Superintelligence, The War On ISIS, Hawaiian Wild Cows, Peter Thiel, Azov Fighters, The Colour Green

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Be Terrified Of Superintelligent Machines

Nick Bostrom | Slate | 11th September 2014

The arrival of high-functioning artificial intelligence will be like an alien invasion. "We have little reason to believe a superintelligence will necessarily share human values, and no reason to believe it would place intrinsic value on its own survival either. These arguments make the mistake of anthropomorphising artificial intelligence, projecting human emotions on to an entity that is fundamentally alien" (1,600 words)

Obama’s Speech On ISIS, In Plain English

David Frum | Atlantic | 11th September 2014

"ISIS is a nasty collection of slavers, rapists, thieves, throat-slitters, and all-around psychopaths. The trouble is: so are the regimes in Tehran and Damascus that will reap the benefits of the war the president just announced. If anything, America’s new unspoken allies in the anti-ISIS war represent a more significant threat to America’s core interests than the vicious characters the United States will soon drop bombs on" (900 words)

Stalking Wild Cattle In Hawaii

Dan Nosowitz | Modern Farmer | 11th September 2014

Start by forgetting everything you think you know about cows. Hawaiian cows are wild and extremely dangerous, a unique feral breed. "Think about an enormously muscled 1,500 to 2,000-pound animal, with horns the size of a full-grown man, which hangs out in herds of bored and testosterone-driven bachelor males, and has no fear of humans and no qualms about charging. It makes a grizzly bear seem cuddly" (1,380 words)

Why Is Peter Thiel Pessimistic?

Dan Wang | 10th September 2014

Digest of arguments made by venture capitalist Peter Thiel that America has entered an era of economic and technological stagnation. “You have as much computing power in your iPhone as was available at the time of the Apollo missions. But what is it being used for? It’s being used to throw angry birds at pigs; it’s being used to send pictures of your cat to people halfway around the world" (2,020 words)

The Azov Fighters

Shaun Walker | Guardian | 10th September 2014

On patrol in eastern Ukraine with a far-right militia, the Azov battalion, whose members hunt down Russian separatists but also profess a spiritual kinship with them as fellow violent nationalists. A gripping read, and a glimpse of how the war in the east is rewilding society; the longer the fighting goes on, the greater will be the obstacles to peaceful democratic consolidation afterwards (1,790 words)

Deep Into Green

Michael Gorra | New York Review Of Books | 10th September 2014

French mediaevalist Michel Pastoureau draws on superstition and legend, art and costume, industry, science, high and low culture to explain what colours mean to us and why. Green is his third book on colour, following Blue, and Black. He has also written a history of stripes. Further volumes are planned on yellow and red. Green is "stuffed with rarities and wonders, an attic of all the centuries, right up to Babar’s cheerful lime suit" (2,620 words)

Video of the day: Apple Perspectives

What to expect: Text from Apple advertisements presented as optical illusions

Thought for the day

Originality consists in trying to be like everybody else, and failing
Raymond Radiguet (

A Talk in London

Come and see Browser favourites Felix Salmon (ex-Reuters) and Izabella Kaminska (FT) discuss art, 3D printing and Bitcoin on September 24th. Admission is £5, and includes a glass of wine (or two). Tickets are available here ( .

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