[2018-12-13 11:29:02] > Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft are well positioned if the hype around virtual and augmented reality pans out; all expect A.I. to change pretty much everything. But it does mean the technologies that got them to this point--mobile computing, web search, cloud storage--won't keep improving at anything like the rate of the past few decades. One leading contender to become the dominant industry of the 21st century is synthetic biology, where the price of reading and printing DNA (as Ginkgo Bioworks does) is falling exponentially in the same way the price of bits was 50 years ago. But maybe it will be robotics or space exploration or carbon capture. "The asteroid has hit, the dinosaurs are dying off, and the little mammals that were hiding underground are sticking up their heads and saying, 'It's our turn now,' " says Blank. source
[2018-12-13 08:27:40] > Must read: Why Technology Favors Tyranny: Artificial intelligence could erase many practical advantages of democracy, and erode the ideals of liberty and equality. It will further concentrate power among a small elite if we don’t take steps to stop it. (..) The race to accumulate data is already on, and is currently headed by giants such as Google and Facebook and, in China, Baidu and Tencent. So far, many of these companies have acted as “attention merchants”—they capture our attention by providing us with free information, services, and entertainment, and then they resell our attention to advertisers. Yet their true business isn’t merely selling ads. Rather, by capturing our attention they manage to accumulate immense amounts of data about us, which are worth more than any advertising revenue. We aren’t their customers—we are their product. (..) Currently, humans risk becoming similar to domesticated animals. We have bred docile cows that produce enormous amounts of milk but are otherwise far inferior to their wild ancestors. They are less agile, less curious, and less resourceful. We are now creating tame humans who produce enormous amounts of data and function as efficient chips in a huge data-processing mechanism, but they hardly maximize their human potential. If we are not careful, we will end up with downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc on themselves and on the world. If you find these prospects alarming—if you dislike the idea of living in a digital dictatorship or some similarly degraded form of society—then the most important contribution you can make is to find ways to prevent too much data from being concentrated in too few hands, and also find ways to keep distributed data processing more efficient than centralized data processing. These will not be easy tasks. But achieving them may be the best safeguard of democracy.
[2018-12-13 08:27:03] > there is no room in Einstein’s philosophy for free will: ‘Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control … we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.’ - What Einstein meant by ‘God does not play dice’