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134 MIN READ TIME

Artificial Intelligence Simulation, Not Synthesis

After over 50 years of mostly empty promises and disappointments, so-called artificial intelligence has finally produced some impressive results— IBM’s Deep Blue beating the world’s champion at chess and Jeopardy, and now doing practical work in medical applications such as interpreting X-rays for signs of cancer; self-driving cars; personal assistants; and many others.

With these new developments has come a new belief in the possibility not only of equaling human intelligence but surpassing it. Along with the usual fervent AI advocates such as Ray Kurzweil, sober thinkers and scientists including Sam Harris, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson believe we are imminently and inevitably facing the tipping point at which artificial intelligence exceeds human intelligence—an event that has been dubbed with what can only be described as theological fervor as the Singularity. With humans no longer the measure but only a way-station along the path to bigger and better, the quest is no longer for human-level artificial intelligence (once the Holy Grail of the field) but something even better that has been termed artificial general intelligence (AGI). And with superintelligent computer programs running on supercomputers designing their successors, these thinkers believe a runaway effect should take place, leaving human beings in the dust.

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Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas by Steven Poole
A review of How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality by Richard G. Bribiescas
A Review of Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science by Dave Levitan.
Reviews of: Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History by Nate Hendley Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff by Edward J. Balliesen Houdini’s ‘Girl Detective’ compiled by Tony Wolf The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For it…Every Time by Maria Konnikova
Review of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari.
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We’ve all heard the story of Chicken Little—a fanciful