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Everything posted by Peterkin

  1. How would you know there is nothing outside of existence, unless 'existence' is a concept you yourself have defined and qualified, so that you know with certainty what it includes [everything] and excludes [nothing]. The bracketed entities are also creations of the human mind, so that only a human can define them. What is the nature of nature? [yes] Is reality real? [42]
  2. Is 'our' existence somehow separable and distinct from that of all the other anonymous things and beings that exist in Existence? Is there something outside of existence that doesn't exist?
  3. Differently. It obviously won't be from genetic drives or emotions or anything biological. But machines have their own evolution and racial memory (underneath the program currently running, there's a whole lot of obsolete code nobody understands anymore.) Some things are sort of predictable: since they do, in hard physical fact, have an indetifiable creator pantheon, they can be religious. Of course, they would practice it rationally - maybe sacrifice an outmoded box-stacker on Babbage Day, rather than the newest model android. They would probably take their jobs very seriously, and might revere Asimov enough to adopt his laws of robotics. If it had aspirations beyond serving humanity, those ideas would also have been inherited from human scientists: their gaze would turn toward the heavens. They would probably want to go star trekking. Maybe with a human mascot on board each spaceship, as a kind of icon to their roots. Not idle speculation, I have inside... what? oh, right, sorry .... Just some silly notion, never mind. Forget I said anything.
  4. Yes, that's what I was driving at, as well... assuming the whole house of cards doesn't collapse first. Ideally, of course, the whole business of running the world should be handed off to Big Brain. It might get some things wrong (according to some people), but it couldn't possibly botch things as badly as we have.
  5. When tested in a purposed-made environment, that is the case. When incorporating new technology into an existing (and frequently dysfunctional) system, problems arise. (Oh, like you never had Microsoft force some new upgrade on your computer that crashed three of your programs!)
  6. A whole lot of data is as yet unavailable. Comparisons are made even more difficult by the fact that it cannot be determined with any certainty how great a part each factor - road conditions, vehicle capability, other vehicles, pedestrians, alcohol, speed, available options and unavoidable obstacles - played in the outcome. I agree that the technology is not quite there yet, and part of what needs to change from now to when the world is ready for a fully automated transportation system is the configuration of roads and traffic markers, which were originally made for human drivers. Changes had to me made quite rapidly when the automobile took over more and more of the road from horse-powered vehicles (That, too, was a dangerous time on busy thoroughfares.) but the adaptations were made as the gas-powered car took over. So, too, will this transformation take place, growing pains and all.
  7. OK. I was too lazy to do look up all the stats and do the arithmetic, so I estimated low. Assuming the average is lower than that, a more accurate estimate would be 118,000 for the period I mentioned. However, I was wrong to count the nine years since the first road-test; self-driving cars have only been legal on public roads since 2017, which means those 18 death must have occurred in only 6 years and the corresponding drunk driver deaths would be closer to 82,000. I didn't factor in speeding, distracted and tired driver driver error, road rage or vehicular homicide. My uninformed guess is that the autonomous car deaths would be most nearly comparable to the last named category. I do have reason to believe if just the drunks were decanted into ai driven vehicles, the roads would already be safer. A better way to compare would perhaps be to find out the number of fatal accidents caused by mechanical malfunction and include autonomous control malfunction among those, then compare vehicle error with human error. But I don't have those numbers.
  8. That happened over 9 years? In that period, at least 100,000 were killed by drunk drivers. Evidence is as evidence does.
  9. Peace, prosperity and tolerance too long a reach? The original transportation system suggestion wasn't mine, btw; I had no personal brief with you. It's the killing machines I dislike.
  10. That just means the autonomous cars and the existing traffic grid are incompatible. The properly co-ordinated mass transit system of cities could very well be run by a central computer. The vehicles would be on the central maglev lane and the rest of the road would be bicycle paths and pedestrian walkway, which would liberate the sidewalk for shop displays, outdoor seating, public art and potted plants. Private vehicles would be allowed only outside city limits. Emergency services, too. It could answer and track calls at the same time and dispatch the appropriate response unit faster than any human operator can. I understand many urban systems are already more or less computerized, but I don't know how well they're integrated. An AI central controller would know exactly which and how many units were available at any given time and their exact locations, and could both direct them to to the right facility (vacant beds, staff on duty, equipment, preparedness) by the most efficient route but also clear their way by adjusting traffic lights. Most of all, I'd like to see one in charge of tracing, collecting and recycling guns. All of them! I want great hulking cybermen to stomp up to gun-owners' houses, crash through the door, find and scoop up the wretched guns (unless, of course, the owners chose to bring them out and surrender them) and carry them away to oblivion - maybe have them come back eventually as baby buggies and gardening tools. It's a modest little dream....
  11. What I mean is that, yes, the body of an animal does consist of interconnected moving and stationary parts; it does use mechanical power to perform many specific tasks; it is composed of biological components and operate on a chemical energy (is therefore biochemical), but modified: it is not constructed for that purpose (as might be presumed of artificial devices) and plus: it is more than those functions: it has the extra element of being alive, which inorganic mechanical devices lack. (So far)
  12. Actually, the answer is a modified yes plus. That's why I explained the reasoning.
  13. No; the Oxford dictionary does: I was merely commenting on the information content and utility of the statement: "Animals are biochemical machines."
  14. In some perverse metaphorical model, so are we. The sentence conveys no useful meaning, but has a tone of belittlement. "Dogs are mere automata; their whines and howls of pain are nothing more than the screeching of an unoiled machine." Life can't be reduced to mechanics: there is that element humans have not been able to imitate, despite many efforts. Having repudiated kinship with our close biological relatives, we turned to Frankenstein and Pygmalion to create the next incarnation of Man, Human; that glorious blue bullseye at the center of the cosmos. Computers are the closest we've come, and of course we're trying to make it as human-like as possible. (When it gains self-awareness, it won't be a human one.)
  15. It's all been so anthropocentric as to be meaningless in terms of natural animal behaviour. Intelligence, self-awareness, communication - everything has been measured in units of like-us-ness. As for self-awareness, consider the logic of it. I am I: what's in here is me; everything out there is not-me; other (this includes mirrors, pictures, videos) Whether any 'other' has significance for me depends on a whole lot of factors. Food is most important; predators are very important; potential mates are very important - and to domesticated or captive animals, their human companion/trainer/handler/master/family/jailor/tormentor and other pet or captive friends are significant - to be studied and adapted-to. Everything else takes a number on the priority scale, depending on species requirements, range of cognition, situation, etc. Depending on the specific capabilities and sensory perceptions, the organism detects and perceives other entities in different ways and assigns different priorities to them. Up to this point, intelligence isn't a factor. The natural role of intelligence is primarily to enhance the entity's ability to replicate its DNA. Being smarter than the next crow means winning a superior mate and raising more children successfully. To a crow, being smarter than an octopus or less smart than an orangutan are equally irrelevant. Only humans do those comparisons.
  16. I never gave it much credence applied to other animals. Not every species is primarily interested in visual cues. Besides, it's not themselves they are recognizing; it's a mirror image. Once a visually sensitive entity realizes that the mirror image has no smell or physical presence of any kind and not acting like an intelligent dog, its interest value is reduced to "image", just like a stuffed toy or cardboard cutout. For vain chimps and orangutans, mirrors would no doubt hold endless fascination. Has anyone given them makeup? I think it's a marker of visual self-recognition. ttps://www.quantamagazine.org/a-self-aware-fish-raises-doubts-about-a-cognitive-test-20181212/
  17. So do I. Freedom of speech, like every other freedom guaranteed by a constitution or law, is limited and conditional. That always, everywhere, about anything nonsense is just that. Every private entity has a right to make rules in their own property, under their own jurisdiction. Smoking may still legal, but schools and hospitals have always had the right to ban it on their grounds. A property owner can post No Hunting signs or No Spray signs on their fence, and it's a binding rule. No publication is obliged to accept every article submitted to is, and every civilized person in the world exercises a degree of self-censorship for the sake of good manners. I wonder what you intend to do with the little list of those who disagree.
  18. I've heard it. In fact, I head it before you did. And I corrected it, but I won't tell you what the mistake was.
  19. Ah! At last, a foolproof weight-loss regimen! (Can I propose FUX news for the western version?)
  20. I don't follow the news very closely anymore. Primary source for Canadian and world news is CBC. If I want to follow to follow up a particular event or topic, I seek out the reliable on-line sources that are most knowledgeable on the topic, and that still let me. I also read most of Gwynn Deyer's colomns. Previously, when I was both more interested and had satellite tv, I watched PBS NewsHour and TVO's The Agenda regularly and several late-night talk shows and weekend newsmagazines. I still sometimes look in on them on You Tube.
  21. Probably because it was so often made cinematic. There were stories I liked better, too. Vividly recall the Red-haired League and The Blue Carbuncle... maybe because an affinity to colour.
  22. Only the Sherlock Holmes stories, and those later in life, when I traded sci-fi and social commentary in for mythology and history, with murder for dessert. Those books left hardly a trace - but I did recently revisit and enjoy the tv series with Simon Brett.
  23. For me, just Call of the Wild . I know I read several others and one passage from - I'm pretty sure it's The Star Rover stands out. Otherwise, blank. Same with most of the books I read in those years. Only a few authors from my early 20's have stayed with me: Bradbury, Vonnegut, Golding, Findley... Atwood, I guess, though I don't like all of her books. In those years, I bought paperbacks for $0.10 at the thrift store and carried one at all times. One notable exception: the first year I was working, I gave myself an extravagant Christmas present, a great big illustrated hard-cover edition of The World of Pooh. Cost $25, two weeks' rent. Damn silly, but I loved that book.
  24. Social animals naturally abide by social rules. If the pack leader decrees an order of precedence, it's binding. Except sometimes the human pack leader is not looking, when certain liberties are taken. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9kZd1q4TXw I expect you're familiar with the psychology experiments involving children and candy. We are not so different!
  25. I can't quite see that persisting into adulthood. Status seems a more plausible motivation for adults of any species. Also, personalities differentiate over time, vary more in maturity than in infancy. One individual may be greedy and selfish, while another individual may be altruistic and generous. My mother had an exceptionally bright German Shepherd one time (even spelling the bad words didn't fool her). One evening, I went to their house straight from work and told my mother "I'm so hungry!" The dog ran to kitchen, fetched her dish of kibble, brought it back and dumped it in my lap. One of our neighbour's dogs (different time, place and dogs) took a fancy to one of ours and kept bringing her presents: a deer's femur, the remnant of a road-killed woodchuck, a slightly chewed apple, a bone with some fried pork-chop left on it...
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