Stranger Than Fiction: Sophia the Robot & AI Technology

Stranger than Fiction is a feature here on the blog that looks at recent news stories and technological advances that honestly sounds straight out of science fiction. From the ethics of gene editing in utero to the possible Cylon takeover, this monthly series will dive deep into the many reasons that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Friends, welcome to my first Stranger Than Fiction post! I’ve been compiling news articles and stories for several months now and finally have the energy to launch my new baby into the world. One of the reasons that I love science fiction is that it is a genre not only of possibility but also of cautionary tale; it is a genre that looks forward to humanity’s potential end and addresses the ways we can avoid that fate. (This is a topic of particular academic interest to me and was the focus of one of my honors theses.)

This month I’m talking about how the theme of AI Takeover goes back almost 100 years, the explosion of AI technology in the last 20 years, and how much Sophia the Robot creeps me out. This post originally was about a recent academic article on AI learning improvements, but let’s I wandered a bit while writing… so I’ll talk about that next month.

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