Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.
But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?
This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
The New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation.
Michael Mosley embarks on an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society's historical path.
Michael begins with the story of one of the great upheavals in human history - how we came to understand that our planet was not at the centre of everything in the cosmos, but just one of billions of bodies in a vast and expanding universe.
He reveals the critical role of medieval astrologers in changing our view of the heavens, and the surprising connections to the upheavals of the Renaissance, the growth of coffee shops and Californian oil and railway barons.
In human embryos, the SRY gene encodes a unique transcription factor that activates a testis-forming pathway at about week seven of development. Before this time, the embryonic gonad is "indifferent," meaning that it is capable of developing into either a testis or an ovary (Figure 2). Likewise, the early embryo has two systems of ducts, Wolffian and Müllerian ducts, which are capable of developing into the male and female reproductive tracts, respectively. Once the SRY gene product stimulates the indifferent gonad to develop into a testis, the testis begins producing two hormones, testosterone and anti-Müllerian hormone, or AMH. Testosterone and one of its derivatives, dihydrotestosterone, induce formation of other organs in the male reproductive system, while AMH causes the degeneration of the Müllerian duct. In females, who do not contain the SRY protein, the ovary-forming pathway is activated by a different set of proteins. The fully developed ovary then produces estrogen, which triggers development of the uterus, oviducts, and cervix from the Müllerian duct.
Dogs have been called a person's best friend, but they also can tell us a lot about human disease. Dr. Elaine Ostrander joins us in discussing how her lab at the National Human Genome Research Institute studies the genes of canines (dogs) in order to better understand human diseases, such as cancer.
It's a golden age for planet hunters: NASA's Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun. Some of them, like a planet called Kepler-22b, might even be able to harbor life. How did we come upon this distant planet? Combining startling animation with input from expert astrophysicists and astrobiologists, "Alien Planets Revealed" takes viewers on a journey along with the Kepler telescope. How does the telescope look for planets? How many of these planets are like our Earth? Will any of these planets be suitable for life as we know it? Bringing the creative power of veteran animators together with the latest discoveries in planet-hunting, "Alien Planets Revealed" shows the successes of the Kepler mission, taking us to planets beyond our solar system and providing a glimpse of creatures we might one day encounter.
How do you get a genius brain? Is it all in your genes? Or is it hard work? Is it possible that everyone’s brain has untapped genius–just waiting for the right circumstances so it can be unleashed? From a man who can immediately name the day of the week of any date in history to a “memory athlete” who can remember strings of hundreds of random numbers, David Pogue meets people stretching the boundaries of what the human mind can do. Then, Pogue puts himself to the test: after high-resolution scanning, he finds out how the anatomy of his brain measures up against the greatest mind of the century: Albert Einstein.
Dr. Theodore Berger's research is currently focused primarily on the hippocampus, a neural system essential for learning and memory functions.
Theodore Berger leads a multi-disciplinary collaboration with Drs. Marmarelis, Song, Granacki, Heck, and Liu at the University of Southern California, Dr. Cheung at City University of Hong Kong, Drs. Hampson and Deadwyler at Wake Forest University, and Dr. Gerhardt at the University of Kentucky, that is developing a microchip-based neural prosthesis for the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for long-term memory. Damage to the hippocampus is frequently associated with epilepsy, stroke, and dementia (Alzheimer's disease), and is considered to underlie the memory deficits characteristic of these neurological conditions.
The essential goals of Dr. Berger's multi-laboratory effort include: (1) experimental study of neuron and neural network function during memory formation -- how does the hippocampus encode information?, (2) formulation of biologically realistic models of neural system dynamics -- can that encoding process be described mathematically to realize a predictive model of how the hippocampus responds to any event?, (3) microchip implementation of neural system models -- can the mathematical model be realized as a set of electronic circuits to achieve parallel processing, rapid computational speed, and miniaturization?, and (4) creation of conformal neuron-electrode interfaces -- can cytoarchitectonic-appropriate multi-electrode arrays be created to optimize bi-directional communication with the brain? By integrating solutions to these component problems, the team is realizing a biomimetic model of hippocampal nonlinear dynamics that can perform the same function as part of the hippocampus.
Nick Bostrom talked about his book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, in which he posits a future in which machines are more intelligent than humans and questions whether intelligent machines will try to save or destroy us. He spoke at an event hosted by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute in Berkeley, California.
Dr. Subir Sachdev (Perimeter Institute and Harvard University) delivers the kick-off lecture of the 2014/15 Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Held at Perimeter Institute and webcast live worldwide on Oct. 1, 2014, Sachdev's lecture explores the fascinating and surprising connections between quantum mechanics, the phenomenon of superconductivity, and string theory.
The news media in recent months have been full of dire warnings about the risk that AI poses to the human race, coming from well-known figures such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates. Should we be concerned? If so, what can we do about it? While some in the mainstream AI community dismiss these concerns, I will argue instead that a fundamental reorientation of the field is required.
Stuart Russell is one of the leading figures in modern artificial intelligence. He is a professor of computer science and founder of the Center for Intelligent Systems at the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of the textbook ‘Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach’, widely regarded as one of the standard textbooks in the field. Russell is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute and the Advisory Board of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
Since the publication of the human genome in 2001, there has been a fundamental shift in molecular biology research from small scale, hypothesis focused science to larger scale hypothesis generating science. I will describe some of the key components of the last decade's research in this area, including Genomewide Association, the 1,000 genomes project and the ENCODE project and the way these projects draw on cutting edge statistics and algorithm processes. I will then describe the current excitement in applying this to medical issues, with speculation about how the next decade will develop in genome medicine.
About the Speaker
Dr. Birney is Associate Director of the EMBL-EBI. Before taking up his current post, he developed a number of databases (such as Ensembl), and worked on specific genomics projects, ranging from the Human Genome sequencing in 2000 through to the ENCODE project. For ENCODE he coordinated the analysis for both the 1% Pilot (published in 2007) and the scale up (likely to be published in 2012).
As Associate Director, Dr Birney takes a strategic oversight role of the EBI services alongside Rolf Apweiler (the other Associate Director of the EBI). This ranges from genome sequences through proteins, small molecules, macromolecular structures to networks, pathways and systems.
Dr Birney still runs a research group which focuses on genomic algorithms and studying inter individual differences, in both human and other species.
Light speed is one of science fiction’s major plot limitations — and maybe one of the major limitations of science. How can we explore the stars if it takes tens of thousands of years to get to them… or the galaxies, if it takes billions of years? Warp drives and wormholes are often co-opted by authors to save the day — but what is scientific, and what is make-believe? General relativity allows space and time to bend. Can we say there are limits, or is the answer as yet unknown? Does faster-than-light travel mean time-travel is inevitable?
Join Tamara to explore warp drives, light-speed limits, event horizons, and perhaps even the ultimate fate of the universe.
Gravity is the most important force in the universe, holding together planetary systems, stars, and galaxies. It is what makes the stars hot enough to shine and what keeps the Earth close enough to the Sun for life to form. It is also what ends the life of every massive star with a spectacular collapse and the formation of a black hole. Finding and studying hundreds of black holes within the Milky Way and in other galaxies brings us closer to understanding gravity at its extreme.
Cosmic Origins is the story of the universe but it's also our story. Hear about origin of space and time, mass and energy, the atoms in our bodies, the compact objects where matter can end up, and the planets and moons where life may flourish. Modern cosmology includes insights and triumphs, but mysteries remain. Join the six speakers who will explore cosmology's historical and cultural backdrop to explain the discoveries that speak of our cosmic origins.
Dr. Feryal Özel, Associate Professor, Astronomy/Steward Observatory, University of Arizona.
The last century produced advances in science that would be unimaginable to earlier generations, and no achievement had more impact than the extension of human life. Innovations in medicine and sanitation saw a radical increase in lifespan leading to unprecedented global economic growth and individual opportunity. But researchers are not resting on their laurels and the search for new scientific pathways is accelerating. Advances in genomics, proteomics, informatics, computing and cell therapy technologies bring with them the likelihood of extending lifespan further -- very possibly, much further. Dr. Craig Venter and Dr. Peter Diamandis, pioneers in this emerging field, join us to explain the opportunities and challenges ahead in the search for longer and healthier lives.
Extra dimensions of space—the idea that we are immersed in hyperspace—may be key to explaining the fundamental nature of the universe. Relativity introduced time as the fourth dimension, and Einstein’s subsequent work envisioned more dimensions still--but ultimately hit a dead end. Modern research has advanced the subject in ways he couldn’t have imagined. John Hockenberry joins Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, and other leading thinkers on a visual tour through wondrous spatial realms that may lie beyond the ones we experience.
Dr. Michael Rosenzweig, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the University of Arizona. Dr. Rosenzweig's lecture was given as part of the College of Science "The Edges of Life Lecture Series." Science now knows we've taken away enough land from nature to precipitate a mass extinction like the one that exterminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Using reconciliation ecology, we can prevent this - and preserve life.
The holographic principle was inspired by black hole thermodynamics, which conjectures that the maximal entropy in any region scales with the radius squared, and not cubed as might be expected. In the case of a black hole, the insight was that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon. The holographic principle resolves the black hole information paradox within the framework of string theory.However, there exist classical solutions to the Einstein equations that allow values of the entropy larger than those allowed by an area law, hence in principle larger than those of a black hole. These are the so-called "Wheeler's bags of gold". The existence of such solutions conflicts with the holographic interpretation, and their effects in a quantum theory of gravity including the holographic principle are not yet fully understood.
Cosmic Journeys explores the challenges of interstellar flight and the technological possibilities that may one day send us on a long voyage out into the galaxy. What imperatives will define the mission when it launches and finally arrives: exploration and science, or a struggle for survival?
David A. Weintraub is professor of astronomy, director of the Communication of Science & Technology program, and director of Undergraduate Studies for Department of Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University.
The title question about the age of our universe poses a deceptively simple question, and its answer carries profound implications for science, religion and philosophy. In this class, we will trace the centuries-old quest by astronomers to fathom the secrets of the nighttime sky. We will discover how they have used their knowledge of astrophysics and their observations of the heavens to determine that the universe is 13.7 billion years old.
By the end of the course, you will understand why astronomers know this is the answer to the title question. Individual classes will focus on
ancient answers for the age of the universe, Renaissance science's impact on that ancient wisdom, and Biblical Chronology as a reasonable seventeenth century response to the birth of modern science;
nineteenth-century discoveries that changed astronomy into astrophysics;
white dwarf stars as a chronometer for the age of the universe;
star clusters as another tool for measuring the age of the universe;
the expanding universe as a third method for dating the universe;
maps of the cosmic background radiation, dark matter and dark energy as a fourth method for determining the age of the universe.
No background in math, astronomy, or physics is required to understand this material.Watch video of Vanderbilt Professor David A. Weintraub speaking March 23 on "How Old is the Universe?" as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
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