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Submission + - How a Super-Intelligent AI Could Wipe Out Humanity (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Oxford University futurist Nick Bostrom thinks we're doomed. It's his job to contemplate existential threats to the human species, and he predicts that a super-smart artificial intelligence program will be the end of us.

His new book, Superintelligence, outlines AI takeover scenarios, discusses what might motivate a superintelligent AI, and lays out reasons why the AI’s pursuit of its goals would likely lead to our extinction. This excerpt from the book imagines a situation in which a developing AI lulls humans into complacency before making a "treacherous turn."

Submission + - Intel's 128MB L4 Cache May Be Coming To Broadwell And Other Future CPUs (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: When Intel debuted Haswell this year, it launched its first mobile processor with a massive 128MB L4 cache. Dubbed "Crystal Well," this on-package (not on-die) pool of memory wasn't just a graphics frame buffer, but a giant pool of RAM for the entire core to utilize. The performance impact from doing so is significant, though the Haswell processors that utilize the L4 cache don't appear to account for very much of Intel's total CPU volume. Right now, the L4 cache pool is only available on mobile parts, but that could change next year. Apparently Broadwell-K will change that. The 14nm desktop chips aren't due until the tail end of next year but we should see a desktop refresh in the spring with a second-generation Haswell part. Still, it's a sign that Intel intends to integrate the large L4 as standard on a wider range of parts. Using EDRAM instead of SRAM allows Intel's architecture to dedicate just one transistor per cell instead of the 6T configurations commonly used for L1 or L2 cache. That means the memory isn't quite as fast but it saves an enormous amount of die space. At 1.6GHz, L4 latencies are 50-60ns which is significantly higher than the L3 but just half the speed of main memory.
Hardware

Submission + - Quantum Zeno Effect Allows Interaction-free Switch (technologyreview.com)

KentuckyFC writes: The quantum zeno effect is one of the more fascinating consequences of quantum mechanics. It applies to quantum systems that are evolving from one state to another, say from a state representing 0 to one representing a 1. If the quantum system starts in the 0 state, it evolves into a superposition of 0 and 1 states. A measurement can then cause it to collapse into one state or the other. But a measurement very soon after this evolution begins is much more likely to produce a 0 than a 1 and repeating this measurement rapidly enough ensures the chances of a 1 occurring approach zero. In effect, the process of repeated measurement prevents the 0 state evolving into a 1. Now a group of physicists have shown how this can be used to make a switch. The basic idea is to take a signal wave in state 0 which will evolve into a 1 when it passes it through a nonlinear waveguide. But measuring this wave will prevent this evolution. This can be done by making the signal wave interact with another "control" wave. The presence of the control wave maintains the signal wave in a 0 state while the absence of the control waves causes the signal wave to switch to a 1. The result is an all-optical switch that is interaction-free because it is the absence of the control wave that causes the switch. Such a device offers a number of important advantages over conventional all-optical switches. First, this type of switch should operate at extremely low power since there is no signal loss associated with the switching process. Second, the quantum state of the signal wave is preserved. That's a biggie. It means this kind of switch could become the heart of quantum routers that will make a kind of quantum internet possible.
NASA

Submission + - Super-volcano erupts in outer galaxy 1

An anonymous reader writes: A galactic super-volcano is erupting in massive galaxy M87 and blasting gas outwards, and NASA scientists view that the huge volcano in M87 is very similar to the recent Icelandic volcano that caused heavy air traffic disruptions across Europe. According to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, M87 is relatively close to the Earth at a distance of about 50 million light years and lies at the center of the Virgo cluster, which contains thousands of galaxies.

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