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MH Davidson Posts

MEPs fire opening salvos in Artificial Intelligence war …

MEPs fire openiArtificial Intelligence, deep learningng salvos in Artificial Intelligence war …

In 2017, members of the European Parliament have begun a call to action to create legal and ethical frameworks to address the concerns arising from the emerging reality of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

AI has arrived and we’ve been using it for years … Siri, Google, Facebook and any number of everyday applications rely on Machine Learning(ML) and, more recently, Deep Neural Networks (DNN) have brought us Deep Machine Learning … in an attempt to limit the number of terms and acronyms for the purposes of this post we’ll just call it ML – Machine Learning.

With ML, machines program themselves. For instance, an autonomous car ‘watches’ a human drive a car and then it learns for itself how to drive.

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The winds of change are upon us …

Autonomous car, electric carEvery action has consequences … and those consequences have consequences … which also have consequences … simple concept, easy definition. Second and Third Order consequences … I read a great article about this earlier today.

Lets take a prolonged drought for instance. They have far reaching consequences beyond the obvious ones.

  • First Order – As a result of a drought, crops fail.
  • Second Order – The crop failures lead to farm foreclosures.
  • Third Order – The farm foreclosures result in out migration to the cities.
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I just couldn’t help myself …

Time Travel, Warp, Cause and effect

I just couldn’t help myself … I’ve done it again and it’s not just due to a lack of will power.  The problem really does reside outside myself.

Now I know that sounds like classic denial. But, it’s not my fault this time, the internet made me do it. I tweaked my news feed settings to expand my intellectual horizons vis a vis what information I expose myself to daily.

But just as sure as a Presidential tweet, like clockwork here comes another story that challenges our perception of reality and therefore about what is possible and what is not.

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Scientists try to find consistent explanations

speed of light, warp, time travelWe should know by now not to trust a scientist when they utter the phrase “that is impossible”. I am no Albert Einstein but, thanks to hindsight, I can sit here and state that he was wrong in some regards.

The internet is rife with lists and examples of disproven theories and failed predictions.

  • 1943 – T Watson, President IBM “I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers.”
  • 1895 – Lord Kelvin, father of the Law of Thermodynamics “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
  • 1934 – Albert Einstein “There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be attainable.”
  • 1920 –  Lee De Forest, Inventor of the vacuum tube, pioneer in modern electronics talking about space travel “Such a manmade voyage will never occur in spite of all future advances.”
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Moral ambiguity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) …

Artificial Intelligence, Neural Lace
Elon Musk is working on an Neural Lace

Moral ambiguity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) …

“It’s not that simple.” That phrase raises red flags in my mind … It always seems to be the opening line when someone is about to be morally ambiguous. And moral ambiguity is the twin sibling of situational ethics. Both lead to bad, bad ends … very bad … right?

Yes and no. Talk about ambiguity huh?

Let’s take a look at a couple of topics. The first will be a quick look at the technical differences between two isolated human population groups; The Inuit and Aboriginal Tasmanians. Second is a quick (promise) look at an article that appeared in Vanity Fair, ELON MUSK’S BILLION-DOLLAR CRUSADE TO STOP THE A.I. APOCALYPSE. Well worth reading, by the way.

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If the Thermometer had been an inch longer we’d have frozen to death … Mark Twain

Ice Age Climate ChangeWalking the dogs early this morning … or rather trying to, I still have at least 24” of snow out behind the house … got me thinking.

It never ceases to amaze me how much life is affected by the weather. From air-conditioning to wood stoves, heat pumps to furnaces, snow blowers to lawnmowers, weeding to de-icing, shorts to long johns, pool to hot tub, veranda to sun room, are choices are largely determined by the weather.

We spend the bulk of our efforts, as well as physical and mental resources, on modifying our environment. Consider for a moment the effort required to heat my home this morning.

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Looking at Transhumanism … Part 3

transhumanism blogWhat are we to think about Transhumanism? …. Part 3

My first blog on the topic had a headline that was a transparent ploy to generate curiosity … The Invisible and Critical Issue of the Postmodern Era.

As I’ve read about and researched the subject over the last ten or so years it really hasn’t been invisible in some circles. A ton of articles, blogs, and miscellanies of public discourse exist on the matter.

But that said, I’ll circle back to part 1 of this blog series to reiterate that it has not resonated with anyone I know outside of academia, scientific and research circles and the geekiverse.

The people that are talking about it publicly fall broadly into two camps, pro and con. This is likely the problem.

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Transhumanism, The Promises and the Threats … Part 2

Transhuman mind, crisprTranshumanism, The Promises and the Threats … 2nd  Post In a series.

In the first post, we took a high-level look at Transhumanism.

To recap, Transhumanism is based on the belief that human evolution is intertwined with technology. Technology has advanced to the point where we can now do things that will alter the definition of what it means to be human. Some of these technologies will be potentially dangerous. We ought to embrace this trend as an evolutionary challenge in order to guide and direct that change and move humanity up the evolutionary ladder to ‘the next step’.

So what exactly are we dealing with here?

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