I see the world is starting to catch up with me on robots. Actually the world of robots is way ahead of me, but I’ve been in second place writing about them. Catching up with me now is the rest of the media, in decididing that, hey this technological revolution that is about to change EVERYTHING just might be worth a story or two!
I was opining just a few short days ago about how computer-assisted medical diagnosis is this undiscussed solution to a lot of real medical errors. But undisscussed or not, and resisted or welcomed, here it comes. For the non-clickers, it’s a story about Watson, the supercomputer which has retired from playing Jeopardy in order to get a real job in oncology. There is too much real-world value here to be denied forever, so it will be used, sooner or later, and yes, it will be part of a transformation of medicine. The key line about how this will impact health provider personnel is “maybe what's really needed is a kind of professional we don't have yet.” You bet.
Another development is in mental health diagnosis. Here we have a machine to do some of what a psychologist does, and some things they don’t, because they can’t. This is one I personally consider more fraught, but not because of effectiveness questions. I suspect there will be real added value of some sort. But what I don’t like is its implementation of the idea that we should “humanize” robots. I don’t think we should. We will, though, and there’s nothing I can say or do that will stop it. People like this idea, so it will be done. Market forces, and it does. But here’s why it’s a bad idea. The key distinction between artificial intelligence and actual life, as in human beings, isn’t intelligence at all. It’s FEELING. This is crucial and the morally indispensable division between machine and human. Mimicking feeling is not feeling, although soon enough it will be impossible to tell the difference. And then we won’t be able to understand or talk about it coherently anymore. You know the old line about “if you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made”? Well, robots soon will have it made.Continue reading this post »
My, what sunken eyes you have!
What does Doomed look like? Look around. Why are we fascinated by zombies? That one I can answer. People like stories about themselves. We ARE the zombies.
We are eager for the post-apocalyptic world, and all we need is the final apocalypse. We got on our shamblin’ shoes and we are ready to shamble. We’ve practiced our crooked, saggy faces, and our stumbling, shuffling gait, and while we still bathe and comb our hair, give us time, give us time.
We inherited a world that, whatever its many defects, was a world with natural parameters we could rely on. A vast planet-wide network of more-or-less stable ecosystems and weather patterns you could build a civilization on. Yawn. Civilization is for REGULAR humans. Zombies have DIFFERENT ideas of a good time. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/18/scientists-agree-on-climate-change-so-why-doesnt-everyone-else/
If everything gets wrecked, then we can get down to the real fun of mutual predation. We know what we’re doing. The science is all there now, telling us how destabilizing the climate COULD be avoided, and some wonder why the message doesn’t resonate. It DOES resonate! But what they don’t understand is that on some level we must WANT catastrophe. It’s the only explanation left.
And there, right there on the op-ed page of the Washington Post yesterday, was a brightly featured piece by a Congressman (Congress is the place the zombies ALREADY control), arguing one more time that the climate science was unsettled (no, I’m not going to link to it), and his fervent recommendation that we should continue shambling forward, into the catastrophe we so dearly want to sag our faces at.
I’ll take this back later, I’m fairly sure, but where else can you entertain private thoughts if not out here in a public blog?
Today I’m calling for actual partition of the United States into two different countries. Or three. But more than one, for sure. Peaceful, orderly, and permanent, with permanent meaning not permanent if circumstances change, which they will, along with my opinion.
But it’s becoming clear that the 2012 election didn’t settle anything, same as all recent elections, the government is still deadlocked, and the Republican intransigence seethes unabated. So ask yourself, which makes more sense, trying to find compromises where it is clear non is possible, or letting the teeth grinders have their very own country to where absolutely nobody will wander onto their lawn? Democracy! As it was supposed to function! Democracy is intended to give people what they want, but currently NOBODY is getting what they want. The Venn circles do not overlap. This is System Fail. Now, let’s look a t System Fix: Partition.
Yes there in fact is a Red America and a Blue America. We could use those as their names. One can have the peace of mind of an arsenal in every home, and the other can have the peace of mind of the Commissioner for Tucking In send an overpaid federal worker to each home every night with a glass of warm milk and a bedtime story for everyone who filled out the 30-page form. Okay, maybe I’m starting to change my mind already.