Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking Drive Future

TechCrunch: What is the greatest question ever asked?” poses Yuri Milner, layering smoked salmon atop toast. My palms are sweating. As if the meeting at the Ritz Carlton with one of the most powerful men in the world (for which I was slightly late) wasn’t intimidating enough, the wait for him to join me – during which the hotel staff informed me of his preferred booth – had me more rattled than I’ve ever been for a briefing. “Mr. Milner doesn’t mind that you’re in a T-shirt,” the waiter said to me as I waited. “He cares about what’s up there,” pointing to my head.

And now Milner is putting it to the test. “What is the meaning of life?” is my first guess, and he seems mildly pleased but dissatisfied, so I follow with “How do we achieve happiness?” Milner shakes his head politely, and corrects my mistakes with a smile. “Are we alone?” he says, with all the wonder of a young boy. Read the full article

WSJ: Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire who burst on to the US venture-capital scene withearly bets on Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., is personally funding a bold new effort to scan the skies for signs of intelligent alien life. Man’s quest for discovering life onother planets is getting a $100 million boost from a Silicon Valley magnate. For Mr. Milner, searching space is a passion project born from his belief that Silicon Valley’s greatest minds and latest advances can be put to a greater use in solving one of humanity’s most enduring questions: Are we alone in the universe? For his new project, the investor has won support from many of the world’s top minds in astronomy, including an endorsement from Stephen Hawking. Read the full article

The New York Times: Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, along with hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts, are calling for a worldwide ban on so-called autonomous weapons, warning that they could set off a revolution in weaponry comparable to gunpowder and nuclear arms. In a letter unveiled as researchers gathered at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires on Monday, the signatories argued that the deployment of robots capable of killing while untethered to human operators is “feasible within years, not decades.” If development is not cut off, it is only a matter of time before the weapons end up in the hands of terrorists and warlords, they said. Read the full article

Read more on the topic:

WIRED: Musk, Hawking warn of ‘inevitable’ killer robot arms race


TechCrunch: Hawking, Musk Warn Of ‘Virtually Inevitable’ AI Arms Race