OpenAI Wants to Make Safe AI, but That May Be an Impossible Task

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True artificial intelligence is on its way, and we aren’t ready for it. Just as our forefathers had trouble visualizing everything from the modern car to the birth of the computer, it’s difficult for most people to imagine how much truly intelligent technology could change our lives as soon as the next decade — and how much we stand to lose if AI goes out of our control.

Fortunately, there’s a league of individuals working to ensure that the birth of artificial intelligence isn’t the death of humanity. From Max Tegmark’s Future of Life Institute to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Future Society, the world’s most renowned experts are joining forces to tackle one of the most disruptive technological advancements (and greatest threats) humanity will ever face.

Perhaps the most famous organization to be born from this existential threat is OpenAI. It’s backed by some of the most respected names in the industry: Elon Musk, the SpaceX billionaire who founded Open AI, but departed the board this year to avoid conflicts of interest with Tesla; Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator; and Peter Thiel, of PayPal fame, just to name a few. If anyone has a chance at securing the future of humanity, it’s OpenAI.

But there’s a problem. When it comes to creating safe AI and regulating this technology, these great minds have little clue what they’re doing. They don’t even know where to begin.

The Dawn of a New Battle

While traveling in Dubai, I met with Michael Page, the Policy and Ethics Advisor at OpenAI. Beneath the glittering skyscrapers of the self-proclaimed “city of the future,” he told me of the uncertainty that he faces. He spoke of the questions that don’t have answers, and the fantastically high price we’ll pay if we don’t find them.

The conversation began when I asked Page about his role at OpenAI. He responded that his job is to “look at the long-term policy implications of advanced AI.” If you think that this seems a little intangible and poorly defined, you aren’t the only one. I asked Page what that means, practically speaking. He was frank in his answer: “I’m still trying to figure that out.” 

Types of AI: From Reactive to Self-Aware [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Page attempted to paint a better picture of the current state of affairs by noting that, since true artificial intelligence doesn’t actually exist yet, his job is a little more difficult than ordinary.

He noted that, when policy experts consider how to protect the world from AI, they are really trying to predict the future. They are trying to, as he put it, “find the failure modes … find if there are courses that we could take today that might put us in a position that we can’t get out of.” In short, these policy experts are trying to safeguard the world of tomorrow by anticipating issues and acting today. The problem is that they may be faced with an impossible task.

Page is fully aware of this uncomfortable possibility, and readily admits it. “I want to figure out what can we do today, if anything. It could be that the future is so uncertain there’s nothing we can do,” he said.

Our problems don’t stop there. It’s also possible that we’ll figure out what we need to do in order to protect ourselves from AI’s threats, and realize that we simply can’t do it. “It could be that, although we can predict the future, there’s not much we can do because the technology is too immature,” Page said.

This lack of clarity isn’t really surprising, given how young this industry is. We are still at the beginning, and so all we have are predictions and questions. Page and his colleagues are still trying to articulate the problem they’re trying to solve, figure out what skills we need to bring to the table, and what policy makers will need to be in on the game.

As such, when asked for a concrete prediction of where humanity and AI will together be in a year, or in five years, Page didn’t offer false hope: “I have no idea,” he said.

However, Page and OpenAI aren’t alone in working on finding the solutions. He therefore hopes such solutions may be forthcoming: “Hopefully, in a year, I’ll have an answer. Hopefully, in five years, there will be thousands of people thinking about this,” Page said.

Well then, perhaps it’s about time we all get our thinking caps on.

The post OpenAI Wants to Make Safe AI, but That May Be an Impossible Task appeared first on Futurism.


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Interview: Digital transformation impossible without IoT says Vodafone IoT chief

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Communications giant Vodafone says that two-thirds of users believe that digital transformation is impossible without the Internet of Things (IoT).

Eighty-one percent of adopters think their digital strategy is generating measurable business value, adds the company.

Vodafone also finds that over half of IoT adopters say that the technology has either increased existing revenues by an average of 19 percent, or opened up new revenue streams.

Where businesses reported a reduction in costs via their IoT implementations, the average was 16 percent, says Vodafone.

The findings were published in Vodafone’s IoT Barometer report. Circle Research surveyed 1,278 enterprise and public sector executives from 13 countries to produce the report for the company.

“The proportion of adopters that have embraced IoT on a massive scale — more than 50,000 connected devices — has doubled since 2016. And the majority of adopters say they’re spending more on IoT than 12 months ago,” says the report.

With Vodafone also finding that nearly 80 percent of respondents believe most business processes will include IoT elements by 2022, Internet of Business asked Stefano Gastaut, IoT director at Vodafone Group Enterprise, for his insights on both Vodafone’s IoT strategy and how organisations are adopting these technologies.

Vodafone’s latest global IoT Barometer finds that 51 percent of IoT adopters say that the technology is increasing revenues or opening up new revenue streams. Do you think that figure will change in the coming years? And if so, what will drive that change?

Stefano Gastaut: “We absolutely expect this figure to continue rising. As IoT and connectivity moves higher up businesses’ agendas, we’re expecting to see more and more initiatives rolled out across all industries.

“Our research has found that 79 percent of IoT adopters believe that over 50 percent of business processes will include some form of IoT sensing or control systems by 2022. As the costs of implementing connectivity into devices decreases, we expect to see the rate of adoption grow.

As IoT delivers more insight to businesses we expect its use to expand not just within organisations but also in helping to form more connected ecosystems.

Can you share any concrete examples of companies whose revenue streams have changed thanks to IoT?

We have healthcare organisations that are now able to access new revenue streams from providing connected wearables to offer patients more independent lives. We have home protection service providers in the US that are selling information back to insurance companies to improve risk profiling on the basis of IoT-generated data.”

The IoT Barometer also says that two-thirds of all companies agree that digital transformation is impossible without IoT. Why has IoT become so crucial to so many organisations?

Early adopters of IoT will definitely be leading the digital transformation journey. Businesses need to consider how IoT can be leveraged throughout an entire organisation, rather than developing it in silos. This will help organisations of all sizes develop business strategies to use the new technologies, allowing them to adapt quickly to different market challenges and changes.

Our research has shown that 81 percent of adopters think their digital strategy is generating measurable business value, compared with 65 percent of organisations who are simply considering switching to IoT.

Last year Vodafone launched its NB-IoT network in Ireland. Can you explain why IoT needs special networks like this and what the benefits are?

“Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) offers another option for connectivity and provides a solution for applications which would not be viable using existing technology. It is a low-power, wide-area technology that uses licensed spectrum, and that means quality of service is maintained and interoperability is improved.”

Internet of Business says

London-headquartered Vodafone has embarked on a number of forward-looking Internet of Things (IoT) programmes in 2018, from putting 4G on the moon to partnering with Lamborghini and China Mobile, to trialling an air traffic control system for drones and working with retailer Mango on in-store digital fitting rooms.

It’s good to see a British multinational pushing the boundaries of IoT technology with such confidence and imagination, and putting the partnerships in place to bring about global collaboration.

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The post Interview: Digital transformation impossible without IoT says Vodafone IoT chief appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Politicians and Innovators Agree: It’s Impossible to Govern AI

This weekend, Futurism got exclusive access to a closed-door round table on the global governance of AI. The event was organized by the AI Initiative from the Future Society at Harvard Kennedy and H.E. Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence. With over 50 of the world’s foremost thinkers, leaders, and practitioners of AI in attendance, the conversation was—to be cliché—a hotbed for debate.

These thought leaders convened with the goal of developing a road map for nations to follow as we transition to future where humans are no longer the only sentient species on the planet.

During one session, which was focused on how to develop rules to govern AI, a panelist opened the discussion by implying that values are universal. As such, his thought ran, there really shouldn’t be problems when trying to develop a set of basic ethics to govern AI. “Ethics is one. Right? There are not ten,” the panelist said. “I mean, no one thinks that killing is a good thing.”

Broad and deep disagreement was instantaneous.

A Difficult Discussion

A fellow panelist noted that, while the universality of ethics may exist in theory, it exists only in theory. Reality is far more complex. “Once we start talking about privacy rights, everyone has a very different view,” he noted. And he highlighted how nations value even those things we consider the most basic and fundamental, like human life, differently. “Once we start considering rights for women and minorities, nations don’t agree,” he said.

There was a general consensus regarding this point, and another panelist offered a potential solution, suggesting that one way forward may be developing regional ethics. “If we are adopting the same policies in the West, and then the nations in the East are adopting the same policies, then those nations should come together to reduce redundancies,” she said. “From there, we can find our commonalities.”

Others spoke out, noting that, as long as various players continue to have competing goals — preserving jobs, preserving the economy, optimizing government efficiency, saving the environment, satisfying investors — there is little hope for any consensus. “What do we want to say we actually value?” asked one exasperated man. “Until we make that decision, all of these talks are just B.S.,” he concluded.

The conversation turned to who should lead the regulatory efforts. They couldn’t even agree on this.

“Who is going to lead an international cooperation? Because we have a lot of international organizations,” one man noted as the conversation turned.

“Do we really want to say this is about ‘the world’?” another shot back, asserting that the group had no right to talk about “the world” given that a significant portion of the planet wasn’t represented.”I’m not sure how many people are from the global south. We are blessed with one person from Japan, but we’re mostly all western,” he said.

From there, the conversation spun out. “One global hub isn’t possible at this point,” a panelist said, “What we should be pushing for is just more international cooperation.”

The panelist who had posed the question responded, “So you think there is no need to form one cohesive whole for everything that is going on?”

“I think it would be beneficial in some ways,” the respondent conceded, “but it’s just too early.”

Another who had observed the conversation’s many turns succinctly summed the consensus, stating that we have a long way to go before we can begin speaking in definitive terms about international cooperative efforts. “I’m not sure if we are ready for the global level,” he said. “There’s so much research still being done. We need to solve many things before we come to this traditional standardization.”

The frustration was palpable in both words and countenances. “I think it’s too late for a lot of things, like the governance of people’s data in the States [the United States],” one panelist pointed out. The conversation wound down after this lamentable fact was noted.

Yet, the desire to say something decisive, something that seemed to inspire more hope, was strong. One man spoke up and quietly ventured that some solution may not be that far beyond our reach. “I mean, you can regulate [AI] though. We’ve chosen not to modify human genomes, for example,” he said.

But of course, that’s not entirely true: China does not have strong regulations surrounding gene editing. Already, trials are underway.

Questions and Interest

If the absence of solutions here surprises you, you likely aren’t too familiar with artificial intelligence or how young this industry truly is. There’s still a lot yet to be determined. In fact, at this point, basically all we have are questions and problems, which is precisely why this round table took place — to begin discussions about clear and tangible goals.

And these conversations, intense as they are, serve as proof that, while we’re short on solutions at the moment, there’s no shortage of interest.

Towards the end of the conversation, one panelist noted this point, a slight hint of hope in his voice. “The number of both technical papers and start-up companies has exploded in recent years,” he offered. “It’s amazing. But we’re still pretty small. We see the same faces at all these conferences. We still have a chance to make solutions.”

Though frustrations abound, and the specifics may still be a bit murky, one thing is clear: if you’re setting out to build the future of AI, there are worse places you could be than in a room with over 50 of the world’s leading minds.

The post Politicians and Innovators Agree: It’s Impossible to Govern AI appeared first on Futurism.


iTunes Discounts Cloverfield, Mission: Impossible, and Jack Ryan Movie Bundles by Between $5-$25

Apple on iTunes recently discounted a few bundles for movies in the Cloverfield, Mission: Impossible, and Jack Ryan franchises. The sale prices have gone live on iTunes alongside the reveal of new trailers for the latest entries in each franchise (as well as an all-new Cloverfield movie on Netflix), which happened during last night’s Super Bowl LII.

We’ve listed all of the bundles and prices below, as well as a few other notable movie discounts happening this week on iTunes.

There are also a few returning deals happening today for products like the Apple Watch and iPad mini. Target has once again discounted the Apple Watch Series 1 by $70 in both 38mm ($179.99) and 42mm ($209.99). Similar to the last sale from a few weeks ago, the only devices marked down are the aluminum watches with Sport bands in Silver/White and Space Gray/Black. All models are available to ship for free, and you can get free shipping to your local Target as well, depending on stock.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

At Best Buy, the retailer has the iPad mini 4 (Wi-Fi only, 128GB) at $299.99, down from $399.99, in Gold, Space Gray, and Silver. The new offer matches the tablet’s discounted price last seen in sales leading up to and following the holidays at Best Buy and Target. For those who purchase an iPad mini 4, Best Buy has also discounted Speck’s StyleFolio Case for the tablet to $18.99, down from $34.99.

For more information on sales happening this week, be sure to head over to our full Deals Roundup.

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‘Food Pals’ is the Adorable New Game from ‘Impossible Road’ Developer Kevin Ng, and It’s Available Now

Developer Kevin Ng created a smash hit back in May of 2013 with the stylish and frantic Impossible Road [$ 2.99], but several months before that he was also involved with a cute and quirky side-scrolling platformer called Food Run. This was an auto-running style of platformer, and while it didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel or anything it was one of the more polished and quirky runners on the App Store. It was also novel for being both level-based and fully premium, unlike most of its contemporaries, and it just gushed with fun and personality. Unfortunately Food Run eventually went the way of the dodo, but Ng has resurrected this old favorite with a completely remade version called Food Pals [$ 2.99] which just hit the App Store earlier today.

As you can see in that short trailer, Food Pals is cute as all get out, and much like the original game it bucks the trends of most runners by offering 38 hand-crafted levels to play and no ads or IAP of any kind. Also that is some kick ass polka music. Besides all the running and jumping you’ll do in Food Pals, you’ll also want to collect all the stars strewn about the level as well as any other food items you come across (your Food Pals) so they can follow you along towards the finish line. Both of these are much easier said than done, but for completionists it’ll add an extra dose of challenge trying to 100% each of the game’s levels. Much like the original Food Run, Food Pals offers very straightforward platforming in an adorable premium package, so if you’re looking for a new runner without the usual free to play BS I highly recommend checking it out and sharing your thoughts about it in our forums.


First-Person “Impossible” Game ‘Glitch Dash’ Gets First Trailer and is Close to Being Finished

In June of last year, we posted about Glitch, a first-person take on the “impossible” game genre popularized by the titular The Impossible Game [$ 0.99] as well as Geometry Dash [$ 1.99] and many others. Basically, a twitchy fast-reaction platformer but in a first-person perspective. The early glimpses of the game looked really cool, and developer David Marquardt of Marquardt Games, creator of the Noodlecake-published Fluffy Jump [Free] and Pull My Tongue [$ 0.99], has been hard at work on the game, now known as Glitch Dash, ever since. Well the light is at the end of the tunnel as today Marquardt updated the game’s forum thread with news that Glitch Dash is close to completion and offered up a brand new trailer.

As you can see, Glitch Dash will have you running through gauntlets of death that materialize right before your eyes, tasking you with avoiding things like giant swinging axes and deadly lasers as you progress. It looks like split-second timing will be key as some of the hazards leave zero room for error, and there appears to be some sort of perspective rotating going on too as some obstacles require the world to “roll over” in order for you to pass them. I’m curious how it all works, and according to the developer there’s “Just got some final tweaks to get done then it’s ready to go” so hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all get our hands on Glitch Dash.


These earmuff headphones are impossible to hate

As The Verge’s resident headphones obsessive, I should probably be expected to recoil in horror at the sight of a product named Sound Huggle that is two parts earmuffs, one part wireless headphones. It’s like presenting a watch with a clown face to an horology enthusiast. But, as strong as my natural instinct to flee may be, I have to say that I just can’t bring myself to hate these earmuff headphones.

GIF: Sound Huggle
Sound Huggle variations

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: the Sound Huggle muffs very likely sound like absolute tinny garbage. They’re an Indiegogo project by a young couple, neither of whom is an audio engineer by trade. These are whimsical, cutesy, fun things; their specs and design…

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