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artificial-intelligence

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for March 8, 2017

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses the question of whether artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to human beings; MonsterTalk interviews Guy Lyon Playfair about The Enfield Poltergeist; and Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix and in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine 22.1!

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for January 11, 2017

Stephen Beckner reviews season one of HBO’s most-watched TV series Westworld, and considers some of the concepts presented in the first ten episodes: creation, evolution, artificial intelligence, memory, consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and suffering. WARNING: This review contains spoiler alerts.

Reading Room
Out of the Loop, Lost in the Maze:
The Stealth Determinism of Westworld

Stephen Beckner reviews season one of HBO’s most-watched TV series Westworld, and considers some of the concepts presented in the first ten episodes: creation, evolution, artificial intelligence, memory, consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and suffering. WARNING: This review contains spoilers from season one, and speculation about future events.

Past Lecture
Alan Turing: The Enigma

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912–1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades — all before his suicide at age 41. In November a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing will be released, based on the classic biography by Dr. Andrew Hodges, who teaches mathematics at Wadham College, University of Oxford (he is also an active contributor to the mathematics of fundamental physics). Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936 — the concept of a universal machine — laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design.

INSIGHT
Beware the Dystopian Visions of Celebrity Scientists

Mike McRae considers artificial intelligence, and critiques physicist Stephen Hawking’s opinions on the topic as “expert creep”—the phenomenon of scientists celebrated within one discipline choosing to make public statements on matters outside of their field of experience.

Reading Room
A.I. Gone Awry:
The Futile Quest for Artificial Intelligence

For decades now computer scientists and futurists have been telling us that computers will achieve human-level artificial intelligence soon. That day appears to be off in the distant future. Why? In this penetrating skeptical critique of AI, computer scientist Peter Kassan reviews the numerous reasons why this problem is harder than anyone anticipated.

Past Lecture
Beyond Human: Living with Robots & Cyborgs

Concepts once purely fiction — robots, cyborg parts, artificial intelligence — are becoming part of everyday reality. Soon robots will be everywhere, performing surgery, exploring hazardous places, making rescues, fighting fires, and handling heavy goods. After a decade or two, they will be as unremarkable as computer screens are now in our offices, airports, and restaurants…

eSkeptic for 06-08-25

In this week’s eSkeptic, in this penetrating skeptical critique of Artificial Intelligence, computer scientist Peter Kassan reviews the numerous reasons why this problem is harder than anyone anticipated.

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FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

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Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

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The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

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Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

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The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

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Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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