About brobrubel

Retired journalist. I've reported and edited for newspaper in Florida, Kentucky, New York, Brussels and London. I also spent a few years as a government flack in Pennsylvania. This blog contains random thoughts on politics, world affairs and entertainment

Something to look forward to in May: The Age of Ultron

I am not worthy:

One additional thought. Has anyone noticed that there are a bunch of movies coming up about artificial intelligence and all the bad things that can happen? Like this one:

And this one:

I wonder why that is?

Speaking at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics department’s Centennial Symposium in October, Tesla boss Elon Musk referred to artificial intelligence as “summoning the demon.”

I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.

British inventor Clive Sinclair has said he thinks artificial intelligence will doom mankind.

“Once you start to make machines that are rivaling and surpassing humans with intelligence, it’s going to be very difficult for us to survive,” he told the BBC. “It’s just an inevitability.”

After gushing about the immediate future of technology in his Reddit AMA, [Bill] Gates aligned himself with the AI alarm-sounders.

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence,” Gates wrote. “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

It really can’t be that bad, right?

This week, authorities in Beijing announced an initiative to catch corrupt officials who have fled overseas. The plan, set to be put into action next month, will better coordinate Chinese investigations into offshore funds and “underground banks” used by officials to funnel money out of the country.

It’s just another anti-graft measure implemented under the watch of President Xi Jinping, who has made the fight against corruption a signature issue since coming to power toward the end of 2012. According to Bloomberg News, Xi’s campaigns “have snared more than 100,000 cadres,” or members of the Communist Party.

About 150 Chinese economic fugitives are suspected to be in the United States, the BBC reports.

But there’s one thing slightly troubling about the latest campaign to catch fugitive officials abroad: its name. Chinese officials have dubbed it “Sky Net.”

And we all know what happens when SkyNet becomes self aware:

 

 

The dark secret of Obamacare, as seen by the GOP

A Republican congresswoman, whom I’ve never hear of before (Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington), put up a Facebook post asking people to relay their Obamacare nightmares, because, according to the GOP, Obamacare is nothing but a nightmare. I’m not exaggerating. Here’s what she said:

This week marks the 5th anniversary of #Obamacare being signed into law. Whether it’s turned your tax filing into a nightmare, you’re facing skyrocketing premiums, or your employer has reduced your work hours, I want to hear about it.

Please share your story with me so that I can better understand the challenges you’re facing: http://mcmorris.house.gov/your-story/

So people responded:

Screen_Shot_2015-03-26_at_4.07.23_PM.0

Oops. Not quite the nightmare, huh. So what’s a Republican to do?

Well, try clicking on the link above that directs you to Rodgers’s Facebook page, where people are posting their nightmare. Nevermind, here’s what you’ll see (click to enlarge):

facebook sorry copy

You’ve got to admire the integrity of Republicans. By the way, I didn’t follow the link because Rodgers isn’t a source I can trust.

I read elsewhere that Rodgers did manage to come up with a couple of nightmares. One was from a woman in her 60s who said she could not longer afford care. Turns out the reason is because the woman lives in a Republican state, where the GOP made sure that Medicaid expansion, a planned element of the Affordable Care Act, wasn’t approved.

My favorite tweet from the NCAA tournament

It was total destruction. It was like watching the original “Robocop” movie and realizing you didn’t want to say “Shoot him again” at the end. (Don’t watch this if you have a delicate stomach.)

America’s guns, as seen by an Aussie

That’s Jim Jefferies. And 10 percent of the people who watch this are furious.

Oh, and here’s another reason we need gun control:

Orange County attorney Matt McLaughlin paid the $200 filing fee on February 26 to submit the Sodomite Suppression Act to voters on November 2016.

The proposal has no chance of becoming law, since it’s unconstitutional and would most likely never get approval from California voters, but it’s drawn national attention because its provisions are so abhorrent and extreme.

As the San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee reported, the proposal would require the execution of anyone who touches a person of the same sex for sexual gratification by “bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” It declares that it’s “better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath.” Private citizens would be allowed to step in to act as executioners if the state didn’t within a year, meaning that the murder of gay and lesbian people would effectively be legalized.

That’s crazy. But it’s going to be on the ballot in California if he gets 365,000 signatures. Let’s see. There are about 39 million people in California. Going by the video, let’s say 10 percent of them are furious gun owners. That’s 3.9 million people. and let’s guess that 10 percent of them are furious gun owning homophobic psychopaths. That takes it down to 390,000. Seems like more than enough signatures to me.

But what mostly bothers me about the block quote above is the part that says … “and would most likely never get approval from California voters.”

Really? You have to qualify that? You can’t say … “and no way in hell will ever be approved by California voters …”? Is there really a degree of uncertainty?