Search

Sound the Trumpets!

January 22nd, 2017 by Magdalena Tabor

Image result for donald trumpet

 

I’ve had a bad dream. No, wait, a nightmare.  I haven’t mentioned it before because I was hoping it would all go away by itself. Aside from the occasional snide remark, I’ve mostly remained silent on the subject. Much like a turtle inside its shell hiding from the world and wondering if I get to live another year toward what’s supposed to be my final chapter in which I write my own glorious ending as I plan for my retirement. Only someone has swiped my pen and I’m staring at a blank piece of paper. And the only thing that comes to mind now is “The End”.

But the recent protests and marches prove that millions of us are having the same nightmare we can’t wake up from. And that’s even scarier. Yes, I AM AFRAID. Or was. This culmination of like minded people taking to the streets has given me heart. There’s something rising up in my chest that feels a little bit exhilarating. It feels like……HOPE!

Still I can’t help wondering, how did it ever get to this point? Oh sure, I understand we all want change. But what KIND of change are we looking for? Are we so desperate we would choose an inexperienced, narcissistic, bigoted, 2 year old in the guise of a madman who disparages women and mimics those less fortunate? (No, wait, there’s no guise here, he’s not that clever.) I could go on with a list of very unflattering adjectives, all of which would suit and still fall short of a full description of the man chosen to fill the most important job in the world. A man so disgustingly full of himself, he would dare make jokes in front of the sacred CIA Memorial Wall of Agency Heroes. Now I’m not as afraid as I am ANGRY.

This person (I cringe at calling him a man) has no business taking up residence in the White House(!),  the home of our forefathers , the prestigious place of all of the great men and women (wait, we’re getting there) who built this country with integrity and honesty.  This person doesn’t even comprehend the meaning of these words yet he not only dares place his hand upon a bible, but it’s the same bible President Abraham Lincoln used at his inauguration. Was that supposed to tell us they’re on the same level????  Believe me, for him, it wasn’t so much of a swearing in as it was a swearing at. And before I say too much and go on a rant, let me just say this……..I find the mere mention of his name so vile and repugnant,  the only reference I’ll make to it is to say, sort of rhymes with strumpet, (and that’s not a bad analogy), so……….

SOUND THE TRUMPETS!!!

Will someone, anyone please, assume executive power that has half a brain and half a heart?

I’ve no doubt that this show of unity in recent days will make a difference. So take heart. Have HOPE. To quote Miss Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the thing with feathers with that perches in the soul….” I think the thing with feathers is perched on the top of his head, what do you think? Let’s have a tug at it, shall we?

 

 

line01

Mike At The Movies

January 14th, 2017 by Michael Tabor

Lo And Behold – Reveries of The Connected World Related image

I’ve done movie reviews before here on this blog WhaDaWeThink.com however this will be the first (of hopefully many) under the rubric of Mike at The Movies.

“…this is ground zero of one of the biggest revolutions we as humans are experiencing.” This extraordinary documentary begins with this voiceover of Werner Herzog who is referring to the birth of the internet at UCLA  on Oct. 29,1969 = 10:30 pm where the first message was sent to Stanford University. That message was supposed to be a simple command LOG ON but the computer crashed after only typing LO hence the title of this film – Lo and Behold –a powerful and prophetic message indeed.

Social media, FMRIs, smart phones, , virtual reality…etc. How did we get here? It all starts with the very early days of the internet. We see a woman broadcasting the news ‘Imagine sitting down and having a cup of coffee while reading the morning paper on the computer…” Yep the very idea of this scenario 1969 seemed like science fiction. Those days were what we basically call prehistory of the information explosion. Herzog makes a comparison that seems utterly mind – boggling – that of those early days and today in which he states that if you collected the worldwide data flow for one single day and you put that information on CDs and stacked them, the pile would reach up to Mars and back. What? Is this hyperbole?   Well perhaps, it is after all a Werner Herzog documentary (he also made ‘Grizzly Man) he’s pretty goofy and eccentric and whether or not this statement is 100% factual or an exaggeration, he definitely meant to mean an unfathomably large number. Here there is a tracking shot following the central processing units of the internet that seem to never end – infinite. POWERFUL !

The first 30 minutes of the film are sort of dry and technical but hang in there – believe me it gets better and a lot more interesting. The dark side is explored with the story of Nikki “the Porsche girl.” This is an unimaginably disturbing true account of an 18-year-old girl who after an argument with her father speeds off with his Porsche and ends up crashing it into a stonewall at the toll gate. The girl is killed instantly – her head nearly decapitated. This is just the start of a bizarre and twisted nightmare for the family = the mother, the father and her siblings thanks to an unscrupulous cop and the internet. I won’t spoil it here but what happens after her death is so unspeakably horrible that it’s hard not to give some credence to what mom says about the world wide web being a manifestation of evil and the Anti-Christ.

Herzog also shows other examples of the dark side of technology including: people who are forced to live in seclusion because of an inability to block out waves, frequencies, and signals from cell towers. Young people who are addicted to video games (gamers in S. Korea wear diapers so they don’t have to step away and stop playing to go to the bathroom, playing 40,50,60 hours a clip), people of all ages addicted to pornography, social media, and everything else the internet has to offer. Herzog then ponders what would happen if we were cut off from technology by some natural disaster – like a hurricane Sandy but worldwide. What if there were a solar flare that knocked out the internet? Could we as a species survive? Would this be the undoing of civilization? You might say – well, yes of course we’ll survive and get through this but you’ll be surprised to hear what experts have to say. It’s not good news, We are too reliant on technology.

Herzog visits a hackers convention in Las Vegas, defcon, where the FBI, CIA, the Chinese Secret Service, nerds around the world, etc. gather to share and trade secrets and the state of the art technology. Kevin Mitnick, the world’s greatest hacker, will be in attendance. Find out his tricks. You’ll be shocked to see what’s coming.

The documentary unpacks the good and promising aspects of technology i.e. advances in medicine the eradication of cancer, etc. And, it also serves as a caveat for the unintended consequences of the information revolution. For every step forward there may be 2 steps back. Herzog interviews someone who works at cyber security for a firm Sandia Research Laboratory. It’s pretty scary to find out that this company which is a repository for research & development and logistics in the areas of solar energy, nuclear weapons, cyber security, banking, space exploration and more was recently hacked. Yep, 100s of institutions were or could have been compromised by these hacks (classified as Titan Rain) including NASA, defense, the industrial military complex and several major financial institutions.

There is so much more here in this film. It’s an absolute MUST-see. Anyone the least bit concerned with rising technology and our future will gain some insight. Some of the major players in technology and AI such as Elan Musk voice their positions, worries, hopes,etc. SO WhaDaYaThink ? Lo and Behold can now be streamed from Netflix. Enjoy and hold on!

 

line01

The Future – Artificial General Intelligence or The GOD Machine

January 9th, 2017 by Michael Tabor

 

Image result for artificial general intelligence

So if we don’t destroy ourselves i.e nuclear war and barring some sort of cataclysmic  event such as a flood, volcano, climate change, an asteroid hitting us, etc. or anything else that might eliminate all life on this planet we can expect our species to continue to strive to make things better for ourselves –easier. What makes life better and easier? AUTOMATION. We will continue to automate (we already have the technology for self-driving cars, and many other things) and innovate. Driven by free markets and Profit incentives big corporations will continue to invest in Labor saving technology –i.e. machines that will create and produce better consumer goods and services at a faster and more efficient rate. In fact, these machines will replace all forms of human labor. No more horrible factory or assembly line jobs. No more drudgery. Indeed we will have a machine that makes the machines. And this machine will more than likely be powered by sunlight so we’re only dealing with the cost of raw materials. Eventually we will not only replace blue-collar jobs with these efficient labor- saving machines but also artistic and scientific jobs. Yes AI Or AGI (Artificial Intelligence or Artificial General Intelligence) The super wealth-generating machine, idea producing machine or whatever we call it will eradicate the need for people to work at all. After this entire AGI machine can do anything and everything better, faster and more efficiently than any human being. And it rarely if ever makes mistakes. There is of course the hacking possibility but that’s another rabbit hole I’ll discuss later in another blog.

Yes we will have in our possession the perfect oracle – a GOD if you will. To think this is not possible is to be shortsighted. Again, look at where we are today and understand that we are advancing technology at an EXPONENTIAL rate. The growth is not linear – every 18 months technological improvements with miniaturization lead to the doubling of everything we learned before. At that rapid speed, the GOD  machine is inevitable. The REAL key to all this is the fact that this device is intelligence that will be able to make refinements to itself . YEP –the system will be able to make changes to its own source code and get better and better at learning and more and more knowledgeable with instant access to all human and machine intelligence. Just picture thousands of years of research every second. The sum of all human and machine knowledge doubling every day. That is a           GOD.  We are talking about a device so extraordinary that even a Stephen Hawking will simply not have the brain power to have even an inkling of understanding of the power it wields. And now imagine the GOD machine doubling its intelligence every week AND making improvements and refinements at doing what it does. Even if it were limited and just able to reach human level intelligence and no more and it was just faster, its circuits would be a million times faster than any biological system –and again that’s an undersell. The machine will be able to provide unimaginable happiness and we will never be sad. We’ll all be gods and goddesses and each of us will have perfect health because the machine will have figured out how to eradicate disease. Yes it can make you a new heart – one that beats forever because after all we’ll have attained immortality (if we want it). Lastly, along with all this we will undoubtedly have the ability to not only clone or make a copy of ourselves, but also the ability to create whole worlds with other people who are conscious just like us. YES we will be able to simulate our world  and the rub is that the simulated people in this simulated world won’t know that they’re merely a simulation. And to get really spooky, the programmer or simulator of that world might also be a simulation in someone else’s simulated  universe ad infinitum – as they say “it’s turtles all the way down”.

 

So WhadaYaThink ? Where are we going with AI OR AGI ? Is the GOD Machine inevitable ? Do  you want it ?

line01

Tyler Talks Christmas List

January 8th, 2017 by Magdalena Tabor

tyler

Hi! It’s  me, Tyler! You’ve probably been wondering, been bemused, troubled even, at where I might have been all this time. Or  maybe not. It doesn’t  matter. What’s  important is, I’m back. The fact is, I’ve been napping for the past 2 years. Just taking it easy and enjoying myself.

I warned  you what would happen if I didn’t pick up the slack on this blog business. I hate to say I told you so but just as I predicted, the Beans failed to hold up their end of things and left everything to me. Well, guess what? I let the ball drop because no one tells me what to do and when to do it. Remember, I’m a cat.

You may not know it (well, how could you when no one was around to write about it) but we moved from Long Island to upstate New York where it’s colder than a seagull’s spit in the dead of winter. The Beans pretty much fell off the face of the earth after that but now things are getting back to normal which is still pretty weird as far as humans go. I don’t care, as long as they feed me whatever they’re having which is pretty interesting most of the time, even for leftovers.

How was your Christmas? Is it true there’s really a Santa Claws? Because, I for one, didn’t get a single thing I asked for on my Christmas list:

  • Muscle milk. Dad’s always drinking the stuff but I just can’t get my tongue go to all the way down to the bottom of the empty bottle so I asked for my own supply. I even specified I didn’t have a preference as to what flavor. But for whatever reason, it wasn’t there come Christmas morning. Were the cows too cold to milk? Didn’t they work out that morning?
  • Stinky sneakers. I just love to lay on Dad’s after he comes in from wearing them all day. I want a pair of my own even if they don’t fit. They make such nice pillows. Guess what? I didn’t get them either. Faith is beginning to wane.
  • Clementine still hates my guts. So I asked for 5 minutes of her love and affection just to experience what it feels like. Christmas is the season of miracles and that one would have proven that there really is a Santa Claws. Guess what? She hates me more than ever.
  • My para trooper’s gear. Remember that? When I first arrived at the Bean’s I was wearing it (they said it was a harness but I’m a cat, not a horse) and I wouldn’t let them take it off. Mom took a pair of scissors and cut it off! I could really use it here because the new space we’re in has 12 foot high ceilings and it would satisfy my adventurous spirit if I could get up high enough to test my flight skills. Needless to say, I didn’t get that either. I thought I was a really good boy but maybe Claws is holding a grudge because I said he’s one fat cat, stupid looking too. Who’s he think he’s kidding with that beard thing going on? I could use it to stuff my sneakers. If I had a pair.

I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas. I don’t think I believe in Santa’s Claws. Then again, mine were recently trimmed and if he got his done then that explains why he couldn’t scale the walls to get in. We don’t have a chim knee.

So……..whadayathink?  Have you been disappointed by the total absence of gifts inside your sock? Mine didn’t even have lint. Smelled okay though.

line01

Indulgence

January 7th, 2017 by Magdalena Tabor

 

 

.Image result for winter black and white

Winter deprives us of the sun

We succumb to our weaknesses then.

Dvorak –

And another glass of wine.

Reinventing myself –

A Vanessa Redgrave

As Agatha

Frozen in a block of time.

And the snobbery

Of over indulgence

In everything fine.

And sheer.

And delicate

As the intricate patterns of ice

Melting at the edges.

And at the corners of my mouth.

line01

Are we in a Simulation?

January 3rd, 2017 by Michael Tabor

I know – at first glance, the idea that we may be living in a simulation seems fantastical. Surely, no rational and reasonable person can possibly give credence to such an outlandish claim. The notion that our lives, our “reality” and what we are experiencing is merely a simulation or a copy of some other reality seems preposterous. This is just science fiction, an essentially groundless hypothesis with no sound data to support it. Right? Wrong. The Simulation argument (also referred to as Simulation Theory or Simulation hypothesis) is not only a valid claim, it’s a presupposition that is so compellingly and logically spot-on that one cannot in good faith trivially dismiss it.

Look at where we are with technology today – 2017. In fact if you compare where we were just 10 years ago and fast-forward to today, you cannot help but acknowledge that  the world is undeniably very different and perhaps even unrecognizable. Who would have ever imagined that just about every person on earth would have in his or her possession a smart phone – a thin ,pocket-sized computer which can access the internet (the sum of all human knowledge past and present), connect with any other person on earth via phone, text, social media, etc., and even transmit images and video across the globe virtually instantaneously. Stop and reflect on that for a moment! Yes information technology has affected just about every aspect of lives. It has changed us entirely for better or for worse. To deny that we are not going to progress and improve upon the technology especially in the area of virtual reality (artificial world or simulation) is foolhardy. There is going to come a time when images and worlds we create in 3d virtual reality will be sufficiently fine-grained enough that we will be unable to distinguish the difference between it and base reality. The only question or sticking point would be whether or not we can inhabit these simulated worlds with conscious beings like ourselves. Though true we still know next to nothing about consciousness today, I think it’s just a matter of time. Yes I do think  there will be a time in the very near future, that we will indeed figure out what exactly it is to be conscious. Then it will be just a matter of constructing an artificial intelligence that can pass the TURING TEST(computer has human like intelligence, feelings emotions, etc. and is not distinguishable from a conscious human being). I think it’s not only possible, but it’s inevitable.

In fact if you actually just accept these 2 premises i.e. 1. Technology is moving at an exponential rate and will continue to do so and 2. That there is nothing magical or special about the 2 or 3 pounds of convoluted grey brain matter in your head, then you must accept the conclusion that it’s possible if not likely that we’re living in a simulation. Yep, take some time and think about it. Next imagine what the world is going to be like in 10 years from now -2026. How about 50 years, a 100, a 1000 years. Now factor in the fact that technology is progressing at an exponential rate (Moor’s law – every 18 months everything doubles in terms of information storage, speed , access, innovation, etc.) while simultaneously the physical computer gets smaller AND SMALLER. Indeed, the computer will evolve into a microscopic chip the size of a cell, then atom, and then ultimately a sub-atomic particle (quantum computing) with which we can easily implant into mortal humans. Yes, we will inevitably become cyborgs (if we are not already. Elan Musk thinks we are) or perish. Again the aforementioned is a foregone conclusion if you accept the 2 premises cited here.Image result for simulation theory

 

Okay so simulated beings like us and simulated worlds like ours seems like the inevitable future. But how do you know that you’re not in a simulation right now? After all, once we’ve passed the Turing Test, you won’t know if you’re just a copy in a simulated world. In fact if you do the math and follow this to its logical conclusion, You are more likely than not to be in a simulation insomuch as there is but one original and millions or perhaps billions of copies. This life, this world, this earth with all the plants, animals and 7 billion human beings, the sun, our solar system, our galaxy, and our universe can all be a mere simulation run by some kid from an advanced civilization – perhaps year 2516.All just for entertainment. So WhaDaYaThink ? Are we living in a simulation ? This is just an introductory to AI (Artificial Intelligence) or AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). I’ll be writing a lot more about this utterly fascinating subject.

 

 

line01