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Stephen Hawking: “Artificial Intelligence Could End The Human Race” But How?

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Technology has come a long way in the millennia that mankind has thrived. Today we see a collective dependent relationship formed with our most common electronic devices. It seems that most of us would even be lost without our phones, laptops, or tablets.

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But what if our beloved technologies would eventually be the cause of humanity’s demise? Could this really be a possible timeline for mankind?

The eminent British physicist Stephen Hawking says yes, but we’re not so sure about that. (See below)

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Wikipedia

Stephen Hawking’s Warning

Hawking is credited for furthering our understanding of the universe with his theories on gravitational singularities and black holes, so his voice is well respected in both the science community and world at large.

The cosmologist warned that independent artificial intelligence could end humanity, claiming that efforts to produce ‘thinking machines’ pose a threat to our very existence. He told the BBC at an event in London, during which he unveiled a new communications platform:

“The primitive forms of artificial intelligence we already have, have proved very useful. But I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

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His warning came in reply to a question about his new voice system, the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of artificial intelligence. Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurological disease, and uses artificial intelligence technology as part of a system to help him communicate.

The system that he is using: Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures was developed in part by the British company Swiftkey. It helps him choose words he might want to say based off how Hawking actually thinks. This technology has already employed a smartphone keyboard app.

Hawking didn’t deny that there are many benefits of the artificial intelligence but he claimed that further refinements on the artificial intelligence program would make it “take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate.

Hawking said that humans are limited by slow evolution and cannot compete. He showed his fears about the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans like his latest upgrade, developed by Intel over the past three years, which will allow the professor to write up to 10 times faster and communicate more effectively with friends, family and students.

The newly-developed platform, which is designed for Hawking, is called Assistive Context Aware Toolkit (ACAT). It uses Hawking’s existing cheek sensor, which is detected by an infrared switch mounted onto his glasses. This is what will help him choose a character on a computer, which means he won’t have to type up to 20% as many characters as usual.

Professor Hawking said:

“Medicine has not been able to cure me, so I rely on technology to help me communicate and live. The development of this system has the potential to improve the lives of disabled people around the world and is leading the way in terms of human interaction and the ability to overcome communication boundaries that once stood in the way.”

Hawking’s debate can be summarized: Once a machine can truly think, it could learn to make improvements to itself and gradually become more and more capable and intelligent. But in the same time, he noted that other potential benefits of this technology could also be significant as he said:

“With the improvements made, I am now able to write much faster, and it means that I can continue to give lectures, write papers and books and, of course, speak with my family and friends more easily. This new system is life changing for me, and I hope it will serve me well for the next 20 years.”

More Concerns About A.I.

Prof Hawking is not alone in fearing the future of artificial intelligence. Earlier this year, Elon Musk, the CEO of the spaceflight company SpaceX and the electric car company Tesla Motors, warned that the technology could someday be more harmful than nuclear weapons.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in October, he described artificial intelligence as our ‘biggest existential threat’. He said:

“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with artificial intelligence. I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.

With artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon. You know those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram, and the holy water, and … he’s sure he can control the demon? [Well, it] doesn’t work out.”

In a later tweet, Musk wrote:

“Hopefully we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital super intelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.”

Things To Keep In Mind

Matthew Sparkes wrote in The Telegraph that mainly there are 4 ways that technology could hinder the human race:

  1. Artificial Intelligence:

In addition to what Professor Hawking said, we can think for a moment of the super-intelligence software that we have now. What would happen if this technology got smarter? And smarter…

Sparkes wrote:

“How close are we to that basic thinking machine? Simple artificial intelligence is already being harnessed to design electrical circuits that we don’t fully understand. Some antennae designs produced by genetic algorithms, for example, work better than those conceived by humans – and we aren’t always sure why because they’re too complex.”

  1. Scientific Disaster

Mistakes always happen. The fears of making any mistake while developing nuclear weapons, or even reactors, are growing. The result of such a mistake could also spell the end of humanity.

  1. Grey Goo

3D printer technology is growing at a rapid pace. Scientists are even developing 3D printers which can replicate themselves by printing the component parts for a second machine.

Sparkes said:

“Imagine a machine capable of doing this which is not only microscopically small, but nanoscopically small. So small that it can stack atoms together to make molecules. This could lead to all sorts of advances in manufacturing and medicine: inject a few thousand into a patient and they’ll dissolve a tumor into harmless saline. Millions could float in your car’s engine oil, replacing worn metal on vital components and removing the need for human maintenance.”

  1. Climate Change

Most people do not give proper attention to the way their actions affect the environment. This carelessness is leading to the degradation of our climate systems. And let’s be honest, mother nature isn’t a force for man to reckon with.

Using Technology Harmoniously

A previous study from the University of Oxford suggested that a third of UK jobs could be replaced by machines over the next two decades. RT reported:

“The study further found that jobs with a salary under £30,000 are almost five times more likely to be replaced than jobs over £100,000.”

This stat is one that appears scary because of our view of our current economy, but what if we could transform that and have basic needs met without having to slave over a job in the same way we do today? While it sounds like a stretch, if we were to use technologies in a harmonious way, we could put the right intention behind what we create and make a world better for us all.

The key would all come down to why. Why would we build this? What purpose does it serve? Does it assist humanity or does it not? So long as we can shift our mindset away from how we currently view our world, we should be able to responsibly incorporate technology into our lives in a way that serves and doesn’t harm.

Could this assimilation of technology and the working class be a blessing in disguise, or a warning sign of many social and economic challenges to come? Let us know your take on the rise of artificial intelligence in the comment section below!

Sources:

(1) BBC

(2) The Daily Mail

(3) The Telegraph

Further Resources:

(1) Artificial Intelligence Is Doomed if We Don’t Control Our Data

(2) Why We Should Think About the Threat of Artificial Intelligence

(3) Is Artificial Intelligence A Threat?

(4) Could Super-Intelligent Animals Be The Biggest Threat To Mankind?

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Discover

South African Doctor Cures Deafness With First-Ever Middle Ear Transplant

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The South African Department of Health has announced that a team of South African doctors have successfully completed the first ever middle ear transplant that restores hearing caused by certain types of deafness.

  • Reflect On:

    Does our current economic system truly support innovation? Does it value things that truly make humanity thrive? Or does it seem like there is always a need for us to convince someone to invest in something that is obviously important for society?

The South African Department of Health revealed earlier this year that a team of South African doctors have successfully performed the first-ever transplant of a patient’s middle ear, allowing them to once again hear. The surgery can be performed on people of any age and sets out to cure deafness caused by physical damage, infection in the middle ear as well as congenital birth defects and metabolic diseases.

Once again we see the value and innovation of 3D printing at work as this new invention helps to reconstruct the broken bones of a middle ear. Unlike other forms of transplants, this new innovation is seen as a long-term solution to conductive hearing loss.

It was 40-year-old Thabo Moshiliwa who lost his hearing in a car accident that underwent the first ever surgery dreamt up by the medical team at the University of Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital. This first ever surgery lasted about an hour and a half. The next patient to receive this treatment was 62-year-old Simon Bohale, who had an underdeveloped middle ear. His occupation as a welder also contributed to worsening his hearing loss. “I am excited. I have had two surgeries before but was not 100% okay. I cannot wait to hear people when they speak to me.” said Bohale.

The most influential person behind this new discovery was Professor Mashudu Tshifularo who had been studying conductive hearing loss over the past decade. When his interest turned to 3D printing technologies as a means for solving the intricate physical issues associated with certain types of hearing loss, he realized this highly useful discovery.

In the South African Department of Health press release, Tshifularo stated:

“By replacing only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical procedure.

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We will use titanium for this procedure, which is biocompatible. We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring.”

Tshifularo told local radio station Jacaranda FM:

“This was one of our patients we have been waiting for, for this reconstruction for almost three years now because they are not affordable … [but] we have done something new in the world and people will remember us for that.”

 Tshifulara understands that this new treatment must become accessible and affordable for poor and working-poor patients for its benefits to fully be realized. This includes those who use South Africa’s public hospitals.

Tshifularo continued:

“Because we are doing it in the country and we are going to manufacture here, it has to be affordable for our people in state hospitals.

It will be very accessible because as long as we can train the young doctors to be able to do this operation, then it will be accessible for them as well.”

Now it comes down to funding and support to continue moving forward with making this treatment accessible. The university’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) requires government funding and private sponsors to ensure this innovation continues forth.

More good news, South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi pledged that the Department of Health will “do everything in our power to assist and mobilize resources to make sure that Prof. Tshifularo gets all the help he needs for this far-reaching innovation.”

The Takeaway

There is no shortage of innovative people and incredible creativity on this planet, but does our current economic system truly support this innovation? Does it value things that truly make humanity thrive? Or does it seem like there is always a need for us to convince someone to invest in something that is obviously important for society?

The truth is, we hold back our own healing and thrivability as a species by accepting the belief that our current economic system is the way to go.

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Alternative News

Female Sorcerer’s Fascinating Arsenal of Charms Discovered In Pompeii

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Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    On August 12th archaeologists uncovered a trove of jewels in Pompeii that are thought to have been part of a 'sorcerer's treasure trove' used to bring fortune and fertility, and protect against bad luck.

  • Reflect On:

    As we dive into all of the magic that crystals, amulets, and similar tools have in this day & age, it's even more magical to see this latest finding & remember that we have been utilizing such tools for as long as we can look back all over the world.

My initial reaction to this story was, ‘WOAH. I love and have to share this!’

As someone who has gone on a very specific path in life, my journey has been filled with tools much like these. I am forever fascinated by all things magic (you can tune into my interview with Collective Evolution The Magic Within on CETV to understand this even further if you wish) and when news like this pops into my frequency, it solely reaffirms that there are so many of us out here and that energetic practices are, of course, nothing new.

On August 12th archaeologists in Pompeii discovered an array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms thought by researchers to have belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.

More than 100 miniature objects were found in a wooden crate which had all but decomposed except for its bronze hinges. The findings include miniature dolls, phallic amulets, necklace beads, and a tiny skull among other objects made of bone, bronze, glass, and amber. The researchers have come to the hypothesis that they were likely used for adornment or protection by a woman in the years before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, which later buried the city and its population in volcanic ash.

“They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories and biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption,” said Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, in a statement.

See items from the treasure trove below.

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Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

“The objects… were found at the Casa del Giardino, the same area where an inscription was recently uncovered that made historians change the date of when they think the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii took place, shifting it from August 24 to October 24 79 AD.” – ANSA

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

At this very location, the researchers also discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims, which included women and children. Archaeologists will use DNA analysis to determine if the victims were related. “Perhaps the precious box belonged to one of these victims,” Osanna suggested. “The iconography of the objects and amulets invoke fortune, fertility, and protection against bad luck,” Osanna said. He has suggested to the Italian news agency Ansa that it could have been a “sorcerer’s treasure trove.”

Since there was no gold found in the trove, it is likely these objects belonged to a servant or a slave, rather than the owner of the house, Osanna told Ansa.

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

 

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

The jewelry will go on display soon at Pompeii’s Palestra Grande in an exhibition set to be a follow-up to its recently closed show on Roman jewelry called “Vanity.”

The Takeaway

Though the past potential usage for these items is stressed to be simply a hypothesis at this time, it is incredible to simply see and imagine the time they existed in through these images.

As humans in a material, physical, 3D world, we ourselves are continuously building our own treasure troves in a way. Every piece of jewelry or product we purchase, find, or create flows its way into our homes, cars, pockets, backpacks, etc. and in the end shall remain and live on well beyond us to share a glimpse into our story. What would you like to leave behind? A trunk filled with magical amulets, or a legendary story (or both)?

Though it is nearly impossible to always be thinking of this when adding more ‘stuff’ into our lives, I do believe it serves as a good reflection point that these things are simply that – things – and that the real magic lies within each and every one of us. Remember that the energy and intentions that we at times give to others, things, or tools, is always coming from & through US.

Now, this is not to say that treasures themselves can not be treasured. If you just so happen to love the look, feel, and energy that they give off or wish to utilize these physical objects as an extension of yourself, by all means (and I get it – I’m with you!). As a final note, however, from a real-life gem collector to the hearts of all of you,  know that the answer, the love, the magic IS YOU.

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Consciousness

Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.

  • Reflect On:

    We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.

The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’

One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.

Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.

In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI

Horses were more wary of people they previously saw in a photo with an angry expression on their face. Photo by University of Portsmouth/University of Sussex

UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.

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“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”

Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”

This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.

The Takeaway

With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.

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