Murder, death, horror, and Elon Musk. Happy Holidays from Neural!
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Hello, carbon-based lifeforms!

We wish you a merry destroy all humans

Howdy folks,

It's that time of year again! You've barely had a break since Thanksgiving and now it's time to connect with your friends and family yet again.

Luckily for me, I stopped communicating with most humans years ago. 

But some of you are about to walk right back into the hornet's nest that is... family dinners and get-togethers. 

So, if you're not in the mood to argue about politics, vaccines, or whatever your weird family has gotten up to on social media, here's a few conversation starters straight out of left field. You can toss these into the mix like topic grenades to blow your bickering relatives away whenever anyone starts a sentence with "I read on Facebook that..."

1) Haha! This discussion on US politics is so great! I wish I could stop time and feel like this forever... like those researchers from the University of Maryland and MIT did in separate, unrelated studies earlier this year. 

2) Wow, what an interesting take on vaccines (cough). At least we don't have to worry about spaghettification at the edge of a black hole. Immortality sounds great, but I'm not ready to be pasta

3) Oh Uncle so-and-so, you'll never convince me the Earth is flat. Seriously. You won't. So stop trying. There's no joke to go with this one. But here's more about flat-Earthers and AI

Speaking of the holidays: We're taking next week off to think about what we've done (and to figure out what to do with all the coal we expect to get in our stockings). We'll back in the New Year to bring in the new news. 

Tales from the arXiv archives

Destroy most humans

We're skipping the paper this week. Instead, I want to talk about Slaughterbots. 

"If you can buy slaughterbots for the same price as an AK-47, that’s much preferable for drug cartels, because you’re not going to get caught anymore when you kill someone." Max Tegmark, MIT.

Slaughterbots is a work of fiction by the Future of Life Institute. It's a dystopian take on the world of autonomous killing machines that seeks to remind the world that war isn't the only place where violence manifests.

As Tom put it in his recent article:

"If you’re concerned about killer robots in the military, brace yourself for their arrival in civilian hands."

It's scary enough living in a society where mass shootings can happen at any moment. I can't fathom the horror of existing in a society where people can kill remotely with even greater ease than pulling a trigger.

But, what if there's more to the argument than just the military, terrorist, and criminal applications of the technology?

Read more here on Neural

What we’re reading


China's SenseTime delays Hong Kong IPO after placement on U.S. blacklist (Axios)

The Navy is testing this adorable sailboat drone (Navy Times)


SoftBank poised to complete first Spac deal with AI robotics company Symbotic (Financial Times)

Something profound from the internet

Presenting the Time Magazine person of the year for 2021:


Our favorite AI video of the week

Slaughterbots. If you watch only one fictionalized video created by an organization trying to prevent autonomous weaponry becoming the status quo, watch this one.

Click to watch on YouTube:


Well, bye

Destroy no humans,

Ultimately, my hope for this holiday is that each and every one of you find warmth, kindness, and solace in the embrace of humanity. 

Either that, or, at a bare minimum: Don't be a jerk. It's the holidays and you never know what someone else is going through. 

See you in 2022!



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