To alarmists, the rise of the machines must stoke inhuman levels of anxiety, The Guardian reports. And why not? Technology can be truly discomforting. The US government’s top secret Darpa labs are currently improving robots’ behavioral learning and anomaly detection programs, both of which will make them “smarter” and more efficient killing machines, literally; auto manufacturers are working on self-driving cars like those that run us down in Daniel H Wilson’s predictably plotted thriller Robopocalypse; and just this month word spread that European researchers turned on Raputya, an “internet for computers” that bears an uncanny resemblance to Skynet, the fictional super-computer that launched Terminator into our pop culture landscape. But to those who embrace technology, these upgrades aren’t harbingers hellbent on destroying human life. They’re portals into a brighter human future…

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staff and wire services reports