Let’s face it: artificial intelligence is scary. After decades of dystopian science fiction novels and movies where sentient machines end up turning on humanity, we can’t help but worry as real world AI continues to improve at such a rapid rate. Sure, that danger is probably decades away if it’s even a real danger at all. But there are many more immediate concerns. Will automated robots cost us jobs? Will online face recognition destroy our privacy? Will self-driving cars mess with moral decision making?
On Friday evening, inside a small castle on the southwest coast of England, a Welsh mezzo-soprano performed a duet with a quantum computer.
The quantum computer wasn’t actually there. It was 5,300 miles away in a lab on the outskirts of Los Angeles. But this is the modern age. We don’t just have quantum computers. They can perform over the Internet.
The ornate, pinecone-shaped towers of Angkor Wat in Cambodia float above a vast temple complex of shrines, pools, houses, and a perfectly square moat. Today, only a small number of monks remain within the temple walls. The remaining structures have been reclaimed by trees whose roots wind around the stone like cellulose tentacles. Archaeologists have long wondered what life was like here when Angkor was the cosmopolitan heart of the Khmer Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries. Why did so many people abandon this place in the 15th century, never to return?
The biggest problem with smartwatches, beyond the fact no one really knows what to do with them, is their small screens. Scrolling through text or swiping a notification is particularly frustrating when your finger obscures whatever it is you’re trying to see. This is why you can’t tap out a text message, let alone play games.
Microsoft is releasing Hololens to developers in March and they should have their devices by month end. As part of the announcement they showcased some of the initial tools and games and this got me to thinking about the unusual things this device could enable. Games we’ve never thought to play before and uses that could be truly amazing. Let’s talk about some of these.