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Is AI a species-level threat to humanity?

Some of the world's top minds weigh in on one of the most divisive questions in tech.

  • When it comes to the question of whether AI is an existential threat to the human species, you have Elon Musk in one corner, Steven Pinker in another, and a host of incredible minds somewhere in between.
  • In this video, a handful of those great minds—Elon Musk, Steven Pinker, Michio Kaku, Max Tegmark, Luis Perez-Breva, Joscha Bach and Sophia the Robot herself—weigh in on the many nuances of the debate and the degree to which AI is a threat to humanity; if it's not a species-level threat, it will still upend our world as we know it.
  • What's your take on this debate? Let us know in the comments!

What can your microwave tell you about your health?

An MIT system uses wireless signals to measure in-home appliance usage to better understand health tendencies.

John Moore/Getty Images

For many of us, our microwaves and dishwashers aren't the first thing that come to mind when trying to glean health information, beyond that we should (maybe) lay off the Hot Pockets and empty the dishes in a timely way.

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New AI improves itself through Darwinian-style evolution

AutoML-Zero is a proof-of-concept project that suggests the future of machine learning may be machine-created algorithms.

Pixabay
  • Automatic machine learning is a fast-developing branch of deep learning.
  • It seeks to vastly reduce the amount of human input and energy needed to apply machine learning to real-world problems.
  • AutoML-Zero, developed by scientists at Google, serves as a simple proof-of-concept that shows how this kind of technology might someday be scaled up and applied to more complex problems.
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Ask Sophia the Robot: Is AI an existential threat to humans?

Should humans fear artificial intelligence or welcome it into our lives?

  • Sophia the Robot of Hanson Robotics can mimic human facial expressions and humor, but is that just a cover? Should humans see AI as a threat? She, of course, says no.
  • New technologies are often scary, but ultimately they are just tools. Sophia says that it is the intent of the user that makes them dangerous.
  • The future of artificial intelligence and whether or not it will backfire on humanity is an ongoing debate that one smiling robot won't settle.

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An AI can read words in brain signals

Researchers at UCSF have trained an algorithm to parse meaning from neural activity.

Image source: ESB Professional/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Participants' neural activity is collected as they speak 50 sentences.
  • A machine-learning algorithm develops a prediction of what the collected data means.
  • The system's accuracy varies, but the results are promising.
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