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Review

Prominence has old-school sci-fi vibes, but it’s short on story

In January 1957, J.G. Ballard first published his story “The Concentration City” (then under a different title) in a magazine called New Worlds. It takes place in a city that spans the entire universe, where streets stretch out both horizontally and vertically, with lifts and levels expanding the city infinitely in every direction. Talk of real estate doesn’t just involve two-dimensional plots of land, but is priced and measured in cubic feet, so that even the air you breathe costs money. The biggest threat to life in this city is terrorists called “pyros,” the embodiment of a violent human impulse…

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.
News

Artificial intelligence takes national exam, does better than human average

A futuristic thought experiment, Roko’s basilisk, posits that at some point in the future there may be an artificial intelligence (AI) that will retroactively punish those who knew it could one day exist and still did not help to bring about its existence. While in practice this serves more as a logic exercise than as lore that’s assumed to be true, in either case the assumption is that one day technology will be advanced enough that this could be true. high enough to have an 80% chance of admission to over 450 higher institutions While we’re still a long ways…

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News

Welcome to the adolescence of AI

Artificial intelligence does not have the cuddliest of reputations. It is either coming for your livelihood or, if movies are to be believed, your life. Google, however, has unearthed a new problem: Its AI is too friendly—much, much too friendly. In early November, the advertising (and search, and web) giant introduced “Smart Reply,” a feature in its Inbox app that could automatically reply to basic emails. “Machine learning is used to scan emails and understand if they need replying to or not, before creating three response options,” Wired’s James Temperton explained. He continued: “An email asking about vacation plans, for…