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Author Topic: Way out: Stephen Hawking's Wild Fears  (Read 790 times)

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Geek-9pm

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Way out: Stephen Hawking's Wild Fears
« on: February 21, 2018, 12:58:19 PM »
Hey! this is off topic. Off Topic.
Almost two months  gone by and people are ignoring the Wild Fears of the British scientist Stephen Hawking.
quote
Stephen Hawking is known for his groundbreaking achievements in science, but many do not realize that the physicist is also recognized for making predictions about the future of humanity and Earth. This year,{2017}, the Oxford professor made some of the most insane predictions...
Read  a summary in Newsweek By Dana Dovey On 12/26/17.
http://www.newsweek.com/stephen-hawking-end-year-predictions-2017-755952
Among other things, he thinks AI robots will take over.
Me thoughts, if robots take over, it will be because of Windows 10.    ::)

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Re: Way out: Stephen Hawking's Wild Fears
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2018, 02:12:27 PM »
He doesn't say "robots will take over" he said that "A.I could be the worst event in the history of our civilization".

Now, As intelligent as he is, he is a theoretical physicist. He's neither a computer scientist nor an anthropologist, so I don't think he has the appropriate underlying toolset to come to a reasonable conclusion. Certainly so when the claims are largely vague doomsaying. If it was Donald Knuth I'd certainly give it far more notice.

And, as it stands now- there isn't really any evidence to support these fears. Currently AI is largely domain specific and not very useful in any generalized application. Using Neural nets to "train" genetic algorithms for things like say identifying rotten fruit on a conveyor belt.

I've notice increasingly that the "definition" of AI has seemingly been changed from the development of trainable, learning neural networks to describe concrete imperative algorithms, like the common digital assistant "AI" which is just a glorified speech-interfaced command line.
I was trying to dereference Null Pointers before it was cool.

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Re: Way out: Stephen Hawking's Wild Fears
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2018, 03:47:02 PM »
Yes, it is a bit of a stretch.  ;D
On more important t topics: Global Warming.

Prof Hawking said the action could put Earth onto a path that turns it into a hothouse planet like Venus.

He also feared aggression was "inbuilt" in humans and that our best hope of survival was to live on other planets.

The Cambridge professor spoke exclusively to BBC News to coincide with his 75th birthday celebrations.

Arguably the world's most famous scientist, Prof Hawking has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life. It has impaired his movement and ability to speak.

Yet through it all, he emerged as one of the greatest minds of our time. His theories on black holes and the origin of the Universe have transformed our understanding of the cosmos.

Prof Hawking has also inspired generations to study science. But through his media appearances what has been most impressive of all has been his humanity.

He does get attention.
For more, goto BBC news.
http://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-40473838/stephen-hawking-at-75

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Re: Way out: Stephen Hawking's Wild Fears
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2018, 03:53:05 PM »
I'm with Hawking. I remember reading a science fiction story in which a robot deliberately hurt its owner, and when asked why it had disobeyed the first law of robotics, said "Oh! I thought it said a robot may not immure a human being".

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Re: Way out: Stephen Hawking's Wild Fears
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2018, 04:41:57 PM »
I should of course note that him being a physicist (theoretical or otherwise) doesn't mean we should completely dismiss everything he says outside that area. But it seems a bit remiss to publicize such statements so readily as if coming from an expert on the subject, if that makes any sense. Sort of like a famed Marine biologist saying something regarding quantum mechanics, then being quoted all over the media.

Prof Hawking said the action could put Earth onto a path that turns it into a hothouse planet like Venus.

I think Alarmist doomsaying like this does damage to efforts to change our industry and work towards cleaner energy sources, particularly when it's simply not true.

Consider where the Carbon emissions we are putting in the atmosphere are coming from. Oil and Coal, which come from plants and animals from millions of years ago who died before there was life that could digest and process things like cellulose. Those plants and animals took that CO2 out of the atmosphere to begin with, during a time of much warmer temperatures. So, realistically, even if we put it All back, we'd just be looking at the same habitable biosphere that was present millions of years ago.

The problem is that none of the current life on Earth would be suitable for those conditions, and the change wouldn't occur over millions of years, it is currently happening and has happened over the span of the last few centuries due to industrialization. It is why many ecosystems are already starting to face problems due to changing climates. Fearmongering with blatantly false, alarmist nonsense just isn't a good idea because either people decide "well, what's the point, it's futile" or they discover it's bollocks and dismiss the entire concept as some elaborate ruse.

An interesting sidebar- Both Venus and Mars are within the "Habitable zone" around the Sun. It is theorized, based on some of the surface formations that Venus may have had a biosphere similar to Earth a few billion years ago. It's closer proximity to the sun however made it far more susceptible to the Sun's aging process- As Stars age, they burn hotter- so eventually the heat Venus received from the sun was enough to cause a runaway greenhouse effect.


Earth is expected to suffer a similar fate to Venus eventually. Though it is expected to be a lifeless, dry desert planet for a few hundred million years before that happens. Current models put the start of the process which turns it into an arid wasteland at around 700 million years from now. Perhaps ironically, that process is started by the increasing solar energy increasing chemical reaction rates for forming carbonates fast enough to reduce CO2 levels to a level unable to sustain photosynthesis.

Back to the original topic, though- I'm more privvy to the model found in Asimov's Short story The Feeling of Power. I don't think AI will realistically replace people except in the sense of doing more work- sort of in the sense that computers have replaced Human calculators, such as the employ of women who used to be required at observatories for crunching data- but rather instead of replacing people we will grow increasingly more dependent on them; something which, I'd argue, we are already seeing occur. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but as Carl Sagan pointed out, we are becoming increasingly more dependent on computers while on average people are becoming less familiar and aware of how they work. The short story is sort of a "end-game" to that thought process.
I was trying to dereference Null Pointers before it was cool.