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BYH to those who make socialism a dirty word. You do know that Social Security and Medicare are examples of socialism....

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

March 21, 2019

If the ECU chancellor search would follow the guidelines that Calvin Mercer outlined in his letter to the editor published Wednesday, I believe the outcome would be a highly qualified new leader and an enhanced national reputation for ECU.

This assessment is based on my involvement in numerous…

March 21, 2019

My name is Kennedy Tate, I am in 11th grade and I am a Boy Scout with Troop 30 at Jarvis. I am writing this letter to express my concerns about the Green New Deal proposal. I do believe in the preservation and conservation of the Earth. However, the GND does this in an ineffectual and costly manner.…

March 20, 2019

ECU chancellor resigns. What’s next? Here’s a win-win-win-win for taxpayers, students, parents and ECU.

I’m pretty sure I’m in the ballpark on these numbers. A head hunter company conducts a national search. Cost, plus expenses bringing in candidates, is likely $100,000 plus.…

March 20, 2019

This is alarming!

The Trump administration and acting EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler (a former coal industry lobbyist), have put forth a proposal that could have devastating effects on the waters of the US and specifically here in NC where we have 12,210 square miles of watersheds. Their…

March 18, 2019

I am writing this letter to thank all the volunteers who made my last Upward Basketball season so much fun!

Special thanks to Mr. Lennie Furlough for organizing the Upward program at Jarvis Church, and to Mr. David Campbell for spending many hours serving as my team's coach.

I also appreciate all…

March 18, 2019

It seems to me that many of the acts of terrorism (read mass shootings) through the world today are by white supremacists. These shootings are then dismissed by many people I know due to ignorance and fear of the victims religion or cultural background. After the most recent act, in New Zealand…

March 17, 2019

Dear Sen. Tillis,

Four weeks ago I shared with one of your staff members that I admired you as a man of courage and conviction when you penned your Washington Post op-ed opposing the president's "executive overreach" on immigration.

You stated, “It’s never a tough vote for me when…

March 17, 2019

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” (Dr. Seuss) This timely quote reminds me of a conversation I had with a cousin of mine recently. He informed me that his daughter at Bertie High School, where I graduated in…

March 16, 2019

When my husband and I go to the theater, we usually get front and center seats. We have also enjoyed living our lives, where ever we have been, in that same location. It’s our choice and the privilege of the young. If you work hard, aim high, and fit right in, you get the good seats.

But…

March 15, 2019

What good is a city if not for its neighborhoods? A city's neighborhoods define its character, its safety, its attractiveness and its beauty. Big buildings, parking garages and businesses can certainly appeal to prospective residents, but only supplement the surrounding neighborhoods.

Some people…

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