

What most people worry about when it comes to artificial intelligence likely comes from science-fiction fantasy.

  • When someone says they fear artificial intelligence, what are they imagining? Robots taking over the world is the stuff of science-fiction fantasy.
  • Despite decades of beating humans at the game of Go, AI has never developed the desire to take over actual territory. The reality is that machines are not resourceful and have no interest in us.
  • Although AI plays an increasingly important role in our lives, we have a ways to go before deep learning and machines are solving all of our problems.
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MIT launches a fleet of Transformer boats

Clusters of bot boats may offer cities dynamic solutions to rising waters.

Image source: chingyunsong/Riccardo Arata /Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Amsterdam is working with MIT to develop a way to move activity from the streets to the canals.
  • A paper announces that the boats can now assemble themselves into various shapes.
  • Flexible urban infrastructural systems such as this are likely to grow in importance.
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If America's education system is outdated, how can we evolve?

Specialization in education is just one way of optimizing the system for the future.

  • The current education system wasn't designed to accommodate the dynamism required today.
  • Derrell Bradford of 50CAN points out that, while education reform in the past has done some great things for many students in America, there is a definite need to evolve. That evolution involves maintaining the positive aspects of the education system and overcoming the negative.
  • This video is supported by yes. every kid., an initiative that aims to rethink education from the ground up by connecting innovators in a shared mission to conquer "one size fits all" education reform.
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How less professionalism will get you ahead in the workplace of the future

When it comes to job security in the future, instead of acting "professional" you may want to act more human.

  • Dell and the Institute for the Future recently conducted a study that found 85 percent of the jobs in 2030 don't exist today.
  • Having the conversation with kids on what they want to be when they grow up is becoming increasingly irrelevant because of this. They will need to be more adaptable for what future jobs may arise.
  • We commonly describe a "professional" as someone who can do the same thing multiple times with the same result. However, where A.I. is most effective is in producing the same output via consistent, repeatable activity. Because of this, it's being as "unprofessional" as possible that may secure a job — that is, acting in a way that is not predictable. Acting on your humanity may enable you to thrive.