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Artificial Intelligence

SETI Could Find Super-Intelligent Robots, Warns Astronomer Royal

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British cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees believes that machines powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) will inherit the Earth – and the stars. He is also persuaded that advanced aliens could be inconceivably different from life as we know it, as different from us as we are from a bacterium.

Rees, also known as Lord Rees of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal since 1995, is a top scientist who often publishes clear and simple opinion pieces on the big issues and questions of our times. Writing in The Financial Times, he explains that our civilization is likely to evolve into a post-biological civilization of thinking machines way smarter than us.

“Humans and all they have thought might be a transient precursor to the deeper cogitations of another culture,” says Rees. “One dominated by machines, extending deep into the future and spreading far beyond earth.”

Interplanetary and interstellar space will be the preferred arena for the grand constructions of robotic fabricators, including the non-biological brains that might one day develop insights as far beyond our imaginings as string theory is for a monkey.

If life is widespread, worlds orbiting stars older than the sun could have had a head-start. If so, Rees explains, alien civilizations that originated in those worlds are likely long ago to have transitioned beyond the organic stage.

The “Earth 2.0” announced yesterday by NASA – Kepler 452b – orbits a star 1.5 billion years older than the sun. Therefore, according to Rees, an alien civilization out there is probably a machine civilization.

Signals Could Come From Super-Intelligent Computers

Martin Rees at the Breakthrough Initiatives announcementRees (in the picture) participated in the event at The Royal Society in London where Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced the lavishly funded Breakthrough Initiatives for SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).

“We should surely acclaim the Breakthrough Initiative’s major investment,” says Rees in The Guardian. “This will secure time on the world’s best radio telescopes and develop instruments to scan the sky in a far more comprehensive and sustained fashion than ever before.”

But advanced intelligences out there could be very different from from us. “Seemingly artificial signals could come from super-intelligent (though not necessarily conscious) computers, created by a race of alien beings that had already died,” warns Rees.

Real aliens could be very different from the anthropomorphized aliens of naive science fiction. They could be much more similar, for example, to the incomprehensible aliens described by Stanisław Lem in “The Invincible” and “Solaris” – beings whose consciousness is so different from ours that no understanding is possible. In Lem’s “His Master’s Voice,” SETI scientists receive a message that, despite promising initial attempts to decipher it, eventually eludes understanding.

Even if intelligence were widespread in the cosmos, we may only ever recognize a small and atypical fraction of it. “The only type of intelligence we could detect would be the (perhaps small) subset that used a technology attuned to our own parochial concepts,” says Rees.

Some ‘brains’ may package reality in a fashion that we can’t conceive.

Images from Breakthrough Initiatives and Wikimedia Commons.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bob

    July 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand a word you said….

  2. Jim Brown

    July 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    You were not supposed to understand it.
    This is a perfect example of government propaganda.
    You are supposed to be AFRAID !!!!
    Only ignorant brainwashed fools,
    (like 98℅ of our population)
    think in terms of force, domination and war.
    The military/Industrial Complex needs newer,
    bigger, and more dangerous enemies to fight.
    Most likely, the next “False-Flag” event will be
    a staged “Alien Invasion” .
    (if you don’t know what that means,
    Google the gulf of Tonkin incident, or just
    realize that 9/11 was an inside job to
    justify taking over another country)

    Jim

  3. Optimist911

    July 25, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Why wouldn’t these signals be omnipresent and ubiquitous? It seems rather strange that they’d appear only when humans are good and ready to receive them.

    • Cassandra Morrison

      July 27, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Who says they aren’t both? But when a tree falls in the forest does it crush a field mouse if no one is listening?

      • Optimist911

        July 28, 2015 at 3:04 am

        But we are listening — and ignoring suspect cases like the “Wow!” signal, it’s all been noise.

        • Cassandra Morrison

          July 29, 2015 at 8:09 am

          Noise to OUR ears, yes, no doubt, But how clear would a radio signal be after travelling hundreds or thousands of light years through space? With all the natural phenomena that produce radio “noise” what would you expect to hear BUT noise? Radio signals fade, they are subject to cosmic rays, solar storms (star storms) Electromagnetic waves….
          If you said SETI was a huge waste of money because no radio signal from another sun-like star with earth-type planets could be expected to arrive here with an intelligible signal I’d agree with you. Because we could have been receiving them all along it’s just that the degradation of the signal has robbed it of all intelligible content.

          • Optimist911

            July 29, 2015 at 11:42 am

            That’s where error-correction algorithms come in. Even we primitive humans have solved that problem more or less satisfactorily.

  4. Cassandra Morrison

    July 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Very good, your Lordship.

    I love the part about the Super Computers. Rather chilling if, of course, one happens to be afraid of computers. Being disabled and not having an easy time getting out and about I have a different approach to computers. Mine is most loyal guide, philosopher, and friend.

    But another of your points interests me. You state that
    “Some ‘brains’ may package reality in a fashion that we can’t conceive.”
    You are referring to these Artificial Intelligences but they will certainly package reality in a way that resembles their creators just as any AI developed by our computer science will be related to how our own minds package reality because that is how our computers are constructed.
    You say that we won’t be able to “conceive” the way in which these ‘brains’ function. But that’s obviously nonsense. It is true if one is referring to the way the left brain processes information that we might have problems comprehending these ‘brains’ but the right brain can gestalt a whole new way of “packaging reality” without really trying and THIS will be the key to “grokking” what these alien ‘brains’ are driving at.
    Sorry to Stanislaw Lem but he didn’t really understand how UNLIMITED Human Consciousness can potentially be.

    • Optimist911

      July 29, 2015 at 2:14 am

      Unless you’re religious or spiritual, human consciousness is quite far from unlimited. Indeed, the human brain has “only” around 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections among them — certainly large figures, but not at universal scale, even if multiplied by the total number of humans who ever lived. It’s simply a matter of size: Each new order of magnitude enables novel emergent properties, such as those separating us from slugs. We’re not even all that much bigger than slugs — imagine a being whose “brain” is, say, planet- or even galaxy-sized. To such an entity, we won’t even be slugs, but more like viruses or prions.

      • Cassandra Morrison

        July 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

        Size has nothing to do with it…you’d know that if you knew anything about microchips in your own computer. Look at the first microprocessor that Intel ever produced http://cpu-zone.com/4004/Intel%20C4004%20G.JPG It handled 4 bits. Here is the current 64 bit processor http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Intel-Core-2-Duo-2-13GHz-1066-Socket-Skt-LGA775-CPU-Processor-2MB-Cache32-64-bit-/00/s/MTI4MFgxMjgw/$(KGrHqJHJCIE-pUw2Uf8BPt9t(b7,Q~~60_35.JPG
        Much smaller…but a whole lot greater computing power.
        Fred Hoyle’s book THE BLACK CLOUD is all about this “brain size” thing, And Rupert Sheldrake is always entertaining when he gets on the subject of intelligence in planets and solar systems and galaxies and so on.
        But I still say humans could GET what even a brain that size is laying down because of our ability to connect a whole stream of dots into a coherent system without having to go through the steps one by one. It’s pretty much what Quantum Physics and Quantum Psychology and Gestalt Theory are all about.

        • Optimist911

          July 29, 2015 at 11:40 am

          Obviously, I am assuming optimally and uniformly efficient designs that leverage the full computational power of the universal substrate. This would exclude crude early microprocessor architectures.

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Artificial Intelligence

YEXT: An Invisible Force In Artificial Intelligence

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YEXT, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT) is one of those behind the scenes companies involved in Intelligence Search that plays an important role in Artificial Intelligence. What does that mean? Remember the Amazon commercial? “Eco, order a 12” Pizza with pepperoni from Stromboli’s and have it delivered”.

Today the vast majority of online searches go through third-party sources such as data aggregators, governmental agencies and consumers. The net result of this third party sourcing has been to produce “best guess” data that can often miss or misstate the target data field.

YEXT developed a better way to source critical digital knowledge.  For example business clients use YEXT to update public facts about their brands. They are building their based on the rapid and ever changing nature of data.  So far the YEXT Knowledge Network offers over 100 services to more than 110 corporate clients and has over $150 million in annual revenue.  So could YEXT play a key role in AI,  the next big thing?

How YEXT Works

Most of us are familiar with big time search engines like Google, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Bing, Cortana, Apple Maps, Siri and Yelp.  These pioneering companies are the major drivers in information search today.  However, we also know, their accuracy is not exactly ideal.  

This is where YEXT steps in.  Their knowledge engine platform lets business manage their digital knowledge in the cloud and sync it to over 100 services including the kingpins of search noted above.

Intelligent Search is the structured information that a business wants to make publicly accessible. In food service it could be the address, phone number or menu details of a restaurant; in healthcare, the health insurances accepted by a physician or the precise drop-off point of the emergency room at a hospital campus; or in finance, the ATM locations, retail bank holiday hours or insurance agent biographies.

Artificial Intelligence Offers a Potential $10 Billion Market

Improving search results in general is nice but not very sexy.  It doesn’t make you want to beg for more information.  However, when you consider the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our evermore data intense world, the importance of Intelligent Search and the opportunities for YEXT becomes a compelling story.  

The AI trend is already underway as YEXT is increasingly using the structured data on their platform to expand or add new integrations with vertically specialized applications, voice-based search and AI engines.

Just Right For Big Data Applications

YEXT customers use their platform to manage their digital knowledge covering over 17 million attributes and nearly one million locations. These customers include leading businesses in a diverse set of industries, such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, retail, financial services, manufacturing and technology.

Major customers include: AutoZone, Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Citibank, Denny’s, Farmers Insurance Group, H&R Block, HCA, Infiniti, Marriott, Michael’s, McDonald’s, Rite Aid, Steward Health Care and others. The list is growing.

Management believes the market for digital knowledge management is large and mostly untapped with over 100 million potential business locations and points of interest in the world equaling over $10 billion.  

Shooting For Acquisitions and Broad AI Penetration

Founded in 2006 by serial entrepreneurs Howard Lerman (CEO) and Brian Distelburger, President these two are typical software guys whose vision appears much more broad based the their current focus with YEXT.  Here is where the prospectus from their April 2017 IPO offers some mystery and excitement to the story.

Unlike most rapid growth tech companies YEXT had no urgent need to go public.  They generated almost $60 million in gross profit in 2016 before heavy marketing costs resulted in a loss of $26.5 million.  Even so, they still ended the year with $20 million in cash. That’s a fair distance from being destitute.

The company’s real need for the IPO was to establish a liquid public market for the stock. They raised about $123.5 million, all of which will go into the bank.  The company is debt free and there are no insiders selling stock.  Very interesting.

Strong  Financial Results

For the latest reported nine months ended October 31, 2017 revenues grew 38% reaching $122 million.  The good news is the gross profits reached a record 75% or $90 million.  All of this was spent on sales and marketing to expand the business.  When all the beans were counted, YEXT lost $50 million producing a $30 million negative cash flow.  The balance sheet remains liquid with $120+ million in cash and securities.

FYI: In spite of some top notch bankers underwriting its IPO and analysts from those same five firms covering the company, the stock has done almost nothing for investors.  This $1.1 billion market cap was recently hanging out around $12 about the same as the IPO price.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 114 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Artificial Intelligence

The End of Human Money Managers

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robot

Quantitative Easing by central banks around the world has led to dramatic changes in the money management industry over the past six years. Not only have we seen increasing regional differences, but stock picking has also become more difficult as the money injected into the markets by central banks has lifted pretty much everything, regardless of valuation and the future potential of the asset.

Investors have become impatient and highly demanding as a result of years of low interest rates. Old mutual funds are being swapped out for new, better ones at a record pace as investors hunt for higher ROI. Passive income has become a trend, and ETF’s and automated investment strategies are getting more and more popular as a result.

How do money managers attract capital?

There are three main factors that determine how much capital a money manager is able to attract from investors:

  1. Track record
  2. Strategy
  3. Technology

Changes in any of these factors can have a big impact on investors’ willingness to let the fund manager keep the money they have already invested with him, or receive new money.

Technology has been a very important driver over the past few years. Data-driven, or quantitative funds are gaining an ever-increasing market share in the money management space. This is happening because more and more people are realizing the obvious benefits that this type of money management has to offer.

Investors increasingly prefer the robustness, speed, and predictability that automated money management can provide. When it comes to robustness, we are referring to both the physical and psychological aspect of it.

Humans vs. robots

Humans are pretty much the opposite of “robust,” in the true sense of the word. Our emotional state on any given day can make us react to things in different ways than we otherwise would have done, potentially leading to critical mistakes for a trader.

As humans, we may miss trading opportunities in the market because we came in late, took a day off, or simply didn’t pay attention at any given moment.

Robots are obviously not affected by fatigue and lack of focus. For example, a robot can monitor the stock or cryptocurrency market and trade just like a human trader would do, with the only difference being that the former (arguably) does it better and never needs to rest.

Thanks to the high computing power available today, robots can collect, verify, analyze, and react to opportunities long before a human will even understand that such opportunities exist.

Data-driven approach to fund management is taking over

A recent ranking by Institutional Investor Magazine revealed that out of the world’s 100 biggest hedge funds, five of the top six spots were held by data-driven funds.

On first place was Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates with $122.3 billion under management. In 2016, Bridgewater grew the amount of money under management by 17%.

Renaissance Technologies, the company known for having hundreds of mathematicians, physicists, and coders on their payroll, came in fourth with $43 billion.

Two Sigma, which is also well-known for using technologies like AI and machine learning, came in fifth with $39 billion under management. Their increase from the year before was 28%.

According to Barclays, $500 billion are now invested in purely data-driven funds, while JP Morgan claims that data-driven trading strategies accounts for a whopping 90% of global trading volumes in stocks.

The core objective of any money manager is always to follow the money. That’s why we are seeing a race right now by the big players in the industry to use words like “technology-driven,” “artificial intelligence,” and so on. Whether or not that is true is not always a concern for them.

Money managers are destined to unemployment

Those who are really in trouble because of this huge change are the money managers themselves. Most of them will likely lose their jobs over the next few years. There is simply very little need for their very expensive services anymore, as robots are able to do the same thing in a much cheaper and more consistent way.

As legendary investors Jim Rogers predicted a few years ago, the stock brokers will become broke and the farmers are going to be driving Lamborghinis. Maybe there will finally be some truth to this.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.3 stars on average, based on 37 rated postsFredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.




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Bitcoin Giant Bitmain Enters the High Stakes AI Race

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Artificial Intelligence

The Sophon, named for a fictional proton-sized supercomputer, could be the tool to train neural networks in data centers worldwide. It is the latest project being developed by Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the bitcoin mining giant that has carved out a dominant position in bitcoin mining.

Such chips, called application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), could unleash a new wave of distributed computing, according to Michael Bedford Taylor, a University of Washington professor who studies bitcoin mining and chips.

Sophon is due to debut before the end of the year.

Bitmain Has The Know-How

Bitmain has the background to play a role in the expanding artificial intelligence industry. The company designs the silicon that goes in bitcoin mining equipment, assembles the machines and sells them worldwide, in addition to its own bitcoin mining operation and the ones that it manages for other mining pools.

Bitmain’s founders are not averse to playing a spoiler role.

Jihan Wu, the co-founder of Bitmain, supports the New York Agreement that seeks to double the bitcoin block size under the SegWit2X proposal, a move that some in the bitcoin community view as an attempt to give the miners control over bitcoin.

Some also believe Wu was behind the recent bitcoin split known as bitcoin cash, which at least one of Bitmain’s miners supported, a contention that Wu has denied. Wu points out that he was among the supporters of Bitcoin Unlimited, an earlier bitcoin scaling proposal that did not get activated.

Why Wu Supports Forks

Wu nonetheless said splits should be allowed. He said a fork is inevitable since people in the bitcoin community do not agree on how to best scale bitcoin.

Wu met Micree Zhan, Bitcoin’s co-founder, when Zhan was running DivaIP in 2010, a company that made a device that allowed a user to stream a TV show on a computer screen.

In 2011, Wu needed a chip designer to build a mining operation and approached Zhan. Zhan first designed an ASIC to run SHA-256, the cryptographic calculation used in bitcoin, at maximum efficiency. It took him six months to finish the job. His first rig, Antminer S1, was ready in November 2013.

Bitmain felt the sting of the 2014 Mt. Gox meltdown. But by 2015, bitcoin’s price bottomed out and later recovered. In the meantime, Bitmain introduced its Antminer S5.

Bitmain now employs 600 people in Beijing.

Also read: Bitmain clarifies its ‘bitcoin cash’ fork position

Ready To Take On Google

Bitmain has since developed a deep learning chip with improved efficiency. Users will be able to build their own models on the ASICs, enabling neural networks to deliver results at a faster pace. Google’s DeepMind unit used this technique to train its AlphaGo artificial intelligence.

Bitmain plans to sell the chips to any company looking to train its own neural nets, including firms like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. Bitmain could build its own data centers with thousands of deep learning rigs, renting out the computation power to clients the way it does with bitcoin mines.

Professor Taylor said companies like Bitmain that have excelled in bitcoin mining could take on the Googles and Nvidias since they have developed the skills to survive in an ultra-competitive and highly commoditized industry, and have the system level design expertise and the ability to reduce data center costs.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.9 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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