Viernes, 26 de diciembre de 2014

Imagine you’re the kind of person who worries about a future when robots become smart enough to threaten the very existence of the human race. For years you’ve been dismissed as a crackpot, consigned to the same category of people who see Elvis lurking in their waffles.

In 2014, you found yourself in good company.

This year, arguably the world’s greatest living scientific mind, Stephen Hawking, and its leading techno-industrialist, Elon Musk, voiced their fears about the potentially lethal rise of artificial intelligence (AI). They were joined by philosophers, physicists and computer scientists, all of whom spoke out about the serious risks posed by the development of greater-than-human machine intelligence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Almost five years since the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti, the country remains adrift, and in recent weeks, even more than usual. In town after town, as well as in the capital, Port-au-Prince, large, angry crowds have gathered regularly to express their dissatisfaction with Haiti’s president, Michel Martelly. United Nations peacekeeping forces have fired on these crowds.

Confronted with the unrest, Martelly did what officials often do in such situations: He appointed a commission, stuffed with ancient politicians and apple-polishers, to recommend actions. In Haiti, not unlike other places, such commissions generally have one purpose: to advise officials to do exactly what they wanted to do all along.…  Seguir leyendo »

Can 10 countries with different cultures, traditions, languages, political systems and levels of economic development act in concert to expand their collective potential? That’s the question with which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has wrestled for decades.

Judging by their leaders’ ambitious vision for cooperation, the answer may be yes.

What began as a straightforward push to reduce trade tariffs has evolved into a blueprint for a dynamic open market of 600 million consumers and a production base that can compete directly with the world’s largest economies. Once in place, the ASEAN economic community (AEC) will transform Southeast Asia — and its role in the global economy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Exorcismo, del cine a la psiquiatría

Allá por 1973, la película El Exorcista, dirigida por William Friedkin, causó furor. No sólo ha sido una de las producciones más taquilleras de la historia del cine, sino que ha dado lugar a todo un subgénero dentro del cine de terror, el de las posesiones demoniacas. Filmes como El exorcismo de Emily Rose (2005) son buen ejemplo.

La película de Friedkin despertó el interés del público hacia un fenómeno (la posesión demoniaca) y un ritual (el exorcismo) que muchos creían ya olvidados o desaparecidos. Sin embargo, las dos películas citadas se basan en casos reales, la primera el de un joven en Estados Unidos en 1949, y la segunda el de una chica en Alemania -Anneliese Michel- cuyos síntomas de posesión demoniaca comenzaron en 1968, cuando tenía 16 años de edad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israel has an identity problem. Is it a Jewish state that provides legal and material preferences for citizens of Jewish ancestry? Or is it a secular nation-state, but one that happens to be rooted in Jewish culture and the Hebrew language? For more than six decades Israeli politicians have maintained a useful ambiguity about this deeply existential question. But no longer.

In elections in March, Israel’s voters will be forced to confront stark choices about the country’s national identity. In the absence of a formal, written constitution, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has embraced a game-changing “nation-state” bill that would award “national rights” only to Jewish citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »