Are we being dazzled by the mindless brilliance of machines?

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, here’s something to beguile, distract – and leave you with questions for the year ahead Consciousness was on our minds this year. It was definitely on mine. Twice, on transcontinental flights, I watched Ex Machina, a thriller about artificial intelligence (AI). It was a disturbing movie to watch in the mind-altering confines of a flying machine. In January 2015, Bill Gates joined the chorus of high-profile names  – including billionaire Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking – who have voiced concerns that machine intelligence will eventually threaten humanity. If you have any doubts about the role of machine intelligence in our lives, look around: online services from Google to Netflix to Amazon are all using it to learn about our habits and…


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