Tag Archives: featured

Artificial Intelligence: Exciting or Frightening?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) — a fascinating topic, which I keep having trouble with wrapping my head around, perhaps because I simply don’t know enough about it.

I just watched Her from Spike Jonze, a beautiful and fascinating film that I would totally recommend watching, and it made me think again about the insane speed of technological development and the question whether we will ever create something that is smarter than us and will eventually overpower ourselves? And in turn, whether that would be a bad thing, or whether we should just consider that as some new development in Darwin’s evolutionary theory?

The biggest issue in this whole debate is the idea of machines or operating systems developing a conscience and way of independent reasoning — together with their ability to learn by experience, could this be potentially problematic to the world as we know it now: where we control merely everything that’s artificial?

People have been exploring this possible potential path in technological development for years, especially in science-fiction. Think, for example, about supercomputer Hall from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssee. In his article Is Google Making us Stupid (2008), Nicholas Carr parallels his own mind and what the internet does to us to the character of Hall. Carr describes his “uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain.” He compares his feeling with the famous scene with supercomputer HAL,  where astronaut Dave Bowman is disconnecting the memory circuits that control HAL’s artificial brain. Carr states, “My mind isn’t going – so far as I can tell – but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think.”

I’m sorry, I’m wandering off topic to an entirely different trend that’s going on, which is also very interesting but we’ll save that for another time (I can suggest some readings on that one if you are interested).

Let’s get back to the relevance of 2001: A Space Odyssee for the future of AI. I guess the biggest question right now is, once we are at the point where operating systems can develop independently, will we still be able to pull the plug, like Bowman does with HAL, if needed or desired?

Please note I’m not arguing against AI or to stop technological development altogether, at all — it allows us to do a lot of amazing things in many different fields (more about AI in general in the video below). As I mentioned before, I’m just not quite sure yet what my stance on this issue is. I am sure that I find this a fascinating topic — the dazzling speed of technological advancements  is starting to blur the line between science-fiction and science-prediction.

Curious to see what you think about (the future of ) AI. Call out!

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Light Producing Plants as Future Streetlights

Genetic modification, in my eyes, has besides far-reaching possibilities possibly even more far-reaching concerns. However, over the past years scientists used our knowledge of genetic modification in a very innovative way, and this year Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde takes their results to another level — looking into possibilities to light our world with glowing trees instead of street-lights (Article).

This is one of those simple ideas that is just genius. Someone came up with the idea of using genetic engineering techniques to insert genes from e.g. glowing jellyfish or fire flies into the DNA of plants, and over the past years several research groups  (bioglow, glowingplants) ‘simply’ did this, which resulted in literally glowing plants.

This new definition of natural sustainable light is hard not to consider as a ‘break-through,’ and it may very well dictate our street-view within the next 15 years or so.

Check this video in which Daan Roosegaarde shortly talks about glowing plants and his ideas at South by Southwest.

This could potentially save tons of money considering the cut on electricity, not to mention the pros nature-wise — more trees, less waste; more oxygen, less CO2.

What do you think? Are these ideas with realistic potential?

 

Welcome!

Hi there,

Welcome. This will be a pretty all-round blog, talking about the things that interest me. As I am one of those people who has way too many interests, my blogs will most likely be about somewhat diverging topics. The key categories will be: Medical Science, Technology, Innovation, and Film (with every now and then some theatre).

The one common denominator, which made me start this blog in the first place, is ‘connections.’ Nowadays, there is such an abundance of information and knowledge, both in the community and within particular fields, that we’re close to losing track and control over what is out there and how we can best use it to develop, enhance, and recreate our lives. As a result, the key to innovation these days seems to lie in making the right connections rather than in inventing something from scratch. Take a step back, see what’s out there, combine knowledge or tools that are already out there in a creative and valuable way, and you might very well come up with the most simple but genius solutions and inventions.

Voltaire already said it years ago: “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation,” and the big shooters from this era took that very same approach: “Creativity is just connecting things” (Steve Jobs).

On this blog I will post things I come across that are somehow related to this topic, merely within the three categories mentioned above. Oftentimes, it will concern examples of what creativity can lead to, which to me forms a great source of inspiration for using this very type of thinking.

Enjoy! Hope to see you back soon.