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Artificial intelligence

Search and Destroy

By Joanne McNeil, from Lurking: How a Person Became a User, published this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A user of Google products might be put off by the…

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The Silicon Mystique

If I’m having trouble sleeping and feel like spinning my wheels in the dark, I like to meditate on the simulation hypothesis—the idea that we’re living inside a kind of…

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Hanging by a Thread

From descriptions generated by two AIs of ten Rorschach inkblots. The AIs were part of an MIT project released in April, to examine the influence of biased data on machine…

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Known Unknowns

Here’s a story about how machines learn. Say you are the US Army and you want to be able to locate enemy tanks in a forest. The tanks are painted…

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Deep Blues

From a conversation between Chen Zhiyan, a Chinese journalist, and three chatbots: Chicken Little, Little Ice, and Little Knoll. The interview was conducted on WeChat, a social-networking platform. It was…

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Crossing the Valley

Like campaigning politicians, pornographers — who are also in the business of galvanizing tired nervous systems — face one problem that never goes away: cutting through the numbness caused by…

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Everything That Rises

I have come to perceive a cosmos filled with superintelligent beings — a virtually infinite number of them, whose minds have transcended their earthbound bodies and are independent of any…

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The Transhuman Condition

By John Markoff, from Machines of Loving Grace, out this month from Ecco Books. Markoff has been a technology and business reporter for the New York Times since 1988. Bill…

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