Month: August 2021

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, and the impact it will have on our society

AI – most commonly known as artificial intelligence.

As a society, we have already embedded AI into our normal daily livings. Do you search on google search engines? Do you use facial recognition on your phone? Do you have a voice-controlled device in your home? Most people would just think that these devices are just modern-day valuables.

But with technology increasing at a rapid rate, how far will AI go? Could AI cure diseases like cancer or HIV? Or could humans use a personalised robot as a house assistant? This may sound exciting to some, but one of the world’s most reputable physicists, Stephen Hawking, shows extreme scepticism towards AI.

The scientist explained at the opening of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI) at Cambridge University that AI will be “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”.

 

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines artificial intelligence as “the study and development of computer systems that can copy intelligent human behaviour”, and Bernard Marr has categorised AI into four categories:

Reactive

Reactive AIhas no memory, and only responds to certain stimuli. This is the oldest type of AI and does not have learning ability. It can only automatically respond to a limited set or a combination of inputted information. IBMs Deep blue – a computer that in 1997, beat chess-master Garry Kasparov – is the best example of reactive technology.

Limited memory

Limited AI uses memory to learn and improve its response. Limited memory technology is capable of learning from previously inputted data from the introduction of algorithms back in 2012, and according to Forbes “nearly all existing applications that we know of come under this category of AI”. Google search engine is an example of limited memory, as it uses algorithms from data inputted, but can also interpret data it observes, and adjust when necessary.

Theory of mind

Theory of mind AI understands the needs of other intelligent entities. Bernard Marr explains that the theory of mind technology “are machines [that] acquire decision-making capabilities equal to humans”. Theory of mind level AI can understand what it is interacting with, judging its characteristics and thought processes. Sophie the Robot is the latest milestone in the theory of mind AI.

Self-aware

This type of technology has human-like intelligence and self-awareness. These machines will be fully aware of not only human emotions, but of their own. Currently, this AI is not yet been produced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the impact AI will have our society?

Computer scientist Dr. Kai-Fu Lee explained in an interview with CBS that artificial intelligence “is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity.” And here are some examples of how AI could change our lives. Whether for the good or bad, you can decide.

Smart homes

The obvious example that AI could change our lives is AI for personal use. Homes are becoming smarter and smarter, as most households now contain artificial intelligence. Smartphones are the best example. Statista states that 3.8 billion people have access to a smartphone, meaning over a third of the global population has access to a device that can augment reality, recognise faces and fingerprints, and can predict text. Additionally, the first-ever smart fridge was introduced in the year 2000 and has surged in popularity. However, Times reports that in the next 10 years it is predicted that households will contain a robot kitchen arm used for helping people with the cooking, smart showers with voice control, and shape-shifting furniture.

Smart cities

Believe it or not, cities are also using AI. Countries in the European Union – and yes, that does include ex-member  United Kingdom – have started to implement AI, which according to the union’s website “enable[es]ing smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions”.

Organisation ASME have reported the top 10 upcoming smart cities, naming Singapore, Oslo, New York, London, and Dubai as examples. Also, Forbes regards that in the “Chinese city of Hangzhou, an AI-based smart “City Brain” has helped to reduce traffic jams by 15 percent”. Moreover, sources predict that “automated visual garbage sorting using robots, visual inspection of power transmission lines using drones equipped with cameras” will be implemented, and potentially a microchip – that will be planted in a human hand – could be used for future payments.

Smart militaries

Finally, it has been reported that various countries are starting to use AI in their military. Scholar Elsa Kania conveys that the “Chinese military and China’s defense industry have been pursuing significant investments in robotics, swarming, and other applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)”.

Contrarily, journalist Harry Lea explains that China’s interest in using AI or military uses has forced the US to take action, in which previous US secretary of defence Mark Esper explained that “China believes it can leapfrog our current technology and go straight to the next generation.”

Yes, the world does seem technological. However, how reliant are we as a society becoming on AI?

The future is looking like our homes may be reliant on intelligent furniture, but will robots fight future wars?

Vaccine Passports – the for and the against

It’s strange to think that as a society, we are going to have to provide a vaccination passport to endure our personal freedoms.

 

To stop the spread of COVID-19, and the deaths of loved ones, the world has turned its reliance towards a heavily studies vaccine.

 

But is there a price to pay? Is it right for our personal freedoms to be put at stake? 

 

Many countries around the globe are introducing vaccine passports, that will be mandatory for everyday living activities. In countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, and France, they have already been implemented.

 

All three countries require an individual to have two shots of the vaccine to travel abroad, or to have a negative PCR test. In addition, France mandates people to have the vaccine or a negative PCR test to visit a venue with more than 50 people. These venues include cafes, bars, and restaurants (or any venue with more than 50 people). Also, from September the British will require two jabs of a negative test to enter a nightclub.

 

The one thing these restrictions have caused is for society to divide – like religion and politics, these requirements have divided people over their personal beliefs. 

 

Is taking the vaccine for public safety the right thing to do? Or is having the choice to take it and not be restricted morally correct? 

 

The For 

 

From a survey of 6000 Italians, French, Germans, and Brits, all but Germany were in favour of vaccine passports for travel. Moreover, seven out of ten Britons were in favour of vaccine passports to travel, making the United Kingdom the most favoured country.

 

Of course, the main reason is to protect society, as the vaccine reduces chances of the virus mutating.

 

Also, the Guardian explains other reasons for the mandatory vaccines being to reopen the borders safely without fear of the virus, and for opportunities including work. The world has stalled, and by “getting a certificate, some individuals who have been deprived of access to certain work opportunities by the pandemic could benefit”. 

 

 

The Against 

 

World Wide Demonstration is an organisation that is “devoted to emboldening citizens to push back against Coronavirus related Restrictions in their countries”, and demonstrations have taken part in 180 cities globally. The reasoning for the protests are because people believe civil liberties and human rights are at risk.

 

According to the demonstration’s website, freedom of movement and health and liberties such as privacy are at stake due to mandatory vaccines.

 

Moreover, Liberty, an independent organisation that ” challenges injustice, defends freedom and campaigns to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly” has explained that the introduction of vaccine passports will “undermine relationships, seeding distrust and division”. The campaign further explains that mandatory vaccines are a “by-product of the failings of this Government’s entire pandemic response”.

 

We recognize that both sides are just as equally valid, but what do you think?

8 months later, is BREXIT a working-class mistake?

Do you remember Brexit?

Do you remember the constant media coverage? The family arguments over leave or remain? The political moment that taken down two prime ministers. 

I would be surprised if you do not. But since we now live in a pandemic, the media chooses to constantly report COVID-19 instead.

If you think Brexit is a thing of the past, you are wrong.

Over eight months have passed since the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU), and during those nine months, many sectors of the British economy have found themselves unprepared.

And those sectors happen to be predominantly working-class sectors.

But what does this mean?

The Financial Times report that since Britain left the EU, almost a third of British companies that trade with the EU have suffered a decline or loss of business. Moreover, combining Brexit and the pandemic, thinktank claims that Britain’s economy is on track to suffer more than £700bn.

People often shrug the idea of the country losing more than £700 billion. But realistically, it will collectively affect us in some way. And there is a high chance it will affect working-class people the most.

To start with, why is the economy important?

Scholar Devi Parameswari explains that the economy can help improve living standards, therefore making society a better place. According to the researcher, the economy is used towards institutions like science that “improves living standards. It partly depends on the priorities of society and what we consider most important”.

So now we know that the economy is important, what sectors will be hit the most?

The combination of Brexit and COVID-19 will affect the British one way or another. Investopedia has reported the “few winners” and the “many losers” of Brexit, and they suggest the fishing industry, and the food and agricultural sector – sectors that many working-class people work in – are two of the many losers of BREXIT. 

Nevertheless, the surprising winners of the Brexit vote are UK and EU manufacturing of specialised machine parts, the mining industry (that  professionals argue is unsustainable for the environment), and of course, US bankers.

What does this mean?

From the evidence suggesting which sectors will be hit the most, it is clear that working-class people will be affected the most. Intriguingly, statistics show that working-class men would be hit the most from Brexit. Yet statistics also show that 64% of the working class, and 55% of men voted for leave.

And with sectors such as the fishing industry – a predominantly working-class industry – having been “sold out”, was Brexit a working-class mistake? Or was it a plan?

According to the London Economic, the fishing industry is “worth <£500 million to UK GDP (or 0.1 percent, 0.02 per cent of GDP)”. The organisation further explains that since the industry has “no money with which [the tories has] to lobby… it was logical that the Tories wouldn’t care about fishing”.

Moreover, with the agricultural sector bringing 0.6% of GDP, do the politicians care about the farmers – with 56% of them voting to leave. Although the idea of making free trade deals, and receiving food from other countries is apparent. Yet, the working class will be the ones eating American chlorinated or hormone-pumped meat as they may not be able to afford food from the EU.

Although Thinktank reports that the economy is expected to grow by 5.7% this year and to recover its pre-pandemic level at the end of 2022, the working class must prepare themselves for the real disaster – Brexit.

A British man has been arrested in Germany, accused of Spying

A man from Briton has been arrested in Germany, in which he has been accused of spying for Russia.

Published on the German Office of the Federal Prosecutor website, the report accords that the man is called David S.

The man was a former worker for the British embassy based in Berlin.

London Metropolitan Police have also confirmed the arrest, which their website claims the man “commit[ed]Ing offences relating to being engaged in ‘Intelligence Agent activity’ (under German law)”.

Moreover, the report also states that he was arrested in Postdam – a city on the border of Berlin – as the 57-year-old lives there.

His house was also raided by German officials.

Nevertheless, the act to arrest the man was a joint British-German decision.

 

 

 

 

The report claims that on one occasion, the man transmitted documents of “professional activity” to a “representative of Russian Intelligence service”, which as a result the accused received cash.

The BBC explain that tensions between Russia and both the UK and Germany are “strained after several high-profile incidents”.

These incidents included incidents like the 2018 Novichok poisoning in the city of Salisbury and the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who had to be treated in Germany.

Novichok means “newcomer” in Russian and Is an umbrella term of a number of “nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s”.

[Image is owned by canadastock and was purchased from Shutterstock]

 

Do UFOs exist? Everything you need to know about UFOs

Do UFOs exist? Everything you need to know about UFOs

Most people will agree that one of the best views is the sky on a clear night.

Especially where there is no light pollution, such as in deserts or small towns, the eye can see as much as possible – the moon, the countless number of stars, and luckily maybe even a shooting star.
But there is one question that stalls even the smartest, and most experienced minds.
Is there anybody out there?
By anybody, most people think anything living. Anything extra-terrestrial. Anything alien.
The definition of alien according to the Oxford dictionary is strange and frightening. Something that is different from what you are used to. And this definition could apply to many contexts.
For example, an individual could be in an alien land; frightened and alone. Or a professional could see an alien object in the sky.
A professional like Nick Pope, a former civil servant for the UK government/Ministry of Defence. An established journalist and author. Through his experience of working, he is sure about one thing.
There are unexplainable unidentified flying objects in the sky.
Pope has explained that throughout his time of working with the government, he is confident that there are unknown objects that fly into the British air space – objects that could practically threaten Britain, and her society. And Pope’s job was to explore these objects.
“If there was something in our airspace, the government, the Ministry of Defence, or the air force needs to know what it is”, and the most logical reasoning for these objects was to assume they were from planet Earth.
“We asked ourselves for example, could some of it be from Russian aircraft probing our defences?”.
 Although logic suggests that a threatening country could send the aircraft, “you cannot rule out” the possibility of the unknown.
“If it is unknown, it is unknown. Could it be something else?”.
Could these unknown UFOs be extraterrestrial?
The professional explained that there have been some objects that had unexplainable moments, that government and Royal Air Force officials could not even explain.
“These UFOs were more advanced in terms of their speeds, their manoeuvres, and acceleration being better than ours”.

“For example, objects that were apparently capable of – according to visual sightings of the pilots and the radar data –were capable of doing a sharp right-hand turn. Or, moving from a very slow speed or a hover to high speeds in an instance. All sorts of things that if you asked an RAF pilot to do it, they would say the plane does not do that”.

“On many occasions, this has been reported with UFOs, no sonic boom is heard. So again, what is the mechanism for that?”.
This type of technology and physics is too advanced for humans, and this is the reason why Pope believes the government should carry on exploring UFOs, as the Ministry of Defence stopped the policy in 2009.
“The government stopped as they wanted to put their funds towards better defence”.
This contrasts with the USA, which recently the pentagon released a report that involved observations made by military aviators between the years 2004 and 2021.
The report is “largely inclusive” according to Intelligencer, and it conveys that the UFOs identified do not have “extraterrestrial origin… but that doesn’t mean the task force has ruled that possibility out, however”.
This is like Pope’s statement that it was “unnecessary for the British government to stop their investigations”.
“We did not have definitive proof that any of these things were extra-terrestrial, but neither did we rule out the possibility, and neither should we”.
When asked about what extra-terrestrial life could look like, Pope explains that people think of the “typical Hollywood aliens”.
“People think big green men with long arms”, but Pope explained that the slightest number of bacteria in space could prove that alien life exists.

“Science always tries to think big. So even that the slightest touch of bacteria could potentially mean that alien life does exist, that will not be enough for science”.

“They would expect something bigger, say outside our solar system”.
Will we ever find out if alien life exists? Well according to Pope, the only way is to keep on researching.