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Hawking, Wozniak and Elon Musk publish open letter warning autonomous weapons will become as common as Kalashnikovs

Artificial intelligence, especially weaponized, is a huge mistake, tech gurus and scientific geniuses warn in a newly-released open letter. Professor Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Tesla CEO Elon Musk are among 1,000 signatories.

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Via RT:

The luminaries believe that for the last 20 years we have been dangerously preoccupied with making strides in the direction of autonomous AI that has decision-making powers.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous] systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms,” they write in a letter presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries.

The danger has to do with a combination of abilities and improvements the machines have been gaining over the years, including various integration, learning, processing power and a number of component tasks, as evidenced in their previous letter published by the Future of Life Institute.

The researchers acknowledge that sending robots into war could produce the positive result of reducing casualties. The flipside, they write, is that it “[lowers] the threshold for going to battle.”

The authors have no doubt that AI weaponry development by any nation will result in a “virtually inevitable global arms race” with autonomous weapons becoming “the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.”

“Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce,” they write.

Nothing will then stop all this from reaching the black market, researchers argue. “Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group,”they continue.

The message is not that AI is bad in and of itself, but that there’s a danger of using it in a way that is diametrically opposed to how it should be used – which is for good, for healing and for alleviating human suffering.

The group speaks against a select few who would “tarnish” a field that, like biology or chemistry, isn’t at all preoccupied with using that knowledge to make weapons. Any negative use of this knowledge could only lead the public to forever stand against the field, therefore denying it the chance to really be of benefit in the future, the visionaries write.

None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who follows their careers or keeps up to date with AI news. Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, is known to be very vocal on the issue. But In June, he posited that a smart AI would wish to control nature itself – and therefore, humans. As “pets.” He even joked about feeding his dog fillet steak, because “do unto others…”

“They’ll be so smart by then that they’ll know they have to keep nature, and humans are part of nature. So I got over my fear that we’d be replaced by computers. They’re going to help us. We’re at least the gods originally,” he told an Austin audience at the Freescale Technology Forum 2015.

Musk is another skeptic. A recently-authorized biography outlines how he worries that his friend and Google CEO Larry Page could “produce something evil by accident” (the company has been making huge strides in robotics and AI, including recently purchasing Boston Dynamics – the company that scared everybody with its four-legged animal-like robots).

“The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. Ten years at most,” Musk wrote in a leaked private comment to an internet publication about the dangers of AI, a few months ago. “Please note that I am normally super pro-technology and have never raised this issue until recent months. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand,” Musk wrote.

Like Wozniak, Musk has been donating millions to the cause of steering AI in a direction beneficial to humanity.

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, who relies on a form of artificial intelligence to communicate, told the BBC that if technology could match human capabilities, “it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.”

He also said that due to biological limitations, there would be no way that humans could match the speed of the development of technology.

“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded,” he said. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” the physics genius said.

Here is the full letter:

Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers

Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

Many arguments have been made for and against autonomous weapons, for example that replacing human soldiers by machines is good by reducing casualties for the owner but bad by thereby lowering the threshold for going to battle. The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity. There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people.

Just as most chemists and biologists have no interest in building chemical or biological weapons, most AI researchers have no interest in building AI weapons — and do not want others to tarnish their field by doing so, potentially creating a major public backlash against AI that curtails its future societal benefits. Indeed, chemists and biologists have broadly supported international agreements that have successfully prohibited chemical and biological weapons, just as most physicists supported the treaties banning space-based nuclear weapons and blinding laser weapons.

In summary, we believe that AI has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so. Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.

Via Zerohedge:

And while we certainly agree that no one wants to live in a world where autonomous marauding robots roam the earth indiscriminately eliminating targets of their own choosing, we fear the revolution may have already begun… in Connecticut:

References:

http://www.rt.com/news/310882-wozniak-musk-hawking-ai/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-27/elon-musk-preparing-killer-robot-wars-tomorrow

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Can America Ever Come Together Again?

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


If ex-CIA Director John Brennan did to Andrew Jackson what he did to Donald Trump, he would have lost a lot more than his security clearance.

He would have been challenged to a duel and shot.

“Trump’s … performance in Helsinki,” Brennan had said, “exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was … treasonous.”

Why should the president not strip from a CIA director who calls him a traitor the honor and privilege of a security clearance? Or is a top-secret clearance an entitlement like Social Security?

CIA directors retain clearances because they are seen as national assets, individuals whose unique experience, knowledge and judgment may be called upon to assist a president in a national crisis.

Not so long ago, this was a bipartisan tradition.

Who trashed this tradition?

Was it not the former heads of the security agencies — CIA, FBI, director of national intelligence — who have been leveling the kind of savage attacks on the chief of state one might expect from antifa?

Are ex-security officials entitled to retain the high privileges of the offices they held, if they descend into cable-TV hatred and hostility?

Former CIA chief Mike Hayden, in attacking Trump for separating families of detained illegal immigrants at the border, tweeted a photo of the train tracks leading into Auschwitz.

“Other governments have separated mothers and children” was Hayden’s caption.

Is that fair criticism from an ex-CIA director?

Thursday, The New York Times decried Trump’s accusation that the media are “the enemy of the people.”

“Insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists ‘the enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period,” said the Times.

Fair enough, but is it not dangerous for a free press to be using First Amendment rights to endlessly bash a president as a racist, fascist, sexist, neo-Nazi, liar, tyrant and traitor?

The message of journalists who use such terms may be to convey their detestation of Trump. But what is the message received in the sick minds of people like that leftist who tried to massacre Republican congressmen practicing for their annual softball game with Democrats?

And does Trump not have a point when he says the Boston Globe-organized national attack on him, joined in by the Times and 300 other newspapers, was journalistic “collusion” against him?

If Trump believes that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post are mortal enemies who want to see him ousted or impeached, is he wrong?

We are an irreconcilable us-against-them nation today, and given the rancor across the ideological, social and cultural chasm that divides us, it is hard to see how, even post-Trump, we can ever come together again.

Speaking at a New York LGBT gala in 2016, Hillary Clinton said: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … Some of those folks … are irredeemable, but … they are not America.”

When Clinton’s reflections on Middle America made it into print, she amended her remarks. Just as Gov. Andrew Cuomo rushed to amend his comments yesterday when he blurted at a bill-signing ceremony:

“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” America was “never that great”?

Cuomo’s press secretary hastened to explain, “When the president speaks about making America great again … he ignores the pain so many endured and that we suffered from slavery, discrimination, segregation, sexism and marginalized women’s contributions.”

Clinton and Cuomo committed gaffes of the kind Michael Kinsley described as the blurting out of truths the speaker believes but desperately does not want a wider audience to know.

In San Francisco in 2008, Barack Obama committed such a gaffe.

Asked why blue-collar workers in industrial towns decimated by job losses were not responding to his message, Obama trashed these folks as the unhappy losers of our emerging brave new world:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

These clingers to their Bibles, bigotries and guns are the people the mainstream media, 10 years later, deride and dismiss as “Trump’s base.”

What Clinton, Cuomo and Obama spilled out reveals what is really behind the cultural and ideological wars of America today.

Most media elites accept the historic indictment — that before the Progressives came, this country was mired in racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, and that its history had been a long catalog of crimes against indigenous peoples, Africans brought here in bondage, Mexicans whose lands we stole, migrants, and women and gays who were denied equality.

The people who cheer Trump believe the country they inherited from their fathers was a great, good and glorious country, and that the media who detest Trump also despise them.

For such as these, Trump cannot scourge the media often enough.

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College offer courses on ‘queering’ children, the Bible

US Colleges are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general.

Campus Reform

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Authored by Celine Ryan via Campus Reform:


This school year, students across the country will attend courses on “Queering the Bible,” “Queering Childhood,” “Queering Theology,” and similar topics.

Students at Pomona College in Claremont, California, for instance, will have the opportunity to enroll in a brand new course titled “Queering Childhood,” which will examine “the figure of the Child and how this figuration is used by politics, law, and medicine to justify continued cultural investment in reproductive heteronormativity and productive ablebodiedness.”

The course description explains that students will examine the childhoods of “queer and crip children,” as well as “childhoods against which the figure of the Child is articulated,” with reference to work related to “gender studies, childhood studies, disability studies, and queer theory.”

Colleges are not only attempting to “queer” childhood, they are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general, as well.

This fall, Eugene Lang College will offer a course titled “Queering and Decolonizing Theology,” where students will explore topics such as “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community,” and “transgender Christs.”

“Christian theology is often depicted as a violent colonial force standing in particular opposition to LGBTQI lives. However, over the last 30 years people of faith, activists, and theorists alike have rediscovered what is queer within Christianity, uncovered what is religious within secular queer communities, and used postcolonial theory to decolonize lived religious practices and theologies,” the course description asserts.

According to the college, the course “explores secular philosophies of queer and postcolonial theory as well as their critical and constructive application to religion,” focusing on topics like “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community, transgender Christs, and the mestiza (or mixed) cultures of Latin America.”

Similarly, students at Harvard Divinity School will be able to attend a course on “Queer Theologies, Queer Religions” this fall, which will explore the “project of ‘queer theology’” and how it relates to “larger aspirations of queer religion or spirituality in America.”

In this course, students will begin by “sampling the efforts to revise traditional Christian theologies in order to accept or affirm same-sex loves.” After that, they will move on to examining “forgotten possibilities in historical engagements between advocates of homosexual rights and established religious bodies (chiefly churches and synagogues).”

“We will consider the boundaries between queer theology and queer theory or between it and other political theologies,” the course description explains.  “We will test the boundaries of ‘Christianity’ while considering the varied forms of queer religion outside familiar religious institutions—in spirituality or spiritualism, in magic or neo-paganism, in erotic asceticism.”

Swarthmore College students, meanwhile, will survey “queer and trans* readings of biblical texts” during a course titled “Queering the Bible,” which will introduce them to “the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times.”

“By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans* theoretical approaches,” the description promises, “this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the [B]ible—and religion—says about gender and sexuality.”

The University of San Francisco is also getting into the act with a course on “Christian Feminist Theology” that aims to “develop an understanding of how feminist scholarship provides one fruitful means towards reappropriation of central Christian insights about God.”

The course will facilitate “critical reflection upon the experience of God, and insights from feminist thought,” according to the description.

In a similar vein, students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s “Gender, Sexuality, and Religion” course “will read religion through a variety of feminist and queer theory lenses- exploring the key characteristics of diverse feminist analyses of religion, as well as limits of specific feminist approaches.”

“In this course we will learn about women’s and men’s rituals, social roles, and mythologies in specific religious traditions,” the course description explains. “We will also look at the central significance of gender to the field of religious studies generally, with particular attention to non-binary genders.”

To that end, the course will address questions such as “How important are the gender differences in deciding social roles, ritual activities, and spiritual vocations?” and “How does gender intersect with nationality, language, and politics?”

Campus Reform reached out to each of the schools mentioned in this report for additional comment on the courses in question, and is currently awaiting responses. This article will be updated if and when any of them provide a statement.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan

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10 signs that America is in MUCH worse trouble than we all thought

You may find it difficult to believe some of the things that I am about to share with you. Instinctively, most of us know that America is in trouble, but recently it has been impressed upon me that things are much worse than I originally believed.

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A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City.

Our cities are becoming cesspools, our nation is falling apart all around us, and it seems like the number of sick, twisted and depraved people is multiplying.

We still have a relatively high standard of living for the moment, but the only reason we can maintain that standard of living is because we are on the greatest debt binge in human history. And once that bubble bursts, I fear for what this nation is going to become, because things are getting really bad out there.

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The following are 10 signs that America is in much worse trouble than we all thought…

#1 America is “the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in”

We all know that our healthcare system is rapidly deteriorating, but I figured that the U.S. would be at least in the middle of the pack when it comes to women dying during childbirth. Sadly, I was completely wrong

The U.S. is the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in according to a report.

About 50,000 women are “severely injured” during childbirth, and about 700 women die every year. Half of these deaths could have been prevented, as could the injuries, if correct safety procedures had been followed, according to an investigation by USA Today.

#2 America is absolutely teeming with sexual predators

When I read stories like the one I am about to share with you, it makes me want to vomit. According to a report that was just released, more than 300 “predator priests” were identified in just 6 Pennsylvania dioceses

A landmark grand jury report identifies more than 300 “predator priests” in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, the state Supreme Court said Friday in ordering the findings released. (Tap here to read the court ruling.)

The justices said the report on clergy child sexual abuse going back decades and allegations of cover-up efforts will be made public but without the names or “individual specific information” of priests and others who have challenged the findings, at least in the initial version to be released.

#3 America has a massive problem with pedophilia

This is particularly true in Hollywood, and actor Elijah Wood has decided to go public about it

The actor, in a new interview with the Sunday Times, is accusing Tinseltown of having a pedophilia problem, saying “a lot of vipers” are preying on children in the business.

“Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind,” he said. “There is darkness in the underbelly. What bums me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power. That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people: they can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”

#4 America is full of people that are looking to take advantage of others

During the recent horrific wildfires in northern California, authorities say that there was “a lot of looting”

With so many people locked out of huge areas of the city, looters had moved in to take advantage, officials said, adding that police patrols are being increased and hat National Guard troops are being brought in to help.

“We’re experiencing a lot of looting and are beefing up our security,” Redding Police Chief Roger Moore told a crowd of about 250 residents Saturday afternoon. And Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko received a round of applause when he announced the first arrest of a suspected looter.

#5 America has way too many politically-correct control freaks that want to ruin all of our lives

I never dreamed that the day would come when plastic straws would be banned in the United States, but now it is actually happening

Only in California can you go to jail for offering restaurant patrons a straw. According to the ordinance, first-time offenders will be given a written warning. Second-time offenders will face steeper consequences. Based on the city’s municipal code, penalties for straw-peddling will include a “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months.”

The West Coast is home to many a plastic straw ban; the city of Seattle, WA, was the first city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws in early July. But in the Emerald City, a violation only warrants a $250 fine. California is not to be outdone in their regressive-progressive politics.

#6 America is a nation of addicts

Today, I came across a survey that found that nearly half of all Americans admit to shopping online (one addiction) while drunk (another addiction)…

If you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine or two and then started browsing Amazon, you’re not alone — and you may well have spent more than you meant to. A new survey finds that Americans who shop online under the influence spend over $40 each time.

Gin drinkers actually spend the most, about $82 on average, while whiskey drinkers are the cheapest buzzed buyers, according to addiction treatment facility the Archstone Recovery Center. They polled over 1,000 people who reported purchasing an item off of Amazon while under the influence of alcohol.

#7 America is on a path to financial suicide

The federal government is already 21 trillion dollars in debt, and it is being officially estimated that we will hit the 30 trillion dollar mark by 2028.

#8 America seems to have an endless supply of cruel people

Down in Louisiana, authorities have arrested 5 people that locked an autistic woman that they were related to in a cage and forced her to eat her mother’s ashes

A Louisiana woman living with autism was locked up in a cage, threatened and abused and forced to eat her mother’s ashes by five people, who were indicted this week by a federal grand jury in New Orleans, officials said.

The indictments accuse five family members of abusing their 22-year-old relative until June 2016, according to court documents released by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

#9 America’s major cities are rapidly being transformed into cesspools

The following is an excerpt from a letter that was recently penned by Portland’s police chief

Our City has become a cesspool. Livability that once made Portland a unique and vibrant city is now replaced with human feces in businesses doorways, in our parks, and on our streets. Aggressive panhandlers block the sidewalks, storefronts, and landmarks like Pioneer Square, discouraging people from enjoying our City. Garbage-filled RVs and vehicles are strewn throughout our neighborhoods. Used needles, drug paraphernalia, and trash are common sights lining the streets and sidewalks of the downtown core area, under our bridges, and freeway overpasses. That’s not what our families, business owners, and tourists deserve.

#10 America is inhabited by way too many idiots

These days just about anyone will do just about anything for 15 minutes of fame, and one of the worst examples of this was when Florida resident Robby Stratton walked into a convenience store with a live alligator

The man, identified by WJAX as Robby Stratton, is seen on video posted to Facebook walking into the store in Jacksonville with the gator’s mouth taped shut.

Stratton approaches the counter and asks the man behind it: ‘Y’all got beer still? Y’all ain’t out, are y’all?’

He then sees someone in the back of the store and says: ‘Is he taking the last bit of beer? You aren’t taking the last bit of beer are you?’

Stratton planned this stunt well in advance, and he made sure to have it recorded so that he could post it on Facebook.

This is what America has become. We need to take a long look in the mirror, because we are in an advanced state of decline.

Hopefully the American people will start to wake up, because the time to turn things around is quickly running out.

Via The American Dream

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