Discussion of our April Issue

Feedback from our readers

(Smithsonian Magazine)
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Out of all the predictions in our Hacking the Future issue, none ignited more commentary than “Be(A)ware,” Stephan Talty’s scenarios about artificial intelligence. A “benevolent AI could lead to a Golden Age,” Ben Bronson said on Facebook. “A malicious one could kill us all.” Mark Wrede worried that a “danger greater than AI would be our incapacity to distinguish it from a bag of rocks.” Penny Reid had a more mundane concern. “I don’t want AI preparing my food—I want to cook food with my own hands, in order to have a connection to the earth that grew it.” But some readers seemed ready to embrace a more synthetic future. “Our silicon-based children will become the evolution of our carbon-based species,” Lorraine Alden posted on Facebook. “AI beings, with bodies that will withstand interstellar travel, will be our path to the stars and carry our spirit to other worlds.”

Everything’s Greener in Texas

We can use solar power systems to help the power supply in other areas, like Puerto Rico. Mayor Ross (“The Future’s So Bright”) is doing the right things for his city and residents.

Robert Clancy | Facebook

One Small Step for Beer

Compared with beer (“Buzzed Lightyear”), hard liquor is more stable under a variety of conditions, thus less prone to spoilage. Additionally, it is more alcohol-dense than beer, so it would take less room to store. I wonder which crop could be grown and harvested to make Johnny Spacewalker? Bring on the science!

Rick Spartan | Twitter

Immunotherapy Progress

Personalized genome therapies and vaccines (“A Cancer Vaccine?”) for cancer are just a few years away. It has been a long fight against “the emperor of all maladies.” Hopefully it will soon be over.

Doug Rutkowski | Facebook

Lives Lost to Lynching

I hope that all the memorial slabs (“Necessary Truths”) are retrieved and placed in their respective counties. It will allow people that don’t have the ability to travel as far to absorb the truth of these horrible lynchings and to give recognition to the souls that were victims of this horror.

Karen Kelso | smithsonian.com

I’m very happy that lynching victims are finally being memorialized. It’s ingenious to offer markers to other counties to see which regions are willing to allow the slabs to be erected. We’ll never move beyond our ugly past as a nation until we face it and formally apologize on the record.

Amber Adams | Facebook

It is about time that we publicly acknowledge the individual victims of this horror by name, not just as a group. Each of them needs to be remembered.

Sandi Jordet | Facebook

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