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NPR Talks Rise of Robot, Software Technology; Nature Examines Ethics of A.I.

This week, NPR interviews the author of Rise of the Robots, while Nature examines the ethics of artificial intelligence. Plus, the DARPA Robotics Challenge collects the best robot fails from this year’s competition. Read on for more:

NPR interviews the author of Rise of the Robots, who warns that the technology behind robots and computer software will accelerate, so “there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

• In Nature, four researchers “share their concerns and solutions for reducing societal risks from intelligent machines,” from taking a stand on lethal autonomous weapons systems to embracing a robot-human world.

• If you’re worried that humans will soon be under the boot of our robot overlords, cheer yourself up with this video compilation of robots falling down at the DARPA Robotics Challenge. You may end up changing your tune, though. Even DRC organizer Gill Pratt was surprised to hear “groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered! It’s an extraordinary thing, and I think this is one of the biggest lessons from DRC—the potential for robots not only to perform technical tasks for us, but to help connect people to one another.”

New York suspects that A.I. anxiety “depends mainly upon what you think about people: of where you line up in the intellectual wars over human limitation and irrationality.”

CNET interviews Ex Machina‘s consultant, a geneticist who logged “every single incidence of artificial intelligence or robots in the history of cinema.”

The Economist, examining the fear surrounding artificial intelligence, asserts, “Perhaps the best way to think about AI is to see it as simply the latest in a long line of cognitive enhancements that humans have invented to augment the abilities of their brains.”

Foreign Affairs points out that Nepal’s recent earthquake and aftershock was “the first time artificial intelligence was used so extensively in relief efforts to tackle the overwhelming amount of information generated by mobile phones, satellites, and social media.”

Bloomberg reports on the disparate views of AI, from the belief that “it will make our lives better” to worries “about Terminator-style scenario where supercomputers endanger privacy, human thought and jobs.”

io9 reports that an artificial intelligence system has reverse-engineered the regeneration mechanism of planaria, “a breakthrough that demonstrates the incredible potential for ‘robot science.'”

Live Science talks to a computer scientist about deep learning, an approach to machine learning that’s a way for computers to teach themselves to recognize cats, among other applications.

The Silver Ink spotlights a tiny origami robot that can fold itself, walk and self destruct, a technology that “can be used in medicines where it can be utilized to help doctors with critical surgery.”

• Robots “that are damaged in action can now quickly ‘heal’ themselves by tapping into experiences from simulated lives,” Live Science reports.

Ars Technica UK looks at a series of experiments that used an echoborg to “test whether human delivery makes a difference in how people perceive an artificial intelligence system.”

The Monitor Daily reports on BRETT, a robot that’s able to learn how to do things by trial and error, “an important step forward in the field of artificial intelligence.”

CNBC checks out the use of artificial intelligence to increase productivity in the workplace, noting that “the real benefit to businesses will be when machines can fully automate tasks.”

Stylelite weighs the pros and cons of dating an artificial intelligence boyfriend.

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