This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Nov 8)

[intro]In light of Halloween, a tragic failure for the space industry, and another voting cycle in the U.S., this week saw a proliferation of articles all about different kinds of fear.[/intro]

Here at Hub, we avoid fearmongering as a policy simply because, looking past what occupies most of the news cycle, the world and our lives are getting better…MUCH better. Still it’s worth exploring where fears arise, what the underlying issues are, and ultimately how we will overcome them. Enjoy this week’s stories!

AI: Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence
Adam Elkus | Slate
“Thierer diagnoses six factors that drive technopanics: generational differences that lead to fear of the new, “hypernostalgia” for illusory good old days, the economic incentive for reporters and pundits to fear-monger, special interests jostling for government favor, projection of moral and cultural debates onto new technologies, and elitist attitudes among academic skeptics and cultural critics disdainful of new technologies and tools adopted by the mass public. All of these are perfectly reasonable explanations, but a seventh factor also matters: the psychological consequences of human dependence on complex technology in almost all areas of modern life.”

SPACE: How safe can we really make space for future tourists?
Tim Bowler | BBC
“‘I’m in the private space business because I don’t feel like waiting for something to happen.'”

BIOLOGY: Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist
Jason Koebler | Motherboard
“‘This quest of synthetic biologists to build radically novel organisms also offers possible models for unusual varieties of life that may be sought in nature,” they wrote. “The discovery of new building blocks and organisms from a new domain would likely have major implications for biotechnology, agriculture, human health, and synthetic biology efforts.'”

SECURITY: The other Ebola fear: Your civil liberties
David Kravets | Ars Technica
“‘This ain’t gonna be over until the global community can put the resources into the area that is medically underserved and provide the basic infrastructure to beat this inevitable thing of mother nature.'”

PSYCHOLOGY: The truth about the paranormal
David Robson | BBC
“‘It’s easy to think of yourself as the one holding the rational cards, but it’s wiser to understand that every one of us are going to be prone to those mistakes when we feel like we are lacking control,’ says Whitson. ‘We should all be ready to evaluate our assumptions more thoughtfully.'”

SOCIETY: Psycholitics: The Science of Why You Vote the Way You Do
Brian Resnick, Mauro Whiteman, Reena Flores | CityLab
“Here’s how researchers got the Swiss kids to predict that President Obama would win in 2008: They showed them pictures of the candidates and asked, ‘Who would you rather be captain of your ship?’ That was all that it took for the children, aged 5 to 13, to guess the winner of this election to a degree greater than random chance.”

INNOVATION: Forget the lone genius, it’s copycats who drive progress
Kat McGowan | Aeon
“Copying is the mighty force that has allowed the human race to move from stone knives to remote-guided drones, from digging sticks to crops that manufacture their own pesticides. Plenty of animals can innovate, but no other species on earth can imitate with the skill and accuracy of a human being. We’re natural-born rip-off artists. To be human is to copy.”

[image: Donnie Nunley/Flickr]

David J. Hill
David J. Hill
David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.
Don't miss a trend
Get Hub delivered to your inbox