Summary of “Physicist Max Tegmark Imagines How Artificial Intelligence Could Take Over”

After its launch in 2005 as a crowdsourcing Internet marketplace, it had grown rapidly, with tens of thousands of people around the world anonymously competing around the clock to perform highly structured chores called HITs, “Human Intelligence Tasks.” These tasks ranged from transcribing audio recordings to classifying images and writing descriptions of web pages, and all had one thing in common: If you did them well, nobody would know that you were an AI. Prometheus 10.0 was able to do about half of the task categories acceptably well.
Aside from their AI breakthroughs, one of the recent projects that the Omegas had the most fun with was planning how to make money as rapidly as possible after Prometheus’ launch.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game on which many of the Omegas had wasted more hours than they cared to admit, had grossed over $400 million during its first week back in 2011, and they were confident that Prometheus could make something at least this addictive in 24 hours using $1 million of cloud-computing resources.
The Omegas noticed that after Prometheus had binge-watched a few hundred films, it started to get quite good at predicting what sort of reviews a movie would get and how it would appeal to different audiences.
The Omegas scheduled their website launch for Friday, giving Prometheus time to produce more content and themselves time to do the things they didn’t trust Prometheus with: buying ads and starting to recruit employees for the shell companies they’d set up during the past months.
Over a timescale of months, the business empire controlled by the Omegas started gaining a foothold in ever more areas of the world economy, thanks to superhuman planning by Prometheus.
The current situation was very different: Prometheus already had the next steps figured out, so the limiting factor was simply how rapidly people could be guided to understand and build the right things.
Since Prometheus could accurately predict how long it would take humans to understand and build things given various tools, it developed the quickest possible path forward, giving priority to new tools that could be quickly understood and built and that were useful for developing more advanced tools.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is a Life Without Struggle Worth Living?”

Perhaps we can learn something about ourselves, and our political moment, by peering into Mill’s own crisis of faith.
Why on earth wouldn’t Mill want to achieve his life goals?
Mill never did abandon utilitarianism, though he later modified Bentham’s doctrine in subtle ways.
Mill is not at all clear about his line of thought here.
Perhaps Mill thought the same is true for adults – that facing a degree of “Struggle and privation” in life is essential to happiness, because it provides us with a vivid reminder of how lucky we are when we have it good.
Realistically, the work of improving human life and social conditions will never be “Done.” Still, it is easy to sympathize with Mill’s anxiety.
Did Mill, who admits to being something of a “Reasoning machine” throughout his teenage years, suddenly grow weary of mechanistic perfection? Perhaps he was disturbed by the imagined inhumanity of a world without struggle or privation – by the possibility that it might lack the romantic charms of human failure and frailty.
As Mill says, imaginative pleasures are available to “All human beings,” not just poets and philosophers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Switzerland Became The Silicon Valley Of Robotics”

The Alpine nation is now “The Silicon Valley of robotics,” according to Chris Anderson, chief executive of 3D Robotics.
The key personnel and technologies of Deepmind, the artificial intelligence firm acquired by Google for $500 million just four years after its formation, emanate from Lugano IDSIA Lab, a research institute ranked in the world’s top ten for AI. Switzerland has emerged as a serious competitor to California for the technologies, people and funding that will power the world’s fourth socio-economic revolution.
Ranked for the past seven years as the world’s most innovative country by Cornell, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the INSEAD business school in Paris, the nation has also been selected by accountants KPMG as the world’s best-prepared country for long-term change – a measure highly relevant for robotics and automation pioneers who seek to shake up the societal status quo.
With only 8.5m people, Switzerland has the world’s highest proportion of peer-reviewed scientific publications in relation to its population.
Its infrastructure also includes a growing presence of firms specialising in blockchain technology, which as well as being used for financial technology, now features heavily in e-government, smart contracts, swarm robotics, collective artificial intelligence and applications for retail.
The Swiss city of Lausanne has also recently been chosen as the European base of Rewired, a robotics-focused venture studio and fund that believes that improving sensory capabilities will unlock the next-generation of smart robotics and is investing in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception.
It plans to expand into East Asia and the U.S. The venture is investing $100 million in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception on the thesis that improving machine perception will unlock the next generation of smart robotics.
Rewired’s advisers include Thomas Estier, a Switzerland-based serial robotics entrepreneur who has worked on projects for the European Space Agency.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Switzerland Became The Silicon Valley Of Robotics”

The Alpine nation is now “The Silicon Valley of robotics,” according to Chris Anderson, chief executive of 3D Robotics.
The key personnel and technologies of Deepmind, the artificial intelligence firm acquired by Google for $500 million just four years after its formation, emanate from Lugano IDSIA Lab, a research institute ranked in the world’s top ten for AI. Switzerland has emerged as a serious competitor to California for the technologies, people and funding that will power the world’s fourth socio-economic revolution.
Ranked for the past seven years as the world’s most innovative country by Cornell, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the INSEAD business school in Paris, the nation has also been selected by accountants KPMG as the world’s best-prepared country for long-term change – a measure highly relevant for robotics and automation pioneers who seek to shake up the societal status quo.
With only 8.5m people, Switzerland has the world’s highest proportion of peer-reviewed scientific publications in relation to its population.
Its infrastructure also includes a growing presence of firms specialising in blockchain technology, which as well as being used for financial technology, now features heavily in e-government, smart contracts, swarm robotics, collective artificial intelligence and applications for retail.
The Swiss city of Lausanne has also recently been chosen as the European base of Rewired, a robotics-focused venture studio and fund that believes that improving sensory capabilities will unlock the next-generation of smart robotics and is investing in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception.
It plans to expand into East Asia and the U.S. The venture is investing $100 million in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception on the thesis that improving machine perception will unlock the next generation of smart robotics.
Rewired’s advisers include Thomas Estier, a Switzerland-based serial robotics entrepreneur who has worked on projects for the European Space Agency.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mapping’s Intelligent Agents: Autonomous Cars and Beyond”

Everything from autonomous warfare to logistics to geo-targeted advertising depends on map superiority.
Beyond those tools of looking and listening, most self-driving cars also generate a real-time map of the world.
Just as we have Siri and Google and mental maps, driverless cars tap into external sources of geospatial data.
Mobileye is attempting to speed things up by compressing new map information into a “Road Segment Data” capsule, which can be pushed between the master map in the Cloud and cars in the field.
Machine Mapping for the Rest of Us. Honestly, I don’t give a leaping Lidar about self-driving cars.
As Jer Thorp of the Office for Creative Research explained, the maps were intentionally big, to allow various physical modes of interaction: “Groups of people can gather around a map to look at it from different vantage points. People can walk across the map, experiencing distance in a meaningful way.” Shifts in scale and perspective abet a new spatial awareness.
While community mapping projects are not uncommon, the Map Room was notable for its use of projected overlays and robot assistants, which plotted fixed cartographic objects like roads and landmarks, leaving the more interpretive, aesthetic, and connotative map activity to people.
We need to recognize the world’s myriad intelligent agents not only on our maps, but also in our cartographic methods.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Mind of John McPhee”

During a semester when he teaches, McPhee does no writing at all.
McPhee refers to it as “a portrait of the writer at work.” It is a print in the style of Hieronymus Bosch of sinners, in the afterlife, being elaborately tortured in the nude – a woman with a sword in her back, a small crowd sitting in a vat of liquid pouring out of a giant nose, someone riding a platypus.
David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, where McPhee has been a staff writer for more than 50 years, took McPhee’s class in 1981.
John McPhee lives, and has almost always lived, in Princeton.
“The Patch” will gather fragments of the old work, arranged by McPhee into a pattern that pleases him, out of order, like patches in a quilt.
The title piece of “The Patch” is a short essay that McPhee wrote about the death of his father.
In the grand cosmology of John McPhee, all the earth’s facts touch one another – all its regions, creatures and eras.
As I prepared to leave Princeton, I stacked my John McPhee books on the passenger seat of my car, and there were so many of them that the car thought it was a person and frantically beeped at me to buckle the seatbelt.

The orginal article.

Summary of “World literature is both a market reality and a global ideal”

‘ World literature – the idea of world literature – was born out of this conversation in Weimar, a provincial German town of 7,000 people.
Since a world market led to the idea of world literature, and European colonialism underlay the world market, wasn’t world literature therefore an extension of colonialism, a rebuke to Goethe? For Marx and Engels, world literature was bourgeois, ie capitalist and therefore imbricated with colonialism.
While nationalists were able to co-opt world literature, their success only fortified the commitments of world literature advocates.
Auerbach’s main work, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, is a sweeping narrative, ranging from Homer to Virginia Woolf, headed by an epigraph from Andrew Marvell: ‘Had we but world enough and time ‘ What Auerbach lacked even more at least according to his own account, was a good library, hence his omission of scholarly debates and secondary literature.
In response to the growth of world literature over the past 20 years, an emerging field of world literature research including sourcebooks and companions have created a scholarly canon, beginning with Goethe, Marx and Engels and through to Tagore, Auerbach and beyond.
My own graduate students work on topics such as how contemporary Chinese authors break into world literature; the literature and art competitions that were part of the Olympic Games until the 1950s; and why the Aspen Institute was founded with a tribute to Goethe’s idea of world literature.
The comparative literature scholar Gayatri Spivak at Columbia University accused the US of trying to dominate the world by exporting world literature anthologies.
World literature anthologies published in the US weren’t intended for export at all, and publishers therefore didn’t acquire foreign rights because there was no market for world literature anthologies outside the US. World literature was an attempt to import foreign literature to the US, using the market to change ingrained reading habits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Making war illegal changed the world. But it’s becoming too easy to break the law”

“We should have, not as now, laws of war, but laws against war; just as there are no laws of murder or of poisoning, but laws against them.”
“Abruptly Germany declares war upon France and invades her territories without even disguising the intention of annexation.” Regardless of the purpose of such a war, Levinson continued, it would be considered legal.
Could sanctions take the place of war as a legal tool for punishing states? As the world hurtled toward disaster in the 1930s, philosophers, lawyers, and statesmen struggled to figure out what would fill the vacuum left by the outlawry of war.
The key, according to Levinson, was to deny an illegal conquest any legal effect: “If it is unlawful to wage war, conquests by war should furnish no legal title.”
The Stimson doctrine was the first step in constructing a new system of law in which war was illegal.
In a world where war was no longer legal, gunboat diplomacy had to end, too.
If war could no longer establish legal rights, then threats to wage war could not be allowed to establish legal rights either.
If waging aggressive war had indeed been illegal since 1928, then it had to be possible to hold those who had waged it responsible.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Soccer’s Culture of Corruption”

The Swiss police were acting jointly with the FBI; then-FBI director James Comey described the defendants as having “Fostered a culture of corruption and greed.” As Conn recounts in The Fall of the House of FIFA, much of the investigation, which had begun by 2011, concerned FIFA’s choices of Russia to host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
The ideal emotional crescendo of FIFA’s corruption scandals-Blatter’s indictment for pocketing bribes-has never happened.
If anyone dared challenge him, FIFA’s ethics machinery-which Blatter controlled-would expose the challenger’s corruption.
Of the twenty-two men who voted on Russia and Qatar’s World Cup bids in 2010, seven have since been charged with or accused by US authorities of criminal wrongdoing; another, the German soccer hero Franz Beckenbauer, is under investigation in Switzerland and Germany regarding his country’s 2006 bid; Spain’s Angel Maria Villar was arrested in an anti-corruption investigation in July; and five others have been sanctioned by FIFA’s own ethics committee.
In February 2016 FIFA’s congress elected as president another Swiss bureaucrat, Gianni Infantino, after he told the 209 national federation presidents, “The money of FIFA is your money!,” a line that Conn says drew “Spontaneous applause.” Much about Infantino recalls Blatter: his mastery of patronage, his multilingual bonhomie, and his sense of entitlement.
Post-Blatter, FIFA’s congress has passed a few reforms, but in May of this year FIFA didn’t renew the terms of the two chairmen of the ethics committee.
Swiss prosecutors are conducting about twenty-five separate investigations of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup bids.
Soccer is almost as powerful a global force as FIFA pretends it is, which is why the world’s rising nations have got their hands on it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Finding God in a Hot Slice of Pizza”

“I don’t believe God cares about pizza,” I admitted, unsure of what his father would say if he heard this conversation.
Raised inside this world, I knew all too well the script I should be following, the lines that would instill in my son the belief that God watches his every deed; God judges even the smallest moments of his life.
The pizza, thin-crusted and gooey, threatened to fall apart unless I held it with both of my hands.
I was glad for the long line, which gave me time to ponder the theological implications of a slice of pizza.
In the codex of sins, plain cheese pizza is a misdemeanor, not a felony.
“Bend down,” he said, and then whispered: “If one day, when I’m older, I decide to eat pizza with meat on it, will you still like who I am?”.
As we got our slices of pizza, oversize triangles with sturdy crusts and thick layers of cheese, I began a series of proclamations.
“This is the most delicious pizza in the world,” he said, sauce dotting the corners of his mouth, as he savored his first slice.

The orginal article.