Sign in

Robert Potter
Ya know, it wasn’t always like this.
Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

Stunning intellectual property experts across the globe, DABUS (short for “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience”) became the first artificial intelligence formerly recognized by a country to have invented something. In this case, the something in question is a series of interlocking food containers based on fractal geometry. The ramifications of an accepted patent like this are unclear. The move received a barrage of criticism, with some even attributing it to an administrative mistake on the part of the South African patent office. …


Photo by Liam Charmer on Unsplash

I turned 29 one day ago. It’s hard to know how to feel about that. I don’t want this post to be one of those posts about me feeling anxious about turning 30, though, undoubtedly, there is some of that at play here. Thinking back, I had a realization that last year was extraodinarily stressful. I now have a dignified streak of grey in my beard that definitely wasn’t there a year ago. I’m sure many reading this post feel the same. I do feel older and a bit wiser too. When we think about mental stress, though, it can…


Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

Framed as an extension of Tesla’s Autopilot system, Elon Musk plans to build a humanoid robot termed the “Tesla Bot,” with the intention of having these bots do all the tedious, repetitive, and dangerous work that humans either can’t or don’t want to do. Musk envisions the Tesla Bot to be around 5'8'’, weigh 125lbs, carry up to 50lbs and deadlift up to 150lbs. The Tesla Bot will be able to run at a speed of 5mph. Musk made sure to point this out as a safety feature should anything go wrong. …


Photo by Zeg Young on Unsplash

Why are we ravenous for every morsel of information we can find about a famous person’s personal life? Some might argue we’re primed to crave this type of information due to social media. We’re sharing every last detail of our lives constantly, often taking creative liberties to spruce up reality here and there while we’re at it. While it’s unquestionable that the need to know has exploded with the rise of the Internet, people were still prying into each other’s lives long before social media. …


Photo by Alem Omerovic on Unsplash

Humans are nothing if not full of contradictions. We draw black and white boundaries every day only to discover that the truth is somewhere in between or that we believe the opposite. We come up with rigid rules to apply that have begrudging exceptions only implemented after decades of toil and hard work to implement them. It’s a conundrum that pops up again and again in every aspect of society

We plant theoretical hard red lines everywhere. In our Constitutions, we have an unimpeachable right to free speech, an unshakeable right to religious freedom, and an unquestionable right to bear…


Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

It is hard for me to articulate exactly what I was feeling watching the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan over the weekend. The best I can come with is an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, a hypnotic buzz that this has all happened before, a feeling strengthened upon hearing Haiti was hit with another major earthquake and Lebanon faced another tragic explosion. …


I stumbled upon Kathryn Schulz’s gripping tale of the overdue earthquake recently. Destruction on this scale is what we have to look forward too if we do nothing.


Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

Life can seem dull until all of a sudden it isn’t. Even 9/11, an event so world-changing that perhaps only the arrival of COVID could challenge its history-making consequences, didn’t reveal itself in the everyday lives of most of the world’s population. Many millions were content to go about their day while the War on Terror raged on in lands far away, the mild security inconveniences at airports acting as the only evidence to the lucky that there were any terrible wars at all. This point of view comes from a place of privilege only available to the white middle…


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The Turing Test, named after the prodigious computer scientist, Alan Turing, continues to be the most famous marker in the development of artificial intelligence to this day. Referenced ominously by slews of dystopian Hollywood thrillers over the years, for those who don’t know, the Turing Test posits that there will be a time when a sufficiently advanced AI agent, answering questions posed by a human interrogator purely over text through a computer screen, would be able to fool that interrogator at least thirty percent of the time into believing that they were conversing with a human. …


Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

In Isaac Asimov’s short story, “The Evitable Conflict, Dr. Susan Calvin, in response to her colleague’s horror that machines were guiding humanity’s future and not good ole human intuition, exclaims, “Stephen, how do we know what the ultimate good of Humanity will entail? We haven’t at our disposal the infinite factors that the Machine has at its! Perhaps, to give you a not unfamiliar example, our entire technical civilization has created more unhappiness and misery than it has removed. Perhaps an agrarian or pastoral civilization, with less culture and less people would be better. If so, the Machines must move…

Robert Potter

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store