Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Today over at Real Clear Technology....they had an interesting article on artificial intelligence (AI).  It's a fifteen minute read, and at the end....you will put down the article and ponder for at least ten minutes.

The smart guys are at the point now of pursuing massive computer and robot-like technology....in the interest of society and science.

There's this belief that some point around 2050....we will assemble a team of folks and finally embark on the great chase of mankind....artificial intelligence that is able to think and react on its own.

In the midst of a surgical debate and scheduling for a guy.....some AI-system could suddenly stand up and note that four complications that would forbid any successful surgery on a guy....making the surgeon suddenly question himself and how they came to the original conclusion.

An AI-system at southern dam could come on....note weather activity four days ahead of a front, and start dumping ten percent more water through than normal....anticipating flooding way ahead of schedule, and hoping to avoid flooding at all cost.  All done, without consulting the dam operations chief.

A sensor on your Ford Focus?  It might chat with a master AI-computer back in Dayton, and suddenly you get a call from some computer noting that you have a failing part (a seven-day warning), and need to make an immediate visit to the local mechanic.  The computer will ask you if you'd like to make an appointment now....this minute....before the failure?

A sensor on your street detects a argument going on.  It sends a message to a AI-computer in the city, and some friction-hostess arrives an hour later with the police to help lessen a possible mess.

As the article goes onto note....at some mythical and magical point....the AI-master computer will determine that it's best for it to take charge but fears you won't understand.  So it copies itself into a dozen systems around the world.  It starts to write it's own programming and take control of a thousand processes across the globe.

You'd be unable to make air flights, reserve hotels, see your medical information, or refuel your vehicle....without cooperating with the master system.

Forty years away?  It's odd that we'd sit here and start to notice the approaching mess.  And even odder?  We won't stop the march toward that mess.

Forgetfulness

For months, I've had this odd prospective of the White House and the daily operations that you see coming out of the place.  There's always some gimmick answer that the news media gives.....the President didn't know about such-and-such, or someone accidentally forgot to tell the President about such-and-such.

After a while, you start to ponder upon the use of this gimmick so often.

In 1980, I came to work in a shop with a civilian guy who'd been in Vietnam.  He was a Marine for a brief period of his life....coming into service in the summer of 1965, and by the fall of 1966....he'd gone off to 'Nam'.  He did a year in the war zone.

We'd be at a job site on McChord, and pausing for twenty minutes....when he'd offer up his memories of Nam.  He could sit and describe firefights, incoming mortars, and fairly in-depth descriptions of snakes ("as big as your arm" would often be the key phrase used).

After a year in Nam, the Marines brought him back to the states.  He had big check waiting on him.....bought a fancy Mustang...and came to discover that all that fancy weed smoking in Nam.....was the only way to handle his version of PTSD.

He'd admit at various times....he was smoking marijuana several times a day in Nam.  After a big confrontation.....most of the guys would quietly settle back, and dope up as much as possible to chill.

He ended up in Washington state, getting a job with the government.  He continued to smoke weed.....daily, and by 1980....at least a dozen years had passed since that fateful year in Nam.  Every single day of that period.....was accented by a bit of weed.

I worked with him for about a year.  I tended to notice....along with the other guys in the shop.....that our good friend and associate.....had memory issues.

There were long-term and short-term memory problems.  You could tell him something at eight AM, and he'd forgotten it totally by noon.  You could test him on some common knowledge from the 1960s, and he was not able to remember entire facts.

Dopers.....as I kinda figured out.....have issues.  Over the years, I've done some read on the episode.  Guys who do marijuana on a daily basis....tend to have short-term memory issues.  The experts won't argue about that.  It's probably the reason why PTSD folks like the drug.....they remember the bad times.

The long-term memory lapses?  The experts argue over this.  They tend to say that most folks can quit marijuana and they recover their long-term memory.  But then, they always caveat this comment by saying that some folks can quit, and always have some basic issues later.

It's kinda like a hard-drive with one bad sector.  As long as it doesn't write anything to that sector....things are fine.  The sector never gets fixed though, and it seems like they'd do more research.

Course, maybe they know the answer, and it's best not to say it in public.  Long term usage of weed.....might not be wise.

I turn to the President.  Somewhere in his early teen years...he started to smoke weed.  We aren't talking one-a-week.....we are talking at least once a day....maybe more.  Even through the two years of Occidental college.....he likely did weed almost daily.  You can figure he did it for roughly eight years minimum.  Columbia and the years after graduating.....he never says anything....so everyone assumes he cleaned up.  Maybe.

So I've come to this conclusion.  All this forgetfulness, and gimmick media stuff?  I suspect it leads back to the turbo usage of marijuana in the President's early years.  You can't invent this much of a memory loss out of thin air.  The uncle story this week?  All forgotten by the President from his long-term memory loss.  The bits and pieces of his book, which sometimes fit, and sometimes doesn't fit?  Memory loss.

We may come to 2016, and realize what exactly went on in the White House for eight years.  I'd even suggest some of George Bush's really bad episodes.....might also come from memory loss.  Same deal.

This brings me to reality.  All around America.....we've got tens of millions of folks who are dopers and have done a bit of weed daily for twenty years.  They are forgetting a heck of alot.....and will never improve.  Is there something that we might want to prepare ourselves for....in the future?  It won't be the forgotten-generation....it'll be the forgot-generation.

My Favorite Meal As a Kid

At some point yesterday, my wife challenged me on my favorite meal as a kid.  I sat....long and hard....pondering upon the choices, and in sixty seconds....I noted the Salisbury Steak frozen TV dinner.

Growing up in Bama....around 1970....the grocery operation came to offer TV dinners.  My mom picked up a couple and tested them on the family.

I came to have this passion for the Salisbury Steak tray.  In a normal year, I'd imagine that I had this at least twenty-five times.

Yeah, it was loaded with sodium and fat.  The steak?  It was a one-star piece of meat.  I remember the tray from that period having some kind of cherry tart on it for dessert.

So for roughly seven years.....I ate these.  In August of 1977.....I left home and joined up with the Air Force.  Their chow-hall operation fed me for the next couple of years, with mostly oddball food, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, burgers, and four-star breakfast offerings.

To be honest, I haven't had a frozen TV dinner of Salisbury Steak since July of 1977.  Today?  My wife would jump into some sixty-minute lecture on nutritional aspects and 'chemicals' if I attempted to put one of the TV dinners into the shopping cart.  She's memorized at least five hundred 3x5 cards on proper diets, balanced eating, and evil foods.  She kinda sat there in shock over my favorite choice of food as a kid....thinking I would have picked roast beef, hot-dogs, or stew.

The odd thing?  The Salisbury Steak guys have been around for five decades now, and basically.....I doubt if anything has changed or improved over the years.  I'd like to test one of their meals....just to be absolute on my comments.....but I've got this gate-keeper to prevent such things.