30 posts

The Robots Are Coming: Grappling with Our AI Future

A superintelligent computer seizing control of the world's nuclear arsenal. Robots for every human need, from housecleaning to filing your taxes. A dystopian future in which social scores determine who you marry, what job you get, and where you live. These may sound like plots for this year's top science fiction novels, but to the authors reviewed in this essay, they are anything but imagined realities—they are our possible future. This review tackles introductory reading material about AI from three angles: why AI might destroy humanity, why AI might destroy the economy, and the new who's who of in the international AI race. If you read all three, you will reach expert-level AI doomsayer—just in time for the robot apocalypse. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, and

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Book Review: Birth of a Theorem by Cédric Villani

Have you ever thought about your ideal guest list for the best dinner party imaginable? One with never-ending conversation on a range of topics? Mine would include several favorite authors and artists. However, no truly amazing dinner party would be complete without a cohort of mathematicians (and a few physicists, but I'll leave my love of physicists for future articles). Some may think I'm joking, but those of you who have spent hours in dark corners of bars in the presence of this noble, calculating breed know why: these super-human creatures turn set theory and topology into intellectual delights for those of us who were lucky to even pass calculus. For those poor souls who have not had yet the pleasure of spontaneous, beer-infused mathematics lectures,

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What Happens When We Read Like David Bowie

Our minds are the sum of what we absorb from our environment, who we surround ourselves with, and how we choose to spend our days. We aren't what we eat; we are what we read, see, hear, smell, do, and eat. Each human mind is the totality of one flesh bag's experience in this crazy universe, colliding and collaborating with everything we encounter as we hurl through space. It follows, then, that we cannot become more like someone else because duplicating an entire life is impossible. Although reading lists abound promising brains like Bill Gates and investing prowess like Warren Buffet, we are only adding a small piece of someone's experience to our own. We cannot isolate one aspect of a being, absorb it, and become

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An Attempt to Understand President Trump, One Book at a Time

If you have been following current events in the U.S., our President's rise to power may seem like the plot to a Black Mirror episode. Writers have plenty of topics to tackle from the last two years: the longest government shutdown in history, the inane insistence on a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, the mishandling of virtually every government department, the withdrawal of troops from Syria. In an attempt to understand the current state of U.S. politics, what brought us to this moment, and how to view events as they unfold with perspective, I've compiled a list of books to help. The Trump Presidency Our list kicks off with a 2018 release from Bob Woodward, a journalist renowned for his reporting on

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