Thursday, May 06, 2021

4 takes on AI ...



4 takes on AI shows just how powerful this tech has become in just a few years, a fact showing just how open ended this software truly is. To whit.

In the NYTimes piece titled Why Trump Still Has Millions of Americans in His Grip, the article starts with why Trump keeps his voters enthralled but quickly segues to AI and what it will mean to work in America.






Take 2. The dark side ...


In a popular game, when AI is brought into the equation, the dark side emerges ...




Take 3, Aggression 2Step ...


When resources get scarce, AI bots become all too human.



Take 4, Dreaming of Shakespeare ...



Writing is hard. One has to practice at it for a long time before it becomes instinctive, something this writer has learned about the hard way as practice doesn't make perfect, it makes better.



Any questions?

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Echoes of childhood


Playing Children, by Song dynasty Chinese artist Su Hanchen, c. 1150 AD

This wonderful  picture of childhood indirectly connects to a story by Garrison Keillor reminding us of what children have lost with the onslaught of tech and the negative impact it's had on the art of growing up. From this writer's perspective, I wouldn't trade my childhood with the one today's kids are experiencing in any way, shape or fashion.

I’m a happy man. I had a happy frugal childhood, riding my bike around the countryside back before cellphones and apps that parents could track you with on a laptop, but I avoid talking about happiness because I have young leftist friends who, if I admit to being happy, say, “Well, that’s very nice for you but not everyone is as privileged as you were.”

Privilege was not what made me happy. Dad worked for the post office, we were six kids, so though we weren’t impoverished, we could see it from there. No, it was the bike and freedom and the truck farmers who’d pay a kid to hoe corn and pick strawberries and I’d take my dough to the corner store and buy a couple Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls and take them down to the Mississippi and eat them and skip stones. It wasn’t about privilege. Why can’t a man talk about happiness without getting a poke in the eye from someone who’s just read a book about systemic inequity and wants you to know it?

The great privilege of my childhood was hoeing and weeding, which is denied to kids now whose moms go to Whole Foods to purchase raspberries from New Zealand and a bag of baby arugula hand-raised in the coastal foothills of Northern California by liberal arts graduates, instead of growing food in a garden and affording their children a useful education.

Weeding is editing and editing is a basic skill desperately needed now that the computer has led to floods, downpours, typhoons of verbiage. Everything is ten times too long. (I had a couple thousand words here about my old editor William Shawn, which I’ve taken out, as you can see.) I read a memoir now and then and I think, “This person never mowed a lawn or weeded a flower bed.” Their book has, in a manner of speaking, a lot of old rusted cars and busted appliances sitting in tall weeds that need to be thrown down in a coulee and the grass mowed.

Any questions?

Not Ironman but close :)

Not quite Ironman but close. :)

A new video uploaded by UK-based jetpack maker Gravity Industries shows a Royal Marine using a jet engine-powered suit to land on a nearby ship after approaching it on a powerboat. In one iteration of the exercise, the soldier lands on the ship and then pulls out a handgun — a preview of how military and police want to use jetpacks for rapid infiltration missions.

The marine can be seen effortlessly taking to the skies, reaching the upper deck of a nearby vessel in record time.

All that's really needed are truly powerful batteries to power the engines. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

From Ice to Flowers


The transition from ice to flowers starts slowly but picks up speed after passing the Vernal Equinox. Spring has finally sprung in CT. :)

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Time keeps on ticking ...



Entropy is everywhere thanks to the two laws of thermodynamics and the Arrow of Time as disorder always grows as time passes. Thank Sir Arthur Eddington for the  Arrow of Time bit.





To whit yet again ...


Reality bites.

Relentless ...

 

Relentless says it all.  

Commencement Day



Ginny's graduated. No longer a test but rather a partner to Percy as the little chopper has passed every test as a viable scout to a rover. Tech at it's best defines just how well NASA designed this system for an economical 85 million. Awesome says it all.





Details ...

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter (above center to the right) is viewed by one of the hazard cameras aboard the Perseverance rover during the helicopter’s fourth flight on April 30, 2021.



Commencement Day, the day marking the start of a new chapter certainly applies to Ginny, right? :)


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Guesstimates


Funhouse

Guesstimates, you know, predictions about the future or even the present is chancy at best as change is the only constant and because of that, one can only throw darts and hope one doesn't miss. In Crossing the Rubicon ..., BRT talked about a perilous future, here, within that time frame, will be a tiny partial guess as to how science and tech will hold on as best as it can as in the face of a most pernicious storm of our own making.

For starters, SI FI in books and film is at it's acme with China going full tilt in examining it's relationship to same as it becomes the other super power on planet earth.

Cancer becomes solvable due to AI and intense compute power able to discern how proteins fold and how that impacts the communicative problem of cancer cells as to why they go rogue.

Fusion will happen as there is simply too much money and need for it to not happen. Think MIT and private enterprise on this front as research is beginning to bear real fruit. Timeframe - 20 years. This will be the true start point to hopefully ameliorating GW as solar, wind and wave lack the energy density to transition energy grids from coal, oil and gas with any degree of success.This is key if civilization is to survive as nature does reset if given a chance as carbon and methane injection into the atmosphere will begin to fall if fossil fuels are finally done away in their entirety. If this doesn't happen, we're toast.

Happy motoring begins to collapse as there is no more cheap energy to be found. Shale and natural gas have had their day in the sun. Scarcity becomes the new watchword for now though cheap and powerful batteries to power the inevitable changeover to electric goes prime time. 

Graphene becomes real in more ways than one can imagine. Ditto quantum computing.

Really big telescopes get built and discoveries of all kinds take off.

Space travel ...

As obnoxious as Elon Musk is, the man knows rockets and how to build them to be useful and practical at the same time. This reusability factor will expand to other vendors, as it always does, as the resources in space are too valuable to ignore. Starting with good enough and improving upon same to make the space tech reliable and relatively cheap will make space travel viable but Mars "ain't" the answer to how man will survive the coming storm of GW.

Astronomy goes lunar with radio and optical scopes being built on the far side of the moon.

Moon and Mars get bases, 10-20 years out.

The James Webb telescope becomes operational, finally.

Extraterrestrial life is discovered. Mars, Europa, Enceladus or Titan look to be the best candidates or perhaps aliens make the scene. It's about time don't you think? 

Quantum Mechanics and Relativity finally gets unified under a new theory.

Quantum chemistry goes primetime

Gravitons indirectly become recognized as the carrier force for gravity.

Medical

In situ stem cell treatment of maladies like cancer, diabetes and hear problems gain traction due to the aforementioned computational and AI prowess of systems coming online as we speak. This also applies to increasing the lifespan of man though, in light of what's coming, one has to ask the existential question, Is it a good idea?

AI becomes sentient. Question, What's next?  

Guaranteed income is coming as bots are going to take over most jobs because it's cheaper and more efficient. Sustainability will become the mantra as conditions on planet earth get worse. 

Smart weapons, autonomous bots and digital swarms of cheap but deadly drones, controlled by AI, replace the large and overly complex systems of today. Think Avatar.

Lab on a chip gets real. 

Nanotech gets real, finally.

Local farming gets real.

Geoengineering, a tech most disquieting, gets all too real. 

Media, untrusted to the max, becomes immersive. Think Blade Runner 2049.

Video goes virtual but we already know that. Think The Mandelorian.

Hardware craps out. Solar, 20 years, ditto wind. Will we have the resources to replace said tech? 

Bots as sexual companions go prime time.

Deep Fakes reside everywhere, not only in images and video but also in audio and writing.

Guns become more cherished than ever in the home of the brave & land of the free.

China and the US avoid a hot war.

We totally depend on tech, a most fragile entity without question.

All of this can happen if we have enough time ...

Resource depletion et al ... 


30 years from now, it's June 30 therabouts. Think 2050.

The descent.

Countries splinter in the face of GW, resource depletion and environmental degradation. 

Hundreds of millions die as forced migration is hazardous to one's health. India's problem with Covid is just a taste of what's coming as glaciers dry up and variable land disappears under the onslaught of GW.

India, without the monsoon, is terrifying to the max.

Science get attacked by the ignorant. Politics becomes ever more fractious. The US anyone?

Man goes tribal.

Enclaves of modernity will spring up to hold off the hordes of impoverished millions along with bands of foraging bandits, bringing forth a new dark age with islands of civilization residing, either behind fortified walls or hidden away to avoid detection. Dangerville awaits.

VR will be big as travel becomes too perilous. Cybersecurity will be job one to keep intruders digitally away.

2050 looms.



Roadway 101

 

Going, going, gone


This glacier pix, taken a few years ago on an Alaskan cruise by yours truly, may be but a memory by 2100 as glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate based on an extensive study conducted over a 20 year period of scientists examining NASA satellite images with extreme precision. To whit.