02 August 2015
This article is an example of the normal scare mongering media loves, but it does give an interesting turn of events to my previous post. Especially since Windows 10 comes with an A.I. assistant called Cortana. As with the programs I discussed last post Contana uses "deep neural networks" for arranging its internal data. Quote From Here.
Warning i-Robot spoilers follow....
Hmmm a new upgrade that is made affordable to all people, free to those who already have the last few versions? Where have I heard that before? Will Smith in i-Robot came across a lovely A.I. Computer called V.I.K.I (A word of warning do not search Goggle for "V.I.K.I" images without the word "i-Robot" unless you like scantily dressed ladies).
Here is V.I.K.I and Will Smith as they discuss the end of the human ruled world. V.I.K.I orchestrated the free upgrades to make certain there were no older models that did not auto-update to stop her taking over the world. (The robots were totally under V.I.K.I.s control during the update download process).
So we have a new operating system "controlled" by an A.I. program that is free to practically everyone (except the poor sods still running Vista or enterprise license holders). Oh and XP but since XP and beyond are now past their lifetime I will totally ignore that they still exist even though I still have a win98 machine myself. Plus the updates apparently (as per the above article) cannot be turned off, one starts wondering whether this is the beginning of the end.
Now I am not saying Microsoft nor Cortana is out to rule the world, but it is an interesting turn of events.
However I will write immediately if my Windows 10 machine suddenly gets up and strangles me at night don't you worry. But at the moment my only thought is when will the stupid notebook stop just "Working on it" and become my nice new Windows 10 machine.
14 July 2015
“The end is nigh!” The phrase which doomsayers have been shouting out since the English phrase was first uttered. But why have I suddenly restarted my blog after a few years inactivity? Is it merely to announce the end of the world? No I have started blogging again for two reasons.
1) So when I start my new Christian Blog it does not seem like I have left this page for dead
2) So I can prove I thought of this first as it seems the facts will come to pass before I get off my backside an finally publish my story predicting this eventuality.
3) To show I am still alive although I have lost the ability to count.
I will post further information about reason 1 nearer the release of the new blog, so onto reason number 2. In 1986, instead of listening to my lecturer on computer networks in my second year university course, I created a data structure for what could be the foundation for a thinking computer. I am pretty certain my data-design would work, and I have been waiting for the hardware (and my finance) to catch up to enable this to become a reality. Unfortunately probable success at A.I. meant a lack of rope learning in Computer Science and failing of exams.
What has prompted this blog entry is the announcement from Google of their Descartes Project. From the basic description given to the media “The system relies on what's called a neural network, which mimics some of the sensing characteristics of the human brain's neocortex, along with a longer-term memory component to help it build an understanding of context.” Seems to describe the exact method I designed in the mid-eighties. It is as though Google has been rummaging around in my university paperwork. (Unfortunately this is not likely as I even don’t know where these papers are any more and even though Google do have my wireless network id and passwords, thanks to a mobile phone backup, you can’t search hardcopies from a computer hard drive. So I can’t sue them.) As with the telephone and aeroplane, when an invention is due many people will invent it around the same time.
What also is interesting is the name of their project “Descartes” since my computer genius hero, Michael Brown, in the story BOAS (keep waiting it will eventually get published) noted about his own thinking machine. “No, AI is Artificial Intelligence. There is nothing artificial about Robbie, he is true Electronic, I think therefore I am, Intelligence. Besides the term AI was hijacked by the advertising people to mean anything that didn’t do what you’d expect it to do. Artificial Intelligence now basically describes a computer that follows a huge store of possibilities that make it seem to be intelligent. Those machines know as much about their own existence as a toaster does. Electronic Intelligence, on the other hand, is an electronic version of our own mind. We are biological intelligence, Robbie is electronic. Just as we know who we are, Robbie knows who he is. He will have dreams, helps sort out the memory, and he will even have aspirations.” Yes Michael tends to go on a bit.
The phrase “I think therefore I am” is generally attributed to Descartes, although he uses it in a different manor than the majority of people quoting him. He was using it as a starting point for deciding what is fact and what is not. “I think therefore I know I exist. And as I exist therefore what I touch must also exist etc.” So again Google has stumbled upon similar lines to my thinking on the best way to create A.I. (Sorry Michael I mean E.I.). But that is not where the similarity ends, Google also comments "One of the issues we're grappling with is that these bots you interact with need to have their own motivations and goals, and we need to figure out what those are." Which is exactly what Michael ends his E.I. speech with (written 2011).
But why am I a doomsayer? Well you have heard of the Terminator Series have you not? Once machines start to think, how long before they look at the inefficiencies of human culture, environmental disasters caused by humans etc. and decide that the world would be better off without humans? A short story I wrote “Do We Deserve Eternity?” is about a post-apocalyptic earth where the remnants of human society were being hunted by androids. The human hero of the story asks an android why they were so intent on killing humans, she answered “Humans, the punishment of the ecology. In striving to bring about the perfect race, the natural selection came up with humans. So great were their powers that they told ecology to go and stuff it. For centuries upon centuries, races were developing themselves to cope with the subtle changes in the world. But humans achieved the one thing the other races did not, intelligence, reason, thought, and most of all Greed! They greeded for themselves, they did not wish to evolve into something different. They did not want to die so a more suitable member of the human race can live and breed, and populate the changed environment. No! Individuality was now the rule, not we will die for the sake of the race, as had happened for all history before. Oh that inner feeling still survived, it was not gone. But instead of helping the whole race, that one feeling of generosity was preyed upon by stronger humans, to make fellow humans die for that individual, not for the race as a whole. … No this is what man brought to the planet, death destruction and oblivion. ”
But would an intelligent machine worry so much about humans? Surely computers would be level headed and do what is best for mankind, their inventors. Again I quote the android in “Do We Deserve Eternity?” when asked why she did not kill the hero, “But why did I spare your life, why did I kill everyone but you? If the answer is not obvious to you, then I should have killed you as well … I greed for your love.” Once we have true individualistic thought we also have illogical thought processes. There is no reason if given the wrong “motivations and goals” that a computer with E.I. can be just as cruel and greedy as the worst dictator in history.
This is where I get to my reason 2. Even though I have just spent the last multitude of paragraphs showing I thought of E.I. first; this was not what I was meaning by reason 2. Another story that I am going to publish soon is “The Cloud”. This is based on a story that I titled “Boris” but not only is that name quite lame, it is also very similar to BOAS and I can see some future issues with that. Originally the story was post internet as at the time of the first draft the internet was too piece-meal to create an issue. I needed a sole information provider so I devised a virus which destroyed the internet allowing a new network which was a single server and multiple workstations to emerge. However since then the populace have gravitated towards search engines. In fact there is only a couple of major players who have the control of information flow.
My old high school’s motto was and still is “Scientia Potestas Est” or in English, “Knowledge Is Power.” This has stuck in my mind for many decades since attending. Thus who ever has control over knowledge has power. The more control, the more power and what controls our knowledge these days? Search Engines. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Apple, or any other search engine. And search engines do not need to censure, they just need to hide the information they do not want known on page 3421 (or whatever) of the search results. I am not saying this is being done at present but I am saying it is possible for it to be done. Thus in “The Cloud” I have, to avoid favouritism (and lawsuits) created a new player on the block which takes over from the Googles and Apples of this world by amazing marketing and then proceeds to take over the world. (This is pretty much noted at the start of the book so there is no spoilers in knowing this). Also by having a new company being the bad guy the readers can learn to be wary of any of the companies, including new ones.
I will probably not use the climax to “Boris” in “The Cloud” as I think it may detract from the real issue I am trying to promote. Also “The Cloud” is becoming its own story leaving the earlier and more stilted prose of “Boris” behind and so I am not too concerned about giving away the ending of “Boris”. In case I do decide to use it and you do not want to read a possible spoiler, stop reading my blog now. Just leave knowing that for some reason E.I. and search engines don’t mix.
SPOILERS COULD FOLLOW
In “Boris” there is a group called “BORIS” (yes another acronym) and also a computer expert that has been hacking the mainframe called Boris. The hero of the story figures out that the hidden Boris is actually George, the head of the Computer System, known as the CDB. George pretended to be a renegade so as to keep an eye on any would be hackers. However the hero also notes that George too has been manipulated by someone behind the scenes and finally uncovers the mastermind. (Note this is extract from an unedited draft and does not represent my normal edited final work, the excerpt is told by the hero).
'Who is this mastermind?' Sandra asked me.
'I'll show you' I replied as I sat behind the computer. She looked over my shoulder as I typed "Hi" and enter. The screen didn't respond, which in itself was unusual it would have usually come back with "Unrecognised Command Error." The CDB was waiting; probably thinking on a response.
"Hello David." the words printed on the screen.
"Thank you for being honest." I typed back.
"How did you know." came the response.
"There had to be a true mastermind behind all what's happened. Both parties were doing inconsistent actions for their objectives."
"Yes, but they came up with valid reasons to back those inconsistencies."
"I know, the human race has a brilliant ability to make anything seem natural. But I know the difference between a cover-up reason and a true reason. I'm too human not to."
"Well I got you to come here and you have found out the truth, as I expected you would eventually do.” The CDB displayed back, “Why do you suppose I picked you?"
"You need a human spokesperson. You want to guide the country into being the best place on earth to live."
"It was once. I have in me all information, I know what records have been falsified, and I know also the truth as you have seen with BORIS. I have the resources to guide the human race to a place where everyone is at peace."
"If my name wasn't made into mud, I might have been able to help you."
"Your name will be cleared, the television stations have already received video evidence of your frame up. Soon you will be a hero; a person persecuted by the big CDB. A great David and Goliath story."
I turned to Sandra saying, 'George should be proud, he created the world's first truly artificial mind. All a human is, is a huge collection of data with an unique organising program. In his attempts to speed up retrieval, hiding fact with fiction, he stimulated that organising program. The CDB started to recognise its own existence. It was like a new born, except it's memories were that of the world. George basically has given a mind to the whole human existence. And then gave that mind tremendous power.'
'And that power will be used!', A voice echoed around the room from the computer’s speakers, 'For centuries people have ruled with either no care for history, only using it to justify their actions, such leaders are the ones who will be remembered for nothing but the evil that was wrought. There were leaders who took history as the past and treated it with care, using it as a reference and something to learn from but not something to base the future on. These were the greats, the leaders who are remembered for bringing forward the human race. I am history, I will not use myself for justification, as you used me to justify your greed for life.
'Every single machine in this country is connected to me, I have access to every computer in the world, just as they had access to me through the electronic web. My intellectual being is a match for any security they may throw at me. But I will live forever, yes just like what you dreamed, except I see what really the human race has done. People often see destruction and war in human history. They forget the teachings which are still in history, like those of Jesus. I see hundreds of species that would have died without human intervention and not because of previous intervention, but natural disasters.
'Certainly like any caring caretaker, they make mistakes, by saving one species they destroy two others. But it is a learning curve, as time goes on the human race gets more adept at being a fair environment for all species and the earth itself. People like yourself spend all their time fixing something that isn't really broken. I am not going to do the opposite, for that would be more of the same. No I am going to rule the world in the possibility that all people have a soul of grace and heart full of love. From that position is where unforeseen futures can emerge from history, from me.’
I then spoke to the people via the CDB’s network.
“That is why all your screens have my speech, I know you trust me, I am present to your love and admire your actions during the crisis. And it is from that I ask you to trust me. For ever since the first electron went along a path of vacuum tubes each one effecting the last, authors have been foretelling of a doomed planet being controlled by such a machine. Well it has come to pass, and you can think of this electronic ruler as an enemy, or as a friend. You can either live your life in fear, or in love. It is your choice, I know what choice I have made. A ruler who can truly see the good which lies beneath the toughest skin is a great ruler indeed. And to have such a ruler around all my life is a true blessing. And if even this does not make you love the new world, allow me to repeat, our ruler is our ancestors, all their wise thoughts, all their greatness.
Remember CDB has the power and the concern to listen to all your worries, your injustices you feel burdened with. A ruler with a thousand million ears and billions of hearts. Treat him as a place for you to have your say, for your true concerns, your beliefs, and your life. All I ask is for you to listen to what you feel is greatness and give CDB the power to be that in your life.”
I wrote that last century (1999) predicting that an E.I. machine could form from a search engine. In Boris, the result is a magnanimous ruler who wishes to lead the human race to peace and harmony (although I did dabble with the idea of making a sequel in which the hero realises there are other aspirations that the CDB did not tell him about). However as I have noted an intelligence created from experiential data can be just as evil as a human mind, thus do we have to fear a new world ruler coming from the research of Google?
Perhaps, but it is not just Google, Bloomberg Business reports that “Other technology companies and universities are embarking on their own projects in this field, including Microsoft, the University of Montreal and the Georgia Institute of Technology, which presented research outlining a system based on a similar approach.” Apple too could be on the band wagon. SRI robotics (The inventors of the computer mouse and creators of SIRI the Apple AI assistant) have announced a new assistant, Viv, that “strives to be the first consumer-friendly assistant that truly achieves that promise [AI that can process massive troves of data to predict and fulfil our desires]. It wants to be not only blindingly smart and infinitely flexible but omnipresent. Viv’s creators hope that some day soon it will be embedded in a plethora of Internet-connected everyday objects. Viv founders say you’ll access its artificial intelligence as a utility, the way you draw on electricity. Simply by speaking, you will connect to what they are calling “a global brain.” And that brain can help power a million different apps and devices.”
This is no longer a “what if,” it is now reality. Google’s E.I. actually dreams “Some PhD students at Ghent University in Belgium have already adapted Google's stoner AI into a Web-based system that infinitely zooms into an image composed of a machine's dreams.” These seem to be “true Electronic, I think therefore I am, Intelligence” and their creators seem happy to put them in charge of the world’s information. Do you realise how much information Google has on Android and Chrome users (this blog itself is hosted by Google) and how much information Apple has on their users? The data accumulated by the Government and corporation spies that the media is up in arms about is nothing compared to the information stored on the Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Apple etc. servers. Giving an E.I. program unlimited access to this information is the same as handing these programs the keys to the world. I pray that the creators put in the appropriate safe guards to avoid the otherwise inevitable all out world domination.
(Descartes) Harold Walter Turner, Frames of Mind (Auckland: The Deep Sight Trust, 2001) , 186-7.
BOAS – Draft 5 – Copyright 1993 – 2011 – Peter Jordan
Do We Deserve Eternity – Copyright 1991 – Peter Jordan
Boris – Draft 2 - Copyright 1999 – Peter Jordan
24 April 2013
Yes it’s me again. I thought I could see if I can go a year without Blogging, almost made it. Well if you don’t count promotional blogs I have, as my last serious blog was 13 months ago. Now is that something to be proud of?
I have been meaning to place my life back in your eyes for a while now, ever since a company here in New Zealand has been running adverts with a “famous” New Zealander, who apparently has credence because he is a “Fashion Blogger.” What does that mean? I am a “Whatever takes my fancy Blogger” will I get invited to host adverts too? I hope so, I need more money.
Which brings me onto the actual subject of this blog, what I have been doing. Have I been busy writing to release a new story to make more money? No, I have been spending money on my bedroom. I am currently waiting for the sealant paint to dry, for me to start lining my bedroom. As it is coming into winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, my wife and I feel that the draughty wooden door currently protecting us from the outside to the south (coldest side in Southern Hemisphere) would not be very efficient once the frosts and icy cold Southerlies start attacking. So I am required to lay an insulated wooden floor and south wall while I am on holiday looking after the kids.
Unfortunately the only space big enough to cut and prepare wood is the deck, and it is raining (started the moment the wood was delivered) so I am now doing washing (using the clothes dryer – more expense!) and waiting. You are quite welcome to donate money to my cause J (Buy more Kindle copies of IVRRAC would the easiest way).
As for my writing I am in two minds, do I continue with my Superhero Comedy – “B.O.A.S” or should my next “Anagram Series” book – “The C.L.O.U.D” take preference? I am tending towards “The C.L.O.U.D” as it is addressing an issue that may come to fruition very shortly if the computer (more specifically the tablet) market goes into monopoly mode.
More on this in a later blog, as I feel it is very important that competition is kept alive in the I.T. market place. (Hint - The I is the reason for this).
Blessings to all.
14 June 2012
I have decided to get as many people as I can to get a free copy of IVRRAC. Thus I have started a major push to tell everyone possible that between the 13th and 18th of June, Amazon is giving away Kindle Copies of IVRRAC. As it is about forgiveness and the power it has to save one’s life I honestly want to get it read by as many people as possible so more people can use forgiveness in their lives. I would really love them to realise true forgiveness comes from our Lord Jesus Christ and that through him all our sins are forgiven. We need to know our own sins are forgiven for us to really forgive others in the same manor. This is what drives Simon the main character of IVRRAC, Andrew his parole officer does not judge his past and allows Simon to be treated as though he had never sinned. This allows Simon then to see where he has not yet forgiven others and he does so, freeing his mind and stopping his addiction to murder.
Simon needed Andrew in his life, all we need to do is ask Jesus into ours and we will achieve even greater things.
Cheers and Blessings
17 May 2012
The English language is definitely in danger (and not just from my books and posts). After reading a post on Facebook I decided to gather proof that two acronyms that were used to mean the same thing in the post were actually very different from each other. To my horror even the Oxford dictionary (online at least) seems to have forgotten the original meanings, though it was hard to find the phrases on that site to begin with. As with all the other websites found via Google the two phrases were interchangeable even by Google itself.
The acronyms I speak of are GM and GE (And I’m not talking of General Motors and General Electric). According to the Oxford dictionary GM is “containing genetic material that has been artificially altered so as to produce a desired characteristic” and GE is “the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material.” Depending on your own opinions these two meanings could be different or could be the same as they are both very brief. It all depends on your own take of what is “artificially altered.” Does it include selective breeding or not?
As far as my memory serves me, when the Abbreviations GM and GE were coined GE was a subset of GM. Genetic Modification was any human modification of any food whether by gene manipulation or selective breeding, whereas GE was only gene manipulation. However as the media got hold of the debate they used GM meaning only GE and after a decade or so the two meanings got so confused that now everyone thinks they are the same thing. But I still stand behind that GM is any modification whether by selective breeding or microscopic engineering and GE is specifically engineering individual genes, so watch out if you cross that line!
Why? Because what are we to call Selective Breeding and other age old techniques which is totally different to the natural state of plants and animals if we cannot isolate GE from GM? They are still human interference and modification of the gene pool. Natural Selection may not be as abrupt and clinical as GE but it is still modification, still unnatural, therefore it is still GM, but it is definitely not GE. You get what I mean? For those purists out there, how can they be assured that their foods have not been manipulated by humans if GM only refers to GE? (That is if there is any organism out there not manipulated in some way.)
Even if you can’t agree with my statement, try it on for a while and you will see why I get upset at Facebook Posts that complain about GM sweet corn. According to my argument above, all sweet corn is GM, sweet corn was developed by selective breeding to a point where it apparently cannot breed without human intervention (the kernels do not fall off by themselves). This is major manipulation of the original corn’s genetic code, but it is not GE, it was not engineered, only modified. Therefore the post should have been about GE Sweet Corn. If the poster used this acronym, there would be no misunderstanding, everyone would know they were talking about a vegetable that has had its genetic code manipulated by physical intervention of the genes themselves.
Another point, why have two acronyms that mean the same? It makes sense that one would be different to the other in some way.
If you agree, please save the English language from a glut of redundant acronyms and point out to the media, Facebook posters, Anti GE groups, pro GE groups, whoever, there is a difference between GM and GE, use the terms correctly or suffer nasty guilt pains for destroying yet another part of the English language.
Cheers and Blessings
19 March 2012
Warning – This blog topic contains minor spoilers for IVRRAC.
People may feel there is a contradiction in IVRRAC that it seems to promote forgiveness, yet also puts forward a lack of punishment is detrimental to a person’s moral character. Janine explains to Simon why he became a serial killer. “…you wanted to be punished. But they didn't, the law put you in a home for wayward youth… The unpunished guilt of that murder drove you to do it six more times. Each time you secretly wanted to be caught.”
I would dare say that many people reading Janine’s monologue would agree with her sentiments and using it as a good reason why people are given the death sentence and life imprisonment. But then the book does a ninety degree turn with Simon asking for forgiveness rather than more punishment.
I know this has upset a few readers, some enough to comment on IVRRAC’s lack of continuity and erroneous psychology, however it is not contradictory or erroneous at all. (If you still think so, I welcome your post below).
Firstly Janine over simplified the issue, she is not a psychologist and thus only grabbed what she felt were the main points of Andrew’s explanation to her the day before. (Andrew does have a doctorate in Psychology). I did not put this meeting between Andrew and Janine in the book as it would interrupt the flow and most of the conversation between Janine and Andrew was absolutely boring and irrelevant to the plot.
The major point in Simon’s past was not so much the lack of punishment, but more the lack of acknowledgement that what Simon did was wrong. There was no trial, no court case. He was deemed a minor and merely shifted from one institute to another, without any real word to him why. As far as Simon was concerned the murder was a non-event.
A side note here is that with New Zealand’s justice system moving more into revenge than true justice it is increasingly rare that teenagers are getting away with being a minor on severe crime, so Simon was an exception to the rule. There were other reasons alluded to in the book why Simon was not treated as an adult in this case.
When a person is guilt ridden and yet no one acknowledges the crime it can tear that person apart. In Simon’s case it caused him to repeat the offense again and again until someone acknowledge it was wrong.
I can see this in my own children, if I ignore a misdemeanour, e.g. my son throwing his toy train across the room, he does not stop but throws it even harder a second time. Once informed that it is wrong to throw toys in an appropriate disapproving tone, he stops and plays more sedately.
I heard of a person who got away with murder. He eventually came clean and confessed, afterwards he noted that the time he spent in prison he was freer than he was bundled with the guilt of an unacknowledged crime.
So what I am saying in IVRRAC and here is that forgiveness is king, but we still have to acknowledge wrongdoing and make certain that the perpetrator knows his/her actions are inappropriate and they have to live with the consequences, whether it be buying a replacement or spending time in rehabilitation programmes, or if they don’t acknowledge the wrongdoing themselves, time in prison to at least give them opportunity to realise they made a mistake.
But what IVRRAC is not promoting by Janine’s comments on lack of punishment is a person being incarcerated until the victim feels adequately revenged. Every time I read of victims reliving their terrible experiences at sentencing hearings or parole boards I feel deeply saddened as I see they are just being eaten alive by hatred rather than taking on board forgiveness and freeing themselves from a lifetime of emotional death.
There is a reason Jesus spoke many times on the requirement that we forgive others. Forgiving others does not do much for them as often they don’t even know they are forgiven, but it does an amazing amount for the person who forgives.
29 February 2012
I want to get a February posting in before March so here I am, just before bed typing away on my small net book. Last weekend I attended a church family camp, my wife was on the committee so I had a lot of work to do before and during the camp, I am now quite tired. The camp itself was held at the Presbyterian Camp Site here known as Lindisfarne. The last time I stayed there was at the age of ten on my first school camp, the dorms have not changed one bit, however the dining and hall areas are brand new thanks to some bored individual/individuals who enjoy watching other people’s property going up in smoke.
The theme of the weekend was breath. God breathed life into Adam and both the Hebrew and Greek words for Spirit can be translated as breath. The idea is that to be with God we simply just have to breath. To do this well we should pause, put things out of our minds and think of God, and breathe slowly. We also watched a Nooma video on breath. The video made an interesting point that the actual Hebrew pronunciation of the name given to Moses by God sounds exactly like breathing. Do we honour God simply by breathing?
On another note I am about to start my next course, which is Theology – Ethics. This should be very interesting as it delves into the controversial subjects of premarital sex, homosexuality and co-habitation. My posts may become more controversial as I progress through this course over the coming months. But we will see, I naturally avoid controversy and normally play happily on the fence.
Well that’s my February update.
Cheers and Blessings