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I got the surprise of my life when people were complaining about a DR editorial. You mean the BYH column is not the...

Ponder artificial intelligence impacts

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

“The Times They Are a-Changin.” That old lyric is increasingly accurate, especially when it comes to today’s evolving GRAIN technologies — genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.

In the 10 years I’ve worked on this, I’ve seen enormous ramping up in pace of development. One driver of this exponential change is funding from the billionaire class, now deeply engaged.

China is building a $10 billion quantum computing lab, raising concerns in Western countries about falling behind. (Forbes 3/19) China invests $2 billion in a Beijing AI technology park. Vladimir Putin said whoever leads in AI will rule the world. Republicans and Democrats, before the recent government shutdown, cooperated to fund a $1 billion national quantum computing program. Is that enough to keep up?

A few years ago, a successful Greenville businessman who ran, unsuccessfully, for mayor suggested our city may be a well-suited experimental platform for driverless vehicles. It was a debatable proposal needing more information and context. That said, governments at all levels best be about this kind of forward-thinking if we want an economically viable future.

Will technologically-assisted physical, cognitive, emotional, moral and even spiritual enhancements change us so much it will end humanity as we know it, with homo sapiens replaced by techno sapiens? If so, is this the work of good or evil?

These and other questions are addressed in the next few days in two community lectures. I speak at 11 a.m. Saturday in Bate 1032 on “Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity.” Rev. Dr. Ron Cole-Turner speaks on "More or Less Human? Will Technology Enhance Us or Destroy Us?" at 7 p.m. Monday in the new student center ballroom.

For information about these talks and the ECU Religious Studies-hosted regional conference, visit www.ecu.edu/religionprogram.

Calvin Mercer

Greenville

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Humans of Greenville

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Letters

August 25, 2019

Several years ago, superintendents from school districts in eastern North Carolina sat down with leaders from the region’s largest industries to discuss current and future needs for our workforce. What we heard was surprising. School districts were told that we were often not nimble enough to…

August 24, 2019

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August 24, 2019

Medicaid work requirements were recently struck down by a federal judge in yet another state, which represents another positive step toward removing this undue reporting burden for the poorest Americans.

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Jason Resendez

August 23, 2019

I am responding to the Sunday, Aug. 18, letter titled “Gun Control Lobby Misleads.”

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August 22, 2019

No, Dr. Soderstrom, “sociopathic nihilists” (Public Forum Aug. 18) are not the “real problem.” “Sociopathic nihilists” armed with high-capacity, rapid firing, military-style assault rifles — rifles designed for no other purpose than people-hunting —…

August 21, 2019

If there was ever a time to call it like you see it, it's now.

Recent events throughout our nation have not only shone the spotlight once again on our lack of unity, kindness, decency and respect for human life, but they have spoken a deeper truth — we are unequivocally wrong.

We are wrong to…

August 21, 2019

The Greenville Advocacy team, a division of the nonpartisan peace and justice lobby, Friends Committee on National Legislation, invites you to a showing of the documentary on the United States longest and costliest war. Please join us at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the Unitarian Universalist Church at…

August 20, 2019

The east branch of the Shepard Memorial library is one of the best library's in the USA.

Today a man on a John Deere three wheeler pulling a small trailer with a sprayer tank mounted on the trailer was spraying some kind of chemical around the entrances and other areas around the library. The…

August 19, 2019

Many fear that President Trump is “an existential threat” to our nation and our world. That fear is nothing new.

In 2017, Dr. Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine who specializes in violence prevention, felt compelled to organize a conference of mental…

August 19, 2019

Now that Greg Murphy has won the nomination to run for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, I have some questions for him.

You promised to support President Trump’s agenda. Ok, let’s see.

Will you vote to lower pollution standards so that our air and water pollution will…

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