Archive for March, 2009

Has your Toaster found God?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

You’ve seen the movies, you’ve read the books.  Machines start thinking, then they kill you…  And me, and everyone else.  Yesterday, a report by Ben Goertzel on the Second Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) stated that keynote speaker Juergen Shcmidhuber projected a new date for the “Singularity” (not to be confused with the scientific term for a black hole).

 

For those of you that don’t know what the “Singularity” is (and why would you), it’s the date set by the well known and a bit crazy, inventor, author and scientist, Ray Kurzweil, and noted science fiction author Vernor Vinge, in which machines will finally have the same mental power as the human mind and then quickly surpass it.  The results of the Singularity are mixed depending on who you talk to, but most agree that the chances of it leading to the end of the human race is likely.  The date for this happy transition? 2045.  Well, now it’s 2040.  Great!  They’ve cut 5 more years off.  Wonderful.

 

This really got me thinking.  Is it just human nature to test boundaries?  Even if it means the very possibility of our own death?  I’m thinking YES.  Just watch TV for 5 seconds, and you’re sure to come across somebody pushing the envelope and risking their life to do it.  Has it always been this way?  Did cavemen poke sleeping Saber Tooth Tigers just to see what would happen?  I’m gonna have to say yes.  It’s a wonder we’ve made it this far.

Could the Singularity be the ultimate “dare”?  The scientists that gather at the AGI conference are some of the very people dedicated to the advancement of artificial intelligence.  They know what’s going to happen if they accomplish their goal.  And just like their forefathers, they get more and more excited the closer they get to that Saber Tooth Tiger.  Almost giddy even.  But what about the rest of us?  We’re like that guy just standing next to the guy with the stick, and we’re really not paying attention to what he’s doing.  He’ll poke and run, while we’re left there to be eaten alive.  That just doesn’t seem fair to me.  Oh, just in case you’re wondering…  Yes, these guys have a contingency plan to escape.   Just not for you.

 

As for those of you not buying the whole “machines thinking like man” thing, I’ll give you this for thought.  The human brain is nothing more than a really powerful, self-sustaining computer processor.  A network of electric impulses scurry along fibers submerged in goop.  Do not confuse the ability of self-realization for that of a soul.  I’m sure when the Singularity arrives, your toaster may find God as relevant as you do. 

Battlestar Galactica

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The final episode of Battlestar Galactica was last Friday.  There were a lot of people that didn’t like the ending.  I however, thought the ending was great!  Sure there were a few loose ends, but overall, things that needed to happen, happened.  Ok maybe a couple of things didn’t really make sense, like why one man’s decision to go native meant that EVERYONE had to go native.  I mean, I would have said … “ screw that”, but then, I’m not the biggest camping fan.  Then there was the whole Admiral Adama going off to sit on a hill top somewhere, never to come back again.  Not even to see his son.  Not sure I get that?   But, I was ok with Thrace up and vanishing.   I kinda liked that part.  It made sense to me.  So yah, I liked the ending.

 

I Liked the entire show.  It was a thousand times better than the old one.  The battle scenes were some of the best I’ve ever seen, and the characters were deep and evolved.  I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

I’m not the problem. … oh, I am?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

So, I was flipping through the news channels, waiting for the Daily Show to come on, and stopped on CNN’s Headline News channel.  I wasn’t expecting great reporting… and for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the Lady (Cambell Brown I think) who was anchoring, but I had to laugh at the amount of  hypocrisy spewing from this talking head, and her “on the spot” cohort.  The story they were playing up, was the unsafe environment created by the media around the Octo-Mom and her newly born children.  The anchor and the reporter were making commentary on how shameful the mob scene was as the Octo-Mom was leaving her car to get into her house.  They reamed the reporters, they tore into the camera people, they condemned the Mother, they even complained about the lack of police protection.  It’s as though, they didn’t even realize they themselves were part of the problem.  I had to laugh even more when the anchor actually said this.  And I quote.  “ I’m appalled at this! Roll that clip, again…”  in which it clearly shows her camera crew, front and center, in a mob of news media, flooding  around the Octo-Mom’s van, all trying to get a shot, and a quote.  At no point did she say, anything about her own cameras and reporter being on the scene, or own any responsibility for her part in the mayhem.  But she and her  on-location reporter did have plenty to say about everybody else.  Neither one of them saw that they were part of the problem.  And don’t tell me that they weren’t part of the problem, and that they didn’t shoot that footage.  Because if they didn’t shoot that footage, that means they paid for that footage.  And if the paid for it…  then they are an even bigger cause of the problem.  Either way, they are the problem, so they need to shut their friggin’ mouths, and own up to their part.  HYPOCRITS!!

Does anybody just report the news anymore?

 

And why am I so upset about this?  It seems like small potatoes.

Because I actually had something better to talk about, but I couldn’t remember it because that stupid story wouldn’t get out of my brain.

Curse you Brown, and your little dog too!