LIFE 3.0

I just completed reading “Life 3.0, Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”  This was not one of my better selections, but I read it to the end anyway. The subject intrigued me. I first heard the term Artificial Intelligence used some thirty years ago, and it didn’t hurt me to finally learn something about the topic. Artificial intelligence refers to super computers with programs that learn, and adapt quickly. The only real example of AI that I know of is the IBM computer that beat the world champion Russian chess player at chess.

Behind the scenes that I am familiar with there is an army of people developing software and hardware to think like humans. The current rage of robots need AI to exist. Author Max Tegmark is obviously a genius at AI. He teaches at MIT and writes about two miles over my feeble brain level. I thoroughly enjoyed the Prelude titled The Tale of the Omega Team. This is a well drafted story of robots gifted with AI, and how they develop into a force we don’t want to reckon with. When I began reading The Tale of the Omega Team the story was totally believable given the advanced level of today’s technology. The story hooked me into complete concentration, but as the narrative developed I began to suspect Omega Team was toying with me. It was. As Omega used its experiences to learn, he quickly adapted to become smarter and smarter surpassing his creator in intelligence. The story became more and more preposterous, but still very believable. The Tale of the Omega Team could very well become a TV series.

The last two chapters were also very engrossing. Tegmark’s discussion on consciousness is very insightful, and one realizes that making an AI machine into a real human requires consciousness. How to do that is another monumental task. The last chapter deals with the people who are currently developing AI. However, they agree that developers need a set of rules by which to guide themselves to keep from creating AI monsters.

The chapters in between the Prelude and Consciousness were so steeped in physics, philosophy, and mathematics that I found them about as exciting as I did during college reading my books on differential equations, and meta-physics. The physics discussions were so far beyond my comprehension that I could have skipped them and been just as satisfied. Most probably, that is because my knowledge of physics peaked in 1960, and the physics in this tome has developed since then.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I am glad I finished. Because of the level of difficulty I have to rate this book at three stars. However, I rate the prelude, The Tale of the Omega Team five stars.

 

Spacey Fiction

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My book club finally started reading a new selection, and made my choice of books easier than ever. I asked the librarian for it, and was disappointed to learn that it was The Martian. The only pre-knowledge I had about this story I got from movie promos on TV. Since I don’t like Matt Damon unless he is playing Jason Bourne, the trailers did not impress me. I made a snide comment about the selection and my obligation to read every book the members are reading. She told me to skim it. “No,” I said, “once I start a read I suffer through it no matter how much I hate it.”

At home I put the book on the table, and walked away. Later, I walked by the book and decided to pick it up to read the first page just to get a feel for the story. That was the end of it for me. I never put it down again until bedtime.

The Martiani is the best book I have read in a long time. The premise was totally believable, the character was real, and totally funny. It takes quite a man to be funny when marooned on a planet eleven months from Earth. His attitude was one of survival, and he was expert at solving problems throughout. My background is in engineering and this story is loaded with heaps of technical jargon and science. All of it made sense and based on fact. This character put McGyver to shame.

Now that I love the story so much I will endure the movie to see if Damon did the story justice.

PSA-170507-Science Stuff

A friend shared this and it gave me a laugh so I’ll share it
with you. Hope you haven’t seen it.

Units Of Measure

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1. Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2. 2,000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won Ton

3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope

4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond

5. Weight an evangelist carries with God= 1 billigram

6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong

7. 365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer = 1 Lite year

8. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Sterling

9. Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon

10. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

11. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

12. Shortest distance between two jokes = a straight line

13. 2,000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds

14. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton

15. 1,000 cc’s of wet socks = 1 literhosen

16. 8 nickels = 2 paradigm

It Is a Plane, No A Car, No a Dri-fly

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Ever since I was old enough to read Popular Mechanics magazine I have been fascinated by flying cars. There have been many concepts proposed over the last seventy years, and in the past few years there have been some working prototypes made and demonstrated. The video below is ones such concept demonstrator that might actually be practical.

Flying cars sound so great  when compared to sitting in traffic jams on six lane highways. Imagine what the traffic jam would look like if the same number of flying cars were involved in transporting people to and from their jobs as there are cars today. I think we would need to wear helmets while jogging for fear of being rained upon by falling debris. The number of mid-air collisions would be so great it wouldn’t be long before flying cars would be outlawed from urban areas. At least cars are restricted to well-defined roads and rules for governing movement on those roads like controlled direction, stop signs, speed limits, etc. Where would we put stop signs in the atmosphere, and if we did stop for one would we fall from the sky?

Drone technology is bringing us closer to achieving practical flying cars, and it won’t be long before we are faced with a completely new set of regulations regarding how we dri-fly.
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/D4uSWtazRCM?rel=0

Will Humans Become Extinct?

A news headline today featured Michael Moore saying Trump will cause humans to go extinct. Forgive me folks, but Michael Moore is a very large bag of wind. What will cause humans to become extinct is their fading memories. It seems that the young crowd in developed countries have forgotten what sex is really for. The result has been a bunch of young people screwing their jollies off without bearing children. The problem is so bad that countries have taken to importing immigrants, USA included, to save themselves. I’ve written about this before, and I will continue to write about it over and over. Sex is for procreation not for fun, although  there is a good bit of pleasure associated with it.

Michael Moore’s point is that Trump will cause worldwide havoc by his activity to abandon US participation in global warming committees. The plain and simple fact is that there is no credible evidence whatsoever to support man-made global warming and there is no measured trend indicating a rise in global temperature. Yes, there has been some melting of ice in the Arctic, but the ice has returned in cyclic fashion. Leftists spurred on by Barack Obama have been so thoroughly brain washed to believe that we will cause the earth to drown in the water resulting in the melting Antarctica that they even have the Pope convinced.

If Antarctica ice were to melt it would take well over a hundred years for it to become evident. I believe mankind is smart enough to save itself when it sees the water seeping into their lives.

Anyway, I will not be around in a hundred years to watch this phenomenon happen so it doesn’t bother me at all. All of my family is smart enough to live inland where the water will not affect them. Since the majority of crazies live on either the West or the East coast I recommend they wear life vests and scuba gear to bed.

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In the same one hundred years, we will have depleted our fossil fuel supply, well maybe, and our shift to some unknown yet to be discovered power source similar to Lithium Di-crystals used to power the Starship Enterprise will have been discovered to save the day.

The need for power will spur men to find new sources of energy that will allow us to survive. At this time, there is still plenty of fossil fuel to supply our needs for the next two to five hundred years. I also expect some genius kid to invent a low-cost process to scrub excess CO2 from the air and thus prevent any overheating of the planet. All we have to do is to shift kids from studying banking and political science to real math and real science so we might stand a chance.

Remember Michael Moore is a number one source for FAKE news, and man’s need for energy will drive him to invent new ways to get it.

 

Return To Space

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There is a huge lapse in time since my last book report. Not because I didn’t read any books, nor because I didn’t find any of them worth reviewing, but because I had no desire to write articles for my blog. Call it blog overload or blog-o-phobia whatever, it is a loss in interest in the stuff of life. One expert has told me it is a sign of depression. Who me? No!

On Ash Wednesday I began a walking routine which I have maintained for ten days straight. The exercise gurus will tell me that is wrong. I should have had a rest day in there. My idea is that if I don’t establish a habit I’d never make it past the first rest day. Tomorrow will tell the story. The point of this lame tale is that ever since I began walking my spirits have risen, my energy level is higher, my interests are returning, and I feel better.

The book I am reviewing is titled How To Make A Spaceship by Julian Guthrie. The story is true and has an interesting flow. Julian chronicles the lives of several men from the time they were young, very young in most cases, until they achieve goals set early in life. If there is one word to describe these men it is “passion.” None of them let go of the dream, and directed their lives in ways that would give them the tools they needed to reach success.

Here is a short list of the men involved, Peter Diamandis is the central character. Most people have never heard of him unless they are space nuts. In Peter’s course to reach space he runs into men like Burt Rutan a builder of airplanes and a man who flew his design around the world on a single tank of gas. Another is Erik Lindbergh grandson of Charles Lindbergh the first man to solo fly across the Atlantic ocean non-stop from Long Island, New York to Paris. Erik attributes his recovery from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis to inspiration acquired from Diamandis’s enthusiasm to reach space. Paul Allen co-founder of Microsoft, Elon Musk inventor of PayPal, Richard Branson who earned a fortune off Virgin Records and today heads over four hundred company’s under the Virgin Group. Marion Blakey second lady administrator of the FAA, and a gaggle of others who worked to launch the first citizen initiated sub-orbital flight into space.

Authoress Julian did an amazing job of telling a highly charged story of a technical nature into a fascinating spell binding read. This is one book I did not put down, and when I did, I could not wait to start it again. If you are into stories about flight, space, or passionately driven people this is one for you.

Batteries Not Included

Popular Mechanics magazine was a staple in my life for many years. It was always loaded with do it yourself projects that were easily handled by amateurs like me. Somewhere along the line, however, the magazine became a replica of Popular Science. Probably because in this modern world of plastics, and electronics, home-made seemed blasé. I gave up reading Popular Mechanics when that happened.

Recently, I received a solicitation from a young lady named Grace Ann Jean age eleven who was working a school project to raise money by selling magazines. I looked over the list and bought a subscription to Popular Mechanics.

The very first issue I received showed a flying car on the cover. Oh no I thought, not another one. Sure enough the author showed the history of flying car articles in Popular Mechanics since 1957. Up to this point there have been five, and this issue makes six. The article is titled The Future of the Flying Car (For real this time maybe) features a car based on drone technology. It is perfectly plausible. The company that is promoting the car says it will have a twenty-three minute flying time. I guess that is progress.

This morning I spent time catching up on the week’s e-mails and found one from my retired Air Force pilot buddy with a video featuring a lady who remarkably resembles Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I am still laughing. Watch it, and tell me if you don’t react the same way.

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