Douglas Preston, who worked for several years in the American Museum of Natural History, is the author of the acclaimed nonfiction works Dinosaurs in the Attic and Cities of Gold, in addition to a number of bestselling novels. He discussed the latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI), as well as his investigations into serial killer cases, such as the "Monster of Florence" in Italy. The weaponization of AI particularly concerns Preston-- some robots or drones may be developed to make autonomous decisions, such as when to kill, and this could send us down a dangerous path, he remarked.
While consumers are increasingly interacting with proto-AI programs like Siri and turn-by-turn GPS directions, emotions may eventually be programmed into artificial intelligence software, as it's thought this can help them make better decisions. It's hard to say when a computer program might achieve real consciousness or self-awareness, but "it's quite possible that a very good AI program may beg and plead not to be turned off or erased," which raises certain ethical dilemmas. Currently, there are highly sophisticated algorithmic stock trading programs that can make split second trades based on such data as recent Google searches or news articles, giving a distinct advantage to those who have access to such technology, he noted.
The horrific Monster of Florence case "makes Jack the Ripper look like Mr. Rogers," Preston commented about a set of 16 murders that took place between 1968 and 1985 in which couples were targeted not unlike the Zodiac killer. The women, in particular, were killed in a grisly ritualistic manner. Preston, who worked with Italian journalist Mario Spezi on the case, eventually interviewed the man they suspected of the murders, who spoke about using a scuba knife-- such a knife was used on the victims, but this detail was never reported to the public. This man, however, was not charged in the case, and it remains open.
Anomalous Object in Rover Photos
First hour guest, exopolitics pioneer Michael Salla talked about the evidence for life on Mars that NASA doesn't want to discuss. In a set of images taken by the Spirit rover, an object that may be an animal about the size of a basketball, appears next to some distinctive rocks in some of the photos but not others, implying to him that it was some kind of creature on the move. Salla also talked about his newest book Kennedy's Last Stand, exploring what JFK knew about ETs and UFOs.