WILL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ENHANCE OR HACK HUMANITY?
Watch Yuval Noah Harari speak with Fei-Fei Li, renowned computer scientist and Co-Director of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute — in a conversation moderated by Nicholas Thompson, WIRED’s Editor-in-Chief. The discussion explores big themes and ideas, including ethics in technology, hacking humans, free will, and how to avoid potential dystopian scenarios. Publication is available under Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…. The event was hosted at Stanford in April 2019, and was jointly sponsored by the university’s Humanities Center, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI).
The good old days of cold war disinformatia are gone. Social media are increasingly relevant in shaping the public opinion, but they are just “eco chambers”. Foreign actors with malicious intent can easily exploit this intrinsic feature of social media manipulating online information in order to influence the public opinion. Moreover, cyberspace allows a large degree of anonymity, behind which it is easy to automate propaganda, and cyber attacks may be leveraged to exfiltrate and expose sensitive content or to gain information dominance during military operations, increasing the strategic relevance of the “information space”. Operations in this domain are central in Russia’s security strategic thinking, featuring predominantly in its “New Generation War” military doctrine. But the ongoing militarization of cyberspace risks having dangerous spillovers in the conventional domain. What can we do in order to protect our open democracies while preserving a global, free will and resilient Internet? The answer is multi-faceted, in as much as CEIW (cyber-enabled information warfare) is an emerging asymmetric threat that forces us to innovate our security approach in many ways.
“Invited presentation by Magnus Olsson, at the 2017 First Annual Unity and Hope Conference” This event was for targeted individuals and those concerned about the growing crimes of electronic harassment.
The conference was held from October 20-22 at the Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum: 1904 Canton Ave., Milton, MA 02186, USA. This presentation was co-produced by Mårten Hernebring. The speaker, Magnus Olsson, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Event Description from the Conference Web Site: “Our goal is to bring together as many support groups, media shows, activism groups, and organizations of targeted individuals, so we can work together and learn from each other and strategize on solutions to bring about change and end the suffering of hundreds of thousands of victims nationwide.
The number of people experiencing electronic harassment and gang-stalking is growing exponentially daily. Our hope is to come together, to build, empower, and educate the community on technology, resources, and support, and as a unified front attempt to educate the public. As a result of this conference, we will be able to strategically fight for freedom and justice for the victims of targeted crimes.
The goal of this conference is to unify all the groups worldwide and provide a knowledge and understanding of the program and the technology. We also strongly encourage targeted individuals to bring friends and family for support and to educate the ones around them on what invisible crimes are being committed against them.”
‘Major’ IBM breakthrough breathes new life into Moore’s Law…
By Lance Ulanoff1 day ago
Silicon is dead. Long live, carbon nanotubes.
In transistors, size matters — a lot. You can’t squeeze more silicon transistors (think billions of them) into a processor unless you can make them smaller, but the smaller these transistors get, the higher the resistance between contacts, which means the current can’t flow freely through them and, in essence, the transistors and chips built based on them, can no longer do their jobs. Ultra-tiny carbon nanotube transistors, though are poised to solve the size issue.
In a paper published on Thursday in the journal Science, IBM scientists announced they had found a way to reduce the contact length of carbon nanotube transistors — a key component of the tech and the one that most impacts resistance — down to 9 nanometers without increasing resistance at all. To put this in perspective, contact length on traditional, silicon-based 14nm node technology (something akin to Intel’s 14nm technology) currently sits at about 25 nanometers.
“In the silicon space, the contact resistance is very low if the contact is very long. If contact is very short, the resistance shoots up very quickly and gets large. So you have trouble getting current through the device,” Wilfried Haensch, IBM Senior Manager, Physics & Materials for Logic and Communications, told me.
Because of their unique properties,
carbon nanotubes, which happen to be 10,000 times thinner than a single strand of human hair, have been a promising tech for continuing Moore’s Law
carbon nanotubes, which happen to be 10,000 times thinner than a single strand of human hair, have been a promising tech for continuing Moore’s Law, which roughly states that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit will double every two years. However, according to Haensch, the technology faces considerable hurdles before it can be considered appropriate for commercial integrated circuit development.
First of all, the creation of tubes you can use in semiconductors isn’t easy. Haensch told me the current yields for useful material are still well below what they need. They also have to work out how to place the nanotubes 10nm apart or less on a wafer. Thirdly, they have to be able to scale devices based on carbon nanotubes to competitive dimensions.
There are actually two size issues to manage in chip scalability: Transistor gate and contact length. IBM solved the gate issue two years ago. “Scalability of contact was the last challenge on scalability,” said Haensch, and now IBM scientists report they’ve solved that, too. In their experiments, IBM scientists shrunk the contact length down to 9nm without any increase in resistance.
These results put the world one step closer to carbon nanotube-based integrated circuits. Such chips could conceivably run at the same speed as current transistors, but use significantly less power.
At maximum power, though, Haensch told me, these carbon nanotube chips could run at significantly faster speeds. Not only does this promise a future of ever faster computers, but it could lead to considerably better battery life for your most trusted companion — the smartphone.
This was an engineering breakthrough, though, that almost wasn’t. After working on the scalability problem for years, Haensch’s team came to him last year with results that shortened the contact length to 20nm.
They said, “Oh, we have something here. We need to publish,” Haensch recalled, who deflated the team’s excitement, telling them, “No, you don’t really have anything.”
Haensch sent them back to the lab telling them not to come back until they could produce something smaller than 10nm. “They were very disappointed they couldn’t write the paper,” said Haensch.
Then, a few months ago, the team returned with new results. “‘We got down to 9nm, and, by the way, we can reproduce the results.”
Haensch was thrilled. “Taking away the early gratification really gave us good results,” he said. It may also have given Moore’s Law a new lease on life and the world an exciting new future of electronics.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
developing microcircuits that can repair brain damage, and
other numerous projects related to changing the cognitive abilities and functioning of humans, and artificial intelligence.
Journals exist for all of these activities — including the Human Brain Mappingjournal. Some envision a Human Cognome Project. James Albus, a senior fellow and founder of the Intelligent Systems Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology believes the era of ‘engineering the mind‘ is here. He has proposed a national program for developing a scientific theory of the mind.
Neuromorphic engineering, Wikipedia says, “is a new interdisciplinary discipline that takes inspiration from biology, physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering to design artificial neural systems, such as vision systems, head-eye systems, auditory processors, and autonomous robots, whose physical architecture and design principles are based on those of biological nervous systems.”
There are many examples.
Researchers from Harvard University have linked nanowire field-effect transistors to neurons. Three applications are envisioned: hybrid biological/electronic devices, interfaces to neural prosthetics, and the capture of high-resolution information about electrical signals in the brain. Research is advancing in four areas: neuronal networks, interfaces between the brain and external neural prosthetics, real-time cellular assays, and hybrid circuits that couple digital nanoelectronic and biological computing components.
Numenta, a company formed in 2005, states on its webpage that it “is developing a new type of computer memory system modelled after the human neocortex.”
Kwabena Boahen, an associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, has developed Neurogrid, “a specialized hardware platform that will enable the cortex’s inner workings to be simulated in detail — something outside the reach of even the fastest supercomputers.” He is also working on a silicon retina and a silicon chip that emulates the way the juvenile brain wires itself up.
The Blue Brain project — a collaboration of IBM and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland – will create a detailed model of the circuitry in the neocortex.
A DNA switch ’nanoactuator‘ has been developed by Dr. Keith Firman at the University of Portsmouth and other European researchers, which can interface living organisms with computers.
Kevin Warwick had an RFID transmitter (a future column will deal with RFID chips) implanted beneath his skin in 1998, which allowed him to control doors, lights, heaters, and other computer-controlled devices in his proximity. In anotherexperiment, he and his wife Irena each had electrodes surgically implanted in their arms. The electrodes were linked by radio signals to a computer which created a direct link between their nervous systems. Kevin’s wife felt when he moved his arm.
In his book I, Cyborg, Kevin Warwick imagines that 50 years from now most human brains will be linked electronically through a global computer network.
St. Joseph’s Hospital in the United States has implanted neurostimulators (deep brain stimulators) using nanowires to connect a stimulating device to brain. A pacemaker-like device is implanted in the chest, and flexible wires are implanted in the brain. Electrical impulses sent from the ‘pacemaker’ to the brain are used to treat Parkinson’s, migraine headaches and chronic pain, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, improve the mobility of stroke victims, and curb cravings in drug addicts.
In 2003/2004 a variety of publications (see links below) reported on the efforts of professor Theodore W. Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, and his colleagues, to develop the world’s firstbrain prosthesis – an ‘artificial hippocampus’ which is supposed to act as a memory bank. These publications highlighted in particular the use of such implants for Alzheimer’s patients.
The research program is proceeding in four stages: (1) tests on slices of rat brains kept alive in cerebrospinal fluid… reported as successful in 2004; (2) tests on live rats which are to take place within three years; (3) tests on live monkeys; and (4) tests on humans — very likely on Alzheimer’s patients first.
The Choice is Yours
If these advancements come to pass, they will create many ethical, legal, privacy and social issues. For the artificial hippocampus we should ask: would brain implants force some people to remember things they would rather forget? Could someone manipulate our memory? What would be the consequence of uploading information (see my education column)? Will we still have control over what we remember? Could we be forced to remember something over and over? If we can communicate with each other through a computer what will be the consequence of a Global Brain?
It is important that people become more involved in the governance of neuro-engineering and cognitive science projects. We should not neglect these areas because we perceive them to be science fiction. We also need to look beyond the outlined ‘medical applications.’ If the artificial hippocampus works, it will likely be used for more than dealing with diseases.
I will cover brain-machine interfaces, neuro-pharmaceutical-based ‘cognitive enhancement,’ and neuroethics and the ethics of artificial intelligence in future columns.
Gregor Wolbring is a biochemist, bioethicist, science and technology ethicist, disability/vari-ability studies scholar, and health policy and science and technology studies researcher at the University of Calgary. He is a member of the Center for Nanotechnology and Society at Arizona State University; Member CAC/ISO – Canadian Advisory Committees for the International Organization for Standardization section TC229 Nanotechnologies; Member of the editorial team for the Nanotechnology for Development portal of the Development Gateway Foundation; Chair of the Bioethics Taskforce of Disabled People’s International; and Member of the Executive of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. He publishes the Bioethics, Culture and Disability website, moderates a weblog forthe International Network for Social Research on Diasbility, and authors a weblogon NBICS and its social implications.