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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 5, 2014 / 5 Iyar, 5774

Is It Time to Welcome Our Robot Overlords?

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you're the least bit computer-literate, you've probably had the unnerving experience of searching for a product online — garden gnomes, for instance — only to find that once you've searched, seemingly half the advertisements you see on the web are pitching garden gnomes.

To those who grew up before the Internet, this looks like magic. To people growing up today, it looks like child's play. And in terms of artificial intelligence (AI), it is. For instance, retailers sometimes know a customer is pregnant before she has shared the happy news with friends.

A woman who starts buying prenatal vitamins or shopping for maternity clothes, for instance, might find herself receiving mailers promoting cribs and baby clothes.

As The New York Times reported a couple of years ago, retailers such as Target hoover up vast libraries of information about customers — from basic demographic data to details about brand preferences and charitable-giving histories (some of which are bought from third parties). Predictive analytics then help aim marketing efforts at the customers they will most likely persuade. Guy buys a riding lawnmower? Maybe he'd be interested in some topsoil and work gloves, too.

Technology can predict other things as well — such as card sharks and terrorist threats. Vegas casinos pioneered the use of non-obvious relationship awareness (NORA) and it proved so effective that the Department of Homeland Security embraced it after 9/11. NORA allows a casino — or the federal government — to mine data and discover, say, that four people who traveled to Vegas on different flights and took separate rooms at the same hotel all share an apartment back in Chicago. Hmmmm.

Since last year's marathon bombing, Boston has deployed a surveillance system of closed-circuit TV cameras throughout the city. The cameras feed data into a network that looks for anomalies. Wesley Cobb, the chief science officer for Behavioral Recognition Systems, says the network has "taught itself what to look for."

Surveillance can be unsettling, but it has little effect without human intervention. A security camera can notice a shoplifter, but it can't detain him. But what happens when human intervention becomes unnecessary, irrelevant or even problematic? That's the premise behind countless sci-fi flicks, from "Terminator" (1984) to "Transcendence" (now playing at a theater near you).


Script-writers aren't the only ones who noodle over such questions. Fear of runaway artificial intelligence motivated Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Bill Joy, the chief scientist at Sun Microsystems, used Kaczynski's manifesto as the starting point for a famous article in Wired on "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us."

In brief, Kaczynski warned of a future in which "computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better than human beings can do them." In that event, humanity either would cede control of daily life to autonomous machines, or humanity would cede control to a tiny technological elite in control of the machines. We can't know what autonomous machines would do, and even if a few people ran them, the elite would still control everyone else.

If that does not sound quite grim enough, consider the view of AI theorist Steven Omohundro. In a recent paper for the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, he says we can indeed know what autonomous machines would do — and it isn't pretty.

Advanced systems are, he says, essentially obsessive. They do only one or two things and they "want" to do them as well as possible — and they are uninhibited by other considerations, such as ethics. (To take a simple example, Microsoft Word doesn't care one bit if you're writing a love letter or a death threat.) Sufficiently intelligent machines might decide their own priorities take precedence over ours.

"When roboticists are asked by nervous onlookers about safety," Omohundro argues, "a common answer is 'We can always unplug it!' But imagine this outcome from the chess robot's point of view. A future in which it is unplugged is a future in which it cannot play or win any games of chess. This has very low utility and so expected utility maximization will cause the creation of the instrumental subgoal of preventing itself from being unplugged." Hello, Skynet.

Omohundro warns that unless carefully designed, intelligent machine systems will exhibit several antisocial traits: They will strive to protect themselves. They will seek ever-greater resources to achieve their aims. They will seek to maximize the scale on which they execute their core mission, including (potentially) self-replication. And they will interact with the world based on the stimuli that improve or impede their ability to do so.

This does indeed sound disturbing. But it does not sound all that new. Plants and animals do the same things. More to the point, humans already have created intelligent systems that do all those things as well: private corporations, political movements, religions, and — perhaps most of all — governments.

Our new robot overlords, should they ever arrive, might not prove any more benevolent. But given humanity's grim history, they probably won't turn out any worse.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




04/21/14: So who is standing in the way of progress?
04/14/14: Bush Lied. So Did Obama. And Clinton. And. . .
04/10/14: You can have my knife when you pry it from my cold, dead hands
04/07/14: Zoning's racist roots still bear fruit
04/01/14: You just can't fix stupid
03/27/14: Apostles of violence
03/24/14: What the Left Doesn't Know About Weaponizing the IRS
03/20/14: All the cliches about aging are true. Or: Hey, where'd the craft-beer me go?
03/14/14: Our long national austerity nightmare is over!
03/10/14: The progressive mirage
03/03/14: If Hillary had gotten her way
02/18/14: The Lovecraftian world of Obamacare
02/03/14: Eat your Frankenfood!
01/28/14: The retributionist case for limited government
01/22/14: Why school choice foes remain wrong
01/09/14: The great inequality debate
01/02/14: Do-nothing Congress? Please, Do Much Less
12/09/13: Mozart for babies all over again?
11/25/13: Food police are gluttons for punishment --- of others
11/12/13: Cheer up --- things are getting better
10/29/13: Cure for ignorant voters --- really small governments
10/24/13: If they can't cut the small stuff...
10/22/13: Political speech --- dumb as a ham sandwich
10/15/13: Why College Costs Will Soon Plunge
09/19/13: Progressives Reap What They Sow
09/13/13: You are being watched
09/10/13: Sorry, your business isn't desirable enough
09/05/13: The least bad option: Kill Assad
08/27/13: GOPers wrong ones to take on ObamaCare
08/08/13: Gas prices: What can the president do?
08/02/13: Chris Christie pulls a Dowd
07/29/13: Should Click and Clack wind up in the clink?
07/08/13: Commit any felonies lately?
06/18/13: Citizens and the State: the problem is bigger than you think
06/06/13: Political derangement threatens basic rights
05/30/13: Should we fear ex-Marine --- or those who detained him?
05/23/13: Professor of Constitution goes to war against it
05/23/13: REVEALED: IRS letter to tea party groups
05/15/13: Today on NPR: The smothering tax burden
04/30/13: What does Boston say about diversity?
04/25/13: For some libs, 'courage' = agreeing with them
04/18/13: Utterly outraged by their president's callous betrayal
04/11/13: Cognitive dissonance on guns
04/04/13: Do unto others, but not unto us, say the media
04/01/13: Observations from the auto shop holding pen
03/14/13: The nation-building follies
03/12/13: Will the right come around on pot?
03/07/13: Another U.S. dupe falls for a dictator
02/28/13: How dare you say that here!
02/26/13: Eating Frito-Lay chips at gunpoint
02/20/13: Death Star petitions are just what we need
02/13/13: ObamaCare proves law correct --- deep down you knew it would
01/29/13: It's Time to Get Judgy About Incompetency
01/23/13: Look who's mocking fascist fear-mongering now
01/16/13: Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending 'cuts'
01/09/13: Obama begins his second term, Bush's fourth
01/07/13: Who's Attacking the Constitution Now?
01/03/13: Why, historically, January is the perfect time to debate the filibuster
12/26/12: When libs devalue diversity
12/20/12: Mark Your Calendars
12/13/12: Gun control, ad infinitum
12/11/12: Fracking can help fix the CO2 problem
12/06/12: Let's open the door to lots more immigration
12/04/12: Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone
11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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