Artificial Intelligence (AI), Is It Something To Be Afraid Of?

Today, I got a good dose of artificial intelligence, and I am afraid. All we have been hearing of late is that AI will do this and AI will do that with the implication that humans will be no longer be needed. Don’t believe it. That might happen in a hundred years, but it is not ready today. That is why I am afraid. The AI promoters are the same ones who have been drilling man-made global warming on us for the past forty years. When I was still a productive citizen meaning I was still working I was sold on the BS that computer salesman pushed. That was in the 1980’s when the PC was still kind of young. Oh the miracles these devices would perform for us! It has been thirty-some years since then and I’m still waiting for the miracles to happen. I must admit that PC’s have gotten better and the memory required to do good stuff has grown and some of the pitches are being realized. I was also reading about AI back in the eighties. I’m glad I’m not hanging by my thumbs while waiting for that to happen.

A month ago I got the urge to sell some of the stuff I have laying around the house. I was a big fan of eBay and had well over fifty sales under my belt. It took me a long time to learn how to use the service productively. Naturally, I tried to log in under my old user name and password and failed, and failed, and failed. Nothing I did would get me into my account. In desperation I opened a new account to quit wasting time. I wasted hours trying to get on with a new secure password. Everything I tried failed. Miraculously one of the tries worked and I got on to sell.

I selected two items which I thought would be easy; a Toy train set, and a lift for transferring a person from a bed to a wheelchair. A friend sold a lift just six months ago and clued me in how to ship it. (no shipping only local pickup) Both sales blew up on me. I thought the toy train would be an easy one, and it was, except for shipping. I knew the train would require some special handling because of the size of the box. I made the mistake of holding off specifying the mode of shipment. In their infinite wisdom the AI program picked free shipping because that is what the algorithm directed it to do. I didn’t learn who the buyer was until the auction ended; the buyer is in England. Now I had to undo the damage the program did by messaging the buyer to accept shipping charges. He did. UPS quoted $760, and the post office came in at $136. I went with the post office. The buyer tipped me off that I should inform eBay of our dealings or we would both lose our sell rights. I did. This morning I checked and the buyer had deposited the amount we agreed on. The program then prompted me to save eight bucks by shipping with an eBay label. Of course being a mercenary I pushed that button. It failed. I tried and tried but it kept failing. Finally I said to myself, find a human who can help. I pushed a phone icon to speak to someone. Success, But only after my screen shows me a code. My phone rings and an automaton voice asks for the code. I pump it in and get transferred to another voice. “How may I help you” said the voice. I answered, “I need help printing a label.”

It took repeated tries and three phone calls to finally get the voice to understand something I said. The voice answered “oh shipping, I can’t help you with that please go to the shipping page.”

“Bull shit” I responded, but the voice had already hung up. I really wanted this to work for me, but eBay and its AI wizards can only respond to customers who are also automatons. “Joe” I said to myself. “put a label on the box and take the box to the post office. I did, it worked. I don’t care if eBay gives me a poor rating it won’t be as low as the rating I gave them.

The second item, the lift. This thing is five feet tall, four feet wide and five feet deep and weighs seventy-five pounds. In order to box it I would have to take it apart. I specified local pick up for a reason. You want it, come and get it. Again, I didn’t specify how I would ship it because I didn’t intend to ship it. The eBay algorithm chose USPS and tagged it with a $8.35 shipping cost. I sent the buyer who is from Louisiana an eMail specifying I would return his money because the shipping was not possible for me. He replied “I paid, ship the item.” I responded by saying that if he wanted to drive up to Illinois to pick it up I would be happy to give it to him for the low price he bid. “His response to me ” I can get a brand new one for $150 shipped to my house, fuck you.”

I replied, “I think you should buy the new one. Thanks for the message, and by the way, the drive from Louisiana to Illinois is lovely this time of the year.”

I have sworn off eBay forever, and if they insist on this path using AI to communicate with sellers and buyers there will be many more people like me who will swear off. They are only interested in major sellers, and the onesy-twosy people who made them rich are being dumped.

At my age I can’t be wasting my life learning how to use new technology that is not ready to work. I would have been much better off putting both items at the curb with a sign stating “FREE”.

In between all of this I was communicating, or at least I was trying to communicate, with PayPal. I’ll save that story for another day.

Now does it make sense that I am afraid of artificial intelligence? The whole world is headed this way.

190710-Memes

I love all of them, but the last is my favorite.

Waxing Nostalgic

HOW’S THIS FOR NOSTALGIA?

It took three minutes for the TV to warm up
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/9337718_orig.jpg?307
   
Nobody owned a purebred dog
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5771634_orig.jpg?464

When a quarter was a decent allowance? And made with real Silver!
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/9513651_orig.gif?302

You’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?  Made with real copper! Looking to see if it was a 1943 copper penny!

Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?

And the ad photo was considered risqué.

http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5793323_orig.jpg?228

You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time
And you didn’t pay for air And, you got trading stamps to boot

and gas was eighteen cents a gallon.
http://www.whs1959..com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/7933130_orig.jpg?431

Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?

Not to mention Cracker Jacks!
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/9472946_orig.jpg?446

It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. 

I treated my parents to their first restaurant meal at my college graduation. My Mom’s reaction? “I could have fed the family for the whole month for what you just paid for lunch.”
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/4618652_orig.jpg?371

They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed…and they did it!

That was a sure cure for Attention Deficit Disorder.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/3538059_orig.jpg?467

When a 57 Chevy was everyone’s dream car…
to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady

It still is.

http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/4616474_orig.jpg?485

No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the

ignition, and the doors were never locked?
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5972382_orig.jpg?475

Definitely not recommended today. Nine out of ten cars stolen in Frankfort, IL are left unlocked in the drive with the keys in them.

Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like,

‘That cloud looks like a…’?
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/7017891_orig.jpg?511

Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/3151709_orig.jpg?448

Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had

yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5600512_orig.jpg?451

And with all our progress, don’t you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time

and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/4829462_orig.jpg?455

When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the

student at home?

Today, the neighbors will report you to DCFS for spanking your kid.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/1499026_orig.jpg?419

Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings,

drugs, gangs, etc Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!

But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2871922_orig.jpg?354
   
as well as summers filled with bike rides, Hula hoops, and visits to the pool, and

eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
   
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/3042943_orig.jpg?401

Didn’t that feel good, just to go back and say,
‘Yeah, I remember that’?
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/1969309_orig.jpg?371
   
I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a Double Dog Dare to pass it on. To remember what a Double Dog Dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.

Send this on to someone who can still remember Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow knows, Nellie Bell , Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5675889_orig.jpg?334

Candy cigarettes
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/8305766_orig.jpg?414

Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/6697813_orig.jpg?396

Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.
Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes.
Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/1163500_orig.jpg?382

Newsreels before the movie.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/6808309_orig.jpg?487
   
Telephone numbers with a word prefix…( Yukon 2-601).   Or, some of us remember when there were just 4 numbers with no word prefix at all.  And, nearly everyone had a party line.

http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/9769940_orig.jpg?495

Peashooters
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5714223_orig.jpg?384

Hi-Fi’s & 45 RPM records.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2752736_orig.jpg?410

78 RPM records!
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/6716891_orig.jpg?438

S&H Green Stamps.
http://wwwwhs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/1839486_orig.jpg?374

Mimeograph paper.
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/7348505_orig.jpg?543

The Fort Apache Play Set.  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/9346511_orig.jpg?551

Do You Remember a Time When…

Decisions were made by going ‘eeny-meeny-miney-moe’?  
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, ‘Do Over!’?  
‘Race issue’ meant arguing about who ran the fastest?  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2276542_orig.jpg?408

Catching The Fireflies Could Happily Occupy An Entire Evening?  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5845046_orig.jpg?420

It wasn’t odd to have two or three ‘Best Friends’?  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/4788906_orig.jpg?513

Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a Slingshot? 

Except it wasn’t a polished wood model like the one shown. It was home made out of a tree branch and a slice of rubber from a car inner tube.  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/952780_orig.jpg?318

Saturday morning cartoons weren’t 30-minute commercials for action figures?

‘Oly-oly-oxen-free’ made perfect sense?

Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?  
http://www.whs1959..com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2164097_orig.jpg?440

The Worst Embarrassment was being picked last for a team?

Uniforms were for sissies.   
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/2188095_orig.jpg?494
   
War was a card game?

Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/4876081_orig.jpg?344

Taking drugs meant orange – flavored chewable aspirin?

Milligrams were still a European term.   
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/8771336_orig.jpg?360

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?  
http://www.whs1959.com/uploads/1/2/0/0/12004097/5571970_orig.jpg?287

If you can remember most or all of these, Then You Have Lived!!!!!!!  
   
Pass this on to anyone who may need a break

from their ‘Grown-Up’ Life.

I Double-Dog-Dare-Ya!

Planning Ahead

A friend of mine recently posted on his Facebook page what I believe to be his own eulogy. I’ve known the man for thirty plus years and I know he is fighting cancer for the past ten. Later, another friend told me he is in hospice care.

With that in mind I am preparing for my own demise be it in the next five seconds or five decades, I think I have found the perfect tombstone inscription, except I would plagiarize the words and exchange the name and photo with mine. Let me know if you agree.

Crossing the Bridge

Today is one of those days when I feel the need to write something, but don’t have a clue about the topic. So here I am jumping into the fray hoping inspiration will kick in.

I just got off the phone with a buddy from grammar school. We discussed many things and one of them was our paper routes. It turns out that I got his route when he quit. We discussed dead beat customers who never paid on time. Those were the days when a route was a franchise, and I bought the newspapers and delivered them. If I wanted to get paid I had to collect from my customers. There were weeks when all my pay (profit) was tied up   in unpaid subscriptions. Eventually, I hounded the dead beats into paying up. The hipocrisy of these folks was that they were the ones who complained the most. The paper is late, the paper was in the bushes, the paper was wet, I didn’t get the paper, the list went on and on.

I kept the route for two and a half years, starting in the sixth grade and finishing in the eighth. When I started high school it was time to give it up. Another boy from the neighborhood took it over and had it until he finished school.

I crossed over the bridge to high school, and a new chapter of my life began. I was partially liberated from my parents and free to join clubs and sports activities at will. What did I choose? A job.

The priests who taught at my school lived in a monastery and needed someone to answer the phone and take messages for them. I was the one. It gave me a place to do homework while I waited for the phone to ring. The job started at 4:00 p.m and ended at 7:00 p.m. That gave me a little time to wander around the local business area before I started. I caught a streetcar to go home and was usually home by eight.

Kids today, don’t have experiences like that anymore. When school is finished they run to catch the school bus to take them home. If they are in sports or a club they run to catch the special bus which runs later. Too many kids today, have their own cars to use, and don’t even use buses.

I was a senior before my dad allowed me to use the family car to get to and from school. He always allowed me to use the car for weekend activities, but very seldom did he give his ride to me. I didn’t own a car until I finished college and bought one for my self.

 

Happy Father’s Day?

I’m trying to understand why we still have Father’s Day. Clearly half of the marriages in the world fail and women are bearing the responsibility for raising kids by themselves. So just what are we celebrating? Are we giving men credit for getting their jollies off to get their woman pregnant? What?

Growing up, Father’s Day meant something. Our father’s were all present in the home. The only kids without a father were those whose dads died either by accident, war, or disease. Divorce was still a dirty word. Couples stayed together for the good of the children. It seems today that we don’t have the same temerity to grin and bear personal suffering for the sake of our offspring. Granted, there were some unhappy people but nobody knew they were unhappy because a show of marital unhappiness was taboo.

Most likely the kids of these unhappy people were the ones who started the trend to divorce. They probably resolved to not live in an unhappy relationship like their parents did. More likely than that couples today are more narcissist and would rather not be bothered with marriage vows, or kids. We can blame Hugh Hefner and Playboy for the sexual revolution that opened the doors to pre-marital sex, and birth control pills for the practice of recreational sex.

You may think I am being stupid with my statements, but the fact is that all highly developed countries are now importing child bearing people from less developed countries to keep their populations sustainable. Our government leaders have been pushing us to become more like Europe and I cannot understand that because Europe is in a world of hurt. Why? Europe’s population is at a point where they cannot sustain their cultures anymore. Maybe our leaders want our population to be decimated by a lack of interest in propagation. Seriously, people have forgotten why there is sex and why we have it. The new thinking is to have sex for fun only, and an attitude that maybe if someday I get married I’ll think about having a kid. Have you ever wondered why there is such a problem with abortion? It has become another form of birth control. Planned parenthood means you only have a kid when you want one, and not when nature deems.

The fight for open borders is strongly due to keeping the birthrate in the US above 1.83 children per family. That is the number required to maintain the stability of the culture. Do we think Germany was right to allow so many mid-eastern people to march into their midst? Their birth rate is less than 1.3 kids per family which is below the point of recoverability, good-bye Germany. In the meantime, existing Germans will have a young population of muslims to pay German pensions. What do they care about the future German generations? They have  destroyed their culture by adopting the politically correct program to save the planet by adopting population control. They just didn’t know how, or when to stop. The cure was really simple, allow Nature to run it’s course, and the population would have happened. The problem is that we are so smart that we really believe that a minuscule bunch of people can affect the course of a planet that has been in existence for billions of years. How smart are we to believe that the answer is to reduce the number of people by artificial means when natural selection will do it for us. We really believe that disease, pestilence, war, natural disaster, asteroid collisions is never going to happen, and we will run the planet out of resources. Poor us. We will be crawling all over each other stealing food from neighbors trying to stay alive. Yet these same smart people cannot see themselves being smart enough to solve starvation problems when they occur. Instead they resist using genetically modified foods which grow well and in abundance because they are afraid of eating something strange. Organic is the name of the game, eat healthy, stay healthy, live longer.

The only conclusion I have come to is that Father’s Day is still alive because I am a father, and my kids need a special day to remember that. They need a day to show their kids how to venerate their dad so when their kids have kids they will know to do the same. Living by example is the philosophy I used to raise my kids, and that is why they just stopped by and brought me lunch on this day.

Oh yeah, father’s like to lecture like I just did above, and on Father’s Day my kids can’t say anything negative about my lectures.

Happy Father’s Day!

Cross At Your Own Risk

Illinois is a great state to live in if you are socialist. We put California and New York to shame when it comes to one party politics, graft, and families who make politics a business. Our last election put a democrat governor back in the statehouse and our legislature can’t increase taxes fast enough. The increases are not going to fix real problems but to fuel unmet pension obligations for public sector workers. By law the pensions are funded every year, but our politicians have seen fit to use the money elsewhere. The funds are in dire straits. My town is loaded with retired teachers and supervisors. All I can say is what I observe. These people live a whole lot better on a pension than they did working.

Meanwhile we have some very serious infrastructure problems which are going unaddressed. One in particular is the Inter-state 80 bridge over the DesPlaines river in Joliet. Here is how the Illinois politicians have addressed the problem.

https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/392512332-video

By the  time you see this sign it is too late to exit I80. To convince myself of the seriousness I tested the bridge last Saturday afternoon by driving over it. The structure seems to be sound, but the road surface is a total mess. I found my self in the center lane of the three lane road. I could not change lanes because I was in a sea of trucks in front, back, and on the side. I slowed down to make myself feel like that was the correct thing to do. At the very center of the crossing the road surface dips a full four inches over a twelve foot span. On land this would not concern me, but while crossing a river a hundred feet in the air it scared the crap out of me. On land when a road dips it is because the roadbed has compacted but on a bridge there is no dirt below the road surface, only air. This is a terrible accident waiting to happen at any moment.

Why is IDOT waiting to repair the problem? Good question with many answers none of which will hold water after the section of road decides to take a swim. On my return trip I exited the interstate one mile before the bridge and took the city streets. I’m lucky I know the area well enough to be able to do that. What if you are a vacationer from another state passing through. You will ignore the sign even if you do see it, and proceed.

Anyway, when the event finally happens Illinois will be on the map right up there with California and New York. The world will see the news broadcasts of our finest politicians passing the buck and blaming the republicans. Oh wait, they can’t do that there are no republicans.

Why is this bridge crumbling? It is a long story. Once upon a time there was a Congressman from Frankfort whose name was George Sangemeister. There was also a giant parcel of US Government land know as the Joliet Arsenal. George wanted to leave a legacy so he legislated that the land should go back to the people. The arsenal was no longer being used to make bullets, bombs, and torpedos, and is made good sense. George’s plan split the land into three parcels. The first parcel created the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for veterans. The second parcel created Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie. The final parcel was designated for business. I’m sure George made some side money on that one. The business that settled there is a giant terminal for transporting goods coming from China. This is the culprit. There are thousands of trucks coming into and out of the terminal. Container trains come in from the east and the west they get unloaded and then trucked to our local Dollar General stores with all the crap the Chinese send us. We get cheap goods to fill our garages and basements with and the states get a bill to rebuild highways, and  bridges. Now how cheap is that? What we don’t pay for in goods we wind up paying for infrastructure.

GR3A0941AbeElwood Enterpise Zone22032357_119192876909

 

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