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Marshall Brain
Entrepreneur, Author, Teacher, Consultant, Public Speaker, Host
Entrepreneur, Author, Teacher, Consultant, Public Speaker, Host

Marshall Brain's posts

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With Obama's SOTU speech last week and sll the analysis, a friend suggested I reread my letter to Obama from Jan 2009:

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Why are there no ETs or advanced civilizations that humanity has ever detected? According to the Drake equation, they should be out there in droves. This week, a team of Scientists confirmed the problem:

"After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced extraterrestrial life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory has found no evidence of advanced civilizations in them."  []

Where are the Extraterrestrials? My new book "The Second Intelligent Species" explains why we are having so much trouble detecting ETs:

See Chapter 10, which is free on the site.

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"The Second Intelligent Species" is my latest book on Earth's robotic future and how it will affect the human race. It is available free on my web site:

Right now, as far as we can tell, there is exactly one intelligent species in the universe and it is us: human beings. We currently see no evidence of any kind indicating that extraterrestrials exist outside of our solar system. We are the first Intelligent species.

At this moment, millions of engineers, scientists, corporations, universities and entrepreneurs are racing to create the second intelligent species right here on planet earth. And we can see the second intelligent species coming from all directions in the form of self-driving cars, automated call centers, chess-playing and Jeopardy-playing computers that beat all human players, airport kiosks, restaurant tablet systems, etc.

The frightening thing is that these robots will soon be eliminating human jobs in startling numbers. The first wave of unemployed workers is likely to be a million truck drivers who are replaced by self-driving trucks. Pilots will be eliminated soon as well. Then, as new computer vision systems come online, we will see tens of millions of workers in retail stores, fast food restaurants and construction sites replaced by robots. Unless we take steps now to change the economy, we will soon have tens of millions of workers who are unemployed and seeking welfare because they will have no other choice.

"The Second Intelligent Species: How Humans Will Become as Irrelevant as Cockroaches" explores how the future will unfold as the second intelligent species emerges and takes control. The book answers questions like:
- How will new computer vision systems affect the job market?
- How many people will become unemployed by the second intelligent species?
- What will happen to millions of newly unemployed workers?
- How can modern society and modern economies cope with run-away unemployment caused by robots?
- What will happen when the first sentient, conscious computer appears?
- What moral and ethical principles will guide the second intelligent species? 
- Why do we see no extraterrestrials in our universe?

The Second Intelligent Species offers a unique and fascinating look at the future of the human race, and the choices we will need to make to avoid massive unemployment and poverty worldwide once intelligent machines start eliminating millions of jobs.

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I had one of those rare reversals of Murphy's law happen this weekend, and I would like to document it. Murphy's law, as we all know, states: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.", with a possible side interpretation of "the worst possible ting always happens".

Here is how this rare reversal occurred. In February I installed one of these on my desktop machine at home::

The drive came with software to do "continuous backups". Meaning that any time a file is added to the machine, or a file is changed, the file gets written automatically to the backup hard drive.

So on Saturday, I cut-and-pasted about 15 GB of photos from the family camera to my machine, erasing them from the SD card to make space for new photos. As the files were getting copied onto the hard disk in my machine, they were also being copied onto the backup hard disk automatically.

Then, while I was sleeping Saturday night, the hard disk holding all the photos in my desktop machine crashed. It was totally inoperable Sunday morning. I was able to buy a new hard disk for my computer on Sunday and recover everything. I did not lose a single file.

Carbonite and iDrive are services that do this in the cloud. In my case, since I am backing up 900 GB of stuff, I don't think that is a viable option. With a USB3 connection, the backup hard disk copies at a rate of about 4GB/minute, meaning recovery takes place in ~4 hours. Over TimeWarner cable, it would probably take days to recover from Carbonite. Maybe with Google fiber it will be better? Or if you have a lot less stuff than 900GB, cloud backups could work.

The moral of the story probably is: Back up your files regularly to experience your own reversal of Murphy's law.

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Could I ask you to do me a favor today: Could you share this post with your Facebook friends? Today marks the arrival of my new book "How God Works" – the book that lets you prove to yourself that God is imaginary. You can find the book on Amazon or in your local bookstore:  Whether you are a Christian or an atheist, you will find HowGodWorks fascinating – it is an adventure in critical thinking.You can also learn more about the book at You can ask questions about the book in the comments or at I would love to hear your feedback! Thanks, Marshall

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