With One Stroke

McCain has restored a great deal of hope to me.

Coworkers who don’t necessarily agree with my politically are even calling the election for McCain-Palin.

I am hard pressed to think of another person who could actually bring a history and actual person of outside-Washington strength.

Obama-Biden are two pols, one young and inexperienced with anything besides Chicago-style corruption politics and one old and seasoned in the ways of Washington lies.

Palin has actually run something, stood up to corruption in her own party, and is in touch with ordinary Americans in ways that nobody else running this November are: she hunts and fishes, has children, including one with Down’s Syndrome (Hat Tip: Sol).

Welcome aboard Mrs. Palin.

And you know any strategist recognizes this is also about someone challenging Hillary in 4-8 years.

Why, God?

Andree Seu, a favorite author of mine in World Magazine, encountered what we might at first blush call a freak accident or narrow escape but which God considers another chance to glorify Him:

Lawrence and Nancy’s 3-year-old son fell out of his second-story bedroom window

I’ve been dealing with the loss of a good friend and did not immediately connect the significance of God’s work reaching across these two incidents because Lawrence and Nancy’s son, Sammy, lived. But God did. And speaking through Andree to me He revealed even the smallest and most indirect part of His plan is so very perfect:

…(Y)ou might ask why, if God is so amazing, He didn’t stop Sammy from falling out in the first place. There you got me. All I know is that people were mobilized to pray and cook and watch Matty, and so it seems that God was giving lots of folks an opportunity to love in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise. And that’s the best I can do with that.

Where Is HAL?

It’s been 43 years since artificial-intelligence innovator Herbert Simon claimed that in 20 years machines would be capable of doing any work that a man can do.

Hollywood thought it would be done by the year 2001.

Mankind is a curious being, full of inconsistancies and unacknowledged frailties.

On one hand we are so very full of our own ability, claiming that we can create intelligence equal to our own. On the other, we have such a dim view of ourselves, claiming an intelligence equal to ours can be created, by us.

Defining artificial intelligence as non-organic, human-created machines capable of independent thought, cognition, and self-awareness, we find ourselves woefully short of our stated goals and claimed abilities.

Network World magazine, June 23rd 2008 edition, says that while the whole dream as one realized entity, a truly intelligent robot, is still far off, many of the individual parts and technologies are already developed. But with a very telling by-line perhaps you’ll see the issue:

The grand promise of intelligent machines underestimated the complexity of reproducing human cognition.

The irony is heavy surrounding this.

The last two centuries have been a progression of the understanding of human cognition. From the age of reason through the psychoanalysis of Frued and Williams, we have broken down our own minds and thought processes until we believe them to be simply incredibly deep chains of logic switches. We put lots of logic switches on silicon wafers and fed electrical pulses through pathways signifying instructions and found our creations could process commands: input and output.

We made them faster and faster until we thought that with the proper instructions these processing cores could, with the proper instruction sets, become artificially intelligent.

We assumed that human kind is simply a more evolved animal with deeper instruction sets, more complex preprogrammed responses. But with each new iteration of technological improvement, we are becoming more aware than ever of the gulf seperating us from our machines.

I will go out on a limb here and state that even if we had forever, humans will never build a machine that is artificially intelligent.

We will make things seem to be intelligent, but they will all boil down to increasingly complex instruction sets compiled by humans and limited by the very myopic view of our existence which leads us to believe we can actually create intelligence, and will fail in our ultimate goal.

The reason is that we are not solely the result of random processes creating complex logical structures around an organic adapted structure. But we are beings which exist here and hereafter with logic, yes, but also with will and emotions and moral reckoning.

There will always be a gulf between us and our creations: we cannot breathe life into anything.

Overheard

Overheard by my wife in a restaurant where we were eating a late breakfast Thurday morning. A little girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, asks her mother how she knows Barack Obama is not just saying things to get himself elected, and how she knows he’ll keep all his promises if he is elected.

Bravo, little girl. You’ll do just fine in life.

Why Hurry?

Words to truly live by: “Hakuna Matata”

Yes, I’m really off my rocker this time: words to live by courtesy of a Disney movie? Of course!

I’ll take my wisdom where I can find it.

In the news today there is a mea culpa without the “mea culpa” bit.

The media can make or break a story: report a sensational bit of blood however far-fetched it is and the Evening Alphabet Soup can lend credence to the slimest of fabrications.

Take HPV and the vaccines released recently: overnight there was a frenzy about how every young girl needs to get these vaccines. Especially the part about government knowing best: parents who did not want to have their little girls inoculated against sexually transmitted diseases (because every father who loves his daughter is a pervert) were considered worse than priests in the ‘dark ages’.

I don’t have daughters (yet) and I would be against inoculating for any sexually transmitted disease. It’s not that I want them to contract them, it’s that odds are heavily against their needing such a vaccine. Your children may be animals without self-control, but that’s no reason mine should be too.

Well, the media loudly proclaimed that every little girl needs a lollipop and Gardasil, and now they can eat it: the efficacy of the drugs are being questioned, seriously.

I’m not too concerned about one little dust up over some popular (and cash-cow if it were mandated) drug. I’m concerned about the idea that anything good must be rushed.

From the innocuous: Anybody watch “The New World” and like it? (raises hand) I loved the fact that this movie takes it’s time to tell a rich and moving story. Sit down and watch it. Turn off your clock and turn the DVD player around so you can’t see the time. Forget your appointments. You’ll have to. And you’ll find yourself enjoying it almost like you’d enjoy a good book. No instant gratification here.

To the important: The environment. Important? Yes! Jump to seeding the entire sky with silver oxide to force moisture accumulation to jump-start carbon dioxide processing? Not on your life. It will not be over today or tomorrow (despite what the Evening Alphabet Soup’s favorite movie says. We have time to work together to increase our energy efficiency and continue our amazing work managing this amazing planets incredible resources better than we have. That is one thing this nation has done better than anyone else.

To the political: Change for change’s sake. Heh. Have I got some excellent ocean-front property in Kansas to sell you.

So, while all y’all are running about like chickens with your heads cut off screaming about how the sky is falling while rubbing the lump the tennis ball left you. I’ll be over here getting things accomplished.

Quiet please! I’m enjoying this thunderstorm.

Also on StopTheACLU.