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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Odds and ends: AI, ISIS, DREAMers

Posting will continue to be light. This is a busy summer. A few items I've found interesting:

-- "Elon Musk Is More Dangerous Than AI." A fascinating piece in h+ magazine. It includes this cogent point:
Reality check: A machine that hunts and kills humans in large numbers wouldn’t need to be more intelligent than an insect. And yes it would be super dangerous to make such machines especially if we add in the idea of self replication or self manufacture. Imagine an insect like killing machine that can build copies of itself from raw materials or repair itself from the spare parts of its fallen comrades. But notice that the relative intelligence or lack thereof has little to do with the danger of such a system. It is dangerous because it has the ability to kill you and is designed to do so. The fact that this machine can’t play chess, converse in English, or pass a Turing Test doesn’t change anything about its ability to kill.
Me: For some background on this overall subject, see my recent piece "Are Killer Robots the Next Black Swan?"

-- "Will the U.S. Help the Kurds Fight ISIS?" and "To fight the Islamic state, Kurdish and Iraqi forces need expedited aid." This is a moment when the deliberative, temporizing, conciliate-your-enemies-and-sell-out-your-friends approach to foreign policy is particularly inappropriate.

-- "Rep. Steve King Grabs Latina Woman's Wrist: 'You're Very Good At English' (VIDEO)," at TPM.  I have little sympathy for anti-immigration sentiment in the GOP (which is still my party, by the way) and I'm not a fan of either Steve King or Rand Paul, who in the latter case made headlines by rushing away at the first sign of confrontation with a couple of "DREAMer" activists. But reading the headline above and then watching the video reminds me of the smug tendentiousness of outfits like TPM. The Latina woman, handing King a business card and inviting him to rip it up, was not there for any kind of reasoned discourse but rather to goad him into an angry response on camera. Instead, he sought, vainly, to have a conversation with her. As for Paul, I can't blame him for leaving as he did.

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