Comments

  • You build the machine, or you use the machine, because otherwise you are trying to be the machine
    Wrong againTarskian
    Inevitably!
    You see, the specialized knowledge is massively important to some people. However, shoving it down the throat of everyone else, is not the solution. They first need to learn how to use the software.Tarskian
    Oh, goodie! The six people who still understand some aspect of 'manual' programming can teach it to their children, set up dynasties and rule the world. For the +/-30 years (at the rate it's progressing, probably low end - you're looking at 1-generation dynasties.) it will take AI to generate its own programs.

    For all other kinds of work, paid or volunteer, zero education required. O, brave new world!
  • You build the machine, or you use the machine, because otherwise you are trying to be the machine

    S0. A nation of innumerate illiterates who can't find North on a compass just need to be trained in which buttons to push. Maybe a chimp can instruct them.
    Then they can get jobs.
    What more can there possibly to human life?
  • You build the machine, or you use the machine, because otherwise you are trying to be the machine
    No, current education is pretty much a complete failure. I am surprised that any graduate finds any job at all.Tarskian
    We might still need a few doctors and architects....
    For example, the best way to get into software engineering, is to do a 3-month bootcamp.Tarskian
    Good. So that's where all the 34 million 14-year-olds dropouts should be heading. (Except those two dozen football players, five rappers and one stand-up comic.)
  • You build the machine, or you use the machine, because otherwise you are trying to be the machine
    What about having HS students take an "intro to maths" class, where the textbook covers "consumer math" (fraction, decimals, percents, etc.) and briefly touches on more advanced concepts.RogueAI
    I'm okay with that. I'm actually a huge fan of a rounded education, rather than one aimed at a 'career path' (which in my experience is a futile enterprise, often as not, because things change and keep changing.) I would be grateful if you could also squeeze in a bit of history and geography, but for pity's aske,* don't stint on sciences!

    There are not that many jobs in the modern world that are suitable for children between six and fourteen.Tarskian
    Oh, really? And here I thought I was being facetious. Pretty soon, with increasing automation, there won't be (m)any jobs for adults, either. The 'modern world' is a fragile and volatile thing. Why assume it will continue as it is?

    Students learn exactly the opposite of what makes you productive in a professional environment.Tarskian
    Right up until the power grid and internet break down. After that, when there are no professional environments, it's the ones who don't rely on devices who will have to solve the real life problems.

    Ed *or keyboarding skills!
  • You build the machine, or you use the machine, because otherwise you are trying to be the machine
    Okay. Let's dispense with education altogether. On their sixth birthday, give every child a laptop and put them to work on real life problems.
  • You build the machine, or you use the machine, because otherwise you are trying to be the machine
    carrying out arithmetical or algebraic proceduresTarskian
    Trains the mind in the significance, functions and manipulation of numbers, of quantitative relationships and proportions.
    memorizing proofsTarskian
    It's not the memorizing that matters; it's the understanding of how they were derived and why they are valid.
    While everyone needs arithmetic to navigate life successfully, few people need mathematics. But they won't know who they are until after they're introduced to the concepts. Therefore, every secondary school students should be given a basic education in maths and science.
  • What would you order for your last meal?
    Can I change my order?
    I'll stick to my Stilton and beer, but with the cheese course, I'd like apricots and walnuts instead of olives and as a main course, green chilli non carne with a side of guacamole. If they're going to kill me, I want the bastards to suffer a little.
  • Are You Happy?
    Happiness is a distillation: freedom from pain and stress, with regular infusions of satisfaction, comfort, companionship, love, plus the odd unexpected shot of exuberance, hilarity, joy, awe, wonder and even, if you're very, very lucky, ecstasy.
  • Are You Happy?
    So to be happy, we should live in accordance with our function -- with reason; with the goals that one decides on; with virtue.Mikie

    Do you truly believe we all have a 'function'? In what context? To what end? An axe is designed by a human tool-maker for the purpose of cutting wood, as the human requires wood. So the function of a human must be determined by an intelligent designer for that designer's own requirement.
    Happiness, then, has nothing to do with feelings of pleasure or joy, or a good time. It's a life-long pursuit, and we can't determine whether one has lived a happy life until it's completed.Mikie
    I don't at all like being nothing more than a tool that is judged good or bad according to some god's whim, once I'm dead.

    I'm far, far happier with a notion of a good life centered on my own proclivities, needs, abilities and desires. After all, it's my life, not Allah's or Jesus's or Aristotle's. I'm the only one qualified to judge whether it's been painless (9 out of 10) successful (7), useful (8) virtuous (7) enjoyable (6) and fulfilling (8). On the whole, I've reached this point where there is not much left to fear except the last slide down. There is a freedom in that that can be added to the overall life satisfaction.
  • Do you equate beauty to goodness?
    Is it because people, especially the non-wisdom-inclined, we'll say (ie. the majority), tend to treat people differently based on appearance, sometimes outright cruelly, and as such often makes the character of otherwise kindhearted people who happen to be unattractive/short/etc into such?Outlander

    There is something to that. Even as very young children, the homely ones can feel the aversion of adults, sense the pity, feel unwanted, even if everyone tries to be kind. By the second or third year of school, the attitude of their peers is so apparent, they can't help but react to it. And there is no recourse - no remedy for instinctive reactions. So the ugly child learns to fall back on whatever their strength is - intelligence, humour, talent, athletic ability, service, cunning, manipulation, aggression or isolation. And that's the adult they grow into, for better or worse. They expect to be shunned and lead with their habitual defense, which very often puts people off even more.

    The ugliest human I've ever known wasn't any of those things. Where he came from (Egypt, I think) nobody seemed to care what a boy looked like, so he didn't have an automatic response to the first impression he made on Canadians - which, I'm ashamed to say, was startled disbelief. He was a smart, nice, articulate young man with a gentle sense of humour, and I came to like him so much, after a week of working together, I stopped seeing the mismatched features and saw only the person behind them.
  • Do you equate beauty to goodness?
    Pretty sure "high cheekbones" are an ethnic, genetic trait. Not a "face" or "expression" one makes, let alone has any conscious control over.Outlander
    How the beauty is achieved is beside the point. Sometimes through genetics, sometimes with plastic surgery, sometimes it's painted on or simply assumed - that is, the womanacts as if she were attractive. Seductresses were for a long time depicted as a vaguely Eastern-European type - think Cruella DeVille. Treacherous - not mischievous or unreliable, but coldly calculating - male characters were often depicted as Germanic, while fair-skinned, blonde females were either sweet and innocent or frivolous and gullible.
    I suppose I'm out of date - today's stereotypical villains are Middle Eastern or Russian. But I think they are not generally depicted as handsome, beautiful or seductive, more often hulking and hirsute, suggesting violence rather than guile.
  • Do you equate beauty to goodness?
    While I was thinking in general terms of a person’s physical beauty, the inner beauty of a person, could also be seen as an extension of their goodness tooRob J Kennedy
    What is 'inner beauty', if not goodness? But it's not visible. You would have to know someone quite well to be aware of their inner beauty, whereas, outer beauty is readily accessible to the most casual and superficial observer.

    There are certain physical characteristics that are generally attractive and also suggest innocence (child- or baby-like features - large eyes, small nose, rounded forehead) and some that suggest saintliness (long ascetic face, thin mouth, deep nasolabial fold, heavy eyelids) and some that suggest generosity and tolerance (wide eyes, straight gaze, high eyebrows, ready smile, full cheeks). Features of those types can be used to advantage by con artists.
    Then there is a type of beauty that suggests predatory sexuality (sultry lips, dark eyes, long lashes, high cheekbones - in men, add square jaw and jutting chin) and one that suggests treachery (blonde hair, clearly defined, symmetrical features).

    These stereotypes are from the movies; actors who fit those descriptions have been cast in roles that have long become familiar to audiences. We are conditioned to react to them in predictable ways.
  • Last Rites for a Dying Civilization
    So, the basic premise is that AI's purpose - mission, if you will - is to save humanity. That's a valid assumption, and I must say, a more plausible one than what you often hear: that the machines will consider us organics a nuisance and do away with us, or more ridiculously, enslave us. (I'm very familiar with this notion; my old man wrote a novel about an AI-human team effort.)

    You might ask: Why doesn't the AI just "copy and paste" itself for reproductive purposes? It can and it probably will for specific reasons, but such a copy offers nothing new.punos
    I question the need for it reproduce at all. To all practical intents, it's immortal. New material can be introduced all the time, as it becomes available - say, as the AI explores more of the galaxy through improved telescopes, satellites or physical travel. New hardware innovation and peripherals can be incorporated at any time. New subroutines or programs can be written any time. Any portion of the machine's capability can be divided off and assigned specific tasks, like piloting a spaceship or running a Venus type city. These smaller entities could then replicate themselves or appropriate portions for limited deployment.

    It seems to me, an artificial intelligence has significant advantages over an organic one. I suspect uploaded human mind content would either harm the symbiosis with its potential for mental illness or else would have to be purged of its dangerous components and thereby lose its unique character. I think it would work better as a collaboration - each partner retaining its physical integrity and intellectual identity - than as a merger. But I have to concede that AI might have to keep its human charges in some form of confinement for a considerable stretch of time in order to ensure their survival while it went about the tedious chores of cleaning up the planet for them to live on or devising and escape plan.

    In either case, it will be a much diminished human population by the time we've finished throwing this current tantrum.
  • Last Rites for a Dying Civilization
    The way i see this happening is quite different from how a human would handle it. Interference will take the form of subtle and imperceptible perturbations to the social fabric through the skillful crafting and dissemination of memetic forms that influence the behavioral trajectories of entire populations with minimal resistance.punos
    To what end? Why would AI want a different social structure from the ones we naturally form, in which we're comfortable?

    Yes, of course a portion of humanity will self-exclude, and that will be fine, but it will mean the eventual extinction of that group of humans. I'm certain that at the time of the great merger, a bifurcation of the human species will occur. From then on, there will be humans and post-humans until only post-humans will remain.punos
    It's an interesting idea - one worth exploring further. I see the advantage for the human component. What does AI get out of the union?
  • Last Rites for a Dying Civilization
    It's a controversial, and unpopular idea, yet it is my position that the age of biological evolution, and human supremacy is coming to a relatively quick end. All our social control structures will eventually, and necessarily be given over to AI. This is not necessarily a bad thing because if we know how to adapt effectively then it can lead to a kind of utopia, but if we do not adapt then we end up extinct, in a dystopia, or perhaps even worse. The final adaptive step will need to be some kind of human/AI merger resulting in an endosymbiotic relationship. This is also the only guaranteed form of human/AI alignment.punos
    I can well see why it would be controversial! I kind of agree about social structure control... with some speculative reservations. I can certainly see AI taking over economic control, which is more likely to be a good thing than a bad one, since we've made such a sorry botch of it. I can see politics becoming irrelevant. But I can't quite see AI interfering in social organization. That, however, is likely to break down into smaller units; at the community level, humans can be quite good at figuring out how to relate to one another.
    The kinds of things we need to adapt to is a major hurdle. This summer in Ontario, temperatures are expected to reach 45C, possibly higher. Water will continue to be a problem, both ways - too much and too little an in the wrong places. There are far too many of us to migrate to more hospitable places as our weather declines. Attempting to cope with the extremes using current technology will just bring down all the grids (which were a bad idea in the first place and little effort is being made to diversify and distribute energy generation) Crop failures and all kinds of other seriously bad shit coming down the pike far sooner than anyone can be prepared for it.
    That human/AI merger? Maybe for some. Most people either won't get the opportunity or will refuse.
  • Last Rites for a Dying Civilization
    This stage is, at the moment, developing quite rapidly with new robotic architectures being researched and developed.punos
    Rapid is a relative term, but I have no doubt the tech people are working as hard and conscientiously as possible. My main concern is who controls the applications once development is finished. Maybe the penultimate version will be able to outsmart and override the wishes of its owners. Since the aliens are unlikely to land and clean this place up, AI is mankind's last hope.
  • Last Rites for a Dying Civilization

    Sorry; typo - my error, not the computer's. Garbage in, garbage out.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    Regarding which, do you know how many college students drop out by distracting themselves with drugs? Too many...Shawn
    I wonder how many of those students don't pay their own tuition fees. I wonder how many distract themselves - whether with recreational drugs (including alcohol) or sports or social activities - because they should not have been there in the first place. Many young people embark on higher education simply because it is expected of them.
    And, too, pressure to succeed, to compete, to excel may drive many others to the performance enhancing drugs that have a whole other set of side- and long-term effects.
    Some of that dropping out may be due, not to the drug-use but to the initial reason for drug use.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    In my mind, what this means is that a good college education is of greater value for becoming open-minded and non-conformist.Shawn

    A good college education would result in open-minded, nonconformist graduates.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    Is it just because the want people to accept the fact that there might be robots around soon or is it just that they think people are stupid?Sir2u

    Yes and yes. Probably right on both counts.
    Besides, it's a helluva lot easier to make an ad campaign featuring friendly androids and cute household machines than to educate the public about what kinds of automation to expect and how it works.
  • Is communism an experiment?
    What sort of matter is the money in your bank account made out of?NOS4A2
    1's and 0's. Nothing. It's a concept.

    Wealth is not a fixed pie, I’m afraid.NOS4A2

    The Earth is.
    Wealth is accumulated through effort and ingenuityNOS4A2
    Yup. Bull markets shit golden apples for bear markets to eat.
  • Radical Establishmentism: a State of Democracy {Revised}
    Well, if we learn, we tend to learn from adversity... some maybe we can find something positive somewhere on the way down.ChatteringMonkey
    I'm rooting for the handful of survivors. I imagine a quite different future for their descendants. But that's easy for me to make up; I don't have to go through the interim. Other people, more forward-looking than the average corporate CEO, have been very busy storing up knowledge, seeds and DNA samples for those survivors.
  • Radical Establishmentism: a State of Democracy {Revised}

    I'm pretty sure the advanced aliens are not coming to rescue us from ourselves. For much of the last century, that's what science fiction writers considered our best hope.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    Surely genetics must play some role, if not the occasional cameo. Not to suggest willpower or simple availability of the thing (convenience meets opportunity) isn't a factor, however.Outlander
    Genetics does play a part in the tendency to some kinds of addiction, just as it does in how a particular chemical affects each individual. Additionally, we don't start life on the mythical level playing field; some babies are at a disadvantage long before they hear the word 'willpower'. Lives are lived in very conditions; they contain different proportions of pain, sorrow, fear and revulsion. Some people have more to escape from; some have less to stay grounded for. Some are well enough off to indulge their choice of stress-relief in a competitive arena. Many are just young, curious, reckless and persuadable.
  • Radical Establishmentism: a State of Democracy {Revised}
    I do think the idea that we are living in the worst possible eras imaginable sells itself to some extend because of certain ecological and social issues we have.ChatteringMonkey
    What, like glaciers and islands disappearing, 50C heat and widespread extinction, while Putin waves his nuclear missiles around like an angry baby with its rattle?
  • Is communism an experiment?
    Sorry, I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t want people to be wealthy.NOS4A2
    It's that conservation of matter thingie. Nothing comes from nothing. In order for something to accumulate in one place, it has to be removed from another. In order for one person to have more money, some other person or people must have less money. The way wealth is accumulated is through the exploitation of the environment and the labour of poor people.
    If you can't see the exploitation, it's either because you choose not to look, or because it's hidden from your daily gaze by a distance of continents. And of course, as long as you're doing okay, you can have the police protect your sensibilities from all the homeless people in rich countries, and all the slaves in 'developing' countries. If you have ample food, you never need not ask how many hectares of soil were lost to industrial farming or how many people starved to death today. You never have to look at all the dead fish and pelicans after an oil spill or drink the water downstream from a mine, just so you can have all the conveniences served up by the mega-rich owners of those toxic enterprises. You never need to ask where the wealth comes from and how it is obtained.

    This is really quite elementary and should not require explanation. I don't decide how much the human economies can grow on a finite planet: the laws of physics do.
  • What would you order for your last meal?
    Stilton and olives with Carr's crackers and DAB dark.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    Epiphanies are not supposed to be reproducible. It's hard to accept that you get just the one.
  • Is communism an experiment?
    Life isn’t a zero-sum game, thank god, though the fallacy has led us to such injustice in the past.NOS4A2
    Yes, it pretty much is, according to the laws of chemistry but I doubt a deity had anything to do with it.
    Are you aware that Greek mythology is neither history nor current actuality, while slavery is both?
    Once the Earth's cornucopia has been sucked dry, everybody becomes destitute. Those who are wealthy now will starve to death in their luxury bunkers.
  • Is communism an experiment?
    AI would not be able to grasp the thoughts, motivations, and circumstances of 10 people, let alone millions.NOS4A2
    Why should it? People have very few and simple needs and motivations. The circumstances could be made a whole less variable by an AI making sure every human has the necessities of life and no one human hogs 10,000 people's allotment of necessisties. Equity ain't that complicated!
    After all, there is nothing wrong with becoming richer and more wealthy.NOS4A2
    J.J. Ward would agree!
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    If what you're saying is true, then is there any truth to gleaning into one's inner life through a drug? Based on what I am reading, I think these deeply personal experiences, may have significant meaning if not truth. Is this correct?Shawn
    How should I know? They're not my experiences.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    I agree; but, I am somewhat hesitant to believe that any government will want its population to start taking drugs to remedy boredom.Shawn
    Brave New World.

    Regarding counterfactuals, and the doubt in your mind about these or some of these experiences, why is there so much glamourization of psychedelics?Shawn

    Why is there so much glamouraziation of overpriced cars, film performers, football players and Rocket launchings? People get excited about some really dumb stuff.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    It's interesting to note, that nowadays we call the use of drugs as a recreational thing. I suppose this means that the behavior is an outlet...Shawn
    We don't call all drugs recreational. Most drugs are therapeutic (prescribed for specific symptoms of illness) and many are remedial (to correct minor malfunctions, like a headache, upset stomach or allergy). Most psychotropic drugs are also used in the treatment of mental illness; marijuana is medicinal when relieving the side effects of cancer treatment or overcoming some of the lesser anxiety disorders.
    They're called recreational when people use them like alcohol, to make themselves feel good.
  • Is communism an experiment?
    That was about when I bought a 5-cent chocolate bar and a 10-cent Classic Comic with my weekly allowance. And everything that couldn't run away was being renamed for Winston Churchill.
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    Dr. Albert Hofmann invented LSD25 in 1938.Metaphysician Undercover
    It didn't seem to do him any harm - lived to 102.
    I only tried it twice and didn't particularly enjoy the experience.
  • Radical Establishmentism: a State of Democracy {Revised}
    Yes. It's even longer and more opaque.
  • Is communism an experiment?
    Ivan and Fyodor are standing on street corner. A Lada goes by. Then a Trabant. A Skoda. Then a Lincoln. Fyodor asks, "Which of those cars would you like to drive?" Ivan thinks a minute, then replies, "The Lada, of course." Fyodor says, "I guess you don't know cars." "I know cars," answers Ivan, "I don't know you."
  • Why are drugs so popular?
    That is, what did our earliest ancestors gain by getting drunk that resulted in their increased survival?Hanover

    It didn't result in increased survival; it resulted in increased enjoyment. Other animals get drunk or high on purpose, too, so the craving may well have preceded sapience.
  • Is communism an experiment?
    Having pride in one's work is a feeling which is difficult to qualify. It's what provides one with a sense of belonging, and it really doesn't matter what that work is.Metaphysician Undercover
    Better to have a choice, all the same.
    One good thing they did, though: a high quality education for young people with the brains and application. Quite a few made good careers in the west, where they could not have afforded university, all the while ranting against the system that made it possible.
    Nothing is pure and simple, is it?