Abigail Marie Lee

I would like to congratulate Jason and Emily Lee on the birth of their beautiful baby girl, Abigail Marie Lee born on Monday, September 26 2005. For pics and the birth story visit Abigail Marie Lee. It seems hard to believe babies were ever that small. They grow faster than anyone can warn.

Remember a while back when I posted that poem a friend of mine wrote. I can't find it but I know I posted it. Well the poem was beautiful and now she has a blog. So you should frequent her blog and encourage her to write more. She is gifted.
Her blog is ESPAGES.

Here are two paintings I am working on at school.

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A new paradigm in paradigm shifts

I realize this is generally a blog about art and Land Rovers and other useless crap, but Cap’n Pete has (perhaps mistakenly) left me with posting powers and I want to talk about something really important: Hard AI.

This may sound like a section of the adult video store, but in fact it is a vaguely scientific term for artificial intelligence at the human level, as opposed to the machine level.

In a recent issue of New Scientist magazine, Ray Kurzweil provides the gentle reader with a roadmap of “the next step in human evolution”--what he dubs “version 2.0.” Kurzweil is the famously brilliant and often ridiculous futurist who somehow won both the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize and the 1999 National Medal of Technology, while still finding time to write silly articles about his models demonstrating a doubling of the paradigm-shift rate every decade. (Apparently nobody told him that “paradigm” is now a cliché.)

Here is a sampling (sorry, it’s not available online for free):

“By the 2020s, nanotechnology will enable us to create almost any physical product we want from inexpensive materials, using information processes. We will be able to go beyond the limits of biology, and replace your current ‘human body version 1.0’ with a dramatically upgraded version 2.0, providing radical life extension. The ‘killer app’ of nanotechnology is ‘nanobots,’ blood-cell sized robots that can travel in the bloodstream destroying pathogens, removing debris, correcting errors in DNA and reversing ageing processes.”

Sounds pretty sweet, but there’s more:

“Ultimately, we will merge with our technology. This will begin with nanobots in our bodies and brains. The nanobots will keep us healthy, provide full-immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system, provide direct brain-to-brain communication over the internet and greatly expand human intelligence.”

What in the blue world is “full-immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system”? I don’t really know, but it can’t be good. Fortunately Kurzweil points out that his is not necessarily a utopian vision, thus further distancing himself from any potential accusations of communist sympathy. (He also uses the acronym GNR for “Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics,” without even the slightest hint of irony.)

Then he takes up the old straw of mutual assured destruction, which has also popped up in recent discussions of chemical and biological warfare agents: “This is a topic for another essay, but in short the answer is not relinquishment. Any attempt to proscribe such technologies will not only deprive human society of profound benefits, but will drive these technologies underground, which would make the dangers worse.”

Yes, it is a topic for another essay, perhaps one that demonstrates why this truism is so widely brandished and rarely justified. We shouldn’t regulate any of this research, the story goes, because then we won’t be able to take the lead and control how it is used. Oddly, a similar argument comes from many progressive-minded people regarding stem cell research and “therapeutic” cloning. We definitely shouldn’t regulate this based solely on absurd ideological objections from fundamentalists. That might hinder our global dominance in science and technology, which could possibly give some countries like India a chance to make money and alleviate just a bit of their poverty.

Fortunately, I think Kurzweil has completely overblown the potential progress that can be made in this area, even if anybody other than futurists like him wanted these things to happen.




Is photography an artform? I mean really?