Does Artificial Intelligence Herald a New Era in Human History? And What Will This New Era Bring?

When Henry Kissinger first met the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, he told him that “Google is a threat to civilization as I understand it.” The two of them, together with the MIT computer scientist Daniel Huttenlocher, subsequently coauthored The Age of AI, in which they explore the ramifications of artificial intelligence. The advent of this technology, in Kissinger’s formulation, signals the end of the age of reason that began in the 17th century, and the start of something new. In conversation with Roger Hertog, the three address the ethical, philosophical, geopolitical, and even religious implications of these new frontiers in computing.

At one point, Hertog poses the question, “Isn’t it possible that with the end of the age of reason, and a new intellectual force in our lives—artificial intelligence—that humankind will search for meaning in their lives, and maybe find it, in a newfound belief in God or religion?” To which Kissinger replies that such an outcome is “probable.” (Video, about 90 minutes.)

Read more at Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center

More about: Artifical Intelligence, History, Religion, Technology, U.S. Security

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria