1905 – Albert Einstein’s mother thought he was a genius; his sister thought he was a genius; his father thought he was a genius, but he was stuck in the patent office in Bern Switzerland and nobody else thought he was a genius at all.
SETI researcher Seth Shostak bets that we will find extraterrestrial life in the next twenty-four years, or he’ll buy you a cup of coffee. He explains why new technologies and the laws of probability make the breakthrough so likely — and predicts how the discovery of civilizations far more advanced than ours might affect us here on Earth.
New tech spawns new anxieties, says scientist and philosopher Grady Booch, but we don’t need to be afraid an all-powerful, unfeeling AI. Booch allays our worst (sci-fi induced) fears about superintelligent computers by explaining how we’ll teach, not program, them to share our human values. Rather than worry about an unlikely existential threat, he urges us to consider how artificial intelligence will enhance human life.