The long, winding road for driverless cars - must read via The Econmist

“Level 3 autonomous driving is even more controversial. The main difference is that, while the driver must still remain vigilant and ready to intervene in an emergency, responsibility for all the critical safety functions is shifted from the driver to the car. This has a lot of engineers worried. Experience has not been good with control systems that relegate the operator to a managerial role outside the feedback loop, with the sole function of interceding in the case of an emergency.

It was this sort of thinking that allowed an accident at a nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island, in 1979, to escalate into a full-blown meltdown. Plant operators failed to react correctly when a valve stuck open and caused the reactor to lose cooling water. They then made matters worse by overriding the automatic emergency cooling system, thinking there was too much water in the reactor rather than too little. The accident report blamed inadequate operator training and a poorly designed computer interface.

Similar human failings have led to countless airline accidents—most recently, the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco in 2013. Over-reliance on automation and lack of systems understanding by the pilots when they needed to interevene were cited as major factors contributing to the Asiana crash. Some carmakers fear that—even more than reactor operators or professional pilots—untrained motorists may only compound the problem when suddenly required to take control of an otherwise fully automated system. Ford believes it is better to skip Level 3 altogether, and go straight to Level 4, even if it takes longer.”

The long, winding road for driverless cars
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'Westworld,' 'Black Mirror' and other tech-driven shows delve into what it means to be human

“Sticky big-picture questions like that are meat and potatoes this season for such series as "Humans," HBO's "Westworld," USA's "Mr. Robot" and Netflix's "Black Mirror." At first glance, these shows may seem to be about subservient robots, murderous mechanical bees or modern-day computer hackers who aspire to change the world with their code, but dismiss them as "mere" science fiction at your peril. They feature some of the most philosophically complex, thoughtful storytelling on TV, and even though they take place in alternative future universes, they are relevant to today's tech-obsessed world.”

'Westworld,' 'Black Mirror' and other tech-driven shows delve into what it means to be human
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Instagram is the most harmful social network for your mental health

“Our addictive feeds of fitness models, exotic travel, and photo-perfect moments don’t often match with our comparatively humdrum and badly lit lives. The discontent caused by that disconnect is enough that a growing body of research suggests social media is contributing to mental-health problems such as anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, and body-image issues in young people, who are the heaviest users of social media.”

Instagram is the most harmful social network for your mental health
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Elon Musk wants to enhance us as superhuman cyborgs to deal with superintelligent AI (madness imho)

“But for Musk, the big concern is AI safety. “AI is obviously going to surpass human intelligence by a lot,” he says. “There’s some risk at that point that something bad happens, something that we can’t control, that humanity can’t control after that point — either a small group of people monopolize AI power, or the AI goes rogue, or something like that.”

“This is what keeps Elon up at night,” says Urban. “He sees it as only a matter of time before superintelligent AI rises up on this planet — and when that happens, he believes that it’s critical that we don’t end up as part of ‘everyone else.’ That’s why, in a future world made up of AI and everyone else, he thinks we have only one good option: To be AI.””

Elon Musk wants to enhance us as superhuman cyborgs to deal with superintelligent AI | KurzweilAI
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The great digital-age swindle… and the man fighting back - interesting read

"But of course there is no such thing as free information. Someone has to pay for it. Just not Google or Facebook. And with the free information that they were using from elsewhere, these twin behemoths built themselves into the biggest advertising sales companies the world has ever seen. From 2000 to 2014, US advertising revenue fell from $65.8bn to $23.6bn, Taplin documents in his book. And between 2007 and 2013, UK ad revenues went from $4.7bn to $2.6bn. But from 2003 to 2015, Google’s revenue went from $1.5bn to an astronomical $74.5bn.

In other words, the companies supplying the “free” information were devastated, while those exploiting it were massively rewarded. But isn’t that just the way of history? Aren’t those who complain just modern versions of the wagon wheel manufacturers decrying the arrival of the automobile?”

The great digital-age swindle… and the man fighting back
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Is There an AI President in Our Future? That Might Be an Upgrade??

“Given some of the recent occupants of the White House, many might consider it an upgrade. After all, humans are prone to making decisions based on ego, anger, and the need for self-aggrandizement, not the common good. An artificially intelligent president could be trained to maximize happiness for the most people without infringing on civil liberties. It might even learn that it’s a good idea to tweet less—or not at all.

Sure, on first glance the idea is far-fetched and a little bit ridiculous. It’s not clear, for example, how an algorithm, no matter how lucid, could host a state dinner. Still, AI politicians are the likely culmination of trends already underway. Think about cars. Tesla owners are thrilled to let their Model S’s drive themselves, and auto manufacturers are rushing to produce vehicles that won’t even have steering wheels. Within a decade, tens of thousands of people will entrust their daily commute—and their safety—to an algorithm, and they’ll do it happily.

Why? Because it will make their lives better. Instead of sitting in traffic, drivers—now passengers—can watch a movie or get some work done. The increase in human productivity and happiness will be enormous. At the same time, it’ll make us safer. More than 30,000 people die in traffic accidents every year in the US alone, and almost all of those deaths are attributable to human error. Self-driving cars are poised to reduce that number significantly.”

Is There an AI President in Our Future? That Might Be an Upgrade
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Algorithms are failing Facebook. Can humanity save it? Via Quartz

“Facebook wanted to be pipes, but it’s also people

Early in the company’s history, Zuckerberg referred to Facebook as a “utility,” a piece of “information infrastructure.” In a letter to potential shareholders in 2012, he compared the social network to the printing press and the television.

But television manufacturers and printing press makers have no reason to understand the difference between a historical photo and a piece of pornography, to consider how to classify photos of breastfeeding mothers, or to debate whether an exception should be made for Donald Trump’s hate speech. They merely make the tools for distributing content.

Facebook, on the other hand, built both a content-distribution platform and a global community—”social infrastructure,” as Zuckerberg more recently described it—and its role in that community ended up being both toolmaker and governing institution. Facebook doesn’t just enable communication, but sets the boundaries and rules around it. And its influence—whether on culture, on elections, or on anything else beyond its own digital borders—means that those decisions impact us all, whether or not we use Facebook.”

Algorithms are failing Facebook. Can humanity save it?
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How Elon Musk learns faster and better than everyone else - 5* read!

“Bottom line: It’s not magic. It’s just the right learning process

Now, we can begin to understand how Musk has become a world-class expert-generalist:

He spent many years reading 60 times as much as an avid reader
He read widely across different disciplines
He constantly applied what he learned by deconstructing ideas into their fundamental principles and reconstructing them in new ways
At the deepest level, what we can learn from Musk’s story is that we shouldn’t accept the dogma that specialization is the best or only path toward career success and impact. Legendary expert-generalist Buckminster Fuller summarizes a shift in thinking we should all consider. He shared it decades ago, but it’s just as relevant today:

“We are in an age that assumes that the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable… In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in turn leads to war.”

If we put in the time and learn core concepts across fields and always relate those concepts back to our life and the world, transferring between areas becomes much easier and faster.”

How Elon Musk learns faster and better than everyone else
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The Myth of a Superhuman AI – good points via Kevin Kelly

“The assumptions behind a superhuman intelligence arising soon are:

Artificial intelligence is already getting smarter than us, at an exponential rate.
We’ll make AIs into a general purpose intelligence, like our own.
We can make human intelligence in silicon.
Intelligence can be expanded without limit.
Once we have exploding superintelligence it can solve most of our problems.
In contradistinction to this orthodoxy, I find the following five heresies to have more evidence to support them.

Intelligence is not a single dimension, so “smarter than humans” is a meaningless concept.
Humans do not have general purpose minds, and neither will AIs.
Emulation of human thinking in other media will be constrained by cost.
Dimensions of intelligence are not infinite.
Intelligences are only one factor in progress.”

The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel
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Totally spot-on!

The one crucial skill our education system is missing

“The answer is precisely that element which makes us less efficient and slower. Our humanity. But rather than being seen as a weakness, this is actually our strongest suit. It’s one we need to empower, because studies show that as the world becomes increasingly automated, computerised and digitalised, we are losing the very skills that define us as human. Just when we need them the most.”

The one crucial skill our education system is missing
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