Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

The potential danger or threat that AI may pose to society and even humanity itself has been in the news a lot lately. Now, “thanks to an unprecedented £10 million grant from the Leverhulme Trust, the University of Cambridge is to establish a new interdisciplinary research centre, the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, to explore the opportunities and challenges of this potentially epoch-making technological development, both short and long term. The Centre brings together computer scientists, philosophers, social scientists and others to examine the technical, practical and philosophical questions artificial intelligence raises for humanity in the coming century.
Human-level intelligence is familiar in biological “hardware” – it happens inside our skulls. Technology and science are now converging on a possible future where similar intelligence can be created in computers. While it is hard to predict when this will happen, some researchers suggest that human-level AI will be created within this century. Freed of biological constraints, such machines might become much more intelligent than humans. What would this mean for us? Stuart Russell, a world-leading AI researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and collaborator on the project, suggests that this would be “the biggest event in human history”. Professor Stephen Hawking agrees, saying that “when it eventually does occur, it’s likely to be either the best or worst thing ever to happen to humanity, so there’s huge value in getting it right.”

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2016/10/leverhulme-centre-for-future-of.html

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UK Government releases report on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

The UK Government’s Science and Technology Committee undertook an inquiry into robotics and artificial intelligence. Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) was one of the “Eight Great Technologies” identified by the UK Government in 2012. The inquiry has now released a report on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence that you can download from the committee’s parliamentary website. Dr Tania Mathias, interim Chair of the Committee, said:
Artificial intelligence has some way to go before we see systems and robots as portrayed in the creative arts such as Star Wars. At present, ‘AI machines’ have narrow and specific roles, such as in voice-recognition or playing the board game ‘Go’. But science fiction is slowly becoming science fact, and robotics and AI look destined to play an increasing role in our lives over the coming decades. It is too soon to set down sector-wide regulations for this nascent field but it is vital that careful scrutiny of the ethical, legal and societal ramifications of artificially intelligent systems begins now.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2016/10/uk-government-releases-report-on.html

Reputational damage

A new phrase for many, “reputational damage”, doesn’t get much worse than this. Samsung’s incendiary Galaxy Note 7  has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Now it appears that according to the Guardian Samsung will be paying Galaxy Note 7 owners to buy competitors phones, including iPhones. It’s estimated the Note 7 debacle will cost Samsung $17 billion and that’s before “reputational damage is added into the equation. I expect a few Samsung senior execs will be looking for new employment soon.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2016/10/reputational-damage.html

Do you have a Yahoo email account?

It has been revealed that “Yahoo last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by US intelligence officials.” It is not known what the “specific Information” is/was. It is believed that this is the first example of a US internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s request to search all arriving messages, rather than just examining stored messages or just scanning a targeted few accounts in real time. If this concerns you and you have a Yahoo mail account there are plenty of other options out there. For example, Tutanota provides a free end-to-end encrypted email service along with iOS and Android apps.

from The Universal Machine http://universal-machine.blogspot.com/2016/10/do-you-have-yahoo-email-account.html