The 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0
Related Posts Tags:#Messaging Services#SMS Does the world need another messaging service? The team behind Chorus.im thinks so, and they’re banking on the browser as the future of anywhere, anytime costless communication. Chorus, an HTML5-based chat service that launches today, works on any device with a browser, and claims to let you reach anyone you could call or email, whether or not they’ve ever even heard of Chorus.Why HTML5? “If all of us are trying to overthrow SMS, it should use the network that’s the most ubiquitous,” says Steve Tran, the company’s founder and CEO. An HTML5 framework lets the app work in any browser, mobile or otherwise. “We think messaging is likely to be a core application in the HTML5 frontier,” he adds, noting that it offered the least restrictions.Founded roughly nine months ago and based in Mountain View, Calif., Chorus is basically a team of four, three of whom previously worked together on a voice application platform called BeVocal acquired by Nuance Communications back in 2007. The team has received angel funding, but runs as a self-described lean operation with no immediate plan for venture capital investment. Biting The Dead Hand Of Carrier SMSChorus claims its app is the only HTML5, browser-centric messenger out there. But it will have to demonstrate some immediate advantages, because it’s joining an all-out firefight in the instant-messaging market.A growing crowd of services — such as, for instance, WhatsApp and WeChat — aim to kill off carrier-bound SMS and its unreasonably high fees and lack of social media integration. Built-in smartphone features such as Apple’s iMessage have also been chipping away at the carriers’ grip on text communication.And it’s not just in the U.S. Just last week, The Wall Street Journal reported on the rise of Line, a messaging service popular in Japan that has joined the anti-SMS ranks, and also pointed out that “the rise of texting apps has taken away $23 billion in revenue from carriers as of the end of 2012….” Beyond Line, Samsung has ChatOn, Deutsche Telekom invested in Pinger, and Yahoo Japan purchased a 50% stake in the Japanese subsidiary of South Korea’s KakaoTalk.The point is that the war is raging, and to catch on and stand out in the field of messaging services is becoming almost as hard establishing a new social network. Almost FrictionlessChorus calls itself “frictionless” because users can jump in and out of conversations while moving, say, from a laptop to a phone to a tablet — and with no registration required. Though a profile goes a long way toward making things easier. With Chorus, it’s required if you want to initiate conversations. In other words, if somebody invites you to chat, you can accept and communicate, but you can’t start conversations yourself unless you register with a username, email and password. (Alternatively, you can sync an account from Google+ or Facebook.) The service has also launched iOS and Android apps for the sole purpose of enabling mobile push notifications, something smartphone browsers don’t allow at the moment. But random signups aren’t how the Chorus team expects users to dive in. If you know someone’s email address or phone number, you can pull them directly into a chat — again, no registration required on their part. And from there the new user can decide whether registering seems worth the trouble. Which means that Chorus effectively makes no distinction between its registered users and everyone else when it comes to chatting in the moment, a feature its team thinks will be key to its success.“A lot of the over-the-top messaging apps, they’re effectively all walled gardens. They’re creating their own network,” Tran says. With Chorus, there’s no wall, and the garden is more like an open field. But naturally, that has its pros and cons.Scaling The Walled GardensServices like Facebook Messenger or the popular mobile app WhatsApp are indeed walled gardens to varying degrees. But as Tran suggests, a service like Chorus will inevitably face the problem of pulling users away from ecosystems and buddy lists they’re familiar with. At the end of the day, messaging comes down to ease, and if there’s anything heavy mobile users are invested in, it’s in the tool they use to text. Through straightforward integration, Chorus also lets you bring in contacts from your phone, Facebook and Google all into one address book. That’s not new to the world of messaging services, though Chorus claims it lets you do so easily and in a way that saves you the hassle of building up yet another useless profile and trying to organize a contact list.“In our worldview, users already have a friends list — it’s called their address book. They shouldn’t have to create a new one and should have the flexibility to immediately send messages to whomever they want,” the company states in its official press release. Which is, effectively, the main draw of Chorus: its ability to let you reach anyone without having to worry about whether they’re on a phone or a laptop, or iMessage or Google Talk or Facebook. In a space where there’s so many different ways to communicate that it makes your head spin, to have a stripped down service that does what you want it to do is an ideal solution. 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Two persons died, while two others were injured after a few youths opened fired at the staff in a garment shop in a mall in Varanasi over a dispute on Wednesday, police said.The incident took place at the JHV shopping mall in the high-security Cantonment area of the Uttar Pradesh city. The suspects, alleged to be students of the Kashi Vidyapeeth University, have been identified. The three suspects entered the branded apparel store and one of them, identified as Alok Upadhyay, inquired about a salesman named Prashant. The suspect then got involved in a brawl with the other staff but was soon overpowered. A country-made pistol he was carrying was also snatched away, said a witness. Vivek Tripathi, UP police spokesperson, said after finding their friend overpowered, the other two youths tried to rescue him and fired shots at the salesmen and in the air.Two persons, Gopi Kanaujia and Sunil Kumar, died of bullet injuries, while Vishal Singh and Chandan Sharma, were admitted to hospital and are said to be stable, police said.”They also fired shots indiscriminately in the mall, after exiting the store,” said one of the witnesses. While initially police was told that the firing was triggered by a dispute over discount, a police statement in the evening hinted at a personal enmity.As per the police, the main accused Alok Upadhyay had a dispute with one of the salesmen Prashant over his friendship with a female staff at the store. The witness also said that the accused had once already assaulted the salesman outside the mall.Inspector General, Varanasi, Vijay Singh Meena, said the CCTV footage of the mall was being examined. The police is investigating how the three suspects managed to bring in weapons into the mall as frisking is done at the entry.
SRKThe badshah of Bollywood has always known how to make people dance to his tunes, but master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was surely a first for him too.Shah Rukh Khan had flown down from Berlin, where he was busy shooting for Don 2, to attend the second edition of the Sahara Sports Awards on October 30. At the event, he got the cricketer to match steps with him during a dance performance. When we contacted SRK to ask how he managed to make it to the show, he replied: “I made it because I really like sports. I wanted to see all the renowned sportspersons of our country under one roof.”