Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Artificial Intelligence Threat to Humanity: Skynet Rising?


Proposed Sign for "Dangerous Artificial Intelligence"

The Artificial Intelligence Threat to Humanity: Skynet Rising? The worst-case technological singularity scenario is unimpeded artificial, machine intelligence exceeding human, biological intelligence. That is, humans create an artificial intelligence greater than themselves that is unhindered. The singularity then occurs because the future cannot be determined beyond this event horizon. In this scenario, there is no merger of machines and humans into cyborgs and humans becoming transbiological. Humans are left behind and become evolutionary artifacts as happened to the Neanderthals.

It is machines versus humans. Humans attempt to contain the superior artificial intelligence. Is this event inevitable and unstoppable as technology increases at an increasing rate? Could this nightmare singularity be prevented by imprisoning an artificial super-intelligence? Successful, long-term imprisonment of super-intelligence will most likely fail and is a last-ditch, futile effort of a then-obsolete life-form to justify their superseded and antiquated existence.

Skynet Rising: The AI Threat to Humanity's Existence with Dr. Roman V. Yampolskiy Alex talks with Roman Yampolskiy, a computer scientist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who recently wrote an article about the danger to humanity from AI and super-intelligent computers. Mr. Yampolskiy is trained in the fields of programming, forensics, biometrics and artificial intelligence.

Humanity Must 'Jail' Dangerous AI to Avoid Doom, Expert Says Super-intelligent computers or robots have threatened humanity's existence more than once in science fiction. Such doomsday scenarios could be prevented if humans can create a virtual prison to contain artificial intelligence before it grows dangerously self-aware.

Keeping the artificial intelligence (AI) genie trapped in the proverbial bottle could turn an apocalyptic threat into a powerful oracle that solves humanity's problems, said Roman Yampolskiy, a computer scientist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. But successful containment requires careful planning so that a clever AI cannot simply threaten, bribe, seduce or hack its way to freedom.

"It can discover new attack pathways, launch sophisticated social-engineering attacks and re-use existing hardware components in unforeseen ways," Yampolskiy said. "Such software is not limited to infecting computers and networks — it can also attack human psyches, bribe, blackmail and brainwash those who come in contact with it."

Humanity Must 'Jail' Dangerous AI to Avoid Doom, Expert Says

Hal 9000 AI in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Skynet AI in The Terminator


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dark Matter Core Defies Explanation in Hubble Space Telescope Image

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Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520: Dark Matter in Blue

Dark Matter Core Defies Explanation in Hubble Space Telescope Image

NASA: March 2, 2012

It was the result no one wanted to believe. Astronomers observed what appeared to be a clump of dark matter left behind during a bizarre wreck between massive clusters of galaxies.

The dark matter collected into a "dark core" containing far fewer galaxies than would be expected if the dark matter and galaxies hung together. Most of the galaxies apparently have sailed far away from the collision. This result could present a challenge to basic theories of dark matter, which predict that galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance, even during the shock of a collision.

The initial observations, made in 2007, were so unusual that astronomers shrugged them off as unreal, due to poor data. However, new results from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirm that dark matter and galaxies parted ways in the gigantic merging galaxy cluster called Abell 520, located 2.4 billion light-years away.

Now, astronomers are left with the challenge of trying to explain dark matter's seemingly oddball behavior in this cluster.

"This result is a puzzle," said astronomer James Jee of the University of California, Davis, leader of the Hubble study. "Dark matter is not behaving as predicted, and it's not obviously clear what is going on. Theories of galaxy formation and dark matter must explain what we are seeing."

A paper reporting the team's results has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and is available online.

First detected about 80 years ago, dark matter is thought to be the gravitational "glue" that holds galaxies together. The mysterious invisible substance is not made of the same kind of matter that makes up stars, planets, and people. Astronomers know little about dark matter, yet it accounts for most of the universe's mass.

They have deduced dark matter's existence by observing its ghostly gravitational influence on normal matter. It's like hearing the music but not seeing the band.

One way to study dark matter is by analyzing smashups between galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the universe. When galaxy clusters collide, astronomers expect galaxies to tag along with the dark matter, like a dog on a leash. Clouds of intergalactic gas, however, plow into one another, slow down, and lag behind the impact.

That theory was supported by visible-light and X-ray observations of a colossal collision between two galaxy clusters called the Bullet Cluster. The galactic grouping has become a textbook example of how dark matter should behave.

But studies of Abell 520 showed that dark matter's behavior may not be so simple. The original observations found that the system's core was rich in dark matter and hot gas but contained no luminous galaxies, which normally would be seen in the same location as the dark matter. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected the hot gas. Astronomers used the Canada-France-Hawaii and Subaru telescopes atop Mauna Kea to infer the location of dark matter by measuring how the mysterious substance bends light from more distant background galaxies, an effect called gravitational lensing.

The astronomers then turned Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 to help bail them out of this cosmic conundrum. Instead, to their chagrin, the Hubble observations helped confirm the earlier findings. Astronomers used Hubble to map the dark matter in the cluster through the gravitational lensing technique. 

"Observations like those of Abell 520 are humbling in the sense that in spite of all the leaps and bounds in our understanding, every now and then, we are stopped cold," explained Arif Babul of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the team's senior theorist.

Is Abell 520 an oddball, or is the prevailing picture of dark matter flawed? Jee thinks it's too soon to tell. 

"We know of maybe six examples of high-speed galaxy cluster collisions where the dark matter has been mapped," Jee said. "But the Bullet Cluster and Abell 520 are the two that show the clearest evidence of recent mergers, and they are inconsistent with each other. No single theory explains the different behavior of dark matter in those two collisions. We need more examples."

The team has proposed a half-dozen explanations for the findings, but each is unsettling for astronomers. "It's pick your poison," said team member Andisheh Mahdavi of San Francisco State University in California, who led the original Abell 520 observations in 2007. One possible explanation for the discrepancy is that Abell 520 was a more complicated interaction than the Bullet Cluster encounter. Abell 520 may have formed from a collision between three galaxy clusters, instead of just two colliding systems in the case of the Bullet Cluster.

Another scenario is that some dark matter may be what astronomers call "sticky." Like two snowballs smashing together, normal matter slams into each other during a collision and slows down. But dark matter blobs are thought to pass through each other during an encounter without slowing down. This scenario proposes that some dark matter interacts with itself and stays behind when galaxy clusters collide.

A third possibility is that the core contained many galaxies, but they were too dim to be seen, even by Hubble. Those galaxies would have to have formed dramatically fewer stars than other normal galaxies. Armed with the Hubble data, the group hopes to create a computer simulation to try to reconstruct the collision, hoping that it yields some answers to dark matter's weird behavior.

Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520: 1 of 6 Galaxy Collisions Where Dark Matter Has Been Mapped


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Universe Expanding at Increasing Rate: Dark Energy and Gravity Conflict

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WMAP Full Sky 7 Years
The detailed, all-sky picture of the infant universe created from seven years of WMAP data. The image reveals 13.7 billion year old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. The signal from the our Galaxy was subtracted using the multi-frequency data. This image shows a temperature range of ± 200 microKelvin. Credit: NASA / WMAP Science Team

The Expanding Universe In 1998, astrophysicists discovered a baffling phenomenon: the Universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate. Either an enigmatic force called dark energy is to blame or a reworking of gravitational theory is in order. In this new Science Bulletins video, watch a Fermilab team assemble the Dark Energy Camera, a device that could finally solve this space-stretching mystery.

Content of the Universe

WMAP data reveals that its contents include 4.6% atoms, the building blocks of stars and planets. Dark matter comprises 23% of the universe. This matter, different from atoms, does not emit or absorb light. It has only been detected indirectly by its gravity. 72% of the universe, is composed of "dark energy", that acts as a sort of anti-gravity. This energy, distinct from dark matter, is responsible for the present-day acceleration of the universal expansion. WMAP data is accurate to two digits, so the total of these numbers is not 100%. This reflects the current limits of WMAP's ability to define Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Credit: NASA / WMAP Science Team


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