SkepSun #140 (05_24_2015)

On Freethought Radio, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne (author of the best seller Why Evolution is True) about his new book, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. Then we hear excerpts of Chris Johnson’s new film, A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. After that, Gordon Bonnet has some thoughts about detoxification: about when it’s necessary and when it’s just, well, woo, as in activated charcoal lemonade…yum. Then, a topic we touched on a few weeks back: the future of artificial intelligence and whether we should worry about a robot apocalypse or singularity when machines become smarter than we. First Sam Harris weighs in from his “Ask Me Anything” podcast and provides some reasons why he takes this issue very seriously and then Philosopher David Chalmers discusses the philosophical implications of the singularity with Nigel Warburton on the Philosophy Bites podcast. Finally on Point of Inquiry, host Josh Zepps interviews Alex Garland, writer and director of Ex Machina, a new film, now in theaters, that tells the story of a billionaire programmer who creates an artificially intelligent female robot. They discuss the science and philosophy behind consciousness, the future of self-aware machines, and ethical considerations we’ve barely begun to ponder.

The future of A.I.: what's real & what's fiction?

The future of A.I.: what’s real & what’s fiction?

SkepSun #135 (04_19_2015)

We learn from Annie Laurie Gaylor, flying solo on Freethought Radio this week, about recent FFRF state/church separation activism and how the the pious Attorney General of Oklahoma is on the warpath against them. We’ll meet Amanda Metskas, executive director of Camp Quest, which provides secular summer camps around the nation, and is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Annie Laurie will honor the birth of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, an atheist, by playing some of his enchanting music, and, continuing the camping theme, plays Dan Barker and Steve Benson’s parody of the Boy Scout Hiking Song, “Why BSA?” These days, air travel is dreadful enough. Fees for checked bags, not even free pretzels anymore in coach on domestic routes. So who needs their flight held up because someone’s religion forbids them to sit next to, gasp, an unrelated person of the opposite sex? Skeptophilia blogger Gordon Bonnet’s live and let live attitude may have found its limit. We’ll hear him read a column of his from last week entitled “Airlines and Orthodoxy.” Then, in hour two, New York Times best selling author, television host and robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson visits the MonsterTalk podcast hosted by Blake Smith and Karen Stollznow to discuss the nature of robots and the risk of a robot apocalypse. Is this one more thing we need to worry about? Wilson is a contributing editor to Popular Mechanics magazine and his books include the award-winning humor titles include How to Survive a Robot Uprising, Where’s My Jetpack? and How to Build a Robot Army and the bestseller Robopocalypse the film rights to which have been purchased by Steven Spielberg.

Are you ready for the robopocalypse?

Are you ready for the robopocalypse?