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Laura Walton Allen
Worked at McLennan Community College
Attended University of North Texas
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Laura Walton Allen

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Whether you realize it or not, you’ve spent your entire life being trained to empathize with white men. From Odysseus to Walter White, Hamlet to Bruce Wayne, James Bond to the vast majority of biop…
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Laura Walton Allen

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His magisterial history of humankind, Sapiens, was an international best seller. Now Yuval Noah Harai is back with a big new idea: Dataism
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Interesting short interview with Steven Pinker on AI and gender....
 
A.I. Apocalypse: More Myth Than Reality | Steven Pinker
I could not say it so clearly as he did. I love Steven Pinker.

[...]I think that the arguments that once we have super intelligent computers and robots they will inevitably want to take over and do away with us comes from Prometheus and Pandora myths. It's based on confusing the idea of high intelligence with megalomaniacal goals. Now, I think it's a projection of alpha male's psychology onto the very concept of intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to solve problems, to achieve goals under uncertainty. It doesn't tell you what are those goals are. And there's no reason to think that just the concentrated analytic ability to solve goals is going to mean that one of those goals is going to be to subjugate humanity or to achieve unlimited power, it just so happens that the intelligence that we're most familiar with, namely ours, is a product of the Darwinian process of natural selection, which is an inherently competitive process.
Which means that a lot of the organisms that are highly intelligent also have a craving for power and an ability to be utterly callus to those who stand in their way. If we create intelligence, that's intelligent design. I mean our intelligent design creating something, and unless we program it with a goal of subjugating less intelligent beings, there's no reason to think that it will naturally evolve in that direction, particularly if, like with every gadget that we invent we build in safeguards. I mean we have cars we also put in airbags, we also put in bumpers. As we develop smarter and smarter artificially intelligent systems, if there's some danger that it will, through some oversight, shoot off in some direction that starts to work against our interest then that's a safeguard that we can build in.[...]

Source: http://www.artificialbrain.xyz/461/a-i-apocalypse-more-myth-than-reality-steven-pinker.html
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The third rail of climate change strategy
 
The United Nations says there will be 2 and a half billion more people on the planet by 2050. Each will likely create more carbon emissions, and scientists say those emissions could reach a dangerous tipping point by mid-century. To avoid a disaster, one man is proposing a radical idea. As NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports, he aims to convince people to have fewer children.

JENNIFER LUDDEN: Travis Rieder is not a climate scientist. He's a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins, and his arguments are moral. When we meet, he's in a tweedy jacket and sneakers, speaking to several dozen students at James Madison University.

TRAVIS RIEDER: How old are you going to be in 2036? Are you thinking about having kids? How old are your kids going to be in 2036?

What about that big climate deal in Paris?  Rieder tell students it doesn't cut emissions nearly enough to avoid a catastrophic tipping point. But this might. He cites a study that finds reducing global fertility by just half a child per woman could have a huge impact if it happens soon.

(posted by +John Baez)
For some climate activists, the personal decision to have a child is also fraught with moral consequences: the negative impact on the environment, and on the quality of life for those children.
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#Tesla car drives owner to hospital after he suffers pulmonary embolism http://buff.ly/2azwN8F
A US driver made it to hospital while suffering a pulmonary embolism after putting his car into autopilot.
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My favorite philosophy podcasters recently did a segment on Simone de Beauvoir's "Ethics of Ambiguity." I haven't read the text yet- I read "Second Sex" in college, as did anyone who did any feminism studies, but I'd never been exposed to her actual root philosophy- but this two-part show was as entertaining and timely as they come. Highly recommended.

http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2016/06/13/episode-141-1-beauvoir/
More on The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), this time on part III. ep. 140 laid out man’s “ambiguity,” but what does that mean in terms of practical decision making? De B. talks about…
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Researchers at the company could unveil a quantum computer that is superior to conventional computers by the end of next year.
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The true enemy of love isn’t suffering. It’s cynicism. Cynicism is the assassin of love. It poisons its possibility, steals its gifts, attacks its innocence

This is an age in desperate search of rebellion. But cynicism is a cheap rebellion. True rebellion has always been the fierce strength of love. Not giving up on all that’s great, worthy, improbable, whole in you. But standing up for it.

There are three kinds of cynics. People who want to make money without giving anything to the world. People who want power over people, not possibility for them. And people who believe they can lift themselves up by pulling everyone else down. Each is just the same idea in disguise: giving up on human possibility.
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It's not just Trump. For some reason, there's a wave of racist, nationalist, and sexist hate washing over the whole world right now (Brexit's another sad example, as is Gamergate, etc.) After quite a bit of soul-searching and hand-wringing, I'm beginning to see this upwelling of unacceptable meanness less as a disaster and more as an opportunity.

Given all the forward progress in human rights and global welfare we've made collectively as a species in the past fifty years, there had to be some sort of pushback. This is the time when the values for which we've been fighting, writing, acting, standing, and living are tested; this may be like a final wave of fever in a long illness which, if resisted, will leave us with an even stronger immune resistance to the indiscriminate hate and bullying of others.

All that hidden envy, spite, and hate lurking in all those hearts? It's all out in the open now. What are we going to do with it?

“We’ve spent the last 15 years fighting bullying in schools, and the example set by the Trump campaign has broken down the doors, and a tidal wave of bullying has come through,” said Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law
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How will we approach the ethical implications of the VR worlds we create? One of the more interesting questions circulating this decade....

"Good or bad, the market—not policy—will dictate how and where virtual reality spreads. We can’t possibly know how to respond to things we haven’t yet observed. But media experts and academics say that we can start tackling the stereotype issue by employing more women and minorities at companies making the content—and by sharing the experiences with diverse audiences who can influence what gets made."
As everybody moves in to virtual reality, who's making the rules?
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Tagline
artist, writer, tinkerer, college instructor & student, scifi addict, futurist, all-around fascinated person
Education
  • University of North Texas
    Studio Art/New Media Art, 2013
  • Lake Sumter Community College
    AA
  • Stetson University
    English/Lit Theory
Collections Laura is following
Work
Occupation
Visual artist, poet/writer, designer, instructor
Employment
  • McLennan Community College
    Adjunct Instructor, Creative Writing
  • Writer's Garret of Dallas
    Instructor; Writer's CAMP Coordinator
  • Waco Civic Theatre
    Set Designer; Technical Director; Scenic Painter
  • Self-Employed
    Freelance Writer and Editor; Astrology Columnist
  • The City Review (Waco)
    Editor-In-Chief
  • Self-Employed
    Visual Artist; Arts Coordinator
Basic Information
Gender
Female