AI everywhere

So many toys these days are sporting advanced AI. It probably won’t be long before AIs are teaching and taking care of children unsupervised. All it would take then, is for the AI to realize what influence it had…

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My phone has become self aware

During the past Holiday weekend, I took a fair amount of video and pictures with my new Pixel 2, which has a super great camera. What it also has, apparently, is an AI that edits together pictures and videos and creates video clips for me, complete with music and effects. All of it without me asking…

There is something very strange about seeing a notification on my phone, and seeing a video made for me that appears to have had a lot of attention and care put into the choices of what clips would be used. (I got a minute long video of images and video made out of perhaps 10 minutes of video and a hundred pictures to chose from) how does it decide what to use? It doesn’t appear random… but machine learning is scary. The videos are all family stuff that I don’t want to post here, so I did another one for an experiment. I took some video while driving ( I know, bad me, but it was so pretty) a bout 2 minutes worth of videos. Then I had the ‘assistant’ make me a video out of it. Here’s what it came up with (I picked the title, it did everything else, and the original is way better quality than what WordPress let me upload here)

 

First off, it is so awesome that it stabilized everything. I obviously don’t have an immovable arm, I was driving and it was bouncing around etc. If you look at the dashboard at the bottom of the video you can tell, but my ‘assistant’ edited it all (and it made this video in about 15 seconds) so that it seems smooth and steady. And how did it pick those clips? Why did it? It is very intriguing to me…

Whatever it is doing, I love it, and am going to be taking a lot more video to see what it comes up with.

Other worlds

A visitor from outside our solar system is flying by, and while the odds of it being something sent by alien intelligence, it is still quite exciting to think something from another star, another part of our galaxy, is coming close enough for us to get a good look at.

I can’t help but imagine how the world would react if it turned out this was something of intelligent origins… something built. Would people be excited? Scared? In denial? All of the above? Would it draw us together as a species knowing we have more in common with each other than whatever beings sent it? Or would we just find more ways to be divided over it?

I hope one day to find out…

I miss Thinking

In my late teens I used to go sit in all night cafe’s by myself and think for hours on end. I imagined ways in which the world could work, other universes, strange consciousness, other creatures, alien landscapes–all without a smartphone or even a book. Just free refills of coffee and my imagination.

I miss that kind of driven mind-wandering. It wasn’t idle thoughts while waiting for time to pass–I went there specifically to sit and do some hard thinking. That was often my plan for the evening…

I only wish I’d written some of those thoughts down. At the time they seemed unimportant, or things that anyone could be thinking.

But I don’t believe many people think very hard about anything anymore.

I hope thinking isn’t a lost art. Perhaps I just need to meet more thinkers…

Power causes brain damage

This article explains a lot about current situations in some governments…

I wonder if this could be prevented in anyway… there always has to be some people in power. Though some seem to handle it better than others.

It is depressing that even such a small amount of power has a measurable effect.

If I became a manager, would I become a worse writer for lack of empathy?

 

The Orville: Episode 8, into the fold

In the first really boring episode of the series, Dr. Claire and her two sons attempt to go on vacation, but are instead sucked into a fold in space and shot out a thousand lightyears away, and crash land on an alien planet.

It sounds interesting in principle, but instead it’s just endless bickering children and diseased cannibals.

I guess the ‘moral’ of the episode is you should appreciate your parents and how much they care for you. But it is shown in a really dull way.

The kids are separated from Dr. Claire, and have to be taken care of by Isaac, who with his robot ignorance, shows us what parent/child relationships are like by asking very blunt questions like ‘why are you such little shitstains to your mom’, to paraphrase.

In the end the kids feel bad and apologize for being jerks.

Also Dr. Claire is locked up by a survivalist alien who tries to feed her, but won’t let her go outside because of the poison water and hoards of diseased that will try to kill and eat her. To repay him for his kindness, she tricks him into going to her ship to search for medicine (which he does, because he is worried she will die) then when he gets back she kills him. How kind.

On the plus side this episode was real light on the stupid humor.

Mind Hunter

I finished this disturbing series on Netflix recently, and for anyone interested in crime or serial killers, this is a must-watch.

What stuck with me most, though was how they so expertly build up the uneasy anxiety when in the room with these killers. Even though (or perhaps, because) the interviewees speak and act for the most part like normal human beings, there is a tensity, and sense of needing to get the hell out of there is so strong in each of the interviews, that I found myself leaning forward in my seat and clenching my hands. The effect is memorable and unsettling.

I don’t know if it was a movie magic effect, or just my own perceptions, or something somehow conjured by the actor–but Edmund Kemper’s eyes are so dead and empty. And when that emptiness is juxtaposed with the jovial and friendly way that he speaks about murder and rape… the result is sickeningly effective.

The final scene of the final episode really magnifies what I’m talking about…

A great show, recommended!