Thoughts

ai love

Never trust a machine to do a human’s job.

Many tasks could (and should) be automated to free humanity of drudgery and accelerate our prosperity. However, some things are still really best left to flesh and blood people. Love letters, for example. These neural network-generated candy-heart slogans are a wonderfully bad reminder of the value of human empathy and EQ - even in todays … Continue reading Never trust a machine to do a human’s job.

Robot Rights

Can robots have rights? Should robots have rights? These deceptively big questions regarding "roborights" are shaping up to be among the Big Issues debated by law makers, scientists, engineers, and philosophers in 2019 - and far into the future. I read David J. Gunkel's Robot Rights to get a handle on where academia is "at" … Continue reading Robot Rights

Scale

"The pseudoscience of planning seems almost neurotic in its determination to imitate emphatic failure and ignore empire success." - The Life and Death of American Cities   Scale by Geoffrey West may not be the easiest read (it has a highly academic style, complete with lots of highly academic jabs at different academic fields - … Continue reading Scale

A Century of Retro-Futurism Reviewed

I love retro-futurism - who doesn't? Here's a random selection of some of my favourite past predictions of the future over the 20th century ... and what we got instead.   We were promised space holidays: We're almost there with Virgin Galactic:   We were promised zip-line zeppelins: We got passenger drones (only for the … Continue reading A Century of Retro-Futurism Reviewed

We

"Those two, in paradise were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no alternative." - We I'm really enjoying retro-science fiction at the moment. The ideas imagined in science fiction of years past planted seeds in more practical minds who went on to shape the future that we live in … Continue reading We

Enlightenment Now (Yes, please, and thank you)

Apparently Reason, Enlightenment, Science, and Human Progress are controversial again. (If the conversations I've been having on Twitter lately are anything to go by, ideas such as 1) absolute progress is better than relative progress, 2) that things are not all bad right now, in fact they have never been better for most people across … Continue reading Enlightenment Now (Yes, please, and thank you)

New Gods for a New Age – Losing Our Religion and Finding it Again in (Unlikely) Places

“Belief sloshes around in the firmament like lumps of clay spiralling into a potter's wheel. That's how gods get created, for example. They clearly must be created by their own believers, because a brief resume of the lives of most gods suggests that their origins certainly couldn't be divine. They tend to do exactly the … Continue reading New Gods for a New Age – Losing Our Religion and Finding it Again in (Unlikely) Places

Cat's cradle

Cat’s Cradle

"What could possibly go wrong?" The more I read and learn about science and technology, the more often I think that we don't give enough attention to that question: What. Could. Go. Wrong. Most technology is dangerous in the wrong hands, and as technology becomes more powerful, the what could go wrong  is only escalating. … Continue reading Cat’s Cradle

I don’t like the look of your face

There is a problem with automated governance and outsourcing decision making to artificial intelligence. And that problem is probability. And the probable problem at hand is that the innocent are flagged as guilty, the right candidates flagged as wrong, at an unacceptably high probability. As we use - even highly reliable - automated systems such … Continue reading I don’t like the look of your face