The Singularity is Nigh

Elon Musk Calls For Regulation of ‘Demonic’ Artificial Intelligence

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Not much scares intrepid entrepreneur Elon Musk — not outer space, exploding rockets, supersonic air travel or disappointing us with unfulfilled promises. Robots, on the other hand? Elon Musk does not like smart robots.

While speaking on stage at MIT’s Centennial Symposium last week, Mr. Musk was asked if he had any thoughts on artificial intelligence. Read More

Fight the Power

‘Cyborg Unplug’ Is a Personal Jammer Against Drones, Glassholes

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Everyone from professional photographers to Martha Stewart is using little quadcopter drones to take stunning landscape videos and aerial photographs. But if you’re a glass-half-empty type — or maybe just a shoot-that-drone-out-of-the-air type — there’s now a handy tech toy to defend you from unwanted surveillance.

An upcoming device called Cyborg Unplug will allow you to disrupt the connections of drones, Google glass, wireless microphones, and other devices to your WiFi connection. The project is led by Glasshole-hater Julian Oliver, and lists the dystopian ‘Stop the Cyborgs’ campaign as an inspiration and “conspirator.” Read More

the robots are coming

Study: People Are More Likely to Open Up to a Talking Computer Than a Human Therapist

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It only takes five minutes with Siri to realize that robots are miserable replacements for help from a real person. But artificial intelligence researchers haven’t given up on making robots that can do something more useful than answering basic trivia and telling us where to hide a body.

A team of researchers created an artificially intelligent robot psychologist named Ellie who can ask probing questions, read emotions with 3D cameras and get through a basic therapy session, the Economist reports. Early experiments are showing that people are more likely to be candid and emotional when they think no one is sitting there judging them. Read More

The Singularity is Nigh

Google Hopes to Offer Life Extension as a Perk So You Can Work There Forever and Ever Without Leaving

(Photo: thatsreallypossible.com)

Google already provides its employees with nap pods, free meals and cute little bikes to shuttle them between buildings on campus, but one thing they haven’t yet figured out how to work into employee agreements is access to the fountain of youth.

But this is Google–dream big! The father of the Singularity, Ray Kurzweil, is toiling away in Mountain View creating an artificial brain. So why shouldn’t they expect a future in which they offer their employees life extension as a perk? Read More

The Singularity is Nigh

Ray Kurzweil Sees No Reason Why He Should Accept Death

(Wikipedia.)

Ray Kurzweil’s official title at Google is director of engineering, but we’re starting to suspect Larry keeps him around as a kind of science-fictional mascot for the programmers. Case in point: This Wired Q&A, in which he reminds everyone of his belief that one day soon, death will hold no dominion over technologists.

After chatting about Steve Jobs (fun fact, it’s actually impossible to get into the Wired offices without passing a brief quiz about Steve Jobs*), interviewer Stephen Levy asked his thoughts on one of the Silicon Valley demigod’s famous quotes: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent.”

Well, Ray Kurzweil thinks that’s bullshit. Read More

Law and Order

Aww, Man: No-Fun Mississippi House Bill Seeks to Outlaw Animal-Human Hybrids

(Photo: Blogspot)

Look, nobody expected Mississippi to be this shining bastion of liberalism, lovingly welcoming every transhumanist-animal-hybrid-Singulatarian to cross its borders. But unfortunately, in its quest to further criminalize and stigmatize abortion by explicitly defining personhood, Mississippi may have gone one step too far: House Bill 819, the Protection of the Human Person Act (PDF), would outlaw human-animal hybrids like animorphs, which should strike outrage in the heart of every ’90s kid who loved the sci fi series. Read More

Planet Reddit

Redditor Wonders if He Should Have His Hemorrhoids Removed Since He’ll Become a Cyborg Soon Anyway

(Photo: Rachel Marone)

It’s no secret that Betabeat is a big fan of the stranger side of futurism, but we would not advise avoiding minimal routine surgery just because of the Singularity. A Redditor named imememine posted to r/Futurology wondering if he should skip having his hemorrhoids removed since in a few decades we’ll all be transported to cyborg bodies, anyway. Read More

The Singularity is Nigh

Ray Kurzweil Says He’ll Get ‘Unlimited Resources’ to Work on AI at Google [Updated]

(Wikipedia.)

Last month, Ray Kurzweil, the unofficial president of the singularity booster club, took a job at Google. This, of course, inspired much breathless speculation about just how a company in possession of an enormous treasure trove of our data plans to employ such a thinker.

Well today we got a bit of a hint, thanks to an event at Singularity U., wherein X Prize chairman Peter Diamandis and Mr. Kurzweil interviewed each other. Vivek Wadhwa, naturally, live-tweeted their discussion from the audience–and it sounds like a doozy: Read More