Signs of the Times

Phil and Stephen ask whether current developments make the Singularity more plausible.

The “Father of Artificial Intelligence” Says Singularity Is 30 Years Away

At the World Government Summit in Dubai, I spoke with Jürgen Schmidhuber, who is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at AI company NNAISENSE, Director of the Swiss AI lab IDSIA, and heralded by some as the “father of artificial intelligence” to find out.

He is confident that the singularity will happen, and rather soon. Schmidhuber says it “is just 30 years away, if the trend doesn’t break, and there will be rather cheap computational devices that have as many connections as your brain but are much faster,” he said.

And that’s just the beginning. Imagine a cheap little device that isn’t just smarter than humans — it can compute as much data as all human brains taken together. Well, this may become a reality just 50 years from now. “And there will be many, many of those. There is no doubt in my mind that AIs are going to become super smart,” Schmidhuber says.

Intel just put a quantum computer on a silicon chip

Dutch quantum computing company QuTech, in conjunction with chip-maker Intel, yesterday unveiled a programmable two-qubit quantum computer running on a silicon chip.

The researchers used a special type of qubit (the quantum version of a classical computer’s bits) called spin qubits to run two different quantum algorithms on a silicon chip.

Other quantum systems, like Intel’s breakthrough 49-qubit computer, rely on superconductive materials and near perfect-zero temperatures. A spin qubit doesn’t require either, it’s an electron that’s been agitated by microwave pulses.

While other quantum systems are closer to being useful, the idea here wasn’t to create a better computer but one that would work with existing infrastructure. Intel, it’s worth mentioning, is the world leader in silicon chip sales.

Japanese tour firm offers virtual reality holidays – with a first-class seat

Fasten your seatbelts for a flight departing to Paris – and never leave the ground.

That’s exactly what 12 passengers did at First Airlines in central Tokyo this week, where they relaxed in first and business-class seats and were served four-course dinners, before immersing themselves in 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tours of the City of Light’s sights.

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Eternity Kevin MacLeod ( | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License |