Here's a group that's pushing for a universal basic income in the United States In Brief A new lobbying group focusing on the universal basic income has been launched in the United States. What It Is Basic Income Action claims that it is the first national organization in the United States to push for a universal basic income. The UBI is a concept that would give a certain amount of money to all of a country’s citizens regardless of whether they qualify for welfare or other means-tested entitlements. RoboBrain: Robots Begin to Develop ''Culture'' by Learning From Each Other By Nicholas West Machine learning continues to advance with new artificial intelligence systems that are beginning to acquire and share knowledge in very human ways. I had written last year about robots that were beginning to learn tasks from YouTube.
18 researchers predict the future of AI Oli Scarff/Getty Images Artificial intelligence (AI) has been changing our lives for decades, but never has AI felt more ubiquitous than now. It seems as though not a week passes without yet another AI system overcoming an unprecedented hurdle or outperforming humans. But how the future of AI will pan out for humans remains to be seen. AI could either make all our dreams come true, or destroy society and the world as we know it. About that Heliocentric thing… This is waaaaay too cool not to share about your planet’s yellow Sun. And then there is this. A good thought project for Lent. The Danger of Financial Jargon The most important mystery of ancient Egypt concerned the annual inundation of the Nile floodplain. The calendar was divided into three seasons linked to the river and the agricultural cycle it determined: akhet, or the inundation; peret, the growing season; and shemu, the harvest. The size of the harvest depended on the size of the flood: too little water, and there would be famine; too much, and there would be catastrophe; just the right amount, and the whole country would bloom and prosper. Every detail of Egyptian life was shaped by the flood. Even the tax system was based on the level of the water, which dictated how successful farmers would be in the subsequent season.
Don't Fear the Robots Taking Your Job, Fear the Monopolies Behind Them As algorithms and automatons start to code and roll their way into our workplaces, there’s a looming sense that employment is set for a pretty major shift. Maybe not quite yet, but slowly and surely, the robots are showing themselves to be capable of taking on jobs once held by humans. They’re more accurate than us, more consistent; they run for longer, they’re satisfied with their work (or at least not unsatisfied), and they don’t kick up a fuss about a living wage. But to worry about robots “stealing our jobs”—an oversimplified rhetoric that sounds all too familiar—is to ignore the greater potential upheaval in our economy. That future societal change was the subject of discussion at a panel last night hosted by Nesta in London, which brought figures from the fields of technology and economics together to share some of the visions conjured by their crystal balls.
Robots will obliterate America's middle class and unleash mass unemployment, social chaos and global populist revolts (NaturalNews) In the next generation or so, highly capable robots will obliterate America's middle class by displacing tens of millions of workers. We're already seeing it take shape. Check out this robotic crop production facility that uses robots to produce 30,000 heads of fresh lettuce each day.
Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence Many AI researchers roll their eyes when seeing this headline: “Stephen Hawking warns that rise of robots may be disastrous for mankind.” And as many have lost count of how many similar articles they’ve seen. Typically, these articles are accompanied by an evil-looking robot carrying a weapon, and they suggest we should worry about robots rising up and killing us because they’ve become conscious and/or evil. On a lighter note, such articles are actually rather impressive, because they succinctly summarize the scenario that AI researchers don’t worry about. That scenario combines as many as three separate misconceptions: concern about consciousness, evil, and robots.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science - David H. Freedman In 2001, rumors were circulating in Greek hospitals that surgery residents, eager to rack up scalpel time, were falsely diagnosing hapless Albanian immigrants with appendicitis. At the University of Ioannina medical school’s teaching hospital, a newly minted doctor named Athina Tatsioni was discussing the rumors with colleagues when a professor who had overheard asked her if she’d like to try to prove whether they were true—he seemed to be almost daring her. She accepted the challenge and, with the professor’s and other colleagues’ help, eventually produced a formal study showing that, for whatever reason, the appendices removed from patients with Albanian names in six Greek hospitals were more than three times as likely to be perfectly healthy as those removed from patients with Greek names. “It was hard to find a journal willing to publish it, but we did,” recalls Tatsioni.
It Matters How Rich the Rich Are John Aziz at The Week argues that it does not matter how rich the rich are. I believe he is wrong for a number of reasons. The Impoverished Do Suffer Because the Rich Are Rich Aziz opts for the Econ 101 move to take on the idea that we should want to know how rich the rich are (not unlike the old "grow the pie" saw): Robot-writing increased AP’s earnings stories by tenfold Since The Associated Press adopted automation technology to write its earnings reports, the news cooperative has generated 3,000 stories per quarter, ten times its previous output, according to a press release from Automated Insights, the company behind the automation. Those stories also contained “far fewer errors” than stories written by actual journalists. The Associated Press began publishing earnings reports using automation technology in July for companies including Hasbro Inc., Honeywell International Inc. and GE. Appended to those stories is a note that reads “This story was generated automatically by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Full GE report: The stories include descriptions of each business and contain “forward-looking guidance provided by the companies,” according to the release.
The Artificial Intelligence Revolution: Part 1 PDF: We made a fancy PDF of this post for printing and offline viewing. Buy it here. (Or see a preview.) Note: The reason this post took three weeks to finish is that as I dug into research on Artificial Intelligence, I could not believe what I was reading.