Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by leaps and bounds — within this century, research suggests, a computer AI could be as “smart” as a human being. And then, says Nick Bostrom, it will overtake us: “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make.” A philosopher and technologist, Bostrom asks us to think hard about the world we’re building right now, driven by thinking machines. Will our smart machines help to preserve humanity and our values — or will they have values of their own?
There is a strand in contemporary astronomy that aims to survey and map the universe on larger and larger scales, going all the way back to the beginning of time. In this video, Josh Frieman, Director of the Dark Energy Survey and Astrophysics Professor at the University of Chicago, describes the promise these projects hold for understanding the hidden dynamic of the cosmos, including the identity and influence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and whether Albert Einstein’s theories are correct.
Cybersecurity is a set of techniques to protect the secrecy, integrity, and availability of computer systems and data against threats. In today’s episode, we’re going to unpack these three goals and talk through some strategies we use like passwords, biometrics, and access privileges to keep our information as secure, but also as accessible as possible. From massive Denial of Service, or DDos attacks, to malware and brute force password cracking there are a lot of ways for hackers to gain access to your data, so we’ll also discuss some strategies like creating strong passwords, and using 2-factor authentication, to keep your information safe.
More than half of the world’s population already lives in cities, and another 2.5 billion people are projected to move to urban areas by 2050. The way we build new cities will be at the heart of so much that matters, from climate change to economic vitality to our very well-being and sense of connectedness. Peter Calthorpe is already at work planning the cities of the future and advocating for community design that’s focused on human interaction. He shares seven universal principles for solving sprawl and building smarter, more sustainable cities.
In the centuries since Galileo proved heliocentrism, science has gradually come to understand more and more of our universe’s natural phenomena: gravity, quantum mechanics, even ripples in space-time. But the final frontier of science isn’t out there, says cosmologist and MIT professor Max Tegmark, it’s the world inside our heads: consciousness. It’s a highly divisive issue—some scientists think it’s unimportant or a question for philosophers, while others like Tegmark think that the human experience and the meaning and purpose of life would disappear if the lights of our consciousness were to go out. Ultimately, Tegmark thinks we can understand consciousness scientifically by finding the pattern of matter from which consciousness springs. What is the difference between your brain and the food you feed it? It’s all quarks, says Tegmark, the difference is the pattern they’re arranged into. So how can we develop a theory of consciousness? Can we build a consciousness detector? And can we really understand what we are without unlocking humanity’s greatest mystery? Tegmark muses on all of this above.
There’s one brain bias that affects 80% of adults and it has a familiar name you may not expect: optimism. Not always thought of as a cognitive mechanism, the optimism bias leads people to overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes and to underestimate the likelihood of negative outcomes. It can be hugely helpful in our social lives and in keeping us motivated even if the trade off is, at times, the denial of reality. So where does this cognitive bias come from? Are we born with it, or do we develop it as we grow? Developmental psychologist Lori Markson compiles research about how optimism works in babies and young kids, and how that may help us to understand why we adults are the way we are.
Scared of superintelligent AI? You should be, says neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris — and not just in some theoretical way. We’re going to build superhuman machines, says Harris, but we haven’t yet grappled with the problems associated with creating something that may treat us the way we treat ants.
What do you get when you give a design tool a digital nervous system? Computers that improve our ability to think and imagine, and robotic systems that come up with (and build) radical new designs for bridges, cars, drones and much more — all by themselves. Take a tour of the Augmented Age with futurist Maurice Conti and preview a time when robots and humans will work side-by-side to accomplish things neither could do alone.