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The answer to Skynet? A democratically controlled supermind.

The plan to stop megacorps from owning superintelligence is already underway.

BEN GOERTZEL: SingularityNET is a blockchain-based platform for artificial intelligence and it originated really when I realized that two goals that I had could be fulfilled simultaneously by the same software platform. One goal being providing a tremendous variety of AI services created by a huge variety of different developers across all areas in a way that's decentralized and democratically controlled rather than within the proprietary silos of big tech companies; and the other goal is to work toward powerful and beneficial artificial general intelligence. And what I realized at a certain point is you can achieve both of these goals by making a framework where multiple AIs written by multiple people can be put into a common platform where they can not only serve requests from end users but they can exchange data among each other and the different AIs in the network can ask questions of each other and help each other solve problems. So you have multiple AIs in the same network that, you know, they can compete with each other for providing services, but they also cooperate and link together into networks of cooperation. So the whole network of AIs becomes this sort of meta-AI, a society and economy of minds, which is in itself a kind of emergent-level mind. So there's a commercial aspect of low cost AI services across vertical markets providing incentive for any AI developer to contribute into the network, and there's sort of a broader singularity-aterian motive, which is 'Hey what's the best way to create the framework within which artificial general intelligence can crystallize and emerge?'

The role of blockchain in SingularityNET is really to enable secure decentralized control. So without blockchain, of course we could make a distributed network of AIs that all talk to each other and share data and outsource work to each other, but we need to have like some central control point that kept a record of who's in the network, who's allowed to enter into the network and what each guy in the network can offer to whom. And then if there was going to be a change to how it operated all the changes would propagate from the central control point. What blockchain lets you do is have a network of AIs all cooperating and operating by a common protocol but have no central controlling and governing agent. Rather the records of what happens in the network are stored distributive – we have copies of the records everywhere. And then control is governed by democratic decision making among all the participants so it's like a digital biological organism with no central point of control, and this has various advantages in terms of the inter-operation of this network of AIs with the human world and with countries and companies and people because it means there's no one person or company or government who owns the thing or controls the thing. And this puts the network in a quite different status relative to the world economy and human society than if there was a single human owner who is responsible for everything.

  • A.I. technology is often developed within the proprietary silos of big tech companies. What if there was an open, decentralized hub for A.I. developers to share their creations? Enter SingularityNET.
  • The many A.I.s in the network could compete with each other to provide services for users but they could also cooperate, giving way to an emergent-level mind: artificial general intelligence.
  • SingularityNET is powered by blockchain technology, meaning whatever 'digital organism' emerges will not be owned or controlled by any one person, company or government.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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    Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

    Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

    Credit: Neom
    Technology & Innovation
    • 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.
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    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

    Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

    Videos
    • 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.

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