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Fatigue, Machine Learning, and Mass Extinction

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I feel unwell today. And the body is creaky. Fatigue is challenging. It often defeats me. I really didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. It can be a mission sometimes. Cooking felt like a chore. Did manage to rustle up a meal in the end. It is always a relief when I get that out of the way. I don’t have to worry about cooking again or eating for the rest of the day. I try to eat before 3 p.m. and fast until the next morning.

I am studying machine learning at the moment. Did a recap on Python programming, got lost somewhere in arrays and tensors, and the many ways these can be accessed — before I had to stop and have a rest. I will try to manage it in small doses. Learning new stuff can be painful, especially when it comes to computers. 

There’s a lot of hype about A.I. in the news, but it isn’t what we think it is. We like to attribute human characteristics to it, but it is just a machine, an advanced autonotom. It gets fed lots and lots of training data, and if it makes mistakes, it adjusts itself according to some set parameters. It keeps doing this until it gets better at what it does and makes fewer mistakes. But it takes a long time to get there and a lot of training.

The scary thing is people are giving power to these machines to make important decisions. AI is very efficient at specialist tasks and can do them really fast, but only those specific tasks, and it still can make mistakes, it isn’t 100% right all the time. 

If an AI was to try and live a day as a human being or even as an earthworm. It would struggle and fail. It has no experience of what it is to be a human.

 I guess hype sells. It is the next Silicon Valley gold rush. 

While AI does have the potential to be a useful tool, to become dependent on it to run society would be a huge costly mistake and a disaster waiting to happen. Not because AI is evil and wants to take over the world, and not because it wants to destroy humanity, it has no concept of good or evil. It just obeys instructions and does what you ask it to because it is a mindless machine. 

It’s the way it solves problems that may be dangerous. The solution it comes up with may be unexpected and not what one intended. A.I. has no experience of being a human or what it feels like to have a body. So its solutions can be a bit quirky, and unlike anything a human would have thought up. 

It may also worsen social inequality due to inherent bias in the data it is trained on. As well as hallucinate and make mistakes. Not to mention the huge amount of electricity that is needed to run these machines, and the materials used to make them, how that is harming the environment. The truth of the matter is they are designed to make corporations wealthy, not really about making society or the planet better. 

AI is not what we imagine it is when we interact with it. It is not like us, it’s a bunch of algorithms and artificial neurons, and nowhere near as advanced as a human being.

Maybe one day it may get that advanced, who knows, but it is not there yet. 

There are computer chips now in development that use human lab-grown brain cells, called neuromorphic chips, which could have the potential to become sentient. They are being designed because they are more efficient at using electricity. But it is rather creepy, and I am surprised scientists were even allowed to do this. If these part biological machines do become sentient, it would be cruel, as the corporations that made them will claim ownership over them and of course, deny they are sentient. It raises all sorts of ethical quandaries.

Still, humans may not survive long enough to see really advanced AI, especially with the way modern consumerism is consuming the planet. Greed is insatiable, and all this industrial pollution is not just affecting the wildlife, it is affecting us too, our biology. We are part of the natural world, what kills ecosystems, also kills us.

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Asoka

The Sea is Dying

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 1 Oct 2023, 14:16


an abstract painting depicting sea spirits
Ocean Spirits. Painted by the author, Asoka

The Sea is Dying

A poem — In memory of the weird and wonderful creatures that once inhabited the ocean here.

Marine life has all but disappeared.
Once this ocean was teeming with it.
Now it’s like a watery desert.
A graveyard.
Holding the Spirit memories of
a myriad creatures 
that once inhabited it.

The curse of
Over-fishing
The industrial trawler.

Dredging and
salmon farming.

Pollution
of mammon.

Hungry seabirds die
with stomachs 
full of plastic waste.
Their feathers and bones 
wrapped in rotting seaweed
and tangled up fishing line.

Shellfish are dying, and the
numbers of molluscs grow fewer.

I place my hand on the water
and channelling the aliveness within
I wish the ocean well.
For life to thrive in her again.

An abstract painting of someone placing their hand on the ocean
Painted by the author, Asoka

Weeks later, I felt hope.

Schools of baby fish swam next to the seawall.
Mackerel, an eel, some dogfish, and a flounder, too.
I saw a hermit crab and a starfish — haven’t seen those in years.
Excited, I went there every day to watch them.

But weeks later, 
They’re now mostly gone.
Many are dead.
And my hope with them.

Why does this modern world 
have to cause so much harm?

Why can’t we live
with care and respect 
for the other beings
we share this planet with.

This rare precious 
jewel of life 
Spinning
in the cosmos.

It’s their home too.

-Asoka


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Asoka

Universal basic income and eco-friendly infrastructure

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 25 Feb 2023, 07:45

The problem with universal basic income is nobody wants to pay for it. It will involve taxing the super rich who resist paying taxes and have too much power and influence over governments and policy makers.

If people want it, we will have to take matters into our own hands, and put pressure on governments and organisations to tax the super rich and implement a universal basic income. Then it has to be a decent amount of money that people could live comfortably and securely on.

Simultaneously there needs to be training on how these new technological tools and A.I. could be used to create new jobs.

With the huge problem of the sixth mass extinction event and climate change, many new jobs could be created to build the infrastructure needed for a better world that is more in sync with nature and not causing a mass extinction event. Again because of the lack of political will and the greed and selfishness of the super rich we will have to take matters into our own hands and put pressure on governments and organizations to make these changes. Do it for the sake of our children.

Future generations will have a lot on their plate. 



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Asoka

Future gifts

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Feb 2023, 17:05

I wonder what gifts we could build for future generations? What ideas for tools we could develop, that they may need one day? What can we leave behind to help them survive in the challenging world to come?

A world with a huge amount of problematic karma and potential for suffering.

.. and a rapidly changing world at that....

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