This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through May 30)

ROBOTS: Damage Recovery Algorithm Could Make All Robots Unstoppable
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
“But instead of having to figure out which leg is broken and how, or doing any sort of self-analysis at all, the robot simply starts trying a whole bunch of different gait behaviors through ‘intelligent trial and error,’ converging on something that works by exploring an enormous pregenerated set of potentially effective motions in about two minutes.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Will Superintelligent AI Ignore Humans Instead of Destroying Us?
Jason Koebler | Motherboard
“It’s a nice thought that humans could one day create a superintelligent artificial intelligence, and that intelligence takes a look at us, says “thanks, creator,” and blasts off into space, never to be heard from again. Or maybe the AI moves to the deserts or the Arctic or some other uninhabited place, and we live together peacefully. But it seems like such an outcome is unlikely.”

PSYCHOLOGY: Do we really want to fuse our brains together?
Peter Watts | AEON
“What are the implications of a technology that wires brains together, that in theory at least permits the existence of hive minds? In fact, you know a lot more about that than you might think. You already are a hive mind. You always have been.”

DRONES: The debate on lethal robots is starting too late
Russell Brandom | The Verge
“Without human beings making the decision to kill, the concern is that killing will happen indiscriminately, slowly lowering the bar for the use of violent force. Once death happens by algorithm, what’s the incentive to preserve life? ‘Humans must ultimately bear moral responsibility and face the horror of war squarely, not outsource it to machines.'”

MEDIA: Is it OK to generate a fake news story to make a point? No
Chris Lee | Ars Technica
“The end of the experiment is that millions of people all over the world were told that chocolate will help them lose weight. The consequence is that all those people who search (in vain) for fad diets…In terms of ethical analysis, this is an experiment that did not tell us anything that wasn’t known already. On that score alone, the experiment fails to pass muster.”

FUTURE OF WORK: Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine?
Quoctrung Bui | NPR
“Machines can do some surprising things. But what you really want to know is this: Will your job be around in the future?…The researchers admit that these estimates are rough and likely to be wrong. But consider this a snapshot of what some smart people think the future might look like.”

SCIENCE FICTION: Science Fiction Is for Slackers
Jacob Brogan | Slate
“As a rule, science fiction may be the laziest of all genres, not because the stories themselves are too facile—they can be just as sophisticated and challenging as those of any other genre—but because they often revel in easy solutions: Why walk when you can warp? Why talk when you’re a telepath? Technology in such stories typically has more to do with workarounds than it does with work.”

VIRTUAL REALITY: We’re Seriously Underestimating the Virtual-Reality Market
Sergio Aguirre | Re/Code
“Most of the VR prototypes we’ve seen so far use a wraparound headset. But this “shut out everything” hardware paradigm could seriously limit adoption, especially in consumer markets. There’s actually an emerging category of virtual experiences that allow a user to experience digital objects as if they were real, without the need for a wraparound headset. There hasn’t been as much chatter about it, but “non-enveloping” VR could be one of the biggest, most important parts of this new wave of digital-analog world interfaces.”

Image Credit: James Vaughan/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.
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