Ray Kurzweil on Turing Tests, Brain Extenders, and AI Ethics

Ray Kurzweil, who currently runs a group at Google writing automatic responses to your emails in cooperation with the Gmail team, recently talked with WIRED Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson at the Council on Foreign Relations. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation.

Nicholas Thompson: Let’s begin with you explaining the law of accelerating returns, which is one of the fundamental ideas underpinning your writing and your work.

Ray Kurzweil: Halfway through the Human Genome Project, 1 percent of the genome had been collected after seven years. So mainstream critics said, “I told you this wasn’t gonna work. You’re at seven years, 1 percent; it’s going to take 700 years just like we said.” My reaction at the time was: “Wow we finished 1 percent? We’re almost done.” Because 1 percent is only seven doublings from 100 percent. It had been doubling every year. Indeed, that continued. The project was finished seven years later. That’s continued since the end of the genome project—that first genome cost a billion dollars and we’re now down to $1,000.

Full Script: Wired Magazine

‘Transracial’ man born white feels like he is Filipino

Riding in a flamboyant purple vehicle, Ja Du shows up to a coffee shop to open up about his new identity.

Ja Du, born a white male named Adam, now considers himself a Filipino. Turns out the purple ride he drives around in is called a Tuk Tuk, an Asian-derived vehicle used for public transit in the Philippines he says.

Ja Du is part of a small, but growing community of people who considers themselves transracial. It refers to someone born one race, but identifies with another.

Full Article: WTSP 10 – LA

Monday 11/13 – Best of Twitter

The George Takei sexual assault story just keeps getting worse

Over the weekend, George Takei denied former model Scott Brunton’s claims that the Star Trek actor had sexually assaulted him. This was after Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter that in 1981, Takei invited him over to his home following a night out, where he undressed and groped Brunton while he was inebriated and in and out of consciousness. Takei later tweeted that while he was taking the allegations seriously, he was also categorically denying them. “Those that know me understand that non-consensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful,”

But, as has been the case with these disclosures, there are already new, disturbing wrinkles. The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets have picked up on resurfaced audio from an October 2017 interview with Howard Stern, in which Takei did admit that he had grabbed the crotches of men he saw as “kind of skittish, or maybe, um, uh, afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.” Stern and Takei had been discussing the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault and harassment allegations, with the actor bemoaning the lack of consequences for Donald Trump, who managed to win the 2016 presidential election despite having bragged on air about sexually assaulting women.

Full Article: AV Club

Something is wrong on the internet

Warning: The original author says that portions of this article maybe offensive. Read with caution.

As someone who grew up on the internet, I credit it as one of the most important influences on who I am today. I had a computer with internet access in my bedroom from the age of 13. It gave me access to a lot of things which were totally inappropriate for a young teenager, but it was OK. The culture, politics, and interpersonal relationships which I consider to be central to my identity were shaped by the internet, in ways that I have always considered to be beneficial to me personally. I have always been a critical proponent of the internet and everything it has brought, and broadly considered it to be emancipatory and beneficial. I state this at the outset because thinking through the implications of the problem I am going to describe troubles my own assumptions and prejudices in significant ways.

One of the thus-far hypothetical questions I ask myself frequently is how I would feel about my own children having the same kind of access to the internet today. And I find the question increasingly difficult to answer. I understand that this is a natural evolution of attitudes which happens with age, and at some point this question might be a lot less hypothetical. I don’t want to be a hypocrite about it. I would want my kids to have the same opportunities to explore and grow and express themselves as I did. I would like them to have that choice. And this belief broadens into attitudes about the role of the internet in public life as whole.

Full Article: Something is wrong on the internet

Drug could help diabetes patients lose weight and control sugar levels

A new drug to help diabetics lose weight and control their blood sugar is being trialled in 11 clinics around New Zealand.

An initial trial of the drug, ZGN-1061, had promising results in relation to both weight loss and glucose control in overweight or obese patients with type 2 diabetes who did not use insulin.

Full Article: New Zealand Herald
See Also: Study reveals how a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes

Europe: Climate Dictatorship Proposed To Solve Global Warming

Prominent environmentalist proposes a climate dictatorship because democracy is just not willing to do his policies.

The gall of this argument is staggering. It is even more staggering that the Swedish newspaper bringing this large interview today does not clearly mark the viewpoint as extreme and unreasonable. Instead, they seriously have their political analyst muse about whether a climate dictatorship is really necessary, and ending with a conclusion of ‘yeah, possibly.’

The claim comes from Jørgen Randers, professor of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School. His main claim to fame is as co-author of the 1972 Limits to Growth book, which scared a generation to believe we would run out of all resources and kill humanity with suffocating air pollution. Time magazine headlined their 1972 story on the book: “The Worst Is Yet to Be?” and it began: “The furnaces of Pittsburgh are cold; the assembly lines of Detroit are still. In Los Angeles, a few gaunt survivors of a plague desperately till freeway center strips, backyards and outlying fields, hoping to raise a subsistence crop.

Full Article: Technocracy News

‘Interrupted theft’ led to stabbings at Macy’s in Mall of America

A 20-year-old suspect is in custody after two men were stabbed at the Mall of America in Minnesota during what police called an ‘interrupted theft’.

Bloomington police said the incident happened Sunday evening in the first-floor dressing room area of the Macy’s department store.

Police said the first victim was stabbed after he returned to the dressing room and confronted Mahad Abdiaziz Abdirahaman, of Minneapolis, who was allegedly attempting to steal his belongings.

Full Article: Daily Mail UK

Iran-Iraq earthquake kills more than 400, officials say – Someone trying to tell you something?

More than 400 people were killed when a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Iraq-Iran boarder on Sunday, sending residents fleeing as thousands of residents were left injured, officials said on Monday.

The quake was centered 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja and struck around 9:48 p.m. Iran time. Residents were retiring for the night at the time. Iran’s western Kermanshah province, a rural mountainous region, bore the brunt of the temblor, with Iran’s state-run news agency reporting the quake killed 407 people in the country and injured another 6,700.

Full Article: Iran-Iraq earthquake kills more than 400