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Posted By Peter Bentley

On Thursday 10 December I gave an invited lecture at the Royal Institution for the event Relax, It's Only AI: How Artificial Intelligence will Improve Our Lives. I was invited by the AI company Braintree Ltd to help explain the benefits of AI to an audience of business leaders. It still amazes me how many people - who should know better - are proclaiming that AI might one day be some kind of threat to humanity. There are some extremely good reasons why AI is not going to be a threat to us - not least because for the foreseeable future (i.e. hundreds or thousands of years) our AI systems will be exactly what they have always been - nice tech that does useful things. We don't know how to make anything else, and we'd need astonishing breakthroughs in neuroscience before that changes. Even with such breakthroughs, intelligence takes a long, long time to develop, train and test. It's not happening soon, folks. Indeed, there are some very pressing issues such as climate change and human conflict that should be considered the greatest threats to human existance. (And anyone who says anything else has ulterior motives that should be examined.)

The reality is that AI is simply clever software that is helping to make our technology and lives safer - and also providing business with some very interesting new opportunities in data analytics.

RI talk 2


RI talk 1
 


 
Posted By Peter Bentley

In the evening of Thursday 10 Dec I gave a talk at the Royal Institution about Artificial Intelligence - more of that above. BBC Radio 4 heard about it and asked me to the studio for a debate. They sent a car to get me but despite the best efforts of the driver we got stuck in London traffic, so we were forced to pull over and conduct the interview via Skype on my mobile phone from the car. As a result I was perhaps not my most elequent, but I think it turned out fine. You can listen to the interview here.

today show


 
Posted By Peter Bentley

Most of my popular science books have been translated to many languages. One of the most translated version is now The Book of Numbers - I've slightly lost track of all the different versions. Today a new one suddenly arrived through the mail: Chinese. They've done a very nice job too!

Chinese Book of Numbers cover
 


 
Posted By Peter Bentley

I like robots. I've been building them since I was a kid, and we still perform research with them today. Machines that can behave like living creatures? Who wouldn't find that interesting? And what about machines that you wear like a suit to augment your strength and give you amazing capabilities? Ben Falk of Yahoo movies recently asked me about it. Could we really have an Iron Man suit? Here's what I said.

 


 
Posted By Peter Bentley

A couple of months ago I was interviewed by Yahoo about the new Terminator robot. It's true that in the past my group has built robots that can recover from damage using smart materials. It's also true that the work was sponsored by military supplier BAEsystems. And some suggest my systemic computer resembles the beginnings of Skynet. And yes, I am a consultant for a company which aims to produce Strong AI. However despite all this, I'm not making a Terminator robot - honest! You can watch the interview complete with lots of movie clips here, or see a shorter edit here:

https://screen.yahoo.com/could-terminators-t-1000-exist-155823351.html

terminator talk
 

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