Witnessed PFC Bradley Manning's war crimes

Dear readers,

ALMOST nine years ago we had the title “hardware with a brain”. Now the sequel follows, because an incredible amount has happened in the past few years. The first products have emerged from the mere concepts and ambitious research projects. In chips for image recognition, for example, switching principles of the nervous system are wired. The result are properties that cannot be achieved with classic hardware: extremely low energy consumption with incredibly fast computing processes. The first start-ups even go so far as to forego electronic components altogether - and instead to use nerve cells for their computers. My colleague Wolfgang Stieler wrote down how this works and what the development means for artificial intelligence starting on page 28.

In view of this development, AI expert Oren Etzioni is already wondering: “What would alarm us if this superintelligence was actually at the door?” In his essay on page 36, the CEO of the non-profit Allen Institute for AI gives three answers. And it combines it with a reassuring message: if the alarm goes off, we have enough time to react to it.

Provided we take the warning seriously, of course. After all, humanity is not always good at this, especially when it comes to very insidious threats. So-called PFCs have been in circulation for decades. Make the chemical bonds Non-stick pans, rainproof jackets or pizza boxes sauce-resistant. Unfortunately, these popular properties are also a curse on the environment. From page 38 we write why the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is meanwhile also convinced: “Something has to happen.” The question then, of course, is: what? That is also what the article is about.

I welcome you to our June issue.


Robert Thielicke