Artificial intelligence writer provokes thoughtful discussion at CSUB

In time for Halloween, students attending an honors philosophy class at Cal State Bakersfield Thursday were greeted with this question: Which of all the big threats in the world scare them the most? With no more guidance than that, responses ran the gamut, from North Korea to the volcano at Yellowstone National Park to “humans in general.” (At that point, an instructor cracked wise: “Nobody said zombies.”) By then it was obvious few students had completed their assigned reading, which was the first chapter of documentary filmmaker James Barrat’s 2013 book, “Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era.” Two hours later, when class was dismissed, the two dozen students in attendance were sent off with a new fear, namely, that computers may well run the world within…

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