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Intelligence (Ai) & Semantics

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  1. 15.0 hrs • 10/6/2015 • Unabridged

    As the world becomes ever more dominated by technology, John Brockman’s latest addition to the acclaimed and bestselling Edge Question series asks more than 175 leading scientists, philosophers, and artists: What do you think about machines that think? The development of artificial intelligence has been a source of fascination and anxiety ever since Alan Turing formalized the concept in 1950. Today, Stephen Hawking believes that AI “could spell the end of the human race.” At the very least, its development raises complicated moral issues with powerful real-world implications—for us and for our machines. In this volume, recording artist Brian Eno proposes that we’re already part of an AI: global civilization, or what TED curator Chris Anderson elsewhere calls the hive mind. And author Pamela McCorduck considers what drives us to pursue AI in the first place. On the existential threat posed by superintelligent machines, Steven Pinker questions the likelihood of a robot uprising. Douglas Coupland traces discomfort with human-programmed AI to deeper fears about what constitutes “humanness.” Martin Rees predicts the end of organic thinking, while Daniel C. Dennett explains why he believes the Singularity might be an urban legend. Provocative, enriching, and accessible, What to Think about Machines That Think may just be a practical guide to the not-so-distant future.

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    What to Think about Machines That Think

    Edited by John Brockman
    15.0 hrs • 10/6/15 • Unabridged
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  2. 13.0 hrs • 9/22/2015 • Unabridged

    Under the aegis of machine learning in our data-driven machine age, computers are programming themselves and learning about—and solving—an extraordinary range of problems, from the mundane to the most daunting. Today it is machine learning programs that enable Amazon and Netflix to predict what users will like, Apple to power Siri’s ability to understand voices, and Google to pilot cars. These programs are already helping us fight the war on cancer and predict the movements of the stock market, and they are making great headway with instant language translation and discovering new laws of nature. But machine learning is incomplete, and its practitioners across the globe are seeking the most powerful algorithm of all. The Master Algorithm will not be limited to solving particular problems but will be able to learn anything and solve any problem, however difficult, and Pedro Domingos, a trailblazing computer scientist, is at the very forefront of the search for it. With the master algorithm in hand and data as its fuel, machine learning—essentially the automation of discovery, a kind of scientific method on steroids—will become the most powerful technology humanity has ever devised. And The Master Algorithm will be its bible.

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    The Master Algorithm

    13.0 hrs • 9/22/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 6.2 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    The idea that human history is approaching a “singularity”—that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines, cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both—has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate. Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop at its current dizzying rate, the singularity could come about in the middle of the present century. Murray Shanahan offers an introduction to the idea of the singularity and considers the ramifications of such a potentially seismic event. Shanahan’s aim is not to make predictions but rather to investigate a range of scenarios. Whether we believe that singularity is near or far, likely or impossible, an apocalypse or utopia, the very idea raises crucial philosophical and pragmatic questions, forcing us to think seriously about what we want as a species. Shanahan describes technological advances in AI, both biologically inspired and engineered from scratch. Once human-level AI—theoretically possible but difficult to accomplish—has been achieved, he explains, the transition to superintelligent AI could be very rapid. Shanahan considers what the existence of superintelligent machines could mean for such matters as personhood, responsibility, rights, and identity. Some superhuman AI agents might be created to benefit humankind; some might go rogue. Is Siri the template, or HAL? The singularity presents both an existential threat to humanity and an existential opportunity for humanity to transcend its limitations. Shanahan makes it clear that we need to imagine both possibilities if we want to bring about the better outcome.

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    The Technological Singularity by Murray Shanahan
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  4. 12.6 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives. Meet Bina48, the world’s most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina. If you’re active on Twitter or Facebook, share photos through Instagram, or blogging regularly, you’re already on your way to creating a Mindfile—a digital database of your thoughts, memories, feelings, and opinions that is essentially a back-up copy of your mind. Soon, this Mindfile can be made conscious with special software—Mindware—that mimics the way human brains organize information, create emotions, and achieve self-awareness. This may sound like science-fiction, but the nascent technology already exists. Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working to create cyberconsciousness based on human consciousness and the Obama administration recently announced plans to invest in a decade-long Brain Activity Map project. Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical issues relating to cyberconsciousness and Rothblatt, with a PhD in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the dialogue.

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    Virtually Human

    Foreword by Ray Kurzweil
    12.6 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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