Does anyone else get a creepy, back of the neck feeling that Artificial Intelligence is really close to starting Armageddon?
Since last year I’ve had an issue with my email account in that is has taken umbrage with a random selection of email addresses. Certain people would say they’d emailed me, and I would say, “No. No you have not, that is a fib. Why are you fibbing to me? Why do you feel the need to tell porky pies to me?”
Most of the people concerned were not from the UK so the British slang just confused matters even more. After some trial and error I found that the emails were showing up in my ‘Sent’ folder. Weird.
Today I found all the original versions of those emails plus a bunch more, in a folder called ‘Unwanted’. A folder, which I did NOT create. My email decided to take control over my communications, and determined with whom I should have a conversation. So not only did it cause some abandonment issues, it also denied me a job that was offered to me in March, and I just found out about it now. Sigh. The threat from A.I. is genuine folks. Time to start digging an underground bunker and stockpiling supplies.
Talking of threats to civilisation as we know it, yesterday I went to the California Science Centre in the heart of Los Angeles. The museum is not the threat, that’s actually a wonderful place to spend a day, and tonnes of money.
Whilst I was there I went to the Imax theatre and watched a documentary on planet Earth as seen from the international space station. The Imax theatre is not the threat either, although really this awful insistence on making everything in 3D must come to an end: uncomfortable glasses and underlying sensation of vertigo are not worth the occasional ‘Ooh, it’s like I can touch it,’ moment.
I listened happily enough to Jennifer Lawrence rasping away about the space station, its inhabitants and the state of the Earth. At one point the script focused on the need for alternative energy, and Jen brings up solar power. Good, we need to promote renewable, green energy sources that will leave no harmful trace upon the planet. Only instead of doing that she put forward the idea that solar power wasn’t enough and that we should be using nuclear power instead.
After my eyes had stopped swivelling in my head I thought to myself, “Well, now I don’t need to read the credits to know who paid for the film.”
My next thought was, “Damn it Ms Lawrence” – oh yeah, we’re back on formal terms after this – “What did you have to go and do that for? You’re on Oscar winning actress, and star of two major action movie franchises, you can’t be so hard up for cash that the pay check for a 40 minute documentary voice over is going to make that big of a difference.”
It’s a subtle promotion for sure. There’s a nice picture of the sun, a nod to how great solar power is, and then a gentle remark about how solar power can’t provide all the energy we need, but we can recreate the energy of the sun, and nuclear fusion is a clean energy source. Mmhmm…. right up until something goes wrong and everything either dies, or becomes incredibly sick and then dies. And so do their descendents.
Disasters involving nuclear power are few and far between, but when they do happen, they screw things up in a big way, over a vast distance, for a long time.
Now, Jennifer Lawrence is not a nuclear power mogul, nor did she specifically endorse it. She merely read a script that, for less than a minute, stated the positive aspects of nuclear power. So this is not a down with J-Law rant, but it’s a segue to something that I was trying to explain to a 4th grader recently. You have your internal thoughts and feelings, and you think that’s who you are, that’s who your true self is. But it’s the things that you say and do – not what you think and feel – that defines who you are to everybody else.
Maybe Lawrence and the museum were concentrating on all the other things in the script like the powerful environmental message, and pro-peace sentiment that were really very beautiful; or maybe they were focused on the benefits of an educational, informative, pro clean energy and conservation video which supports the ethos of the science museum… but that one tiny little snippet of film jaundices the entire venture.
Next time I will be watching the National Parks documentary narrated by Robert Redford.