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.

Trump Economy a Failure

I didn’t watch the democrat debate last night because I didn’t feel like getting sick. I saw enough on the news this morning to cause my gall bladder to kick out some serious bile. This bit featured several candidates proclaiming that the Trump economy is a failure because it only addresses the rich, poor people do not benefit.

Let me see now, as I read this they mean that the lowly people don’t get to make the same as the rich. I kind of remember that in a socialist society like the USSR, Cuba and Venezuela the lowly people all make the same as the rich right? That logic fails me. I keep hearing that the Cubans are all poor, but the rich are still rich, except there may be fewer rich people in Cuba. Why? Because the only rich people are the ones running the country, same in Venezuela. At least in the Trump economy there are more rich people because they are all working their asses off to make it. While all of the lowly poor people now have jobs and they are richer than they were under our former leader’s economy when everyone was on food stamps.

There must be a DNA link in me that keeps my feeble brain thinking that the socialist way is evil for the world. There must also be a DNA link in the socialists that cause them to believe that evil is good. Why else would so many of them preach the same wretched doctrine?

I read an article about the new homeless people in all the major cities of the USA. Many of them don’t want to live the idyllic life we normal people live. They actually want to live homeless because it gives them a degree of freedom and liberty not available to those of us who believe in sleeping in a bed. My mind immediately flashed a picture of settlers living in the old west, and homesteaders living in Alaska’s most remote areas. They love living free. A modern day homeless homesteader likes the urban environment over the natures wild best. It is easier to bum a meal on the streets when you get hungry than it is to go catch a fish, or to shoot a squirrel then have to clean it to eat it.

So here we are living in a society that is split into many factions. The socialist side wants to mind control, care for, and provide equal misery for everybody while the capitalist side wants total freedom to allow people to make money and care for themselves. No matter which faction you belong to there will be a fraction of them who are filthy rich who will lord over all the others.

However, I have never heard a socialist ever admit that the ruling class lives a better life than those whose lives he is making better. They are all kind of like Bernie Sanders who drives a posh car, has several homes, and lives rich while preaching free stuff for everyone.

Lately, I have been reading stories from countries who have adopted democratic socialism that are not sounding so beautiful. Evidently a seventy percent taxation is getting these people down, especially after taking in so many refugees and immigrants.

All I can say is that my kids and grandkids will have to deal with it. My sorry ass isn’t going to be around too much longer and I am tough enough to live through most any kind of political culture we impose upon ourselves. I am glad however, that I chose to live conservatively because that is why I can afford to do the things I do today.

Dead Serious, Not A Scam

HELP THOSE WHO ARE OFFENDED BY OUR SLAVE-OWNING FOUNDING FATHERS –

 

  •   I, in no way, agree with slavery or the fact that over a 150 years ago, it was what most people today think the Civil War was fought over. So, I have come up with a solution to help the offended out. While you are tearing down and/or removing the statues that offend you because someone else told you they do, do this for me… Check your money
    $1 bill has Washington – slave owner
  • 160_Sm_dollar1Front.jpg
    $2 bill has Jefferson – slave o
    wner
  • 162_Sm_dollar2Front.jpg
    $5 bill has Lincoln – did not necessarily agree with slavery, but didn’t agree that blacks were equal
  • 158_Sm_dollar5Front.jpg
    $10 bill has Hamilton – slave owner
  • 146_Sm_dollar10Front.jpg
    $20 bill has Jackson – slave owner
  • 146_Sm_dollar20Front.jpg
    $50 bill has Grant – who was too poor to own a slave
  • 146_Sm_dollar50Front.jpg
  • $100 bill has Franklin – affiliation with slave trade.
  • 146_New100front.jpg
    I’m here to help, I really am. What I need you to do is send me all your currency so I can dispose of it for you. No need to carry these evil people in your pocket that cause your life so much trauma and tears. Don’t be a hypocrite, send me the money. It’s evil! Contact me for details on how to get it to me….
  • Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Warning! Graphic Violence

This video is a graphic representation of our Federal politicians. I laughed, I cried, I winced, and it hurt my eyes to watch how stupid these characters are as they seek fame.

Is Man A Lessor Life Form?

Logo of the United States National Park Service

Logo of the United States National Park Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in March, 2011 I published a cartoon about this very irony. What sense do we make to the world, or to the universe, by contradicting ourselves so stupidly. Unless we mean that man is a lessor life form than other animals on planet earth.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

A lesson in irony.

The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.

This ends today’s lesson.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Thanks Dennis for reminding me how stupid our government is.

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