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How to Stop Robots From Killing Us
Question: Do you believe in the coming singularity?
Michio Kaku: There was a conference out of Sylmar that made headlines around the world. The brightest minds of artificial intelligence converged onto Sylmar and a reporter asked them a question" "When will this fabled singularity take place? When will the machines take over? When will machines become smarter than us?"
Well the answer was quite interesting. Among the top people assembled in one place the answers were anything from 20 years in the future to 1,000 years in the future—with some AI experts saying never. Some people put it at 2029. They even give you an exact date. 2029, that’s going to be the moment of truth that one day a robot will wake up, wake up in the laboratory, look around and say, “I am aware.” “I’m just as smart as you.” “In fact, I could be even smarter if I put a few more chips in my brain.”
Other people say: "Not so fast, not so fast because Moore’s law is going to break down." The reason why many people are so confident about this prediction of the so called singularity is because of Moore’s law that computer power doubles every 18 months and it’s a curve that has held sway for 50 years. If you go back 100 years back to the time of mechanical hand-crank computers, put that into Moore’s law and you still get a nice fit, so believe it or not Moore’s law has been in operation for about 100 years, going back to hand-crank calculators with computer power doubling every 18 months.
Well can this go on forever? And the answer is no because eventually physics takes over and that is physics says that silicon is unstable at the molecular level. Transistors get so small, so powerful and they generate so much heat that the silicon chip melts and electrons leak out because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. You don’t know where the electron is anymore. Therefore, we physicists are looking for replacements for silicon. The post-silicon era will be about 10 to 15 years in the future. Silicon Valley could become a rust belt. Think about it, every Christmas your PCs, your computers, your gadgets will be just as powerful as they were the previous year and then the question is are you going to buy? Are you going to buy any more computer products for Christmastime knowing that they’re just as powerful as they were the previous year? Probably not. Which means that the computer industry could begin to shake as a consequence.
So we physicists are looking at optical computers, quantum computers, DNA computers, protein computers, all sorts of different kinds of architecture down to the molecular, down to the atomic, down to the microscopic realm, but none of them are ready for primetime yet.
So my answer is I don’t know. All I’m saying is there is vast uncertainties in projecting Moore’s law into the future. However, I would say by end of the century it is definitely conceivable that if we work out the technical problems we might be able to create machines that are as smart as us. Right now our machines are as smart as insects. Eventually they’ll be smart as mice. After that they’ll be smart as dogs and cats. Probably by the end of the century, who knows, they’ll be as smart as monkeys. At that point they could become potentially dangerous because monkeys can formulate their own plans. They don’t have to listen to you. They can formulate their own strategies, their own goals and I would say therefore at that point let’s put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they get murderous thoughts. Isaac Asimov advocated something like that with his "Three Laws." I say hey, put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they start to get murderous.
Recorded on September 29, 2010
Interviewed by Paul Hoffman
Even if computer technology continues to double every 18 months—which is doubtful—we could put a chip in robots' brains to shut them off if they start to get murderous.
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".