Will AI shatter human exceptionalism?

“From an evolutionary perspective, this is preposterous. The fact that humans are different from other animals is a distinction of degree, not of kind. Once we properly orient ourselves on the evolutionary tree, it becomes clear that we can learn more about ourselves by focusing on our similarities with other animals than by perpetuating the myth that we’re categorically unique.

Peter Clarke, “Transhumanism and the Death of Human Exceptionalism” at Areo”

Will AI shatter human exceptionalism?
https://mindmatters.ai/2019/03/will-ai-shatter-human-exceptionalism/
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Soul Downloading… Please wait. Syntax vs semantics

“J. Searle arguments, that a machine will never have a mind or consciousness, because “understanding” is always only simulated. The logic of computers follows a pure formal structure (syntax), which orders symbols according to clear rules and hence only emulates understanding. In contrast to humans, with a mind and consciousness, who are able to attribute meaning and content to words and language (semantics).”

Soul Downloading… Please wait.
https://www.sovereignmagazine.co.uk/2019/06/03/soul-downloading-please-wait/
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'Black Mirror' Isn't Surprising Anymore. We're Screwed

“In other words, show creator Charlie Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones in all likelihood plucked Bauer's vision quest not from the headlines but from their own brains—only to have reality outpace what would otherwise be a pitch-perfect lampoon of tech-founder sanctimony. Such is the burden of Black Mirror. More than seven years after it first debuted, the sci-fi anthology can still make you laugh (sometimes), unnerve you (many more times), and even disappoint you (more on that in a bit). It just may no longer surprise you.”

'Black Mirror' Isn't Surprising Anymore. We're Screwed
https://www.wired.com/story/black-mirror-season-3-review/
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Imagining New Institutions for the Internet Age – OneZero

“In a world awash in information, the curator is king. Behind each digital throne is an algorithm, a specialized artificial intelligence that is powered by data. More data means better machine learning which attracts more talent that build better products that attract more users that generate more data. Rinse, repeat. This positive feedback loop means that A.I. tends toward centralization. Centralization means monopoly and monopoly means power. That’s why companies like Google and Facebook post annual revenues that dwarf the gross domestic product of some countries.”

Imagining New Institutions for the Internet Age – OneZero
https://onezero.medium.com/imagining-new-institutions-for-the-internet-age-bf17212063db
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Meet me in Bucharest June 10!!

Technology, humanity, society and ethics: A look at the next 10 years

Understanding the future and developing foresights is becoming mission-critical. Join us for this groundbreaking session where Gerd will introduce the most important things we must know about the etfuture, today, such as the decline of the oil and fossile fuel economy, the end of routine work (and why that's not the end of work),  the newly emerging opportunities caused by industry convergence, automation vs globalization, tomorrow’s ethics, a new economic system, the future of Europe and much more. 
The future is better than we think - we just need to govern it wisely.

Keynote Speaker: Gerd Leonhard - Futurist | Author | Speaker | CEO - TheFuturesAgency
Guest Speaker: Peter Vander Auwera - Content Curator Digital Ethics | Speaker | Sensemaker

Amazon Is Working on a Device That Can Read Human Emotions

“The notion of building machines that can understand human emotions has long been a staple of science fiction, from stories by Isaac Asimov to Star Trek’s android Data. Amid advances in machine learning and voice and image recognition, the concept has recently marched toward reality. Companies including Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and IBM Corp., among a host of other firms, are developing technologies designed to derive emotional states from images, audio data and other inputs. Amazon has discussed publicly its desire to build a more lifelike voice assistant.

The technology could help the company gain insights for potential health products or be used to better target advertising or product recommendations. The concept is likely to add fuel to the debate about the amount and type of personal data scooped up by technology giants, which already collect reams of information about their customers. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon has a team listening to and annotating audio clips captured by the company’s Echo line of voice-activated speakers.”

Amazon Is Working on a Device That Can Read Human Emotions
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-23/amazon-is-working-on-a-wearable-device-that-reads-human-emotions
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Is Surveillance the Future of Service?

“If that’s not Orwellian enough for you, consider that technology giant Adobe recently launched a cloud-based platform that, by using a variety of data points and technologies, identifies individual shoppers in real-time as they enter a store, portraying them as moving dots on a store map. It then allows store management to click on and receive a full profile of each individual, including spending patterns, marital status, age range, city of residence and more. From there, each individual consumer can be micro-targeted with specific offers and promotions to suit their known purchasing patterns.

Still not dystopian enough? Then take a visit to an Amazon Go store, the first of which opened in Seattle in 2018. From the moment you scan your mobile device on entry to crossing the threshold on exit, every movement and interaction you have with the store is monitored in real time. Make no mistake: Amazon is a data company first and foremost and is now bringing the same level of surveillance to physical stores that has allowed it to become the online behemoth it is today. In fact, according to a 2014 patent filing, the company intends to use its growing vortex of customer data to begin what it calls “anticipatory shipping,” a complex predictive analytics and logistics system that will enable Amazon to accurately ship us products before we even know we wanted or needed them.

And if all this weren’t enough, in his description of his company’s “store of the future” or “augmented retail” initiative, Farfetch founder José Neves describes a world where individual shoppers are “recognised as [they] come into the store, which is either via beacons or via a wallet like your Apple Wallet, scanning in like you would with a boarding pass for a flight." Then, there is what Neves refers to as the "offline cookie, a technology that automatically adds products to your wish list on your app as you touch them in the store, without having to scan anything.”

So, how do humans feel about becoming “offline cookies?”

Is Surveillance the Future of Service?
https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/opinion/is-surveillance-the-future-of-service
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Don’t let industry write the rules for AI

“Companies’ input in shaping the future of AI is essential, but they cannot retain the power they have gained to frame research on how their systems impact society or on how we evaluate the effect morally. Governments and publicly accountable entities must support independent research, and insist that industry shares enough data for it to be kept accountable.”

Don’t let industry write the rules for AI
http://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01413-1
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Social Media Are Ruining Political Discourse

“A presence on Twitter has become almost a job requirement for columnists and pundits. YouTube can also be a valuable educational resource with videos of political roundtables, academic conferences, lectures, and interviews. But the flow-oriented design of these media inhibits extended debate. When the liberal economist Paul Krugman tweeted a critique of the inconsistency of Republican policies on interest rates, for example, most of the more than 100 replies were simply derisive comments about Republican hypocrisy—posts created to derive pleasure from online riposte rather than advocacy for a particular position.

By contrast, blog posts and articles in online newspapers and magazines are not flow media; they are digital extensions of the kind of political writing that characterized printed newspapers and journals in the 19th and 20th centuries. There might be an opportunity for the readers to comment at the end of the article, but their responses do not contribute to flow and engagement in the same way. Even formal news and commentary often decays into flow fodder, such as when people post gut-feel responses to social media about articles they haven’t even read, based on the headline alone.

The politics of flow now poses a serious challenge to the earlier tradition of political debate. Some pundits have interpreted Trump’s populism as a realignment of the traditional political narratives of the left and the right. In both his presidential campaign and his presidency, Trump showed how easy it was to break both narratives into incendiary fragments that could be reshuffled into a variety of combinations. From the left he took opposition to international trade agreements and economic globalism; from the right, hostility to social programs and the federal bureaucracy (“drain the swamp”).”

Social Media Are Ruining Political Discourse
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/05/why-social-media-ruining-political-discourse/589108/?_hsenc=p2ANqtz-82144uBghSiGsOclpXytsnfx5Tlp906M_u1MaQEZnigt8tqgpaBa3-bcNJIuL37kqtaIDQ37Z78zbVZu9tGb--n5CPeNgKlogF764EeSc0pGRmWGI&_hsmi=72835581&utm_campaign=the_download.unpaid.engagement&utm_content=72835581&utm_medium=email&utm_source=hs_email
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Opinion | It’s Time to Break Up Facebook

“But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.

Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”

Opinion | It’s Time to Break Up Facebook
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/opinion/sunday/chris-hughes-facebook-zuckerberg.html
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