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Futurist Ray Kurzweil: Dating artificial intelligences could be possible within 15 years

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Google’s director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, predicts that the AI dating depicted in the Oscar-nominated film “Her” might be possible by 2029

It might just be music to the ears of lovelorn geeks prepared to wait another 15 years to meet the love of their lives: a prominent futurologist has claimed that AI girlfriends (and presumably boyfriends) like the one played by Scarlett Johansson in the Oscar-nominated film Her could become a reality by 2029.

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Ray Kurzweil, an inventor and Google’s director of engineering makes the claim in a review of Spike Jonze’s much-praised sci-fi romance. In a post on his website, Kurzweil delivered a generally positive verdict on the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man called Theodore who falls in love with his operating system, Samantha, before moving on to its technological implications.

“I would place some of the elements in Jonze’s depiction at around 2020 … such as the diffident and insulting video game character he interacts with and the pin-sized cameras that one can place like a freckle on one’s face,” wrote Kurzweil. “Other elements seem more like 2014, such as the flat-panel displays, notebooks and mobile devices.

“Samantha herself I would place at 2029, when the leap to human-level AI would be reasonably believable,” he continued.

Kurzweil does not end there: “A lot of the dramatic tension is provided by the fact that Theodore’s love interest does not have a body. But this is an unrealistic notion. It would be technically trivial in the future to provide her a virtual visual presence to match her virtual auditory presence, using lens-mounted displays, for example, that display images onto Theodore’s retinas.

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Kurzweil says that artificial intelligence may be able to provide a virtual body with a tactile sense. “These will soon be feasible, and will certainly be completely convincing by the time an AI of the level of Samantha is feasible.”

While Her has received widespread praise, it has not been without criticism. Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis labelled Jonze’s film a “sad male fetish fantasy” following an awkward TV interview with the American director last week.

“OK. Now I can tell you what I thought of #her. Sad, male fetish fantasy of disembodied female who does his bidding,” Maitlis tweeted. “Like Lost in Translation for mood but nowhere near as good.”

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The film is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture and best original screenplay (for Jonze). The film was released in UK cinemas on 14 February.

© Guardian News and Media 2014

[Image: Scene from the film, “Her,” via official Facebook page]

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‘They have a responsibility to not be stupid’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe slaps Trump’s ‘ignorant’ rally-goers for swallowing Trump lies

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blamed President Donald Trump's supporters for failing their most basic civic responsibility by remaining willfully ignorant and swallowing his lies.

The president claimed his betrayal of the Kurds was actually keeping them safe, despite credible reports of war crimes against them by Turkey, and the "Morning Joe" host challenged rally-goers to open their eyes -- and believe what they see.

"It's the responsibility to people that show up at those rallies to not be stupid, to not be so stupid that they should be kept away from blenders," Scarborough said. "All they have to do is spend three seconds actually watching the news, all they have to do is spend three seconds on Google, spend three seconds talking to somebody that is not completely brainwashed to see that this is a horrible deal for the Kurds."

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‘This was the smoking gun!’ MSNBC’s Morning Joe explains why Mulvaney ‘confession’ could end Trump presidency

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had offered "smoking gun" evidence in a stunning confession to the crime at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The "Morning Joe" host said Mulvaney had made a stunning "confession," but he said the president had on the same day endorsed the ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish allies he had betrayed to Turkey.

"There's so much to talk about, we joke for a few minutes at the top of the show, Mika likes do that, me, I like to get straight into the news," said Scarborough, who frequently annoys his wife and co-host by bantering about sports at the start of the show. "But there's so much going on that if somebody just woke up this morning they might not think that yesterday was not one of the most significant news days in, during the Trump presidency, and I may even argue one of the most significant news days over perhaps the last decade, just in terms of volume."

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Vote-splitting fears raised in final days of Canada election

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In the dying days of what Justin Trudeau described as one of the "nastiest" election campaigns in Canadian history -- with plenty of mudslinging, attack ads and misinformation -- he played up fears on Thursday of vote-splitting handing victory to his rival Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.

Policy announcements gave way to calls to vote strategically to keep Trudeau's Liberals in power and prevent a rollback of his progressive policies by the Tories.

Pollsters predict a minority government -- either Liberal or Conservative -- resulting from the October 21 ballot.

Attack ads accused Liberals of seeking to legalize hard drugs and the Tories of allowing assault rifles on Canadian streets -- claims that are flat out wrong or exaggerated, respectively.

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