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BYH, when there is a solar energy spill, it's just called a NICE DAY. (this one has better wording than the other one I...

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

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Letters

November 12, 2019

I think most everyone would agree that our greatest national resource is our young people. What a breath of fresh air is the story of Greenville’s own Logan Council. Imagine what our country could accomplish if our State Department ($40 billion) was funded on the same level as the Department…

November 11, 2019

I know of no one who has been more of a pest to their friends and family than I have over the subject of solar electric farms in North Carolina. (Not to be confused with roof top solar panels on homes with battery storage).

You can not drive anywhere and miss seeing a solar farm near the highway. I…

November 09, 2019

I commend the efforts of those seeking to provide aid and assistance in the area to address mental health issues, especially for our young people, as reported in the article "Squelching the Stigma" in The Daily Reflector on Saturday, Nov. 2. As we consider this though, we need to take a broader…

November 08, 2019

I have recently received an email from Sen. Thom Tillis where he says he is so concerned about the Sanctuary cities and the release of some illegal immigrants, that he believes will so threaten the safety of the American people. 

However, I have yet to hear the senator say anything about him…

November 07, 2019

There was a letter to the editor in The Daily Reflector (Deceiver in Chief, Nov. 3) that listed supposed and possible untrue statements made by our president. I will not take issue with that. My concern is that that writer and a lot of others do not understand the role of the president.

Many…

November 06, 2019

In a recent letter Bill Redding appears to lament the downswing in Americans describing themselves as Christians. (Religion should not dominate politics, Oct. 30) Then he goes on to describe all the sins of people who are not truly led by either Testament of the Bible, both Christians and Jews.…

November 05, 2019

“This president will be in power for only a short time, but excusing his misbehavior will forever tarnish your name. To my Republican colleagues: Step outside your media and social bubble. History will not look kindly on disingenuous, frivolous and false defenses of this man.” These…

November 04, 2019

A few months ago Harris Teeter grocery store closed its smaller store location on the corner of Charles and 14th street, leaving a big hole in the middle of Greenville.

Several of my friends have lamented the loss of this shopping option near the downtown area and close to many families in my…

November 03, 2019

Five thousand gold stars to the president for successfully taking out not only Baghdadi but also Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir a day later. Major accomplishments. And only a fool would have told the Congress in advance; they are worse than a torn fish net for keeping a secret.

G. Gary Giles

Pitt County…

November 03, 2019

Steve Harding was a founding board member of Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking Now in 2010. He began serving as secretary to the board at that time and held that position until his death.

Steve also used his creative skills as a graphic designer to benefit the nonprofit. He designed…

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