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This year Apple announced its newest release of products for the 2021 iMac lineup. The new iMacs now come in a variety of vibrant colors and boast the M1 chip Apple brought to market back in 2020. Across the internet, tech enthusiasts, business analysts, and general consumers all expressed mixed feelings about these new iMacs.

Apple 2021 Colorful M1 iMac

Now that the iMacs have finally started shipping and are in the hands of some people, unboxings are starting to emerge. This gives us a better understanding of who Apple is targeting as the intended user for these iMacs, and whether or not, it’s all hype or real-world value.

MKBHD has a great unboxing and review video for the new M1 iMac you should check out if you’re interested in purchasing one or just want to get an unbiased view from a trusted source other than Apple.

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AI

The Human Element in Artificial Intelligence

What role will humans play in the future of Artificial Intelligence? Can AI learn the human element known as empathy to become sentient?

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Artificial Intelligence and Human Empathy

There is ample discussion around what role humans will play in the future of Artificial Intelligence (A. I.). This is a topic that has been debated for some time now. Many people believe that A.I. will eventually take over most human tasks, and have already begun to do so, but there is one element that cannot be replaced by machines. Without it, A.I. will never be able to reach its full potential… This element is empathy. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of the human element in A. I. and discuss why it is essential to our success!

Empathy-The Human Element

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a critical part of emotional intelligence and is essential for building successful relationships, both personal and professional. When we interact with others, empathy allows us to see the world from their perspective and understand their feelings. This understanding can then be used to resolve conflicts, build trust, and create connections.

The Argument

In the present day, machines are not yet capable of empathy. They process and give the most suitable response based on the data they’ve collected and understood. This means that they are not able to understand human emotions or supply the same level of support that humans can. For example, a machine as a customer service representative will ask you the same questions and might not be able to alter its responses properly by your emotions, because they cannot “see where you’re coming from” — essentially, they cannot understand it. Therefore, empathy is so important in A.I.; without it, we would lose the ability to connect with others and resolve many emotional conflicts.

There is also the argument that empathy isn’t required in A.I, because it’s a machine and will do well without the burden of understanding human emotions. This is true in some cases, but it is not a global solution. Some emotions are necessary in specific situations, while unnecessary in others; the same as it is for us. To resolve conflicts efficiently, artificial intelligence must be allowed, or taught, to see the situation(s) from multiple perspectives and create the most ideal solution to any and every kind of problem and understand when emotion is needed and when it is not. Therefore, emotional intelligence and empathy is so important.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as artificial intelligence (A.I.) continues to evolve, the debate over whether the human element is important in A.I. rages on. Do you think empathy is an essential human quality? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below! We would love to hear from you! Until next time, take care!

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Tech

The Search for Alien Life: Why We Can’t Stop Despite the Risks

People have been wondering if there was life beyond Earth for a long time. Now, the METI group is gearing up to send new messages into space. But should we?

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SETI Communication Antenna

More than 40 years ago, NASA launched interstellar messages into deep space to potential alien beings who may come across them. It did this via the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft programs in the 1970s. We sent out messages that included gold discs with various audio greetings, sounds and music to demonstate our human culture. METI, the Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence organization, is at it again.

This time, they want to beam out a message, referred to as “Beacon to the Galaxy,” with detailed directions inviting aliens to earth. METI’s president Dr. Douglas Vakoch believes that it is worth the risk of harm in order to find out more about alien life. He says that even if we only get one response from an alien civilization, it would be well worth the effort.

What drives man to search for alien life, despite the risks?

Well-worn story drives our imagination

Our culture is replete with stories of aliens visiting earth to bestow amazing technologies upon us. From religion to philosophy to legend, these stories have been with us for millennia. There are those that believe aliens visited early Egyptians, or that earth was originally seeded by extraterristerals. The Roswell incident of 1947, which is deeply embedded in our collective psyches, only adds to the growing legend.

Movies have also explored what has become a staple of science fiction. Intellectual movies like Arrival point to enlightened beings coming to share their knowledge. Then, there’s the popcorn-fare Independence Day, with a plotline that highlights the danger of alien visitors with much more sinister goals.

Friendly explorers or destroyers?

Although these types of stories are a fun diversion, scientists have warned of the real dangers of sending out a roadmap to earth into the far reaches of space. METI’s project has been met with criticism from some of the world’s most famous scientists.

Among them is Stephen Hawkins, who was adamant that sending out invitations from earth was dangerous. “Encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced,” he said. As for Christopher Columbus meeting Native Americans in our history as an example of this, he noted “That didn’t turn out so well.”

For land, resources, or subjugation, men have conquered others through the ages. We’ve done it, so why couldn’t others do the same to us? Why take the risk?

Knowledge drives human progress

Steady human progress is largely driven by leveraging new ways of thinking and technology to master its surroundings. From the wheel to the supercomputer to spaceflight, we continually strive to advance our knowledge through the possibilities we discover or create.

Consider the Kardeshev scale. It posits that the advancement of a society depends on two things: technology and energy. The more energy you can produce, the more technologically advanced you are. However, we have yet to reach a Type I civilization on the point scale (we’re about a 0.7 now).

Kardashev scale civilization categories

Courtesy of: https://kardashev.fandom.com/wiki/Kardashev_Scale_Wiki

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Damned if we do, damned if we don’t?

Our paltry rating on the Kardeshev scale makes you think we have a long way to go before we are secure enough to invite random guests to our planet. On the other hand, maybe we’ll never substantially progress before we destroy ourselves through mismanagement of our environment and resources without benevolent extraterrestrial help.

The search for alien life is a quandary that continues to drive our imagination. Are we so arrogant to believe that we are the only ones out here? Or are we just hopeful that someone else is out there and can show us the way?

METI’s project may be controversial, but it embodies the boundless human spirit of exploration and discovery. Whether or not we should be looking for aliens is a question that will continue to be debated. But as long as there are people like Dr. Vakoch, the search will continue.

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Cyber Security

Can CyberWarfare Actually Cripple a Nation’s Infrastructure?

As cyber attacks become more sophisticated, we face the very real possibility of crippling cyberwarfare. Are we ready for it?

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Socialmyndz Cyber warfare Infrastructure

There’s an old 80’s Mathew Broderick movie that caught the public’s imagination. The movie is WarGames, in which Broderick’s character hacks into a military computer and starts playing a game of global thermonuclear war.

He soon realizes that he can’t control the supercomputer as it begins reacting to various nuclear combat scenarios as if they were real. The US military is alerted to the hack, but is powerless to stop it. So it’s forced to escalate the nation’s DefCon nuclear defense system as if a world war is imminent.

Scary stuff. Bit it’s just a movie. Right?

Why cyberwarfare?

Cyberwarfare is the use of computer technology to attack another country. In a cyberwar, a country can launch attacks against another country’s government, military, financial institutions, or critical infrastructure. They can be launched from anywhere in the world, disabling computers and networks, stealing data, or destroying information needed to keep key infrastructure running.

In the past, military size, hardware and the ability to project it to areas of conflict were the classic yardsticks that measured military might and effectiveness. But maintaining it is very expensive.

Today, military superpowers can be seriously undermined by a small group of hackers employed by a tiny country across the world bent on everything from idealogical or religious differences to simple economic revenge.

The rise of cyber attacks

In recent years, cyberwarfare has become increasingly common because it levels the playing field. Big or small, countries and hacker groups are probing and attacking each other’s networks, companies are being hacked, and personal information is being stolen.

So, can cyberwarfare actually cripple a nation’s infrastructure? The answer is yes –and several isolated examples of this have occurred in recent history. For example, the Stuxnet virus was reportedly used to attack Iran’s nuclear program by infiltrating their computer systems and sabotaging key components of their nuclear centrifuges.

In this case, the results could have been much more serious.

Taking down a nation

What about an attack on our nation’s power grid? Without electricity, water treatment plants can’t run, medical devices are rendered non-operational and hospitals are forced to close their doors.

Or imagine waking up one morning and the entire banking system is inoperable. No debit or credit card transactions are possible. Since many of us carry little to no cash in our pockets anymore, then what? Now think if that’s still the case a week later.

These types of attacks could seriously cripple a country. And when they occur, how long before panic and full economic, and for that matter, societal collapse occurs?

Countries are going on the offense

As you’ve likely figured out by now, using hackers is much cheaper to achieve military gains than a full invasion of a country. While these scenarios may sound like something from a spy movie, they’re not all that far-fetched.

Governments and militaries around the world are investing in offensive cyberwarfare programs to launch attacks against other countries’ infrastructure and governments. While most people would hope that an attack of significant magnitude would never happen, the fact is, it’s only a matter of time until it does.

Cyberattacks are becoming more common and more sophisticated. And it’s not just hackers looking to steal your credit card information anymore. These attacks are well-planned and carried out by skilled individuals supported by host governments.

And they’re only going to get better at it. Are we ready?

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