How close did we get to the Artificial Intelligence?

Despite the predictions of scientists, the true artificial intelligence is still not there. Smart machines cannot outperform humans with their cognitive processes, at least, at the current stage of development. Present-day autonomous vehicles can drive a car or clean the house but no more than that. Scientists call it a “weak” artificial intelligence as the autonomous functioning of machines is very limited.
The next level of the artificial intelligence is called general AI. That is what we usually associate with the notion – smart machines that are able to think better than humans and make smarter decisions. We expect general artificial intelligence to come in a few decades and bring us smart robots capable of solving incredible tasks. After all, weak artificial intelligence tends to evolve into something more complex.
At the highest peak of the evolution of the AI, scientists place the so-called artificial superintelligence. Such computers will leave behind the brightest minds of the humankind, taking people under control. Such intelligence is not to come in the foreseeable future, though scientists do not completely dismiss the idea of superintelligence.
Today the difference between the AI of fiction and the AI of science are as clear as never before. Computer scientists and neuroscientists found out that the higher speed of reaction does not make machines as intelligent as humans so there must be another approach. Even if we cannot replicate the activity of the human brain, we still hope to make a mechanism with similar functions. We are still decades away from artificial intelligence that can resemble human intelligence in any way.

What are the current capabilities and future goals of genetic engineers?

Genetic engineering obtained a broad application in medicine and agriculture. GM plants and animals bring larger profits to the industries and help to compensate for the rising demand for food. By now, scientists learned how to insert the DNA into the organism they want to modify, but the procedure is not highly precise yet. To change the modified organism, scientists need to insert the new DNA in a certain place on the genome which requires more advanced techniques. Scientists still develop tools to make genetic editing more effective and predictable.
Besides agriculture, genetic engineering greatly affects medicine. Today there are more than 1,000 genetic tests available to test embryos for genetic defects and diagnose inborn conditions. Genetic engineering gave birth to pharmacogenetics that studies human response to drugs. Pharmacologists believe that there is a better way to prescribe drugs than just according to one’s age and weight that involves the use of genetic information.
When genetic engineering becomes more precise, scientists expect GM crops to cope better with the effects of climate change. There will be no need to spray plants with pesticides and insert more fertilizers if we could insert genes more specifically into the plant’s genome. But prospects of genetic engineering are practically limitless when it goes to curing diseases. Precise genetic editing is the way to personalized medicine where treatment is adjusted to one’s DNA. Doctors also expect to diagnose different types of cancer based on genetic characteristics of patients.

How have the film and music industries dealt with piracy?

Copyright infringement is a serious problem in the entertainment industry. Producers admit that if the situation does not get any better in the near future, top-rank TV shows and movies would not be created. Though piracy seems to gradually drop in the countries of the EU, particularly in Scandinavia, a huge amount of traffic is generated by piracy streaming websites. P2P networks such as torrents tend to lose their popularity, but the largest global piracy websites continue to thrive. Film and TV make most of the pirates’ traffic. Despite the popularity of platforms like Netflix or Spotify, global audience prefers to get copyrighted content for free.
Internet piracy damages entertainment giants above all. Disney, Warner Bros., and Twentieth Century Fox do not generate the revenue they expected because consumers wait for pirated copies to be released or search the web for free content. These and more corporation has formed the anti-piracy coalition in 2017 aiming to sue criminals for copyright infringement.
The increase in piracy does not only mean that companies cannot create expensive large projects anymore. Entertainment industry supports more than 5.5 million jobs annually and adds $1.2 trillion to the US economy. As studios do not get an expected revenue, workers on the set face optimization and have to search for a more stable job. Thus, studios reduce their capacity to make a high-quality content with all the losses the industry bears.

What steps are involved in creating a movie or television show?

Making a movie looks like an exciting though hardly achievable idea. To create a good movie, one shall be a gifted director or have an army of producers and screenwriters by their side. In fact, creation of a movie requires even more essentials such as hiring a cast, defining location, scheduling, and equipment. But of course, funding determines the scale of the project and how masterly it will be performed.
Yet before we find finance and producers, we have to develop a film concept. What do we want to say with this movie and what is our attitude to the pictures we paint? The concept must be clear otherwise people would not understand our intention. We will develop the whole script around one or two concepts that are central to our story.
Once the script is ready, we have to send it to certain companies to get funding. To make a better presentation of the project, we can hire an illustrator who will create a storyboard. This is a sequence of sketches that show major changes of the plot in the picture.
As soon as we get funding, we can search for the cast and crew. It usually takes a lot of time to hire the right people. Many professionals are freelance, so meeting and interviewing everyone is a durable process. It also takes time to find the right location for filming. If we do not intend to film in the studio, we have to travel and see as many locations as possible.
Negotiating the schedule is a complicated part, because many of the cast and crew may participate in several projects at a time. It is important to estimate how much time filming of every scene needs to organize a proper filming.

What programs are available to help war veterans get back into society?

Living a civilian life is the most difficult task for a serviceman. People who came back from war naturally see the world in a different light than those whose peace was never disturbed. It is our civilian duty to accept military-men who do not know how to live in this new and strange society. There are federal, state, and non-governmental organizations that aim at making officers comfortable living a civilian life and helping their families to cope with new difficulties. Every society also has social groups that help veterans to do this transition smoothly.
Though there are multiple options to help veterans join the broader community, communication with other veterans is the best way to understand this new society and recover from trauma. At the moment when families cannot find a common language with their service-dads, it is time to meet other veterans and spend some time with other service people. All of them understand what the others have come through, but many have started a broader socialization already. And they can help the others to adapt their skills in civilian life, do social work, volunteer etc. Veterans strongly need people like themselves to feel support and understanding.
Whatever way to rehabilitation we choose, it is important not to ignore the needs of war veterans at least. The Society shall ease their mental pressure on those who cannot be like others as they return from the front line. Military people need more time to make a transition in their own way. They are the only ones who can decide what is comfortable and what is not.