Problem 1 (Thinking about the future)
Recently, Vladimir Putin told students in an open lesson about science "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."
Give your thoughts on this news item, keeping in mind the discussion of risks and benefits of AI in the FoL article.

Problem 2 (How many facts might you know?)
Estimate how many facts you know about yourself that can be readily expressed in words, explaining how you arrived at your estimate. In making this estimate, assume a subdivision of your factual self-knowledge into more or less "minimal" parts; for example, "I speak English and Spanish" would be considered 2 facts, rather than one, as indicated by the occurrence of "and". One way to think about it is to imagine writing your autobiography, along with a verbal description of your physical and psychological characteristics (the former without visual self-inspection!), capabilities, etc., in as fine detail as you can manage; and then breaking the language into simple sentences, one for each factual item. So you might start: "My birth occurred in Boston. It was in July. It was on the 4th of that month. It was in the year 1995..." (Not much fun to read, but that's why languages have devices for "packing" information together :-) Do not count facts that follow from you general knowledge, such as "I was born before 12/31/17', "I was born before 12/30/17', etc.
In trying to come up with an estimate, you'll run into various issues — by all means comment on them. For example, you probably can't dredge up all your memories by a simple act of will; and what memories and knowledge are about you? E.g., suppose you remember that you witnessed an accident, and various details about that; is that part of your autobiography? I'd say definitely yes. If you later read that 17 accidents had already happened at that intersection, that probably should not be included (unless perhaps that fact subsequently played a significant causal role in your autobiography). Note that according to cognitive science we really do have a distinct, autobiographical "episodic memory", as distinct from "semantic memory". The question is an interesting one, because self-awareness — an important aspect of consciousness — depends on knowing things about yourself and about your past. It's been noted in discussions of self-awareness in machines that none, so far, know enough about themselves to be self-aware in any human-like sense.
(Write about 300-400 words.)

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Response 1
It is somewhat important to note that the RT article’s subject recently leveraged the ‘weak’ AI of Facebook to shape the outcome of a US election, by fanning the very worst weaknesses and impulses of some portions of our electorate and by undermining the very notions of truth and fact. So, any magnanimous proclamations that Putin’s Russia will be sharing its AI-know-how with the world should be viewed with extreme skepticism and/or queries about how ‘the world’ will be defined at such a time, i.e. presumably as the usual who’s who of rogue states like Syria. Indeed, the possibility of Putin’s Russia becoming a leader in AI should count among the AI-related outcomes to be rightly feared the most, assuming one prefers democracy to...

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