There's nothing you can do to prevent another Terminator movie. But if you have a buck, you can do something to stop real Terminators...or at least ensure that they'll like us when they show up.
The Singularity Institute is a research organization that's as forward-thinking as most Gizmodo readers (read: sci-fi nerds).
They recognize that, as transistors double on a microchip every two years, and as artificial intelligence takes over our daily life (including our public transit, stock markets and every single Google search you do), that maybe this idea of computers morphing into our new robot overlords is more than a cheesy-but-lovable sci-fi flick.
With eight fulltime staff and a budget of under $1 million anualy, they're mathematicians and programmers attempting to find a way to develop AI that will be "altruistic" rather than indifferent towards humans, or worse yet, malevolent.
They're re-evaluating the very way we conceptualized AI from the very beginning—research that actually began in the 50s—in hopes of creating a new system from the ground up, if necessary. It's a unenviable task without a sure solution in sight.
How do you program something that will eventually have god-like intelligence to think a certain way when that day comes? Truthfully, it may be impossible, but the Singularity Institute has a bit more faith in technology than their fellow man.
"Human selfishness is a part of evolution to pass along our genes," explains the Singularity Institute's Michael Anissimov. "That wouldn't necessarily follow with another type of system we built to be altriustic or benevolent from scratch."
If you'd like to support the Singularity Institute, you can head over to Philanthroper today (disclaimer: I totally run that site) and give $1 to their cause. I take nothing from that $1, and 99 cents makes it directly to Singularity Institute, which is a better rate than through their own site. Plus, all donations made today will be doubled, meaning $1 = $2.
Don't feel forced to donate. Just keep in mind, if you don't, you'll be the first guy who "volunteers" to run a vest full of dynamite through the front door of Skynet. [Philanthroper and Singularity Institute]
Original artwork by Christopher Hartelius. For more of Chris's work and other true news stories, please check out his website True American Dog.