Driverless dilemma

From Radiolab podcast: Most of us would sacrifice one person to save five. It’s a pretty straightforward bit of moral math. But if we have to actually kill that person ourselves, the math gets fuzzy. That’s the lesson of the classic Trolley Problem, a moral puzzle that fried our brains in an episode we did about 11 years ago. Luckily, the Trolley Problem has always been little more than a thought experiment, mostly confined to conversations at a certain kind of cocktail party. That is until now. New technologies are forcing that moral quandry out of our philosophy departments and onto our streets. So today we revisit the Trolley Problem and wonder how a two-ton hunk of speeding metal will make moral calculations about life and death that we can’t even figure out ourselves.

Intelligence: A history

From aeon.co: As I was growing up in England in the latter half of the 20th century, the concept of intelligence loomed large. It was aspired to, debated and – most important of all – measured. At the age of 11, tens of thousands of us all around the country were ushered into desk-lined halls to take an IQ test known as the 11-Plus. The results of those few short hours would determine who would go to grammar school, to be prepared for university and the professions; who was destined for technical school and thence skilled work; and who would head to secondary modern school, to be drilled in the basics then sent out to a life of low-status manual labour. The idea that intelligence could be quantified, like blood pressure or shoe size, was barely a century old when I took the test that would decide my place in the world. But the notion that intelligence could determine one’s station in life was already much older. It runs like a red thread through Western thought, from the philosophy of Plato to the policies of UK prime minister Theresa May. To say that someone is or is not intelligent has never been merely a comment on their mental faculties. It is always also a judgment on what they are permitted to do. Intelligence, in other words, is political.

Is Asperger's syndrome the next stage of human evolution ?

From youtube.com: Professor Tony Attwood believes the "out of the box" thought processes of people on the autism spectrum will solve the world's big problems. He is credited with being the first clinical psychologist to present Asperger's syndrome not as something to be "fixed " but as a gift, evidenced in many of the great inventors and artists throughout history. But while Professor Attwood has reached the top of his field, he reveals in this episode of Australian Story the personal cost of a missed diagnosis in his own family. Early in his career, he didn't see the signs of Asperger's in his son Will. The consequences were devastating for everyone.

The ethical consequences of immortality technology

From aeon.co: Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be ‘cryopreserved’ in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative ‘solutions’ being mooted?

Why has North Korea suddenly shown success in its missile tests?

From New York Times: Why has North Korea suddenly shown success in its missile tests? We discuss a surprising discovery. The United States recently noticed something unusual in North Korea’s weapons program: Its missiles started to work. That alarming development has been well documented. But little has been said about why.

Tesla is bleeding talent from its Autopilot division

From arstechnica.com: Self-driving cars are coming, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been pushing his engineers hard to make sure that Tesla stays on the cutting edge. Indeed, in October 2016 he promised that the latest version of the Model S and Model X—cars with Tesla's new "Hardware 2" suite of cameras and radar—would become capable of full self-driving in the future with just a software update.

But according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, some Tesla engineers are skeptical that Tesla can keep this promise any time soon. Disagreement about deadlines—as well as "design and marketing decisions"—has caused turmoil on the Autopilot team.
"In recent months," the Journal reports, the Autopilot team "has lost at least 10 engineers and four top managers." That included the director of the Autopilot team, "who lasted less than six months before leaving in June."

After its breakup with MobileEye, Tesla developed its own "Hardware 2" sensor package for use on the Model X and Model S. The big question is whether Tesla can keep its promise to enable full self-driving capabilities with these vehicles—and if these vehicles will actually be safer than human drivers.

That could be challenging because Tesla is attempting to develop self-driving technology that relies only on cameras and radar. Other companies, including Waymo, have built their self-driving technology around a lidar sensor. Lidar provides high-resolution 3D information about the surrounding environment, but a single lidar sensor can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The emerging science of computational psychiatry

The emerging science of computational psychiatry

From MIT Tech Review: Psychiatry, the study and prevention of mental disorders, is currently undergoing a quiet revolution. For decades, even centuries, this discipline has been based largely on subjective observation. Large-scale studies have been hampered by the difficulty of objectively assessing human behavior and comparing it with a well-established norm. Just as tricky, there are few well-founded models of neural circuitry or brain biochemistry, and it is difficult to link this science with real-world behavior. That has begun to change thanks to the emerging discipline of computational psychiatry, which uses powerful data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to tease apart the underlying factors behind extreme and unusual behaviors.

Read more here.

Inside Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence research labs

From BBC: Our technology editor David Grossman has been given exclusive access to Microsoft's AI labs in Seattle to see how the future of Artificial Intelligence is shaping up. Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV programme - with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.

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