Posts in tag

Computing


Down goes HotBot 4b into the volcano. The year is 2050 or 2150, and artificial intelligence has advanced sufficiently that such robots can be built with human-grade intelligence, creativity and desires. HotBot will now perish on this scientific mission. Does it have rights? In commanding it to go down, have we done something morally wrong? …

In December 1964, over a single evening session in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, John Coltrane and his quartet recorded the entirety of A Love Supreme. This jazz album is considered Coltrane’s masterpiece – the culmination of his spiritual awakening – and sold a million copies. What it represents is all too human: a climb out …

Google claims to have demonstrated something called “quantum supremacy”, in a paper published in Nature. This would mark a significant milestone in the development of a new type of computer, known as a quantum computer, that could perform very difficult calculations much faster than anything possible on conventional “classical” computers. But a team from IBM …

Huawei officially launched the world’s most powerful AI processor – the Ascend 910 – as well as an all-scenario AI computing framework, MindSpore. “We have been making steady progress since we announced our AI strategy in October last year,” said Eric Xu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman. “Everything is moving forward according to plan, from R&D to …

Autonomous weapons – killer robots that can attack without a human operator – are dangerous tools. There is no doubt about this fact. As tech entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Mustafa Suleyman and other signatories to an open letter to the United Nations have put it, autonomous weapons ‘can be weapons of terror, weapons that …

Human-level intelligence is familiar in biological hardware – you’re using it now. Science and technology seem to be converging, from several directions, on the possibility of similar intelligence in non-biological systems. It is difficult to predict when this might happen, but most artificial intelligence (AI) specialists estimate that it is more likely than not within …

Assuming that the emergence of consciousness in artificial minds is possible, those minds will feel the urge to create art. But will we be able to understand it? To answer this question, we need to consider two subquestions: when does the machine become an author of an artwork? And how can we form an understanding …

Arms races happen when two sides of a conflict escalate in a series of ever-changing moves intended to outwit the opponent. In biology, a classic example comes from cheetahs and gazelles. Over time, these species have evolved for speed, each responding to the other’s adaptations. A host of weirder examples come from the biology of …

Picture yourself driving down a city street. You go around a curve, and suddenly see something in the middle of the road ahead. What should you do? Of course, the answer depends on what that ‘something’ is. A torn paper bag, a lost shoe, or a tumbleweed? You can drive right over it without a …

When I was a student, in the distant past when most computers were still huge mainframes, I had a friend whose PhD advisor insisted that he carry out a long and difficult atomic theory calculation by hand. This led to page after page of pencil scratches, full of mistakes, so my friend finally gave in …