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Jeffrey Boser
Jeffrey Boser's posts

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Would you give a toddler a loaded gun? or My Problem With Dumb AI Speculations.

It comes up from time to time, Elon Musk is the latest villain. The speculation is always about how dangerous AI could be. Someone brings up the stamp collector thought experiment, and horror of horrors! Wailing and gnashing of teeth!

My problem is this.. why would an AI have such power, without learning any context for the power? All the dumb questions posit a situation where the AI remains deliberately, simultaneously, ignorant of some things and having infinite capabilities for causing damage.

There was a book I read, some time ago, about a computer in charge of orbital launchers misfiring accidentally. So the humans in the book tried to figure out what would happen if a computer did it deliberately. Never mind why. So they built a satellite and a computer that could react to damage, and then attacked it. Eventually, the computer realized humans were 'people' and cooperated with them to avert a disaster. And after wondering what happened if a computer didn't learn that, decided to just use the one they already had that already did learn it, and bobs your uncle.

The thing that always bugged me about that book, and these AI questions, is why would you make something without limitations and give it an important job in the first place? Why would you give any actor the power to cause problems, then give them a task without any boundaries? Isn't the whole point of ai the idea of teaching context? Dig this hole, but stop after 10 feet. Crush these things, but only crush aluminum cans. Drive this car to the destinations, but obey the traffic laws.

You don't give a toddler a gun, just because they don't understand that it can kill. You don't give a toddler a gun because they can't understand why killing is something it shouldn't want to happen.

I have never been a huge fan of romance movies, usually because they have some sort of huge miscommunication or manufactured tragedy at their heart. And really, if the characters can't be vulnerable and see through their own insecurities from time to time, its not interesting.

Until lately, that is. Hospital stays really make one lonely when there is nobody to come see you, and I was in for a while. Now that I'm out, I really appreciate romances. But I found a new thing I dislike about them... they end too soon! Often the credits roll right after the characters show each other they realize their new emotional bond, with little time spent on the satisfaction and life after.


I can't watch any show on TNT anymore, I don't care what it is. The huge commercials drive me insane.

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I have said in the past that the Republican obsession with illegal immigration is founded on racism. I don't mean that in a Rs-are-bad-people sort of way. I mean it in the sense that everybody has a subconscious bias against 'otherness', and that in conservatives this is being exploited politically. Just look at how often Fox News brings up so-called "sanctuary cities".

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Today's thread deals with the muslim ban and its foundation. As an aside, I'd like to point out to the go-back-and-get-in-line folks that there is no line. There is no such thing as a Mexican farmer just showing up at a US Embassy office and applying for immigration. Without family already in the states, without resources or a corporation behind you, without massive amounts of time (20 years wait just for a green card now) or large amounts of money, or without some political status you can take advantage of.. forget it.

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Today's comment thread is about some military perspective on Trump and his recent decisions, like regarding Bannon and the National Security Council.

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Please forgive me..

I am a redditor, not that I contribute much to conversations much, but I browse and read there often. I know that there are hot spots of anti-feminism, racism, etc. But I also see nuanced, intelligent, thoughtful, reactions to it. So, I am going to be posting links to some of these comment threads. If you do not care, or reject the source completely, I understand if you choose not to follow me. Here is the first.

So this is how I watch science fiction movies these days:

I tune in to Interstellar, hear the phrase 'and the nearest star is a thousand years away' and tune out again.

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As far as I am concerned, if you don't believe we are warming the planet, then you belong over next to the flat-earthers and creationists. At this point if you wish to dispute this then you better have readings you personally took from instruments spread over land and sea for decades.. or go mutter to yourself in the corner while adults discuss the biggest future problem that human civilization will face.

“Human activities are largely responsible, impacts are already underway, and the sooner we act, the lower the cost and risk will be.

“This has been well-established by many scientists working from many points of view and accepted by virtually every leading scientific organisation in the world. That clarity has continued to increase over the past three decades or so.”

That feeling you get when you realize you can't print to your wireless printer, because you had vpn'd through a vpn and that your local network no longer even exists.
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