Welcome to the future (i.e. 2015). Fortunately, it is a future where we probably won’t have to worry about machines/computers etc taking over the world, despite recent books, scare stories and comments by famous physicists. For a compelling debunking of the fear of the machines, read John Searle’s fabulous article in October 9th New York Review of Books, “What your computer can’t know” (Dave is just catching up on his NYRB reading over the holidays). Coming at his arguments from my perspective, the key point is that machines are not biological organisms, and so “taking over the world” is meaningless to a machine. Why would a super-intelligent computer (if one could be made) have such a motive? Why would they have any intentionality at all? Searle’s article is a brilliant read and I strongly recommend it. To get a reprint please either contact John Searle or head to the NYRB website (paywall). Or subscribe to NYRB of course! It is wonderful reading.