This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through April 9)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: What Will Destroy Us First: Superbabies or AI?
Danielle Teller and Astro Teller | QUARTZ
“Even if we could build an AI that is similar to humans but smarter, there’s no evidence that being smart correlates very well with being a super villain (except in movies, of course)…We like to project human desires onto machines, but an artificially intelligent system isn’t interested in buying a superyacht so that it can get all the supercomputer babes, and it doesn’t have a use for our 401Ks.”

PHYSICS AND PHILOSOPHY: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?
Clara Moskowitz | Scientific American
“Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive…A simulated universe introduces another disturbing possibility. ‘What happens,’ Tyson said, ‘if there’s a bug that crashes the entire program?'”

VIRTUAL REALITY: A Few Things I Learned About Virtual Reality After Spending Way Too Much Time in It
Greg Kumparak | TechCrunch
“None of this is meant to make any grand statements about the future of VR. Consider it more of a captain’s log from someone who has spent too many hours with a little box strapped to his face.”

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: What’s the Point of Streamlining Nature?
Nicola Twilley | The New Yorker
“The American painter Ad Reinhardt, whose work had a major influence on the Minimalist movement, once wrote that ‘art begins with the getting-rid of nature.’ Trying to engineer a minimal cell cannot help but run up against this dichotomy, which Agapakis summed up as the ‘conflict between the emergence of evolutionary novelty and the construction of designed novelty’—in other words, between the logic by which we seek to alter biology and the logic by which it alters itself.”

Joseph Cox | Motherboard
“‘The surface is vast,’ Lueders said. And that surface is under constant poking and probing: threats include low level denial-of-service attacks, hackers scanning CERN’s web servers for vulnerabilities, and brute force attempts to break into systems…In terms of who is attacking us: everybody.”

SOCIETY: What Would a World Without Internet Look Like?
Blake Snow | The Atlantic 
“The only credible post-Internet visions are all tied to civilizational collapse: zombie apocalypses, global pandemics, nuclear catastrophes…The hidden message in all of those scenarios is that if the only way to convincingly imagine a world without an Internet is to imagine a world without civilization, then to a first approximation, the Internet has become our civilization.”

TRANSPORTATION: A Brief History of Autonomous Vehicle Technology
“Perhaps the most exciting part of the dawn of the autonomous vehicle era is the collaboration between private industry, government, and academia that has already begun to fully introduce autonomous cars into our lives….Artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng says the pace is accelerating. These amazing new machines, ‘will join human drivers on our roads sooner than most people think.'”

FUTURE OF WORK: Tech Slowdown Threatens the American Dream
David Rotman | MIT Technology Review
“The book attempts to directly refute the views of those Gordon calls ‘techno optimists,’ who think we’re in the midst of great digital innovations that will redefine our economy and sharply improve the way we live. Nonsense, he says. Just look at the economic data; there is no evidence that such a transformation is occurring.”

THROWBACK: The Evolution of Apple in One Image (Infographic)
Stacy Liberatore | Daily Mail
“An updated version of ‘The Insanely Great History of Apple 3.0’ infographic will remind us just how much the Cupertino company has changed since 1976.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Alison E. Berman
Alison E. Berman
Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).
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