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Category: Science

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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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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The Invisible and Critical Issue of the Postmodern Era

transhumanismDon’t miss the Most Urgent Issue of Our Time …

The debate around it has been quietly raging for years –‘Quietly Raging’, I may have coined a term.

Tragically, it is not a headline grabbing topic but it has been explicitly percolating through various niche’s in our society … academics, science, philosophy, the arts and in literary circles … for at least ten years now.

Unfortunately, the topic just refuses to really ‘pop’ culturally … I do not hear about it at work around the water cooler. I don’t get unsolicited posts from friends and family on the matter, I don’t hear about it in backyard BBQ’s or cocktail parties. Talk show hosts and celebrities are not obsessed with it.

And hasn’t failed to get the attention in needs for lack of heavy hitters (who have successfully bridged their fields of expertise to the popular culture) plugging it in the media. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, just to name two pop icons, have spoken on the topic extensively and publicly … from different perspectives.

Enough already … what are you talking about?”

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Scientists Broke The Universe Last Night

Warning! Mad Scientists Broke the Universe while You Slept

They did, really. I have proof.

Not only that but they were using public funds and a ginormous underground lab to do so. Their work was being conducted right under the noses of everyday citizens and no one even noticed. If they did, they are not talking. Surprisingly, citizens of 22 nations are complicity involved.

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Smart or not? What do we know …

Humans have been looking for, and talking about, intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe as far back as the 5th Century BC in Greece.

It has only been since the late 20th century, though, that we have had the technological means to do anything about it. Before that it was just an intellectual exercise.

But this post has nothing to do with alien intelligence.

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The Horse’s Ass, Space Shuttles and Science Fiction

Sounds like a punchline to a joke but there is a pervasive story that claims to show a direct technological connection between the first two elements and an actual connection to the third.

Apparently, the Romans, being consummate bureaucrats, loved their standards. Roman military chariots were drawn by two horses in tandem which set the axle width at 4’ 8.5”, corresponding to the width of two horses’ rumps. It also determined the width of the roads. Allegedly, these chariots rutted the roads which prompted other vehicle builders to use the same axle width to allow their vehicles to ride with in the same ruts and not destroy themselves.
Over the years this standard width was adopted far and wide and, in particular, in England. When tramways were being built (and later, railways) the same standard was used for rolling stock.

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