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If Pigs Have Wings, SETI Could Be Robots

first_imgThe SETI program is still waiting to catch a sentient signal from deep space, but in the absence of data, people are free to speculate.  Michael Dyer, a computer science professor at UCLA, is certain that the first aliens to visit Earth will be robots.  He even attached a probability to it, according to Adam Hadhazy, a reporter published on Live Science.  “If an extraterrestrial spaceship ever lands on Earth, I bet you that it is 99.9999999 percent likely that what exits that ship will be synthetic in nature.”    Has Dyer watched too many science fiction movies, or does his prediction have any scientific grounding?  His reasoning involves several ideas.  For one, space travel is hard on biology.  For another, robots are not as vulnerable to harsh environments and poison gas.  A third is his belief, based on the inevitability of artificial intelligence (AI), that humans will eventually replace themselves on Earth by robotic progeny.  That implies that advanced aliens will have already reached that point in their evolution.  Seth Shostak was quoted in the article in agreement with Dyer’s idea that alien visitors will be made of hardware and software, not cuddly biology.    While speculating about alien evolution (see also the 07/21/2010), Dyer continued wondering whether futuristic robots could ever have empathy.  Will they be programmed, like Hal 9000 in A Space Odyssey to follow the mission, even if it means killing humans?  (That idea seems so 2001).  Will they destroy the freedom of the remaining humans, even if programmed with mercy?  “I think the most we can hope for is to embed software into all intelligent synthetic entities to cause them to want to protect the survivability of biological entities, with humans at the top of the list for protection,” Dyer said.    Every speculation brings new dilemmas, however.  Dyer looked into his crystal ball: “I can foresee my robotic master not letting me do any activities that it deems will be harmful to my long-term survival,” he said, “so I’m no longer allowed to eat ice cream while lying on the sofa watching junk TV shows.”  Or allowed to watch the latest Hollywood alien-invasion flick, Hadhazy added.  Dyer did not explain if alien synthetic life implies intelligent design (12/03/2005).  He also did not place a value on his bet, or explain how or when he would have to pay up.  Presumably, there is a .0000001 percent chance it is not synthetic; that would give him an out.    Question: why is this on Live Science?  Are we to the point where, in the name of science, there are no restraints on speculation, no requirements to test ideas against evidence, no distinctions between science and science fiction, no epistemic modesty, no restraints on hubris?  Has the mission of science been usurped by storytellers with limitless imaginations?  Answer: “I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.” (see IMDB.com).(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SMB seizes lead

first_imgCayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games The victory prompted coach Leo Austria to give his charges their first break in three weeks.The Texters will also take a much-needed breather on Monday, but coach Nash Racela has special instructions to his players after losing for the second straight game and looking very overmatched since winning the series opener by a hair.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSan Miguel wriggled out of a very tight first half as Alex Cabagnot spearheaded a dominant final 24 minutes with 18 of his 28 coming in the last two frames.And the San Miguel defense has clamped down hard on whoever it needs to stop, with rookie sensation RR Pogoy, after tossing in a career-high 27 points in a 104-102 series-opening win, held scoreless for the second straight game and Jason Castro limited to six points in the first three quarters. “It was a hard-fought game and we didn’t have any adjustments (for today),” Austria said. “All we did was keep our intensity high.”Color developed at halftime when standby TNT import Mike Myers and Governors’ Cup reinforcement Michael Craig got involved in a shoving encounter with San Miguel fans and team officials on the way back to the locker room.Austria dismissed that incident as something borne out of the intensity of both teams, but was quick to add that nothing can distract his Beermen from the real task at hand.“I told the players that we have to be focused,” Austria said. “We have a different agenda [and that is to win]. But we will not back down [from incidents like that].”TNT had 23 turnovers—10 of them by Castro—which resulted to 26 San Miguel points.ADVERTISEMENT Marcio Lassiter. PBA IMAGESThere’s rest for the weary, but only San Miguel Beer can afford it this time.After breaking down TNT KaTropa with clinical precision on both ends in the second half, the Beermen moved ahead in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup title playoffs, 2-1, with a 109-97 victory at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.ADVERTISEMENT What ‘missteps’? 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’center_img MOST READ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage View comments World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Beermen bounce back and how Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’last_img read more