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Posts Archive

April, 2019

Magical Newton

August, 2017

Not the briar patch, Brer Trump!

March, 2017

A Serious Case of the DTs

January, 2017

The American Yeltsin
Sunlight Through Troubled Times
Beyond Zealots and Cold-War Warriors

December, 2016

A Vandal at the Gates of Rome

October, 2016

Are you conscious?

September, 2016

Brave New World?

August, 2016

Stop, for a moment.

July, 2016

Rupert's Coup

March, 2016

Between a Shill and a Hard Case

July, 2015

Swimming in a sea of sugar

June, 2015

Information Rich, Attention Poor
Nerds need to get out more ...

March, 2015

There is a homunculus at the end of the garden path

October, 2014

Welcome Home
Determination, not dreams
Addicted to GDP
Irony?Karma? - take your pick

August, 2014

History? Whose story?
Marketing Ebola

July, 2014

As above, so below

December, 2013

A time for tolerance

November, 2013

Thinking out of the xBox
The old ones are the best ones ...
Welcome to the Gulag

October, 2013

A timely response to spying

September, 2013

Obedience and the Machine
Ban the bible?
Fracticide - don't do it.

July, 2013

Serfing, USUK

June, 2013

Deafened by gossip

May, 2013

Who needs words...?

April, 2013

It must be true
Why would they stop?

March, 2013

Beyond belief

February, 2013

RBS: doing Fine, not Time
Pillars tumbling down
Trouble with models
A matter of perspective

January, 2013

Royal Promo
Boiling the Lance
Boson Brains Rule

November, 2012

Burning symbols

October, 2012

Charles and Jimmy's little secret
Happy Birthday
Beach bums and Magi
A Reality Check

August, 2012

A journey through riotous times

July, 2012

Caring for life
Not everyone for Tennis?
A banker lie? Unthinkable!

June, 2012

A cynical ploy
Collateral damage for The United States of Europe
Will you walk into my parlour?
Beams and motes
From one Jubilee to another

May, 2012

A crazy idea
The course of time
Sorry, Harry

April, 2012

Cracks in the Rear-View Mirror
A keeper of sheeple
Principled Policing
Say goodbye to Betty
Lessons learned
Causality and good news
Manufactured irrelevance
Corporate responsibility

March, 2012

Poppycock - without question
Who's pushing your buttons?
Investigate the Blair-Murdoch Conspiracy

February, 2012

In Praise of The Seven Liberal Arts
The real story
When giving is taking
Giving it all away

November, 2011

Poking a hornets nest
Wealth of Nations poured away
Squeaky and the Paedophile Prince
Boiling frogs
Death of an industry
Change blindness
What a world ...

October, 2011

Pictures and words
Screeching to a halt.
Taxing noise

September, 2011

Hand over your money
Breeding psychopaths
Mr Fox, is the hen house safe?
A ludicrous Conspiracy Theory
Can you believe your eyes?
Getting eye contact
Partners in Crime

July, 2011

It was the Wettins 'wot won it'

May, 2011

Heir apparently

April, 2011

Putting Emergencies in Context
Underground networks travelling First Class

March, 2011

Be careful what you ask for
Water - a tale of two countries
Here we go again ...
Wake up!!!

February, 2011

The right stuff
Revolution! ... and yet, and yet.
Follow the money
Shh - don't tell the children
Does the MoD have a Cunning Plan?

January, 2011

Met Office caught in winter weather whitewash
Read between the lines
The new parable of Noah
Banking on People

November, 2010

Wettins don't say sorry
It's just not fair ...
Remember, remember ...

October, 2010

Kindness sees no crime
Pundits in the frame
Killer drones target the middle class
A tale of two Charlies

September, 2010

A failure to discriminate ...
Good Grief
A rent-boy's rent-boy

August, 2010

Size psycho-fancy
Baiting a Wikid Trap?

July, 2010

... at the gates of Rome
Monday musings

June, 2010

Guilty - but not charged
Psychopaths at the door

May, 2010

ConDemned to the Shock Doctor
Driven by metaphor
Guns and Banksters
Death of Old Conker

April, 2010

Bankster at bay ...
Nuke Iceland?

March, 2010

It's how you say it ...
Bullying Manner
Quelle surprise!
Iceland - showing the way.

February, 2010

Small steps to a far place
Seeds of silence

January, 2010

So who needs people?
Late and censored
Freedom for life

December, 2009


October, 2009

Fools served by Zombies
BBC dogs that didn't bark ...

September, 2009

Taken Hostage

August, 2009

Have a good weekend ...
High Frequency Trading ...
Money money money
Fit for a politician

July, 2009

Inside clouds

June, 2009

Fond thoughts of Tony Blair ...
A good day ...
Midnight musing

May, 2009

aaah diddums
Zal may ...

April, 2009

Echos of a dark past
Sharks in the Shadows
Worlds Apart

January, 2009

Money Matters
Killing History

December, 2008

Home improvements
Get the Picture?

November, 2008

Barak - the movie

October, 2008

Won't get fooled again
Bankers, all of them!

September, 2008

And The Winner is ...
Light relief
A Financial 9/11
That's Lucky!
On this day

August, 2008

Mark My Words

July, 2008

The Management Myth
Sense Making Questions

June, 2008

Beware this Griffin
42 Day Folly
A Tortured Silence

May, 2008

A new Dawn needed
Is Justin Webb A Neo-Con?
The Puppy, the Mountain and the Fascists

April, 2008

Attention Pays

March, 2008

Fat Cats and Pork Pies
Fed up Darling?
Swearing - it's just not British!
Brave New World?   21 September 2016

I read the news today, oh boy! Microsoft plan to ‘solve’ cancer in the next ten years. Their biological computation unit thinks of treating cancer like a computer virus. Their aim is to make cells into ‘living computers’ which can then be reprogrammed if they get a disease.

Google too have an announcement. Their new 'chat app', 'Allo' (presumably not named after the BBC comedy show 'allo 'allo from the eighties?) is now available. Apparently it will 'watch' the user and remember everything they do for later analysis. Initially Google said the unencrypted data would only be stored temporarily, but they have gone back on that - it will be kept indefinitely.

The privacy issue with the latter is significant, but we will keep that for another day. Instead let us think about the way we talk about computers, robots and artificial intelligence.

Typically, such language is peppered with phrases like 'computers that can think and learn like humans' or 'Google Assistant barges into your chats with friends to suggest what you can say next'.

Let us be clear: computers can not think and learn like humans, they do not even watch us - although a camera might record our movements. The language used represents anthropomorphic ignorance in full flight. The Microsoft notion of 'solving' (not curing) cancer by making cells into living computers, represents an extraordinarily dystopian view of the human body.

All our technologies have come out of our human imagination, whether it is transport technology, the postal system or computers. We invented them - trains, mailboxes and hard drives would not exist except for us.

Typically when we produce a new technology we first bring it forth, then we bump into it as we learn and modify our behavior. When motor cars appeared, they had a man walking in front with a flag to warn pedestrians! Today, try walking across an interstate highway - cars have the right of way!

Now it would appear that computer programmers, researchers and journalists have fallen in love with what we have imagined, so that they wish to make us like it! Human beings no longer wishing to create life in their own image, now seek to change life, their cells, to be like the image they have previously created! To make cells like 'living computers'!

When we contemplate robots thinking and learning like us, it is worth reflecting on how we humans think and learn. Most of our real learning seems to come from pain! A small percent seems to come from an 'aha' moment. How do you program that. 

Have you ever tried to get someone you care about to change their behavior? Only to eventually realize that although you can offer help, they have to do it themselves? How do you program that?

Think of a couple, perhaps one of them is a trader, working long hours to make money, and the other is supportive, providing a home. The trader demonstrates love by buying fancy jewelry and nice things. The homemaker demonstrates love by creating a warm cosy environment and being there for the other.

Although they love each other deeply, they each complain that the other does not love them: "If you loved me you would spend time with me"; "Of course I love you, look at all the things I buy you". They both mean love, but love has a different meaning for each. They have different values. Will one or both of them get the others perspective and transcend their differences? Or will love fade as they move apart? How do you give a computer such a learning experience?

No, we are not able to create computers that think, learn and feel as we do - but we do work very hard at getting people to not think, not learn and not feel, just like robots! We train our young people to be angry (look at preparedness for a sports game), practiced at shooting others in video games and even publicly conniving to betray others (in reality TV shows).

Perhaps if some of the funding directed into military robotic and artificial intelligence research was redirected into real human communication and the creation of a sustainable lifestyle, we might suffer less from psycho-somatic, stress related, auto-immune diseases.

Of course, it is worth remembering that if Microsoft did solve cancer and could reprogram your chest cells to get rid of lung cancer - there would be consequences. First, you would have to lease the software at an exorbitant rate, second, Microsoft would own your cells and finally, you would inevitably have to keep rebooting your heart after each BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death)!

Posted by Nicholas Moore    6:47:40 pm