Transcendence is the latest film about artificial intelligence acting against the interests of its creators, the human species. Now Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist, says it’s already time to get serious about science fiction made real. Also, Putin celebrates Victory Day in Crimea while fighting continues, and a crisis of confidence in America's leadership class.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Deadly fighting continued today in Eastern Ukraine, but in the Crimean port of Sebastopol on the Black Sea, tens of thousands turned out to see Russian President Vladimir Putin preside over a triumphant spectacle of warships and fighter jets. This is Victory Day, in which Russia celebrates the defeat of Adolph Hitler in World War II. Mark Rachkevych is editor of the Kyiv Post.
Artificial intelligence might be the death of humanity. That’s from no less an authority than Stephen Hawking, the world’s best-known physicist. Other scientists are heeding his warning that programs could outsmart their programmers with unintended consequences that can’t be predicted. Massive investment by Google, Facebook and others, they say, is making that much more likely to happen, much sooner, than anybody expected. How do Americans feel about science fiction made real? Will developers agree not to go too far before it’s too late?
Since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, out-of-control technology has been a staple of science fiction. Remember when the computer Hal refused to let the astronaut Dave back into the spaceship that was orbiting Jupiter? The current film, Transcendence, has updated that terrifying scenario, and it might become real much sooner than ever expected. That’s according to Hawking, who’s warning against what he calls “potentially our worst mistake in history.” From a man with advanced ALS, who depends on robotics to live, that has the rest of the scientific community paying attention.
The latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll is out today, and it shows it’s not just the Tea Party; Americans across the board are having a crisis of confidence with national leadership in politics, government and business. But disillusionment with those at the top is also fueling a more positive dynamic at the local level. Can problems be solved from the bottom up rather than from the top down? Are states and localities likely to reach consensus on solving the nation’s problems? Ron Brownstein is editorial director of the National Journal.
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Sifting through the ashes: Cleanup and questions after the fires Wildfire is all too familiar in the Golden State, but last week's record-setting blazes in Northern California left behind something new — more property damage over a wider area with more human casualties than ever before. We hear about likely causes, the struggle to clean up and the possibility of prevention.
Political dueling and the future of the ACA Uncertainty about the fate of Obamacare grows by the day, with key factors including bipartisanship in the Senate, opposition deeper than ever in Congress -- and a president who veers from one side to the other. We talk with Maryland's attorney general and others about what's at stake from the state house to the doctor's office.
Will the NFL find common ground on national anthem protests? National Football League team owners are meeting today to craft a unified message about political protest. Men and women athletes in other sports are protesting too. We hear how one man's refusal to stand for the flag has demonstrated the inseparable relationship between sports and politics.
Author Masha Gessen on the appeal of Putin and Trump Masha Gessen was born in Russia but emigrated with her parents to the United States. She returned in the early 1990s when political change was afoot. And since then, she’s become a leading observer - and critic - of Russian president Vladamir Putin. She fled Russia again in 2013. In this special podcast, Warren Olney talks with Gessen about her new book, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia .
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