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Killer Robots / Open Lines

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Date Host Ian Punnett
Guests Robert J. Marks, Open Lines

Robert J. Marks is a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. He joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss the present development of AI and "killer robots" as the newest arms race. Marks said that the United States and especially the military "needs to adapt and change technology" in order to stay ahead of or at least competitive with adversaries. As an example, he noted that China is "throwing 30 billion dollars at AI." The most chilling application of robotics for defense, in Marks' opinion, are "drone swarms" of hundreds of aircraft, since half of the swarm could be destroyed and the rest could still carry out a mission (such as an attack on a military or civilian target.)

Marks believes that the best and most useful form of AI may be in "limited" versions, which he explained as making weapons that "do what you want them to do" for specific purposes. Unlike more fully developed forms of computer learning (such as autonomous driving cars), he noted that it's easier and safer for robotic weapons to do one job instead of many. Marks concluded that the development of AI is nowhere near what is referred to as the "Singularity" – the supposed point at which computers will surpass humans in intelligence. He quoted physicist Roger Penrose, who said that "man might create the computer, but the computer will never create man."

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Gordon called from Florida to begin Open Lines and expressed his opinion that student loans should be allowed to go into bankruptcy. Blair in Arizona read the recent C2C article on biological robots and compared it to passages in the biblical book of Revelations. Michael In Virginia said that the only solution to wars and other strife would be a "one-world government." Joe in California was disturbed by the discussion about AI and said we need to "become more spiritually evolved," not develop more weapons. Gino in Missouri wondered whether the Biblical contention of 1000 years to us as "1 year to God" is supported if we travel at the speed of light and the time dilation that would occur.

Steve in Arizona pondered, "at what point do we start to think that mythology is right, and science catches up with it?" Debbie in Oregon told the story of a man who visited her restaurant in the 1970s and showed drawings and photos of a movie he was trying to produce. She thought the man was perhaps a little crazy, but then three years later, she saw Star Wars and realized that "the man was George Lucas." Charles in Texas asked the listeners to consider that WWII with Japan didn't really end with the use of a nuclear weapon. John in Ohio agreed, saying that the official version of history is based on "quasi-religious dogmas."

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