Smartphones are robbing us of our creativity | Letters

Aloneness and not knowing are fundamental to being human – let’s leave the virtual world and return to the real one, says Peter Hindley

Howard Jacobson expresses surprise at his dependence on his smartphone (Weekend, 2 September). I recently lost mine, and it made me confront the two sources of anxiety my phone assuaged for me. First, the fear of being alone: my phone gave me the illusion that I could always be in contact with someone or something. Second, fear of uncertainty: my phone could always provide me with an answer for any question I wanted to ask. Aloneness and not knowing are fundamental to being human and drive much of our communication and creativity. Surely it is time for the Guardian to encourage us to give up our phones and celebrate the delights of being disconnected from the virtual world but truly connected to the real world.
Dr Peter Hindley
London

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Elon Musk says AI could lead to third world war

North Korea ‘low on our list of concerns’ says Tesla boss following Putin’s statement that whoever leads in AI will rule world

Elon Musk has said again that artificial intelligence could be humanity’s greatest existential threat, this time through the starting of the third world war.

The prospect clearly weighs heavily on Musk’s mind as the SpaceX, Tesla and Boring Company chief tweeted at 2.33am San Francisco time about how AI could led to the end of the world without the need for the singularity.

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Siri heads for a shake-up in the ‘iPhone 8’

With no home button on the new iPhone, something’s got to give, and that something might just be your power button

If you are a fan of Siri, then good news: Apple’s voice assistant looks like it will be getting a promotion in the near future, thanks to the combination of iOS 11 and the “D22” iPhone (the leaked model thought to be the forthcoming “iPhone Pro, 8 or X”). If you’re not a fan of Siri, well, look away now – some of this isn’t pretty.

For the first time, Siri will sync across devices, letting details it has picked up from your phone affect how it answers on your iPad or computer. The service is also seeing a slight refocus: Siri isn’t just a voice assistant anymore, since “Siri” will also be responsible for suggesting topics in Apple News based on your web browsing, or for suggesting a calendar event if you make a booking online.

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Is Elon Musk’s plan for a road network beneath LA more than a pipe dream?

Cities attract wild ideas, from Qinhuangdao’s straddling bus to London’s bike lanes in the sky. As Musk’s Boring Company starts tunnelling, could his plans for underground roads and Hyperloop trains prove the doubters wrong?

In early August, the city council of Hawthorne, California, held a special meeting. It had set aside this time to discuss a major construction project proposed by a high profile company based there in the sprawling Los Angeles basin.

The company was Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, the rocket-building offshoot of the electric car company Tesla, run by the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. SpaceX had recently spun off another entity, this one aimed at disrupting the tunnel boring business, cheekily named the Boring Company – and it needed the City of Hawthorne’s cooperation.

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