The Perfection Quandary

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  I often wake up in the middle of the night with a big idea, something I’ve dubbed the grand epiphany. But as it turns out, very few actually fit into the “grand” category.

Whenever they do, big ideas carries with them a heavy responsibility, the responsibility of either moving them forward or allowing them to die in the silent echo chambers of our own grey matter.

For this reason, I’ve often equated my eureka moments to that of being tortured by my own ideas. Yes, grand ideas are a wonderful playground where you can dream about starting a new company, solving some of the world’s biggest problems, and constructing visions of wealth and influence, all in the time it takes most people to get ready for work.

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Teaching Robots to Fight Wars

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  A robot does not kill someone out of fear, anger, or desperation. They kill because someone told them to do it. At least that the way it works with our current generation of robots. What comes next may be a different story.

Normally, when we think about war, it has to do with countries using their armies to fight other countries, or in the case of a civil war, countries torn apart by internal rival factions.

But that line of thinking is far too narrow for the conflicts in our future as our choice of weaponry and choice of battlefront continues to expand.

From my perspective, the traditional country vs. country war tends to be far more about political theater, a theater that plays out on the world stage in full view of the public, than the subversive battles being fought over countless levels of minutia in the background.

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Robot warfighters could reduce civilian casualties, calling for a ban now is premature

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Ronald C. Arkin:  I’ve been engaged in the debate over autonomous robotic military systems for almost 10 years. I am not averse to a ban, but I’m convinced we should continue researching this technology for the time being. One reason is that I believe such systems might be capable of reducing civilian casualties and property damage when compared to the performance of human warfighters. Thus, it is a contention that calling for an outright ban on this technology is premature, as some groups already are doing.

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Scientists program 3 humanoid robots to show self-awareness

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One of the primary characteristics that artificially intelligent objects possess is self-awareness. Taking a step forward toward the new technology, a team of researchers claim to have found one such robot that showed a capability to differentiate itself from the others.

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The Coming of “Peak Car”

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  In what year will the number of cars in the world reach its peak and auto sales overall begin to decline?

For most, it may be surprising to realize we’re already there in the U.S. Growing data shows many wealthy economies have already hit “peak car,” a point of market saturation characterized by an unprecedented deceleration in the growth of car ownership, total miles driven, and annual sales.

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Drones: more than ‘dramatic shots’

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Last week the comprehensive local regulations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or as more commonly referred to, drones, went into effect.  Drone technology has far-reaching benefits for many industries despite that most of the media coverage has focused on what regulated drone usage will do for “dramatic shots” in film.   Continue reading… “Drones: more than ‘dramatic shots’”

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