Category Archives: Essays

Lamar Smith Anti-Science Redux

lamar-smithI just read a weird speech delivered by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas on the House floor.

So what? Members of Congress deliver odd oratory on a constant basis.  It’s puzzling because, Smith is the chair of the House Science Committee.  A position that should work to progress science. As I noted in a previous post, Smith doesn’t really like or trust scientists.

In 2014, he stated in a Committee meeting that’s — you know — dedicated to science:

“Going forward, members of the House Science Committee will do our best to avoid listening to scientists.”

kramermind

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AI: Savior? Demon? Or Boring Kubrick Film?

rogue_ai_poster_by_nood2708-d3h79jd

Credit: nood2708 via DeviantArt

We just can’t trust Artificial Intelligence. At least that’s the claim rampant across Western pop culture.

AI run amuck is a well-worn Hollywood trope — from the eponymous HAL 900 in 2001 or the more recent AI robot Eva in the highly acclaimed film Ex Machina (Oscar-caliber performance by Alicia Vikander – just saying).

You know the story: In the spirit of extreme hubris, a mad and/or self-deluded scientist cooks up a machine that passes the Turing test. The AI entity (usually stuck with some acronym moniker) is declared to be intelligent (a label that many would say is purely subjective). The world rejoices. It’s implied the AI can solve all of humankinds’ maladies.

But then … Something. Goes. Wrong. Through some often unexplained or glossed over glitch, the AI decides humans are not worth serving, leading to wholesale slaughter or enslavement of its homo sapien masters. Only the Keanu-esque action hero  and the sexy PhD can save our species … with explosives. And there is much rejoicing — yea.

But is this vision true to reality? Should we assume that AI would adapt the same Will to Power sickness that has defined our species from Tutankhamen to Trump?

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The Internet of Thneeds

thneed

Note: I wrote this in 2014 on one of my many now-defunct blogs. I think it’s still relevant as IOT tech heats up. Feedback always welcome.

With the proliferation of wearable technology, RFIDs, self-driving cars and the Quantified Self movement, it’s clear that The Internet of Things has moved beyond trendy, PowerPoint slide fodder and into the Real World of Things.

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I’m convinced – Coconut Oil Coffee BioHack Works

coconutWhen it comes to diet fads or biohacks, I approach each new claim or discovery with a degree of healthy skepticism. When Paleo diets became a thing a few years ago, I tiptoed through the various claims and “amazing online stories.”

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