Why We Fear AI

Watched a film last night about AI, called ‘Upgrade.’  It was intense, lots of gory fistfights, a few shootings, a couple of exciting car chase type scenes involving driverless cars, and some interesting conversations about the  ethics of machines  taking over human  bodies.
Like so many of these movies, it’s basically ‘Invasion of the Body  Snatchers ‘ or ‘Rhinoceros’ (a Gene Wilder classic).  I’m  not too worried about AI, I think machines can develop a very high degree of intelligence, and will  be able to mimic human reactions quite accurately, before they  ever get infected with that itch, that nasty thing that people get, where they want to kill everybody and take over the world, but I have to say that with  a couple  of caveats.  One, that if I’m wrong and they DO develop that craving, we’re fucked.  Once they become better than us, they will become better and better than us and there is no way we’ll  be able to compete.  Second, there are a whole lot of people out there, smarter and more knowledgeable about AI then I am, who ARE worried about it.
Here’s the thought that struck me today.  We’ve all noticed that Republican voters tend to fear intelligent and educated people.  It’s a strong American trait.  To some extent, it might be true everywhere, but I’ve never seen it  as strong as I’ve seen it in  the U.S.  I noticed it clear back in  the 3rd  grade.  And you have to try and understand them.  When you’re struggling in school, when you see other people for whom it’s easy, it must be galling.  Resentment leads to reaction and, knowing they’ll  never get to be any smarter, they want terribly to bring smart people down.  Well, now smart people get to feel that sense of inadequacy, that sense of fear,  that there’s  going to be others smarter than us.  The fact that they aren’t even  human is small consolation.

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Sunspot Observatory Reopens

They have re-opened the Solar Observatory in appropriately named Sunspot, New Mexico, after almost 2 weeks, and boy-howdy have they got a humdinger of a cover story.  Porn.  Child pornography, which I’ve been hearing a lot about lately.  I’m not saying nobody ever looks at child porn, but I don’t think it’s as prevalent as the recent number of arrests would indicate.  I mean, lots and lots of people look at regular, adult porn, probably all the gay people like gay porn, which is probably between 5 and 10% of the population, and there are subsets who get off on bondage porn and other kinky shit, but child porn?  Are there really that many people attracted to small children?  I suspect it just makes the story  a bit more dramatic.
They say a janitor at the facility – not one of the scientists, not a person who was critical to the operation – had child porn on his computer.
For that, they shut down a facility which gazes into space with high powered telescopes?  For that, they stopped observing sun spots (which could seriously endanger the Earth, and the more we know about them the better) for two whole weeks?  For that, they swooped in  with helicopters, an army of agents, and more secrecy than the Normandy Landing?  And that was something they couldn’t tell the sheriff of the town?
I’m just not buying it.  I think the janitor is being  framed, to cover up something much bigger, and that’s not really fair.  If it was aliens, the public deserves to know.

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What I Should Have Said

This blog is about what I should have said.  However, I didn’t, and the conversation went back and forth a bit before dwindling into polite agreement to disagree and, as far as I know, nobody defriended anybody else.
The original post was a poll  about who the most popular leaders in Britain were, and I thought people were slagging off Jeremy Corbyn a bit much, and so I  said I liked him, because he reminds me of Bernie Sanders.
Well, one lady, who I only know through Facebook but strikes me as a generally intelligent sort, said she finds Bernie a bit ‘tetchy.’
Well, I’ve heard this argument before and I suspect it’s because they all listen to the same commentators, rather than listening to Bernie.  Because everything Bernie’s saying is right on, and he doesn’t sound ‘tetchy’ at all to me, when you take it in context.
In the USA, people can and do die for lack of medical care.  In the USA, police can murder black people, in daylight, on camera, in front of witnesses and not only not go to jail, not  only not be charged with a crime, but keep their jobs.  In the USA, the infrastructure is crumbling and potholes in roads, and collapsing bridges can be expected.  In the USA, large corporations can now spew their effluent straight into  the rivers.  In the USA, you can’t count on the government for help  in a hurricane.  In the USA, prisons are run for a profit, and lots of people are inside them who don’t deserve to be.
Bernie, like anybody else who has a conscience, is outraged.  He is furious.  When you hear him speaking, that is him keeping it under control, speaking reason in  the face of  insanity.  ‘Tetchy.’ Ha.

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The President’s Penis

With all that’s happening in the news – the ongoing crisis in Yemen, China making side deals with Venezuela (which I totally approve of by the way,) but it means they are totally brushing off the Monroe Doctrine, which was completely indefensible even at the time of Monroe and the U.S. seems oblivious to that, Russia accuses Israel of attacking them in Syria which raises still another problem in a region where dozens of things could go wrong, Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings and the accusations of attempted rape, not to mention the perjury, because the perjury should actually force them to block him and they don’t want to do that, the flooding in North Carolina which is made worse by industrial hog farming and landfills of coal  ash, which might do a lot worse than muck up the atmosphere, that could be an epidemic waiting to happen, police still killing people and getting away with it, and much, much more, the thing everybody’s talking about today  is the size and shape of the president’s penis.
Now, in fairness to Donald Trump (who apparently does have a smaller than average penis), he is not entirely responsible for the cultural atmosphere which makes the presidential penis a fitting topic for conversation.  To some extent you can blame the Internet, because everybody talks about that kind of stuff all the time any more.  You can blame Anthony Weiner, because if politicians are going to publicize pictures of their penis, then it’s all fair game, and before that Bill Clinton paved the way, when he willingly answered questions about what kind of underwear he wore.  Can you imagine Eisenhower or Kennedy talking about stuff like that?  No.
I am not nostalgic about the past, I realize there was a lot of horrible shit happening back then, too, but in just this one particular instance….perhaps we have gone too far.
On the other hand, if it’s what finally brings down his presidency, I’m all for it.

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Engagement

Well, I have heard, as well  as everybody else, that it’s not a good idea to wrestle with a pig, as you’ll just get muddy and the pig enjoys it, and that debating with a fanatic is like playing chess with a pigeon, because it  doesn’t matter how  brilliantly you play, they’ll just knock over all the pieces, shit on the board, and strut around like they won.  I’ve heard it said that you should never argue with an idiot, because people won’t be able to tell  the difference.  But, I can’t help myself.  Sometimes it’s just fun.  I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person.
This particular firearmophile was claiming that the only reason the right is at war with public schools is because all the libtarded teachers were attacking Christian children in schools, and that we wouldn’t all be so divided over Roe v. Wade if there were no Roe v. Wade, and that of course we’re coming for their guns.  Psychological tests, and other reasonable licensing restrictions, he didn’t want to hear about.
It was a fun exchange for awhile, I was getting a good chuckle out of the ‘attacking Christian children’ line, but all of the above statements are really true.

You should never wrestle with a pig, you should never debate with a fanatic, or argue with an idiot.  At least, you should never expect any positive result from it.

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More on Sunspot

One of the reasons I think we’ll never be told the truth about the closure of the Sunspot Solar Observatory (in Sunspot, New Mexico, and they look for sunspots, I guess) is the same reason that everybody starts thinking, after over a week, that that missing kid is probably no longer alive.  Because it’s been over a week.
If it had been some kind of an infectious disease, they would have evacuated people to hospitals.  If it had been some kind of a gas leak or other health hazard, they’d have had it cleaned out and the place would have been up and running inside 48 hours.  This is a high-tech facility, delivering valuable information.  Closing it down is an incredible waste of money.  If it was spying by the Chinese, as I’ve heard others suggest, they could have swept it for bugs and be in the process of reconstructing, if there was equipment that needed to be removed, but there’d be no real need for secrecy.  In fact “Spy Ring Busted” makes a great headline, the government’s eager for that kind of story.
If it was some kind of a solar energy burst, on its way  to kill  us all… well, it takes light about 8 minutes to reach the Earth from the Sun, so I’m pretty  sure we’d all be dead by now, so that theory can  be scratched.
So, I think it’s aliens, and I think they’ll never tell  us.  They’ve never offered a more complete explanation of the Borra-Trottier discoveries, and that happened almost 2 years ago.
They haven’t opened a 2nd investigation into 9/11, although there’s very strong reason to believe the 1st investigation was bullshit.  Same with the Warren report, which was incredibly long and detailed but started with the  premise that Oswald was the lone killer and didn’t look at any other theories at all.
Basically, our government lies to us all the damn time.  I don’t think it’s because they are afraid of aliens.  They are afraid of us.

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Atlantis in the South of Spain

All of the news is  depressing and the world is turning to shit, but that’s just a reason  to stop watching the news, actually, there are new songs every week, new films and novels too, new scientific inventions and discoveries that thrill often enough for there to be more or less new stuff on Discovery Channel constantly constantly, although they do recycle stuff and it irritates me to listen to some guy on the TV saying ‘and soon the voyager probe will actually be exiting the solar system.’   TV is like a black hole, things that happen once are happening forever, everything gets sucked in but then it all just sort of hangs there.  That may or may not be a scientifically accurate  analogy.
One thing I’ve been watching recently, which will not improve our lives one little bit even if it’s eventually proven to be true beyond all shadow of a doubt, is the discovery of Atlantis, or at least one archaeologist making a pretty convincing case for a bunch of ruins in Southern Spain, about halfway between Gibraltar and Portugal, thus fitting Plato’s description of ‘beyond the pillars of Hercules.’  Evidence from so  far: built in concentric rings, which agrees with Plato’s description, some drawings of bulls which links to Cretan  culture, and some writings which indicate trade with Egypt, and lack of a better candidate.  The thing is, if it was a great city trading with  the whole  world, it  probably would have been a whole civilization, with several cities and farms in between them, so the question is not just ‘What happened to Atlantis (which could be explained by an earthquake or something relatively mundane like that), but what happened to the Atlanteans?
Also, and this is the interesting part of research for me, is that if it does turn out to be the mythical Atlantis, then Atlantis is no longer mythical, but historical.  A bit less fascinating in one sense, more interesting in another.
It’s just amazing to me that the world we know is not the world the way it actually is, and new revelations can still change our entire perspective.

 

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