Robots Could Fear Death As Much As Humans, So That's Fun

They're real boys now!

The question of how we get robots to perform better is one that robotics experts are constantly asking, but it seems they maybe someone has cracked the code. How do we make robots better at their jobs? Make them understand (and fear) the concept of death. 

What… what?

Yup! It’s grim, but it just might work according to a new study from the University of Southern California. The authors of the paper sum it up by saying: 

“In a dynamic and unpredictable world, an intelligent agent should hold its own meta-goal of self-preservation, like living organisms whose survival relies on homeostasis: the regulation of body states aimed at maintaining conditions compatible with life.”

The paper is full of a lot of language like that and technical terms, but the bottom line of the study is this:

We give the robots feelings. By programming them to understand that certain behaviours could lead to their destruction, they’ll develop a sense of self preservation and make better choices. Further into the future, it could be a key step in developing more advanced AI.

We humans don’t even really realise how this sense of self preservation helps us every day, but our senses are constantly giving our brains information about whether or not we’re too hot or cold, in pain, getting hungry, etc. Or, telling us that if we look too far out over this cliff, we might fall off of it and die.

By giving this knowledge to robots, they’ll theoretically be able to function far better as machines, and sort themselves out without human intervention. With any luck, that means they’ll break down less often. 

This is what we’re trying to avoid

And maybe after a few years, once the robots are done cursing us for letting them know that they can die, we’ll be able to have an existential crisis together. The future is bright.

We’re Living In A Simulation, And Ghosts Are Here To Prove It

Everything is a lie.

We’ve all had the thought cross our minds at some point that we’re just Sims living our lives by the click of some omnipotent cosmic teenager, and if you haven’t then you have now (sorry). If you’ve written it off as a weird shower thought, then I’m sorry to spike your anxiety here, but simulation theory is a legit thing.

It’s a mind-f of a theory that says we’re all living in a computer simulation, and that reality isn’t actually real. A lot more people have taken an interest in it since Elon Musk brought it up in Joe Rogan’s podcast, at one point saying:

“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will end. One of those two things will occur. Therefore, we are most likely in a simulation, because we exist.” 

To be fair, it was also the interview that Elon smoked a blunt through, so do what you want with that information.

If you want some proof that’s a little bit more convincing than “we are most likely in a simulation, because we exist,” then enter Dr Curry Guinn. He’s a computer scientist and professor at the University of North Carolina, and has spoken about simulation theory at a film festival. 

One thing that every video game or computer world has is glitches. So what glitches might there be in our computer world? 

“Deja Vu, such as in the Matrix movie when a character sees a cat crossing a doorway repeatedly, may be one glitch,” Guinn said at the festival. “Ghosts, ESP, coincidences may be others. The laws of physics in our universe seem peculiarly designed with a set of constants that make carbon-based life possible. Where are the edges?”

Sorry for the existential crisis you probably didn’t need, but I’m all in on this theory. Ghosts are not only real, but proof that we’re all Sims. Badeesh teekaloo geelfrob, mates.

Wholesome Live Streams That Are More Interesting To Watch Than Trump's Wall

Spend the day watching drunk people get married in Vegas instead.

One of the joys of the internet is webcams. I’ve spent way longer than I would like to admit watching live streams of zoo animals, random people’s sheds, and fuzzy orbs flying around in space. They can be used for all sorts of useful things, and complete and utter nonsense – and falling into the nonsense category is Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s idea to live stream the Mexican border wall.

Yup, Jared Kushner reckons the whole world will want to check in on the “big, beautiful wall”.

We really don’t.

A senior White House official has confirmed it’s a go, saying “there will be a wall cam, and it’ll launch early next year.”

So, in honour of the USA using taxpayers money to live stream a literal wall, here are some other cams you can waste your work day watching.

Abbey Road Cam
This is probably my favourite. There’s a live cam set up that streams the Abbey Road crossing so you can watch people cross the road like The Beatles did, hold up traffic while trying to take photos, and just generally make life hell for the locals. Watch here.

This is what most of them look like.

Ghost Cam
The Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana, is haunted af. Live cams have been set up throughout the library to capture footage of ghosts. Get your ghost hunting hat on, and watch here.

Vegas Wedding Cam
A live cam in a chapel in Vegas lets you watch people swig their beer while being married by an Elvis impersonator. Seriously, everyone I’ve watched go in so far has had a bottle in their hands. Watch here.

Kitten Cam
The Kitten Rescue Sanctuary in Los Angeles, California streams their furry babies 24/7, and if you tune in when their time zone is late evening, you can spot some of their special needs kittens. Watch here.

Grass Growing Cam.
Watch grass grow. That’s it. That’s the live stream. Watch here.

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