In the first half, computer designer and author Martin Ford joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss the future of artificial intelligence. Ford shared his belief that AI will prove to be the most critical technology of our time, on par with electric power in terms of its importance in our lives. Acknowledging that the use of AI potentially raises many ethical questions, such as whether AI-controlled bots should ever be afforded civil rights, he stated that the technology has a way to go before such considerations ever become necessary.
Ford went on to cite his biggest practical concerns about where AI might be taking us. In addition to the millions of jobs that could be lost to automation, he said, the prospect of AI-controlled military weaponry is very worrisome. The proliferation of deepfakes—video or audio footage that looks authentic but is fabricated by AI—could also be extremely disruptive as well, Ford asserted. For example, in the hands of the wrong people, deepfakes could be used to steal sums of money, present false evidence in courts, or subvert elections.
Listeners calling the show in the second half included Tim in Nevada, who addressed reports that a naval facility in his state features underground tunnels that take submarines all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Curious about this claim, he went to the area where the tunnels supposedly exist. There, he saw highway signs for underground submarine training, he recalled.
Joe, a truck driver in Montana, expressed his doubts that self-driving trucks would ever replace those that are human-operated. He argued that too many variables on the road, such as dangerous weather conditions, make putting control over trucking into the hands of AI a dangerous idea.
Mary in New Jersey called to share an interesting memory from her childhood. Once when she was lost, she claimed, she met Saddam Hussein, who took her on a tour of his kingdom to show her his various instruments of torture. Mary responded to Saddam's offer of a gift by asking that he order as many objects in Iraq as possible be painted blue, her favorite color. Eventually, her father found her—although, she said, George H.W. Bush took credit for her rescue.