Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Open Ended ...


BRT has written copiously about AI as my loyal readers know as this is open ended tech with ramifications far too important to ignore. In many instances, people think of AI as a thing, not as a set of millions of interconnected things, something that will happen without question as digital is a replicable environment where duplication, modification and networking constructs work at levels far beyond the kin of man. With this in mind, an excellent article by Henry Kissenger, How the Enlightenment Ends in The Atlantic, connects AI to the Enlightenment at deep level, a piece that should be read by everyone concerned about how this technology will impact society as we move further into the 21st century.

Heretofore, the technological advance that most altered the course of modern history was the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, which allowed the search for empirical knowledge to supplant liturgical doctrine, and the Age of Reason to gradually supersede the Age of Religion. Individual insight and scientific knowledge replaced faith as the principal criterion of human consciousness. Information was stored and systematized in expanding libraries. The Age of Reason originated the thoughts and actions that shaped the contemporary world order.

But that order is now in upheaval amid a new, even more sweeping technological revolution whose consequences we have failed to fully reckon with, and whose culmination may be a world relying on machines powered by data and algorithms and ungoverned by ethical or philosophical norms.

We are not ready for this ...

Third, that AI may reach intended goals, but be unable to explain the rationale for its conclusions. In certain fields — pattern recognition, big-data analysis, gaming — AI’s capacities already may exceed those of humans. If its computational power continues to compound rapidly, AI may soon be able to optimize situations in ways that are at least marginally different, and probably significantly different, from how humans would optimize them. But at that point, will AI be able to explain, in a way that humans can understand, why its actions are optimal? Or will AI’s decision making surpass the explanatory powers of human language and reason? Through all human history, civilizations have created ways to explain the world around them — in the Middle Ages, religion; in the Enlightenment, reason; in the 19th century, history; in the 20th century, ideology. The most difficult yet important question about the world into which we are headed is this: What will become of human consciousness if its own explanatory power is surpassed by AI, and societies are no longer able to interpret the world they inhabit in terms that are meaningful to them?

Questions to consider without question.


And so it goes. K. Vonnegut

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Fragile indeed


An excellent piece in The Atlantic succinctly explains why the Constitution is so fragile.



To whit ...



To add fuel to the fire. The Atlantic strikes yet again.



James Madison traveled to Philadelphia in 1787 with Athens on his mind. He had spent the year before the Constitutional Convention reading two trunkfuls of books on the history of failed democracies, sent to him from Paris by Thomas Jefferson. Madison was determined, in drafting the Constitution, to avoid the fate of those “ancient and modern confederacies,” which he believed had succumbed to rule by demagogues and mobs.

James madison died at Montpelier, his Virginia estate, in 1836, one of the few Founding Fathers to survive into the democratic age of Andrew Jackson. Madison supported Jackson’s efforts to preserve the Union against nullification efforts in the South but was alarmed by his populist appeal in the West. What would Madison make of American democracy today, an era in which Jacksonian populism looks restrained by comparison? Madison’s worst fears of mob rule have been realized—and the cooling mechanisms he designed to slow down the formation of impetuous majorities have broken.

Fragile indeed | twice two.

Late Summer


Working Hard


A quiet conversation


Blood Moon


Grasses


Seeds

Thursday, September 13, 2018

JD Seem



Acoustic blues never gets old as seen by JD Seem & Company.

Yippee Coyote



Reggae and brass, complete with a tiny squeeze box, is the perfect remedy for a hot summer day. 

Tom Heany



Telling a story is the key to Tom's compositions. Listen closely to his guitar playing, unusual in tonality and very cool without question.

Emma & Company



Blues, elegantly done, is the focus of this piece. Check it out for sure.

Monday, September 10, 2018

TH yet again.



A truly great rock video by the late Jonathan Demme.
Check it out, it's worth watching without question.