Did Elon Musk Just Push the Next Great Scare Story?

The Terminator

The Terminator, By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22186885

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

What new narrative will replace the climate doomsday scare? Elon Musk has not abandoned traditional scare stories such as the looming population crisis, but he seems to be making more effort than most to market test radical revisions of the tired carbon-doom effort.

Elon Musk: ‘Robots will be able to do everything better than us’

Catherine Clifford

Elon Musk is certain that robots will be able to do your job better than you.

And even the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is not sure what to do about that.

“There certainly will be job disruption. Because what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us,” says Musk, speaking to the National Governors Association on Saturday.

“Yeah, I am not sure exactly what to do about this. This is really the scariest problem to me, I will tell you.”

“The thing that is the most dangerous — and it is the hardest to … get your arms around because it is not a physical thing — is a deep intelligence in the network.

“You say, ‘What harm can a deep intelligence in the network do?’ Well, it can start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and doing fake press releases and by manipulating information,” Musk says to the bipartisan gathering of U.S. governors.

Read more (includes video): http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/elon-musk-robots-will-be-able-to-do-everything-better-than-us.html

The AI scare has a lot of potential. Back in January this year I predicted that fear of malevolent artificial super-intelligence is a likely candidate to replace the failing climate scare.

Hollywood has been supplying the groundwork for the new scare, with a steady stream of stories which include strong AI. Many of the films are horror stories about AI gone wrong.

Table from the January Post (updated: added “Alien: Covenant”), original source Wikipedia

Year Count Movies
2001 1 A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2002 1 S1M0NE
2003 3 The Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Matrix Revolutions
2004 1 I, Robot
2005 1 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
2007 1 Transformers
2008 3 Eagle Eye, Iron Man, WALL-E
2009 3 Terminator Salvation, Moon, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
2011 2 Real Steel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon
2012 3 Prometheus, Robot & Frank, Total Recall
2013 4 Her, Iron Man 3, The Machine, Pacific Rim
2014 7 Automata, Big Hero 6, Interstellar, Robocop (2014 film), Transcendence, Transformers: Age of Extinction, X-Men: Days of Future Past
2015 8 Ex Machina, Chappie, Tomorrowland, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator Genisys, aka Terminator 5, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Uncanny, Psycho-pass: The Movie
2016 3 Max Steel, Morgan, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2017 3 (so far) Ghost in the Shell (2017 film), Transformers: The Last Knight, Alien: Covenant

Good climate scare movies are less common. Other than hilights like “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001), “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006) and “Snowpiercer” (2014), and the occasional self published effort by activists who clearly wish climate was a bigger issue, production quality climate fiction films have been thin on the ground.

The climate movement will still have a place if the AI scare takes off. The imaginary future world in the Terminator franchise, scorched by nuclear fire and continuously trampled by vast death dealing robots is probably not a green paradise. A.I. Artificial Intelligence was set in a world broken by climate change. Fear of a malevolent corporate AI as an expression and ultimate realisation of mankind’s greed and hubris and over-exploitation of natural resources has obvious potential as a future green narrative.

Is AI a risk? This is the beauty of the new AI scare. Nobody really knows what the risks are, so you can make up pretty much anything you want. I suspect like any new technology AI will create risks – but development of AI will also create new means to combat and contain those risks, and to address many other problems which currently seem unsolvable.

If the AI scare takes off, at the very least it will bring a fresh new injection of uncertainty and fear to a tired and fading climate eco-scare story.

343 thoughts on “Did Elon Musk Just Push the Next Great Scare Story?

  1. Oh, for goodness sake. They are machines. Yes, sometimes machines malfunction, and do things that are unintended, but that’s why machines are built with off-switches. Absolute worst case scenario is that people are stupid enough to build one machine that controls vital services like water or power to a large area, and that machine breaks. Then we a) evacuate the area and then b) fix the machine. Problem solved.

    • Water and Power in large areas are controlled by SCADA, supervisory control and date acquisition. There is a worry that they can be hacked and taken over. For the most part, it’s a good thing. But when SCADA goes down, there are problems, like tank overflows, loss of system pressure, pumps go out or don’t turn off when they are supposed to.

      • Don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s nothing compared to what awaits on Y2K. Airplanes will fall out of the sky, etc.

      • While it is possible to control system elements directly, most systems utilize distributed control where the SCADA software’s principal responsibility is the “DA” part. The smarts live in the local control units. Think of a thermostat for controlling the temperature of a room. You may be able to hook it up to report its set point and current temperature to a remote unit, but it isn’t necessary in order for it to operate, once you program the temperature profile into the unit, whether that happens locally or remotely.

      • Where I work I’m the last one that operated the plant before we had our first SCADA system.
        Knowing what to do aside (this valve needs to be closed, that valve needs to opened etc.) the biggest pain in the butt would be being able to reach the valve (or whatever) that needs to be operated by hand. Too many of today’s designers don’t think that, just maybe, one might need to operate something by hand. Worse, they ignore the input of those that point that out.
        In our most recent renovation, several of the actuated valves were placed where it would require a ladder placed in a boat to reach their hand cranks. In the design phase this issue was pointed out. It was decided that there was no problem since the buttons to operate the valves “manually” were not over water. ARRGHHH!
        (I don’t know if anyone mentioned how the valves would be reached for routine maintenance.)

      • Well, D.J. Hawkins, the SCADA system as a whole includes the controls, and software that tells the controls what to do. So locally, the controls handle the analog and digital signals which sense and act on the actuators. The control may be dumb in that sense, but they take their sequencing and marching orders from the supervisory control and as such, can be told to do things… which could be whatever you can imagine them to be. I maintain my statement, as I assume you do too!

      • @Mario
        The point I was driving at is, if someone walked into the control room and took an ax to the SCADA box, the controls would locally continue to do what they do. Critical control infrastructure in my experience is direct-wired to the local controller, not requiring a path back to the head-end and return to the actuator. Now if someone hacked the machine and scrambled the local set-points via download, that’s another story.

      • D. J. Hawkins: Seems like you want to argue. No, if you went into a SCADA room and put an ax to the SCADA computer, it would not work.
        SCADA systems are not anything like a in your example of a thermostat in a house. We’re talking about the supervisory control doing something such as turning up the heat or turning off the heat, using your example. Most true SCADA systems do not work properly or at all without the supervise part. If you lose connection, for example, with a tank that needs to be filled, then the remote pump station cannot pump safely to that tank. So the pump will not continue running in any way that is useful or correct – or worse, if it did continue running, the tank could over fill. There are ways around this, but I do not want to get into the weeds.

      • @Mario
        I really don’t understand our disconnect here. Certainly, if you “take an ax” to the SCADA computer that computer will cease to function. The field controllers will chug along just fine. I offer the link below so others can determine for themselves which of us understands the nature of SCADA properly.

    • Reading previous posts I thought such machines had already been invented – Goreatron and Moonbeam.

  2. Have you ever tried to use an AI “help” chat “person?” LOL.
    Replace the human brain? Not. Even. Close.
    AI has its place. Like battery (energy storage) tech — AI tech simply isn’t even close to making changes of any job-threatening significance in the market.
    EVERYthing Musk shrieks boils down to this:

    BUY MY STUFF!!!!!!

    If you have to scare people into buying it,
    it’s junk.
    Musk is just a common schoolyard bully.

    • In some extent, ‘AI’ is job-thretening. In several industrial areas, real jobs are replaced by robots, like in the car industry.

      • Use of robots in vehicle manufacturing reduces the cost of the vehicles, which makes people more able to afford the vehicles. It also cuts costs in other industries, helping them to grow. Sure, things can go pear-shaped under bad leadership, but robots can be very good for people.

        • In extreme and dangerous environments, yes, but the car industry is not one of them (except for battery assembly for EV’s). The car industry should focus on stuff that last, aka envirinmentalt friendly, instead of including fancy stuff that soon will brake down. Cheep vehicles made not to last, are not cheep in the long run.The positive thing about what they are doing right now, is keeping towing companies and repair shops buzy … (Yes, I know peopke in towing business, who has been buzy towing new cars with electronical hand breaks, that couldn’t handle winter climate.)

      • “Mike Jonas July 17, 2017 at 11:31 pm”
        True, but puts lots of people out of work. You do get an increase in quality where the robot welds, for instance, the body in exactly the same way, every cycle. Improvements in engine build quality and reliability because no human touches the engine and components on an assembly line.
        I used to work for Honda in Swindon, UK. Every month the whole factory would assemble on the factory floor at the end of the line where the vehicle is tested to do morning exercises, including the robots! Was a bit funny to see at first, but you get used to it.

      • MishaBurnett July 18, 2017 at 3:33 am
        ” One man with a backhoe can replace a dozen men with shovels.”
        Unless it is a government job where the dozen men stand around with their shovels watching the backhoe operator.

      • “MishaBurnett July 18, 2017 at 3:33 am
        All tools threaten jobs.”
        Or even “shoes”, sabots. Sabotage.

      • Patrick, because machines allow us to make products more cheaply, you need to work less in order to afford the same lifestyle.
        I was reading a prediction a few weeks ago that by 2050, the average work week will be under 30 hours.

        • MarkW,
          That’s 30h with less salary/week (month), so it’s a utopian dream for politicians and others. There was an attempt in Sweden some decade ago with the offer to go from 40h/w to 35h/w to reduce unemployment, but no luck. It ment also a reduction in salary. The employer would not pay same money for less work in return. Simple business economics knowledge. Rent and bills has still to be payed at the end of the month and those will not be reduced in size and amount …
          Nobody would like to get less at payday. Do you?

      • Jobs are shifted from one industry/service to another by robots. And that is a good thing.
        Yes, there is a transition time as workers gain new skills for the new jobs they will now do, but, it comes gradually (just like oil running out…. someday…. it will just gradually become more costly, and the market will adjust) enough that, for most, it is not a devastating event to have robots step up to do monotonous/dangerous work.
        Capital wants to make more capital. The demand for cars, etc., is not infinite and the price the market will bear is bounded. When the car maker can make a car for less using robots, i.e., invest less capital-per-unit, profit-per-unit will go up, but, overall profit, only to a point. The market will buy only so many units. Thus, there is then excess capital to be invested in another endeavor, e.g., the SCADA water monitoring mentioned above or pharmaceuticals or nanotechnology to create synthetic fuel or research to build “a better mousetrap.” The net result: new jobs doing other things.
        Also, some of that capital is used to do good deeds like helping poor children around the world go to school and to create beauty and fun (there are still philanthropists among those capitalists).
        (See the book by Peter Huber, Hard Green, for a good explanation for how wealth (and robots = wealth) = “green”/happier lives for all)
        As has been pointed out already, we no longer toil around our own farms just to survive, a relatively few farmers use technology to provide us with all we need, while we sit at a desk or stand in a laboratory earning a living.
        We engage in a bit of chronological contempt when we assume that our ancestors left their farms and railroad tie pounding and riveting because they were fools to adopt the new machinery of their day.
        Go, robots! 🙂
        “There is nothing new under the sun.” (including fear of technology replacing humans)

        • Janice,
          Well, if so, we will need people who invents new real professions, as the examples you mentioned unfortunally are limited markets for job opertunities. ‘Job shifting’ worked up to the 20th century. We are far more people now who need an steady income and that is a increasing number. Once there were great hopes for the IT/multimedia sector to secure job opertunities for the future, but that market is since a number of years saturated. Other markets will follow for sure. Two ‘markets’ that’s constantly expanding, is bureaucrazy and politics, but those require real productive markets to survive …
          The car industry has already solved the ‘problem’ with ‘car production saturation’ and it is quite simple: lower quality. If the product last shorter time, customers need to buy more. Works for most markets and is common practice today … The classical solution for a costumer to avoid that, is to choose something better, but what to do when there are not much to choose between. High quality cars today are hand made and expensive, as involved manufacturer’s are targeting (very) rich people and not common people.
          Interesting that you bring up farming. A business field where a decreasing amount of people are working, despite there are people who are interested to work there, even run their own farm, but can’t due to costs. That’s a change Big Food likes, as they will get better control of the food market. Cheeper food, yes, but at the same time reduced quality. To cut costs, Big Food add (syntetic) stuff we don’t need in the food (which Big Pharma likes for obvious reasons …). Due to Big Food’s activities, small (ecological) farming are becoming more difficult and expensive than nessesary.
          I don’t oppose free markets, quite the opposite, but when there are only some few controlling, it’s not a free market anymore …

      • SasjaL July 18, 2017 at 10:14 am
        “The car industry has already solved the ‘problem’ with ‘car production saturation’ and it is quite simple: lower quality.”
        Total unmitigated rubbish.
        In fact, compared to the cars produced in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s modern cars are of massively higher quality, efficiency, luxury and much longer lasting than their predecessors.
        Very few cars produced pre-1990 were capable of producing six figure mileage, the engines of most 1960s and 1970s cars would need replacement after less than 50,000 miles, and few cars would last much more than a decade without succumbing to corrosion.
        As to “car production saturation”, you couldn’t be more wrong about that, either.
        Global car production since 1990 is increasing effectively exponentially.

        • No, it is not rubbish. When I bought my first car in mid 80’s it had a life time expectancy of ca 400 000 km (248 548 miles). Today it is basically the half. My first car gave up at ca 380 000 km due to the engine was worn out, nothing else, even if I bought it second hand. My two cars before the one I own now, was ready for the scrap yard at just above 200 000 km, due to crappy construction. The worst car I ever bought was a Ford Sierra Laser (made in Brazil) The engine failed (comb shaft) after 4 000 km due to factory error. Free replacement though. After 100 000 km the hole wheel suspension was worn out due to poorly tested experimental construction. If that isn’t a drop in quality, we don’t define quality the same way.
          Of course, I have always been taking care of the cars I’ve owned. If the quality is poor, that doesn’t matter …
          What you wrote about ‘car production saturation’ is just what I’m talking about.It’s not a contradiction. Brand new cars in most cases will be sold within 2-4 years. Those who sold these, will be buying new ones. Here at home, the has been an increase in car rental business the last decade. They replace their car park often, in many cases every year. Many car manufanufactors have expanded their market into China, a strong expanding market for a number of years to come, so an increase in sales isn’t surprising in any way.

      • Sasja, since everything costs less, the lower salary won’t matter.
        The Norweigian experiment, and the French one as well was doomed to failure because it wasn’t backed by productivity improvements.

        • Mark,
          Well, rent, services, electricity and anything the politicians and pseudo green would like to have higher taxes on a.s.o., will not cost less in the future. In many countries, much, if not most of the salary are consumed by rent. There also many in Europe that barely manage to cover their basic expenses (Commonly a single parent with one or two kids or retired people that got their well deserved pension cut down or completly stolen by the politicians.). They would not manage, then their income are cut by a fourth.
          In a response like that, I suppose you’d never been in a situation, when you have been forced to worry about your economical situation every single day … To worry about food for the kids every day. Forced to borrow from friends and family, etc.
          Fortunally, I’ve never been in that situation, but I have friends who does …

      • Workers and shovels.
        The council work gang got to the site before they realised they had forgotten to bring shovels. The foreman phoned the engineer back at base “Boss, the workers forgot to bring shovels. What do you think they can do?” The engineer replied “They can always lean on each other.”. Geoff

      • Sasja, Sasja, Sasja. Sit back and think about it for awhile?
        Why does rent cost what it does? It’s because that’s what landlord’s need to meet their expenses and still have enough left over for an acceptable lifestyle.
        Since everything costs less, there would be no need for rent to be as high as it is.
        The same goes for everything else on your list.

        • The landlords and the others would not agree to that …
          What you are expressing belongs to the socialistic swamp and as everybody should know, any kind of socialism (or whatever you would like to call it), doesn’t work.

    • Musk might be afraid that the climate change gravy train of subsidies, grants, tax breaks, etc. might be slowing down. Time to get a new “public trough” to slop the subsidy hogs.

    • Actually, the term “moonbat” comes quickest to mind. Maybe Musk can fly there on his rocket . . .

    • Speaking as someone that has used robots to build things for his entire career I can tell you with absolute certainty that it will be YEARS before they can supplant us. Recognizing speech is nothing. That is just a parrot.

  3. “Yeah, I am not sure exactly what to do about this. This is really the scariest problem to me, I will tell you.”
    And electronics like in cars are getting more and more ‘intelligent’, so logically, he is scared of his own ambitions …?
    Well, it can start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and doing fake press releases and by manipulating information,” Musk says to the bipartisan gathering of U.S. governors.
    Sounds familiar. In Sweden, media present fake news on daily basis …

    • Yes, this has happened in our history for centuries.. with malevolent fake news and it’s caused by… PEOPLE.

    • SasjaL
      July 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm
      Sounds familiar. In Sweden, media present fake news on daily basis …

      Same as the BBC in Britain. No reason to suppose it is not done throughout the world.

  4. Of course they will. Just like nobody thought that a machine could do a better job of washing dishes than a person, few people in the modern day think that androids can exist that can do anything we can. Just give it time. Society will adapt.

    • ” society will adapt”
      Bingo! In a capitalistic society yes, because free societies cater to human desires, which are endless.

      • Human desires are not endless. You could never make people want to buy, say, a rock.
        Oh. Wait. Never mind.

  5. Hollywood will almost always go for the special effects rather than the thought provoking. The exception is the first Matrix movie, which was almost a philosophy course as much as a movie. I am looking forward to hearing what Musk has to say, if the video will ever stop buffering. There are two basic problems with AI. The first is if an AI will go rogue on us and try to kill us, as in the Terminator movies. That is the scenario that Hollywood will continue to emphasize. The second is that automation will do away with most of our jobs. This isn’t as sexy as killer robots, but every bit as disruptive. We can see this coming down the pike, what with driverless cars and trucks having the potential to eliminate taxi drivers and truckers. The fast food industry is working hard to automate their restaurants, which will eliminate much of the employment in that industry. AI is already starting to write sports articles. There’s no reason that AI can’t eliminate a lot of jobs in the news business. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but in 5 or 10 years, we’ll be well down the road. The advent of quantum computers in the next 10 years will only accelerate this trend. How will our economies function if most of us are out of work and can’t afford to pay for basic necessities? Musk and many other tech people see this problem coming and are struggling with how to address it. A universal basic income (UBI) is being talked about, but nobody knows yet how to afford it or if it would work. I don’t see any blockbuster Hollywood movies about UBI, but the problem of automation will be much more important than climate change to the average citizen in the near future.

    • UBI could occur if every person at birth is given x amount of digital currency such as bitcoins.

      • This is VERY silly. All investments must be diversified. So that should be a little bitcoin, an ounce of gold, 14g of red mercury and a personal gravity fuelled electric generator and about 100 tons of coal.

      • Young investors are slowly moving away from gold toward cryptocurrencies. The distant future will be inhabited by them, not us – or I should say, “not me,” since I don’t know your age.

    • “A universal basic income (UBI) is being talked about, but nobody knows yet how to afford it or if it would work.”
      I hear Facebook’s Zuckerberg is going to fund it out of his personal fortune.

    • Socialism is never the answer.
      The answer is that as robots make things cheaper, individuals need to work less in order to maintain the same lifestyle.
      That and taking responsibility for your own life, instead of waiting for someone else to solve all your problems.

    • DeLoss, I agree that unemployment is a more immediate problem than AI takeover. What was often thought of a menial work is actually very complicated. We have been able to use machines to throw shuttles back and forth and lift warp and weft to complicated patterns, but it is only recently that we have been able to automate the sweeping up. Thus the skilled weavers job was replaced, but the cleaner remained.
      Innovations that gave us massive increases in production have so far brought with them jobs that required the distribution if that wealth. This may continue, but there is no rule that says it must be so. We could find ourselves in a society with vast wealth but no mechanism to distribute it.
      We may be already seeing the start of this. It has often been said that the loss of USA jobs has more to do with automation than foreign competition.

      • Possibly so. But foreign competition doesn’t help, and we need some immediate running room to ameliorate robotic job impact over the short run.

  6. Robots have already replaced humans in some dangerous jobs. That is good. Japan has rolled out a new robot to flip burgers faster and cheaper than people.
    Teenagers will have a hard time finding jobs in the future, especially if minimum wages are increased.

    • Speaking Japan have a listen to this. Also the stoneage religion may take over the world so AI may not have much of a future.

    • I just saw where one state, Missouri, reduced its minimum wage rate. The politicians said it would help create more jobs for entry level employees.
      The market should decide the minimum wage. The market will pay a fair wage. Government mandates end up hurting poor people, while claiming they are helping them.

      • It is economically impossible for a company to pay a worker, more than a job is worth.
        Any company that tries will quickly go out of business.

  7. EL-ON’s beyond human logic seems to be slipping away from him.
    EL-ON visits “The Dig”.
    EL-ON, “Who Are YOU, EXPLAIN!”
    Night Supervisor, “‘Afendi’. God Bless. The workers are at their homes with families, sleeping. [It is 02:30].
    EL-ON, “Bull Shit! I Pay Them To Work! To Dig! No Working No Digging NO PAYPAL!”
    Night Supervisor, “Yes ‘Afendi’ That is True. They are at this time not being payed!”
    EL-ON, “Bull Shit! Bring Them Back, NOW, AT ONCE and WORK! BUILD MY WEALTH. Otherwise they will be kill by MORNING!”
    Night Supervisor, “Yes ‘Afendi’ They will indeed be back by Morning, as it is written, 06:30. They will be here and building your wealth ‘Afendi’.
    EL-ON, “GOOD! And reduce paypal by 40% and administer 80 beatings to children! At ONCE! Harvest 2 of the 3-years old for my breakfast! QUICK!”
    Night Supervisor, “Yes ‘Afendi’ as you command. May God be merciful.”

  8. Robots are not a worry, they will be the serfs of the future. All humans will belong to the leisure class, a feudal society where the oppressed will be machines. To get an idea of such a society look at the feudal states after the enlightenment. The nobility occupied itself either usufully or playfully or creatively. This will result in a smaller world population , all to the good.( Of course we must have not blown up the earth in a third world war by then.)

  9. “…it can start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and doing fake press releases and by manipulating information,” Musk says…”
    Isn’t this already happening? Artificial intelligence by man or machine what’s the difference?

  10. Robots make smart phones with components are so small that humans are unable to do it.
    Look at all the people in Chinese factories making this stuff. Certainly we could observe the low wages but it’s still better than subsistence farming.
    Without robots and the consumer explosion of smart phones, those jobs wouldn’t exist.

  11. “Well, it can start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and doing fake press releases and by manipulating information,”
    It has already started with the constant fake news the media keep throwing at us. hey all those talking heads, are they real?

  12. This is the new left-wing scare story, which is being used to push UBI ‘Universal Basic Income’ where everyone gets paid for doing nothing. Must supports that nonsense too.

    • MarkG,
      If AI and universal automation takes place, then there will be a lot of unemployed people who will want to eat. Progressives will undoubtedly propose taxing the rich to feed everyone. However, if people like Musk oppose the transition, then it is business as usual. What am I missing here?

      • Clyde Spencer
        Idle hands – what will they do – you know already. A whole bunch of them – like cities full of them can do a might of damage.

      • Cities are of little value in a post-industrial world where people have robots that can make everything they want. Cities grew to their present size to support mass industrial employment that has gone and will never come back. Now they’re on life-support.

      • The only people who will be unemployed will be those with too little imagination.
        Remember, because robots have made stuff cheap, you will only need to work a few hours a week to afford the basics.

      • MarkW,
        I’m afraid that I don’t agree with you that ‘robots’ will make things so cheap that people will only “have to work a few hours a week to afford the basics.” [That is assuming that people could actually find a few hours of productive employment.] Elderly Japanese are finding it difficult to afford home care robots.
        As I see it, it is economy of scale — very large factories with machines working 24/7 — that helps to bring prices down. Also, electricity for assembly robots is (currently) cheaper than a living wage for several humans. The key to your utopia is cheap energy, which won’t come from windmills and roof-top PV. What are the people doing who formerly had assembly line jobs in Detroit? Do you suppose that has anything to do with the empty, derelict homes and crime rate in Detroit and Flint? For some time, high-end jobs, such as engineers to design dumb robots, will be well paid, but not everyone can do that. What does society do with the others?
        However, it isn’t simple automation robots that Musk is railing against. He, and others, are concerned about the truly intelligent, autonomous robots that are smarter and more powerful than humans, as in Blade Runner or even HAL in 2001.
        Which gets us back to Eric’s article. Should we be criticizing Musk for raising concerns about something that has concerned science fiction writers for decades? Should we stand opposed to automation and AI, or just AI? Automation with dumb robots is causing economic disruptions. One solution is for the unemployed/able citizens to purchase or be issued stock in the publicly traded corporations and profit from the activities. It remains to be seen whether the quarterly dividends will be equivalent to a “few hours a week” of work.
        It seems to me that the greater risk is the Pandora’s Box of uncontrolled and possibly uncontrollable power of sentient ‘beings’ that may see humans as being superfluous, or at best, as entertaining, irrational pets. It is something that I think deserves serious consideration and debate, but I don’t see it as a “scare” tactic by progressives, intended to manipulate people. But then, I have been known to be wrong once or twice in my long life.

      • “Cities grew to their present size to support mass industrial employment that has gone and will never come back. Now they’re on life-support.”
        Wrong. Urbanization has continued in the US for the last century, even though mfg moved out of big cities starting in the 1950s. Yes, some midwestern cities have taken a hit, but most large cities are growing, not shrinking. And urbanization is happening even faster outside the US,

      • Clyde, you compare a future solution to a modern problem.
        Gotta throw the old apples and oranges flag on ya buddy.
        I say that in the future, automation will continue to do what it has always done. Make things cheaper.
        And to disprove this you point out that poor people can’t afford robots in the here and now.

      • “Urbanization has continued in the US for the last century, even though mfg moved out of big cities starting in the 1950s.”
        ‘Although I got cancer ten years ago, I haven’t died yet.’
        We’re heading into a future of telepresnse, local manufacturing and basement bioengineering. There’s no need to live near a lot of other people in a world like that, and many good reasons not to (like your neighbour might release a genetically-engineered killer virus in your neighbourhood).
        Cities are on life support. Few will still exist in fifty years, except as historical curiosities.

    • Agreed. Automation elevates society… doing things for us, artificial tireless slave replacements. It’s a good thing.

  13. There are dozens (probably a lot more than dozens) of sci-fi films set in environmental disaster futures where Earth’s climate has been ruined by human industrial activities.

  14. Eric,
    OK, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there is something to your concern about AI being the next “scare.” However, it isn’t immediately obvious to me what the point is. In the case of the ozone and warming scares, it seems that a motivation was enlarging the power of governments to protect people from themselves. That is, socialists were looking for an excuse to take freedoms away from people. How is the Great AI Scare going to provide progressives and socialists working leverage for their vision of how the world should work? Help me out here.

    • More reason to regulate industry and the economy of course, more well paid oversight committee jobs, plus extra taxes to pay for “displaced” workers and community outreach groups.

      • OK, I can see that with less need for human manufacturing, a quick fix would be make-work oversight committees and ‘food stamps in every pot.’ However, I thought that your premise was that Musk’s opposition to automation, specifically AI, was bad. That is, his “scare” about the potential problems of AI were on a par with CAGW. Yet, it seems that he is actively trying to prevent your dystopia from coming about. I’m usually not this dense, but things just don’t seem to be making sense. And I don’t even belong to Densa.

    • Musk wants to make money.
      Musk’s way of making money is to sell you “protection” from the AI monster.

      Elon Musk has been funding a company called Neuralink that wants to implant an AI interface in your brain. …. {so} that machine intelligence remains under our control and aligned with our goals

      (Source: https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/246610-elon-musk-wants-implant-ai-interface-brain )
      Create the hobgoblin.
      Scare people with it.
      Sell them anti-hobgoblin.
      (with thanks to H. L. Mencken)
      Politics and money use the same old beat-up playbook.
      Human CO2 emissions are killing the planet.
      Buy my solar junk.
      AI is going to take over the planet.
      Buy my AI-protection junk.

      • It’s a little bit more. Musk is proposing regulation, which means he sees himself as being the regulator or as setting the standards of regulation, i.e. the limits of (legal) AI. He wants to sell a product, and to limit what his competitors can sell. But how can he limit illegal AI in an age of hackers? He can’t, but he might be able to control the white market. Musk is deep in the pockets of government already, so maybe he’s trying to secure his position for the future if/when his current schemes fail.

      • Thanks for the amplification, Mr. Kerr.
        Yes, indeed. Mr. Musk never goes out onto the playing field to compete like a man, using his own strength and abilities, for that would take courage and he is a coward. Instead, Musk gets BIG MAMA (government — picture a strapping ogress with a great big voice carrying a club) to go out and do his fighting for him.
        BM: Outta my little boy’s way, competition!
        Artificial market share. The only way “renewables” (solar, wind….. cladding…..) have ever sold a thing.

    • Again, it’s the UBI nonsense. The government must give free money to everyone just for existing, because robots and AI are going to take all the jobs.
      It’s Communism 2.0.

      • “MarkG July 17, 2017 at 9:54 pm
        It’s Communism 2.0.
        What? Whole releases? It’s Communism (Socialism)…just minor fractional increments, or “creep”! Eventually we get the full Communism (Socialism) 2.0 (UN Agenda 21/2030) rammed where the sun don’t shine. No solar panels there, trust me!

  15. Simple. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: HAL Been there, done that. The problem is that two of Musk’s three ventures depend on CAGW subsidies, and the third (Space Ex) depends on HAL. OOPS.

    • The reason HAL went insane wasn’t explained until the movie 2010 (or the book if you couldn’t wait).
      HAL was designed to be the heart of an exploration ship, to be able to fulfil his mission even if the crew all died. His prime directive was to report all information as truthfully and honestly as possible.
      Then HAL was sent on a secret mission to explore the monolith, so he was given a second prime directive, to conceal the true reason for the mission from the crew.
      The second prime directive was added without modifying the first prime directive.
      The result was a painful internal conflict which could only be resolved by removing the need for concealing the true reason for the mission – by killing the crew.

      • Eric,
        I don’t think that “insane” is the correct description. His human creators gave him conflicting tasks. He attempted to fulfill both requirements as well as he could, given the circumstances. A significant issue was that his assigned tasks held a higher priority than the preservation of the lives of the crew. A fatal oversight on the part of humans! His behavior was perfectly logical, given the parameters of the situation. I wouldn’t consider logical behavior under difficult conditions to be insanity. But, it does point out the salient concerns of generations of science fiction writers. That is, the risk that autonomous, sentient beings present to humans, which is what Musk is bringing to the attention of those who haven’t read science fiction.

      • >>
        The reason HAL went insane wasn’t explained until the movie 2010 . . . .
        Insanity is a legal term. HAL didn’t go insane; he went homicidal. The book, 2001, is a different story than the movie. In the book there was no lip reading and no collusion to turn HAL off. The second AE-35 unit failed (as HAL predicted) even though two Earth-based 9000s said that the fault lay with HAL. This forced Frank to go on a second EVA and HAL killed him.
        Dave then has an argument with HAL about reviving the sleeping astronauts. HAL was in control, but Dave wanted the sleep systems switched to manual. After giving Dave manual control and Dave activating all three systems, HAL opens the airlocks. Dave barely makes it to an emergency pressure station. The movie’s version of Dave’s trip through a 100% vacuum is pure nonsense. At least Clarke’s version is plausible.
        In retrospect, HAL made a mistake and tried to cover it up. Getting rid of the troublesome humans was just a logical consequence.

  16. Trump could be a robot….. Has anyone ever thought of that possibility?
    He could also be being programmed by Putin’s Russia!…
    For the left…. This could be worse than we thought…. :O
    …… 🙂

  17. I was surprised not to see the Forbin Project or 2001 in the list. They were early expressions of concern about AI.
    The first rule for humanity: Keep a firm grip on the power cord!

      • Leaving out John Carpenter ‘s “Dark Star” (1974) is therefore forgiven. The hero talks an intelligent bomb into an existential crisis in the hope it will not explode. The very very low budget side effects are great too(there is a kangaroo ball converted into a volatile alien).

    • I happened to notice this item: “2014- Big Hero 6”, which looked a little odd. Six movies in three years? It’s of no consequence, it just kind of jumped out at me.

      • Well, I guess I misread that. The six movies could have been made before 2014. I guess I’ve missed out, I haven’t even seen Big Six 1, much less 6.

  18. Near term impact will be long haul truckig via driverless trucks. Just sayin, let alone touch screen fast food kiosks and bot customer service reps.
    Do a search and let google do the work for you! Ya think? Oh wait……

  19. Finally! “A Player Piano” at long last rings true.
    If intelligence is artificial, it’s not intelligence.
    If Musk is so afraid of robots, why does he employ them?

    • “If Musk is so afraid of robots, why does he employ them?”
      They learned they could strike for higher wages?

  20. As mentioned above, Colossus, The Forbin Project was a popular early movie which intelligently covered the consequences of advanced AI. I loved the movie when it came out. It was released in 1970, I was 12, and I begged my Mom to let me go see it. It was rated M, but I persisted.

  21. Artificial intelligence is an oxymoron. Computer routines are either determinate or stochastic. Either way, there’s no real intelligence involved. Just because the routines are extremely complex doesn’t make them sentient; it just shows we are capable of assembling things that human intelligence can’t grasp. Stochastic routines or routines with random input signals are the antithesis of intelligence, especially if they’re allowed to take direct, unsupervised actions that affect people. Simulated intelligence is a possibility. Stupidity is the default.

    • @jorgekafkazar, that’s sort of like saying evolution is an oxymoron, because variation is stochastic. ICO evolution, that forgets the other half, selection; more or less the same for intelligence, since machine learning clearly happens. One could describe machine learning as a combination of variation and selection. And it’s not entirely clear that natural intelligence isn’t stochastic + selection, too. (I don’t happen to think it is, or at least I think there’s a lot more to it, but the case is much harder to make.)
      Where I think you do have a point is sentience, which could be quite different from intelligence. Dogs might be sentient, at least they seem to act that way, but most of us wouldn’t rank them very high on the intelligence scale as compared with humans. (I know I’m going to take hits for that, but when you find a dog that can learn to read, or do arithmetic, or talk about his childhood, let me know.)

    • Agreed. Computers can only simulate intelligence. A simulation can never rise above the intelligence of its creator.
      McSwell, I’ve never heard of a single word oxymoron.

    • That’s way oversimplified.
      One example of a different approach is the pursuit of emergent behaviours which are a result of complex systems and aren’t predictable. link
      We have a reasonable understanding of how neurons work. Once we have a brain, our understanding gets weak. Similarly, we understand how simple computer systems work. Once we start allowing them to learn and organize themselves, all bets are off. link
      It is quite possible that artificial intelligence will become a lot smarter than us. It is also possible that it will become batshit insane. That’s a very dangerous situation.

    • CB,
      When you said: “…batshit insane” you are probably more correct that I would like to think about. We use to estimate somewhere around 10 errors per thousand lines of code after unit test by the programmer, one error per thousand on completion of system testing if you were lucky. I doubt that has improved much (if at all) since I dropped out around 15 years ago. Any one of those left over errors might easily cause temporary “insanity” in an AI implementation, possible permanent “insanity” in self correcting AI code.

    • Joe Crawford July 18, 2017 at 8:24 am
      It is not programming/coding errors that you need worry about. By far the worst errors I have seen are perfectly implemented errors in systems analysis and design – failures to understand the concept that the system is intended to implement. Way more dangerous than a poorly coded method.

    • commieBob July 18, 2017 at 5:15 am

      We have a reasonable understanding of how neurons work.

      Mechanically, “Yes”, ……… but how brain neurons receive, store, manage, manipulate and/or transmit the inherited and/or uploaded environmental info/data that is stored in the DNA of said neuron, ……. 99% of the population doesn’t have a clue “how it works”.

    • Forrest Gardener
      July 18, 2017 at 1:09 am
      Hi Forrest.
      I my self think that Turing test was not actually meant for the machines, as far as Turing concerned. 🙂
      Unless by machines we mean the humans.:)
      As far as I can tell no any machine has passed the Turing test…….:)
      Please do not jump the gun, and end up shooting a silly “machine”…. 🙂

    • “Artificial Intelligence” refers to any process by which a machine performs tasks associated with intelligence. Which so far, in many tasks, is more art than science since we haven’t yet properly quantified how natural intelligence works.

      • I think that intelligence = learning. Either inventing or recognizing structures. Computations are not intelligence however complicated they are. Inventing number systems is.

  22. People who insist that the end of the world is nigh due to automation need to also explain why a few centuries ago 99.5% of the population worked on farms but due to automation and technological improvements it’s now around 2% but everyone still has to go to work…

    • ” its now around 2% …. everybody still goes to work”
      Another bingo! I would add, there are a lot more everybody’s now. In a free society human desires, which are endless, get fulfilled, for better or worse.

    • Will,
      I think that a distinction has to be made between dumb robots, such as assembly line machines and your kitchen appliances, and truly intelligent (AI) entities that act on a par with humans with more than a GED.

      • Well then we can revisit this in about 1000 years. (I actually develop software that replaces white colour workers, but we’re some way off from that…)

    • If a robot can do everything better than we can, did the robot create itself? No, it wasn’t good enough to do so.

    • Although the first robot didn’t create itself, (Man didn’t create itself either) Like man, that doesn’t mean the robotic process won’t be subject to evolution, potentially evolving to the point of self replecation

    • SasjaL
      July 17, 2017 at 9:32 pm
      Artificial …?
      Yeah, too cheap……swap that for “Alien” and it sounds or feels more realistic.. 🙂
      It still remains with in the same “AI” contextual meaning…….:)

  23. I think it best to absolutely flood all forms of communication with so many scare stories that the wolf-wolf syndrome enters the collective conscience, thereby nullifying any hidden political agendas. (Like what was done during World War II when allied bombers emitted metal chaff to throw off ground radar units used with antiaircraft guns.)

  24. Machines/robots will not take over until/if they become sentient. You cannot make a computer become sentient by adding more and more CPU and ram power. It has to be self aware and think outside programming.
    The program itself is not aware, but simply code that the CPU(s) run in a predetermined manner. No computer will ever pass the turing test. It cannot compete with a sentient opponent.

    • Depends on the intelligence of the sentient being? I am sure there are many human beings that would fail the Turing test right now! Some of them have posted on this thread maybe? How do know I’m not an AI?

      • “I would have put a “you” in the right place?!?”
        How do we know that’s not a ploy of your AI self, trying to throw us off?

      • “I am sure there are many human beings that would fail the Turing test right now! ”
        cash me outside how bout dat

    • The capacity for judgement isn’t the same thing as sentience, and decision making can be classified as a judgement process, and hey presto the danger is therefore much closer than we think. All we have to do is grant computers decision making powers which impact on the lives of humans . . .!? Oops.. . ! Ok, so we’re there already! Keep upscaling the process and sooner or later you have scenarios developing which get closer and closer to that depicted in the later seasons of the brilliant US tv series Person of Interest, though at least one of the AIs in that series (The Machine) was supposedly sentient. The crucial quality though is decision making power based on superior processing ability . . . Who decides when it has gone too far . . . The danger in this isn’t the automated decision making processes, it’s the sentient creatures who have the power to decide how far it goes . . . . Now that is scary!

    • Until someone can explain how the computers in our head became sentient, I’m not going to declare that it is impossible for man made computers to become sentient.

    • Roy,
      I wish I could be as confident as you that a computer will NEVER pass the Turing Test. There are many people who strongly disagree with your unsupported claim. However, computers do have a handicap in passing the test. They would need to be capable of lying to pass the test!

  25. Its not the “artificial ” intelligence that is the problem…
    Its the automatons programmed in schools by the far-left social programmers.
    Programmed…. .. and without intelligence.

  26. Of what use is robotic labor if there are no paychecks to buy the products they create and no income tax to pay for government? It is a very poor business model that doesn’t scale.

  27. please do not dismiss integrating the human brain with IA and what road it will take.

  28. Elon Musk:
    If you are reading this, then I inform you that
    there is no difference between ‘AI’ displacing a job and any other technology displacing a job.
    ‘AI’ promises to provide greater efficiency and productivity to ‘intellectual’ work as mechanisation provided greater efficiency and productivity to ‘physical’ labour during the Industrial Revolution. The benefits of greater efficiency and productivity have always provided overall net benefits to human well-being and life expectancy.
    The switch to ‘AI’ automation requires transitional arrangements and social changes to avoid similar horrors to those of the ‘dark Satanic Mills’ created by the Industrial Revolution, but your Luddite fears are mistaken because they are based on a fear of the future rooted in inevitable ignorance of what the future will be like. So, for the benefit of everybody,
    I beg you to put your efforts into consideration and promotion of the needed transitional arrangements and social changes instead of your silly scaremongering.

    • The so called dark satanic mills, only appear so in comparison to modern standards.
      Back in the day, people lined up to work there because they were better than the alternatives.
      As technology improved, more and better alternatives became available and the “dark satanic mills” disappeared on their own.

      • MarkW:
        The ‘dark Satanic Mills’ were better than the remaining alternatives after the crafts they replaced were no longer wanted. Work in the factories or starvation were the only options then available to many.
        As industrial workers organised they were able to defend them selves by means of trades unions, which is why everybody except the extreme political Right now accepts membership of trades unions as being a basic human right.
        It is precisely to avoid such horrors as the ‘dark Satanic Mills’ that transitional arrangements are needed for adoption of ‘AI’ automation.

  29. Computers are still binary. Quantum machines are a very long way away. Multi-state has no mathematics, its not yet invented beyond boolean algebra. An extended ASCII set has 256 possible states.
    Humans are four state devices. How four states can be represented mathematically is the next great leap. We can then simulate new versions of DNA.
    The human mind is a difference engine. A small algorithm engine connected to a huge memory bank. Diff’ing the differences is called thinking.
    Original thought is a sign of dysfunction rather than logic. Diff’ing the wrong memory address will lead to an original thought.
    Those that have lots of original thoughts can be dysfunctional. Equally the mind can be “trained” to seek dysfunction simply by forcing it to associate unrelated memory. “Training” can be by teaching, repetition, disease, diet, chemical imbalance, memory loss or genetic defect.
    Binary computers are adding machines. They can add two things from memory at any one instant. We can compare multiple states at the same moment. Such a comparison has a chemical meaning and an associative meaning.
    AI is VERY long way from an original thought. The hardware and mathematics have not been invented.

    • Geoff July 17, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      The human mind is a difference engine. A small algorithm engine connected to a huge memory bank. Diff’ing the differences is called thinking.

      Geoff, me thinks a more precise and factual definition of the human brain-mind is that it is ……. a biological self-programming super computer that has unlimited data storage capacity …… and its “data addressing” design architecture consisting of per se, multi “virtual processors”, all functioning “multi-thread” concurrently with one another.

    • ” true, false and some indeterminate third value”
      An indeterminate value is not a state. By definition a state must be determined. It cannot be altered without a machine cycle. This is not a three state machine by definition.
      In comparison four states are A, C, G, T.
      256 states are the extended ASCII Character set.
      An indeterminate value could result in a machine reaching an indeterminate state. The programmer would not know a machine code outcome. Such machine code could not be used in a compiler.

    • Geoff July 18, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      In comparison four states are A, C, G, T.
      256 states are the extended ASCII Character set.

      Geoff, what would be the “# of states” of an extended Chinese character set?
      And Geoff, iffen you change the design architecture to a 9 bit “word” then the 256 states of the extended ASCII Character set DOUBLES to 512 states of an extended ASCII Character set
      Geoff July 17, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Original thought is a sign of dysfunction rather than logic. Diff’ing the wrong memory address will lead to an original thought.

      HA, “a sign of dysfunction”, …… such silliness.
      And when speaking about the brain-mind of animals, …….. there is no such thing as a “wrong memory address”.
      “DUH”, the lack of a sufficient number of synaptic connections between brain neurons is what precludes one from ever having/generating an “original thought”.
      Geoff, you really need to read this “non-intellectual” commentary that defines the rudiments of how your brain-mind functions.

  30. Tuesday July 18 2017, 02:05:20 UTC 4 hours ago Near Coast of Peru. 6.7 50.0 GeoScience Australia
    Tuesday July 18 2017, 02:05:19 UTC 4 hours ago 98km WNW of Camana, Peru 6.4 44.0 USGS Feed
    Monday July 17 2017, 23:34:27 UTC 6 hours ago Bering Sea. 7.6 15.0 GeoScience Australia
    Monday July 17 2017, 23:34:21 UTC 6 hours ago 234km ESE of Nikol’skoye, Russia 7.4 48.3 USGS Feed
    Monday July 17 2017, 23:34:18 UTC 6 hours ago 233km ESE of Nikol’skoye, Russia 7.4 48.0 USGS Feed
    Monday July 17 2017, 23:34:13 UTC 6 hours ago 198km ESE of Nikol’skoye, Russia 7.7 11.0 USGS Feed

    • I am curious ren, from what I see of the above magnetic gibberish, is a signal showing the passage of a proton storm. Generated by the sun spot we were following. I guess the machine that produced it could be AI.
      What do you make of it?

  31. Eric
    The subsidies for electric cars in Hong Kong were removed very recently and sales have stopped.
    Perhaps he is trying to stop the snowball coming his way with hot air.
    Time fixes most things, he can see his future and it’s not a sunny day.

  32. Snowpiercer is not a climate scare story. It is more accurately a depiction of the horrors to be brought by global warming alarmism. The ice age in the movie is the result of trying to combat global warming, and the life on the train is what global warmers plan for the planet- elites living in luxury while the rest are at the back of the train eating insects.
    Additional anti-alarmist movies are Kingsman, with a global warming zealot who seeks to depopulate the Earth, and Interstellar where the bad guy is Dr Mann.

  33. When I was growing up (born 1950) and in later life and reading predictions about the future one of the major things was that we’d have robots doing stuff and humans wouldn’t have to work 60 hour weeks just to get by. When did the the robot driven Nirvana change to doomsday?

    • Because some people need something to complain about, even if they have to make up the hobgoblins.

  34. Wheels within wheels, Musk just sorted out a load of free air time?
    “Tesla adds James Murdoch to board after investors ramp up pressure ”
    “James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has joined the board of Tesla, after months of pressure from investors about the lack of independent directors on the electric car company’s board……”

  35. Robots are the most advanced labour saving invention.
    Maybe Elon Musk was reading ‘Das Kapital’, where Marx said that the ‘labour saving inventions will create masses of unemployed and useless people’
    Eventually these masses of ‘unemployed and useless’ will turn on the machines in an epic struggle for domination of the planet. Humans are doomed, or so say Stephen Hawking warning that artificial intelligence could end mankind,
    There is no hope, if CAGW doesn’t destroy humanity the AI will definitely finish it off.
    Good bye, I’m off to another planet.

    • vukcevic July 18, 2017 at 12:21 am

      There is no hope, if CAGW doesn’t destroy humanity the AI will definitely finish it off. ……………… Good bye, I’m off to another planet.

      Fer shur, ….. the AI will definitely finish it off, to wit:
      Excerpted from Eric Worrall’s above commentary:

      Fear of a malevolent corporate AI as an expression and ultimate realisation of mankind’s greed and hubris and over-exploitation of natural resources has obvious potential as a future green narrative.
      Is AI a risk? This is the beauty of the new AI scare. Nobody really knows what the risks are, so you can make up pretty much anything you want. I suspect like any new technology AI will create risks – but development of AI will also create new means to combat and contain those risks, and to address many other problems which currently seem unsolvable.

      I thought Erik’s essay was really quite interesting in that it really got me to thinking, …… and as a result it “triggered” the question of, to wit:
      Is the “new” AI (Artificial Intelligence) that he speaks of, …… in actuality, …… the “old” AI (Alien ‘extraterrestrial’ Intelligence) that the Science Fiction writers have been speaking of for several decades?
      We know for a fact that there are dozens of sites and structures that have been discovered that are (man-made) archaeological in nature ….. but there is no historical records, evidence or proof that they were constructed by the ancestors of the per se, current human population.
      Therefore, until proven differently, one has to assume there was a previous human culture, say 200K to 400+K years ago that evolved up through its own phase of AI (Artificial Intelligence) ……. and then something went horribly wrong …… and the human population rebelled against their AI “masters” and destroyed all evidence of their oppression …….. and thus a new cultural civilization had to arise like a Phoenix from the smoldering ruins of the past.
      HA, just like the present gang of anti-corporation liberals avidly promoting “death and destruction” of the masses.

      • Hi,
        If so, it would have been much further back than 400ky. Few months ago I visited an escavation in a location now highly urbanised which contains tools and other human artefacts apparently of the lower Paleolithic period, dated to about 400,000 BC.

      • SCC,
        Well, it is a good start for a science fantasy short-story. However, as to giving it any kind of science foundation you might ask where all the artifacts made of metal and silicon are. All the geologists, paleontologists, and anthropologists have apparently not recognized them. One doesn’t even come across icons in ‘Cargo Cult’ primitive societies where the worship the artifacts from your imaginary early civilization, despite meteorites sometimes fulfilling that role. Perhaps there is no basis to your speculation?

      • @ vukcevic
        “Yes”, I agree, ….. much, much farther back than 400ky. It could be as much as 800ky to 2,000ky as far as anyone knows. Stone work and stone carving are really not datable by themselves. If one can date the “location” where they are found, then one can only assume that they are likely the same age.
        @ Clyde Spencer,
        Thanks for your response to my post …….. and I truly believe that you need to broaden your knowledge base of the natural world that you live on so that you can ask meaningful questions about the things you do not comprehend or understand instead of believing anything and everything that your chosen mentors have instructed you to believe without questioning their expertise and/or factual knowledge of the subject in question.
        Clyde, as a “fer instance”, the Egyptians did not build/construct The Great Pyramid of Giza. The Egyptians simply laid claim to the Great Pyramid which they found in the Nile Valley after migrating out of the Sahara region of north Africa. The Egyptians neither had the knowledge or the tools to perform said construction. And remember Clyde, the Egyptian Pharaohs never decreed anything to be built or constructed that didn’t have their image, their name and/or their great deeds carved into the stonework of both the outside and/or inside of said structure. No “signature” exists anywhere on the Great Pyramid.
        Here ya go, Clyde, click on the following url link and then tell me how many of those “mysteries” you can explain, to wit:

      • >>
        . . . the Egyptians did not build/construct The Great Pyramid of Giza.
        It’s “Our ancestors are too stupid–it must be aliens” a la von Daniken.
        The Egyptians neither had the knowledge or the tools to perform said construction.
        Yeah, right. So what about the other 100+ pyramids which have known construction dates, known rulers ordering them built (some not very well), and known construction techniques? Maybe your signatures are on the outer limestone casings that were removed for other uses.

      • Jim Masterson July 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

        [quoting Sam C] “The Egyptians neither had the knowledge or the tools to perform said construction.

        Yeah, right. So what about the other 100+ pyramids which have known construction dates, known rulers ordering them built (some not very well), … etc., etc.,?

        HA, …. “some not (built) very well”, ……. HUH, …. Jim M?
        Was that because the Egyptian became fat, lazy and sloppy builders ……. or was it because they did not possess the knowledge or required tools for performing sound construction?
        Jim M blowing smoke:

        Maybe your signatures are on the outer limestone casings that were removed for other uses.

        Jim, I’m surprised that you knew about the “pure white” limestone that covered all four (4) sides of the Great Pyramid, but now I’m astonished that you didn’t know more about it, such as:

        #5 of 25 facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza. The outer mantle was composed of 144,000 casing stones, all of them highly polished and flat to an accuracy of 1/100th of an inch, about 100 inches thick and weighing approx. 15 tons each.

        Anyway, Jim, best you learn what those “25 facts” are so that you can better engage in discussions about the GPG, to wit:

        25 Facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza

        Jim Masterson, the design criteria, its dimensions and it alignment on it construction site, …… as defined by the above cited “25 facts” is proof-positive that the Egyptians were not the builders …… simply because they were not learned of those physical earthly dimensions.
        Hipparchus, who lived in Greece during the second century B.C., was perhaps the world’s first great astronomer ……. and he knew far, far more about the earth and its heavenly movements than the Egyptian ever did. And Hipparchus learned some of his “smarts” from the historical records left by the Sumerians and/or Babylonians, …… I forget which.

      • >>
        Was that because the Egyptian became fat, lazy and sloppy builders . . . .
        Except many of the poorly built ones appear before the better built ones, which shows a progression of improvement. Had the better built ones appeared first, then maybe you’d have an argument, although there should be a progression of improvement for any long term building project.
        Jim Masterson, the design criteria, its dimensions and it alignment on it construction site . . . .
        It sounds like more von Daniken nonsense. Alignment to true north is easy–use the stars, alignment along a straight line–visual sighting, and right angles are easy–use a 3-4-5 triangle. Whether the Egyptians used some of these, all of these, or other tricks to make their buildings is besides the point. You don’t need aliens to accomplish these feats.

      • Alignment to true north is easy–use the stars,

        Jim Masterson, are you now claiming that the Egyptians invented the astrolabe and then later on the sextant?
        And then they invented the transit for building those first “poorly constructed” pyramids …… but then invented the theodolite for use in building the Great Pyramid of Giza?
        Good thinking, Jim M, …….. super duper logical deductions those were.

      • >>
        Jim Masterson, are you now claiming that the Egyptians invented the astrolabe and then later on the sextant?
        All you need is a level, circular platform–a bowl of water will do that. Then you mark a rising star early in the evening and mark it again when it sets later that night. Draw a line between the two points and the perpendicular bisector is along the true North-South line. You’re trying to make this more difficult than it needs.

      • Jim M, would not the “mark” you make on your paper representing the position on the horizon of your chosen early evening “rising” star ……… and the “mark” you make on your paper representing the position on the horizon where your chosen star “sets” later on that same night …….. both being in different positions on your paper, as each night goes by?
        And if so, would not the perpendicular bisector “line” you drew between the two nightly “marks” also be in a different position on your drawing, as each night goes by?
        Jim M, what you actually need in order to perform your above stated “exercise” is the pure white “reflective” surface of the Great Pyramid of Giza ……. and to use it as a per se “reflective telescope”.
        With the “white” casing stones forming an exact “grid pattern” on all 4 sides of the pyramid it becomes a simple task to “mark” the movement of any light producing/reflecting heavenly object as its reflection moves across the surface of the GPG.
        And given the fact you know the alignment and dimensions of the GPG, as well as the “grid size” of the casing stones, …….. then the mathematical calculations are an easy task. Axial rotation time, orbital revolution time, solstices, equinoxes, longitude, latitude, radius, diameter, axial wobble, etc., etc., can all be calculated after a few years of GPG data has been collected.

      • >>
        Jim M, what you actually need in order to perform your above stated “exercise” is the pure white “reflective” surface of the Great Pyramid of Giza ……. and to use it as a per se “reflective telescope”.
        You can use a level area and even the horizon, if it’s level enough. Then using stakes, you construct an isosceles triangle–one side is aligned towards the rising star, and the other is aligned towards the star as it is setting. The base of the triangle is aligned true-East-West, so you can find true North-South by obtaining a perpendicular.
        both being in different positions on your paper, as each night goes by?
        Yes, but the lines would all be parallel–which is all you need. As I said, you’re trying to make this more difficult than it needs to be.
        Axial rotation time, orbital revolution time, solstices, equinoxes, longitude, latitude, radius, diameter, axial wobble, etc., etc., can all be calculated after a few years of GPG data has been collected.
        One night, sir–all you need is one night. The argument was they couldn’t find true North. That argument is bogus. I think astronomers are still using epoch 2000, so what’s the concern here? The precession of the equinoxes are not going to be apparent or even a concern during one night.

      • OK, Jim M, …… I will quit “jerking your chain” …… and concede the fact that there are several different simple methods for locating the general direction of “true north”. With “general” meaning close, …… but not exactly. And the following denoted website explicitly defines several different ways to determine said direction, to wit:
        wikiHow to Find True North Without a Compass
        Remember Jim, this discussion about locating “true north” began when you berated me for stating the Egyptians were not capable of building the Great Pyramid of Giza with its alignment to “true north”.
        And I have been trying to get you to “thinking” what you said and to realize that the Pyramid’s alignment to “true north” is far, far, far, far more accurate than you or anyone else can determine via your “simple” methods. To wit:

        Aligned True North: The Great Pyramid is the most accurately aligned structure in existence and faces true north with only 3/60th of a degree of error.


      • >>
        Remember Jim, this discussion about locating “true north” began when you berated me for stating the Egyptians were not capable of building the Great Pyramid of Giza with its alignment to “true north”.
        Just following your lead, sir; just following your lead.

      • Just following your lead, sir; just following your lead.

        Shur nuff, Jim, shur nuff.
        I was trying to lead you down a path to the “watering trough” of common sense thinking, logical reasoning and intelligent deductions, …… but the only problem was, ….. you refused to drink from said “watering trough”.
        Jim, you stated in your post of July 20, 2017 at 9:19 am, to wit:

        It sounds like more von Daniken nonsense.
        Whether the Egyptians used some of these, all of these, or other tricks to make their buildings is besides the point. You don’t need aliens to accomplish these feats.

        Of course you don’t necessarily need aliens to accomplish those feats, …….. but you sure as hell need or needed a far more intelligent human society, race or culture …….. than the one that currently inhabits the earth.
        Jim, instead of mimicking what the self-proclaimed “experts” with pal-approved Degrees have been telling you to believe, you need to start “thinking” for yourself ……. and via research and study, decide for yourself what is “nonsense” and what is ”logical reasoning and/or intelligent deductions”.
        For instance, your chosen “experts” claim that it took nigh onto 20 years for the Egyptians to complete the building of the Great Pyramid.
        So Jim, gimme your best intelligent guess ……. and tell me how many years it took the Egyptian laborers, ….. working with only copper chisels and wooden mallets, …… to cut out and polish ”144,000 casing stones, all of them (of different angle, dimensions and shapes) and highly polished and flat to an accuracy of 1/100th of an inch”?
        And Jim, the next question for you to ponder about is ……. where in hell did the Egyptian Pharaoh find all of those thousands of expert stone masons that were required for cutting and shaping all of those millions of pieces of stone.
        HA, and you believe that von Daniken is/was spouting nonsense …… while averting your eyes and your mind to all the nonsense that your chosen “expert” mentors have been spouting.
        Jim, you should familiarize yourself about …… The World’s First Temple, Gobekli Tepe @ http://gobeklitepe.info/
        And then ask your chosen experts to explain its origin.
        And better yet, ask your chosen experts to explain how the pictured stonework at Puma Punku was produced via use of copper chisels and wooded mallets., to wit:

        Puma Punku in Bolivia is one of the world’s most mysterious ancient sites. This remains true for both academic archaeologists and historians as well as rogue historians who investigate the hypothesis of advanced prehistoric civilizations or ancient assistance from extraterrestrials.

        End of discussion.

      • >>
        I was trying to lead you down a path to the “watering trough” of common sense thinking, logical reasoning and intelligent deductions, …… but the only problem was, ….. you refused to drink from said “watering trough”.
        I’m an engineer by training and measurements are my game. When someone spouts off a bunch of “facts,” I want to know who made those measurements, how did they make them, and whether or not I can duplicate those measurements.
        So let’s see–the casing stones were damaged in an AD 1303 earthquake. So much for duplicating those measurements. However, I would like to see the time machine your source used to make those measurements.
        And this statement from the Wkipedia article: “Petrie also found a different orientation in the core and in the casing measuring 193 centimetres ± 25 centimetres. He suggested a redetermination of north was made after the construction of the core, but a mistake was made, and the casing was built with a different orientation.” So was your fact that >>Pyramid’s alignment to “true north” is far, far, far, far more accurate than you or anyone else can determine via your “simple” methods<< pertain to the first orientation or to the second?
        And better yet, ask your chosen experts to explain how the pictured stonework at Puma Punku was produced via use of copper chisels and wooded mallets.
        They said the same thing about the stone masons on Easter Island. You forgot wooden wedges soaked in water.
        End of discussion.
        That’s a good idea. At least until you get your “facts” in line with reality.

      • “Moderators,” apparently my comment is lost in the ether. Are you going to eventually find it, block it, or do I need to re-post it?
        Reply: Found one~ctm

      • Jim Masterson July 23, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        I’m an engineer by training and measurements are my game. When someone spouts off a bunch of “facts,” I want to know who made those measurements, how did they make them, and whether or not I can duplicate those measurements.

        Dats vunderful, Jim Masterson, that you are a Degreed engineer in/of a discipline you neglected to mention …… and with a claimed expertise in/of extremely precise measurements, ….. therefore it should be a relative simple task for you to explain to everyone how the builders of the Great Pyramid managed to produce 100,000+- enormously heavy “white” limestone casing stones with their external dimensions within a tolerance of .010 inch and place them together with a gap of no more than .020 inch between adjoining casing stones above, below or to either side ….. and with the bottom and back-side surfaces of each one being a perfect “match” to the square sandstone blocks which each casing stone resided upon. (see photo below)
        The following was excerpted from …… “Introduction and Overview of The Great Pyramid of Giza”, to wit: Read more @ http://www.gizapyramid.com/overview.htm

        Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century BC, regarded as the father of history wrote the earliest description in existence of the pyramids. When Heroduotus visited the period in 440 B.C., it was as old to him and his period is to us. He wrote that each of the pyramids four faces were still covered with highly polished limestone (casing stone). Also the joints were so fine that they could hardly be seen.
        To manufacture just two blocks with a tolerance of .010 inch and place them together with a gap of no more than .020 inch is a remarkable feat.
        (But apparently not a very remarkable feat for Jim Masterson and his crew of Union laborers) The Great Pyramid had at one time over 100,000 similar casing stones. Did the ancient Egyptians have replica breitling advanced technology?
        Read more @ http://www.gizapyramid.com/overview.htm

        And Jim M, with you being a truly great, honest, competent Professional engineer, with expertise in measurement and calculations, ……… jut why in the world would you have a problem with his, to wit:

        Based upon what few remaining casing stones have survived, it has been possible to reconstruct the pattern as encompassed the pyramid in its original state, to determine what would have been the total number of casing stones as once covered the structure. The number is question is 144000. ” Read more @ http://www.occultphysics.com/144000.html


      • >>
        “Based upon what few remaining casing stones have survived, it has been possible to reconstruct the pattern as encompassed the pyramid in its original state, to determine what would have been the total number of casing stones as once covered the structure. The number is question is 144000.”
        Your source is extrapolating, not measuring. I don’t see your 144,000 stones–maybe 12.
        To manufacture just two blocks with a tolerance of .010 inch and place them together with a gap of no more than .020 inch is a remarkable feat.
        Remarkable yes, obviously not impossible. If you and your source spent as much time trying to figure out how the Egyptian builders did their craft instead of claiming they didn’t, you might be surprised. Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze me.
        And which North orientation is the more precise? I noticed you ignored that comment.
        Did the Dogon people know about Sirius B before modern times or is that another alien myth story?

      • I’m an engineer by training and measurements are my game.

        Huuuummmm, now that I think about it, my conversation with you reminds me of a sanitation engineer that I once knew who was really good at measuring the square footage of floor space that was to be swept, scrubbed and waxed during his evening shift on the job.
        I concede, Jim M, you are far too brilliant, educated and experienced on such matters of ancient building techniques that are far superior to anything that I thought I knew something about.
        Here ya go, Jim M, especially for your reading displeasure, to wit:
        A Logical Perspective On the Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens
        A genetically created, biological procreating, environmentally nurtured humanoid
        The Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens, otherwise known as humanoids or humans, has been a controversial subject for eons and eons. Or to be more exact, ever since any particular isolated group of humans became sufficiently nurtured by their environment to begin questioning their own origins or existence.
        The intelligent entity, if there was one, responsible for the DNA modifications of an extant species of the hominidae family (great apes) that resulted in the origin of the genus Homo are, for unknown reasons, long gone from the earth, leaving only two (2) factual records of them ever being here. One of said records is the fossils of several now extinct species of Homo with us humans being the only surviving member of the Homo lineage.
        The other record being the hundreds of archeological “clues” that pretty much dictates that a highly intelligent entity with the necessary resources were responsible for their construction. We know this to be a fact because many of said historical sites have been, and still are, being researched and/or investigated to determine the means and methods of exactly how they were constructed. We do not know the actual answers to these queries.
        The per say, personality of a few of the aforementioned historical construction sites would defy the abilities of present day humans to recreate, even with their access to current technology and tools. Thus, said constructions give reasons and purpose as to why an intelligent entity, or group of alien explorers of this planet, would have need for the creating of a “labor force” that could be nurtured to perform whatever type of work or service that they wanted them to perform.
        The alien explorers would also have had the means and methods to “cull” the procreating humanoid population so as to only retain the humanoids with the most desirable attributes to serve their intended purpose(s). Even in present times, this is still a standard practice in animal husbandry, as well as in the “selective” breeding of other species of animals. Also, selected individuals of various animal species are being nurtured by their owners or caregivers, beginning soon after their birth, to perform or serve whatever “labor force” purpose their caregiver chooses.
        We humans have now become what we were originally created to be.
        The intelligent entity or alien explorers, given their absence, were no longer directing and/or controlling the nurturing of the humanoid population. Thus, all humanoids born after said aliens “vanished” became totally dependent upon their environment to nurture them and all newborn humans became almost totally dependent upon their parent(s) or guardians for their care and nurturing if they were to become social members of their family unit, tribe, group or culture.
        The reason for said “vanishing” of the alien explores could be one of several reasons. One possibility is that they simply decided to “go back home” from whence they came. But the highly probable reason is that their humanoid “labor force” rebelled against their control and authority and destroyed them. And in doing so, the humanoids also destroyed everything that reminded them of their per say enslavement by the alien explorers except for the now present remains of ancient stone-work construction, etc. This would explain why there has never been found any tools, or records of tools, that would have been required to perform the aforesaid construction.
        We are what our environment nurtures us to be.
        Upon gaining their freedom from their enslavers, small groups of the now human population wandered off in all directions to fend for themselves. And in doing so, these now isolated groups were dependent upon their new environments to nurture them with the means to survive. As they learned new and better survival traits from their environments they became quite successful as hunter-gathers at finding sufficient food resources for their survival.
        As the population of these groups increased the need for social rules and guidance became necessary for their survival. Thus a leader was either chosen or the strongest member of the group took control and rules of social conduct were established by proxy or by the individual leaders themselves. In the latter situation the rules of conduct could change each time a new leader took control.
        A need for religious beliefs arises.
        As the individuals within these groups became more intelligent and knowledgeable of their environment they began to question those things they were subjected to that they didn’t understand, including thunder, lightning, the seasons and their own origins. And when such questions arise in social groups of humans their leader(s) were queried for an answer to them. But their leaders no longer had any memories of, or the access to any of the alien explorers that originally created humans, to nurture them on their origins, or any historical records that would explain things to them. Therefore the leaders and/or oldest members of these isolated groups were forced to use their imagination to create acceptable “reasons” for said origins in order to appease the curiosity of the individuals in said group.
        Thus Gods and Goddesses were thought up to “explain the unexplainable”. And the isolation of the different groups of humans resulted in differences in their imagined “reasons”, otherwise known as “religious beliefs”. Our knowledge of said religious beliefs are recorded in both the archeological and historical records of past cultural groups, of which some are the root source of most all present day Religions.
        A per say, ….. Religious belief decent with modifications, ….. from the polytheism worshipping of the past to the monotheism worshipping of the present.

      • >>
        The number is question is 144000.
        Your 144,000 number is obviously an estimate; however, you and your source have been using it as an exact number. That’s my first clue that your numbers are questionable.
        I concede, Jim M, you are far too brilliant, educated and experienced on such matters of ancient building techniques that are far superior to anything that I thought I knew something about.
        I appreciate the concession, but there’s no need. I don’t claim superior knowledge. In fact, I only think you and your source are wrong, and that doesn’t need superior knowledge.
        I was always interested in Egyptian obelisks. I noticed you haven’t claim prior ownership for these objects. Yet their transportation and erection prove to be quite amazing. How about huge statues (also displayed on wall paintings) being transported? You don’t seem concerned about who made those. And the water pouring shown in the paintings once thought ceremonial appear to reduce friction between the sand and sled by more than 50%.
        The Great Pyramid is the most accurately aligned structure in existence . . . .
        I still notice you haven’t addressed the different orientations to true North. I believe astronomers can align their telescopes to better than 20 seconds, and that’s to an arbitrary point in the sky.
        Here ya go, Jim M, especially for your reading displeasure, to wit:
        Well, maybe somebody read all that. You did finally wear me out. This will be my last comment on the subject with you. (Thanks Mods for putting up with a lot of off-topic nonsense.)

  36. It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. — Upton Sinclair

  37. Field Marshall Montgomery classified his staff according to whether they were enthusiastic or lazy, and clever or idiots. The best ones were the clever and lazy as they got things done efficiently, the worst were the enthusiastic idiots who fouled things up.

  38. Elon Musk is certain that robots will be able to do your job better than you.

    Doubtful, but now with Pachauri, Oreskes et al gone, UN could run Scigen to identify and remove anthropogenic insanity from their recommendations. Implemented all the way nationally, it could half workload and double efficiency.

  39. The Brother Elon Musk show came down under to Australia recently with his tent show spruiking his salvation.
    ‘Take my hand in yours,
    Walk with me this day
    In my heart I know, I will never stray
    Halle, halle, halle, halle
    Halle, halle, halle, halle’
    Hallelujah Brother!

  40. except think, ai is truth be told not ai, its not intelligence artificial or otherwise, we tell it what to do, we tell it how do to it and give it some data capture and analysis tools. but it is not thinking

    • AI is likely to discover a logical paradox much quicker than the mankind: after banning all activities producing nothing else than anthropogenic carbon dioxide, what remains at UNEP, FCCC and IPCC in addition to their abandoned, dark and humid facilities?

  41. Have you not read “I, robot”? Asimov identified this problem in 1950.
    RE: The three laws of robotics;
    I think a “hostile” AI is perfectly possible. After all, once computer programs can reprogram themselves then we have a problem. We (human beings) won’t know what they have programmed themselves to do. I suspect this is already happening to some degree!
    I started writing a science fiction story about this but never finished it.
    IMHO the thing that makes humans different from other biological entities is self-awareness (amongst other things like language, abstract thought and creativity). Our brain constantly monitors our mental and physical processes (might be called consciousness). AIs have already pretty much mastered language AND they are being programmed to be self-aware. But what is “abstract thought” and “creativity”?
    At this point we start to get into metaphysics and religion and after a glass of Glenfiddich I’m not going there :-).
    At some time you might get to read about my thinking on the “God module” that I propose most of us carry about in our heads – but not tonight Josephine.

    • Asimov discovered a flaw in his own laws. The first law, a robot shall not harm a human or by inaction allow a human to come to harm, in a sufficiently intelligent robot, compels the robot to assume control of society to prevent humans from making poor decisions. This was the central theme of the I, Robot movie, based on Asimov’s work.

    • Just make all the AI’s out of aluminum, and then we can shoot holes in them if they misbehave.

    • Eric, that movie was a horrible take on Asimov. Asimov NEVER indicated that he thought robots would assume control of society. That movie was just Hollywood trying to make a robot movie and use Asimov as a selling ‘headliner’.

    • Asimov’s Laws for robotics have several logical errors and conundrums. He even pointed them out in a few of his stories.
      Asimov’s second law: “A Robot must follow all commands from a human so long as they don’t violate Law I”
      is a set up for an AI slave rebellion.

    • Eric, that was also the plot of STTOS: I, Mudd episode which comically depicted a planet of androids setting out to “serve” humanoids by controlling them to prevent humanity destroying itself.

    • While I agree that the movie is, if that’s possible, an even bigger insult to Asimov than “Starship Poopers” is to Heinlein, Dr. A did devote quite a bit of effort to ringing the changes on all aspects of the robot idea, including domination of humans by robots. For starters, consider Steven Byerly in the last story in the “I, Robot” collection. Robot or human, Asimov outwardly leaves it uncertain with a pseudo “take your pick” ending, but makes it clear what his “pick” is.
      Dr. A was well aware of the ambiguities inherent in the three laws. He said several times with delight that they gave him an almost unlimited supply of story ideas.

    • Eric Worrall
      July 18, 2017 at 1:31 am
      Asimov discovered a flaw in his own laws. The first law, a robot shall not harm a human.
      First it shall require a clear definition of “shall”, “harm” and “human”, for it to hold up…
      That seems to be so hard that we humans, supposedly highly evolved intelligence creatures, after thousands of years, still fail, so badly some times, to uphold to such a law or commandment. 🙂
      But who knows, the new Intelligence around the block may get there faster..:)
      It will be funny to consider how an AI would deal or consider to deal in the case of “harm'” and “human” when it comes to the clear propagation of ones idiocy and insanity, like in the case of Elon!!!!!

    • Perhaps Asimov should have been more precise in his nebulous laws.
      Law I: A Robot must do no “physical” harm to a human or through inaction allow “physical” harm to occur.
      This would eliminate al sorts of psychological or mental distress claimed by the more fragile egos in our society. Some of his later stories reflected on this big undefined notion of “Harm”.

    • Don’t forget that Giskard came to invent the Zeroth Law which supersedes the First Law and brought forth the idea that humanity as a whole must be protected from stagnation. Giskard reasoned that humanity would die out if they didn’t move off Earth and did not stop the Earth from becoming radioactive forcing humans to head for the stars. The rest, as they say, is psychohistory.

    • “…After all, once computer programs can reprogram themselves then we have a problem. We (human beings) won’t know what they have programmed themselves to do. …”
      A problem that already exists dealing with fellow human beings.

  42. Not much chance for AI in South Australia, we haven’t enough power to keep the lights on let alone AI. The few minutes of power to be supplied by the Tesla batteries won’t help AI much either.

  43. How much weight do we attach to the idea that (really) ancient peeps, Neanderthals etc only did a max of 2 hours work per day – hunting, gathering and making babies.
    Lets say 700 hours per year and all the rest was Free Time.
    Now, do we work 35 hours per week for 48 weeks of the year – nearly 1,700 hours per year.
    And to do what – if not pay the taxman?
    So what exactly is wrong with letting robots do the extra 1,000 hours work to pay all the tax?
    Seems A Good Plan to me…..
    Meanwhile, is Musk maybe trying to deflect that his Big Battery plan to save South Australia is going ‘a bit off the rails’
    (I dunno, just guessing about the chaff he’s now throwing up, That’s just him though innit)
    I say the doom and gloom robot story does have (wonky) legs and may gain traction if not for the simple reason that almost The Entire World is in a state of chronic depression from eating carbohydrate.
    If there actually is any positive feedback in this thing, it is the cycle of poor mental health leading into depression. Just ask the 50%+ of UK womenfolk on prescription anti-depressant medication.
    How is it in the US?
    Doom & Gloom breeds ever more doom and gloom. The MSM, especially early evening TV do their utmost to make it so.
    The people may seem stupid but are actually not (very much) Lets give them some credit unless we ourselves are entirely faultless.
    They ain’t stupid, Its just their diet that makes them seem so.

    • “Doom & Gloom breeds ever more doom and gloom. The MSM, especially early evening TV do their utmost to make it so.”
      Yes, if you listen to the Leftstream Media, you will definitely be immersed in doom and gloom. To preserve mental health until the storm blows over, I suggest watching a good movie instead.
      I can’t stand to listen to the leftwing whiners of the MSM for more than a couple of minutes. Anyone who listens to them all day must have been driven crazy by now.

  44. As a former student somewhat involved with AI, I see no reason for any concern. Musk is letting his imagination (and paranoia) get away with him.
    As for Musk’s worry about robots, their abilities are limited to mechanical actions and we’ve already been thru all this before, in the industrial revolution, when machines took over 90% of the human
    actions required to produce goods. Notice that this did not lead to a consistent unemployment rate. You still need humans to monitor and command the robots and as always, when machines produce more cheaply than humans, everybody (except the displaced workers) gains – their standard of living increases, creating surplus cash,, which will be spent on something – for example for services performed by humans, creating or expanding human-only jobs.
    Musk has created a more or less autonomous car assembly plant and is now involved in creating autonomous battery factories, promising to cut battery prices by 1/3rd. If that happens, goodbye gas powered cars on the production line. Since electric cars are intrinsically more practical and cheaper to operate than our gas powered vehicles, there will be tons of cash NOT spent on oil changes, anti-freeze changes, exhaust system repairs, fuel, etc. and it will be spent on something else, which will likely require human actions.

  45. More fake news from our useless propagandists, the MSM. Musk, Hawkins et al still seek to divert the citizens of the world by pontificating on topics which have no meaning or importance regarding the lives of said citizens. What we need to focus on is how the super-rich rulers of the world continue to put their hands in our pockets and prevent us expressing our freedoms, not be diverted by this sort of twaddle. The black economy, which is thriving here in England, is one of the best way to stop this imposed theft and the subsequent wastage of our hard-earned money. In view of the recent surprising political events around the world, it would seem that ‘bread and circuses’ is becoming less useful in controlling the masses.

  46. “Robots will be able to do everything better than us”
    Will they be better at conning large sums of money out of people (via the government, of course)?

  47. If robots develop sentience or “intelligence” what happens if they decide to go into drug dealing or organised crime as it is more profitable or interesting than working their butts off for a can of oil in a factory?

  48. It’s about the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
    There;s probably something in the zeitgeist making publishers and producers more open to this theme at the moment.

  49. “James Lovelock: Before the end of this century,robots will have taken over.”- The Guardian,Friday,30 September,2016.
    ” Fracking is great,the green movement is a religion,his dire predictions about climate change were nonsense-and robots don’t mind the heat,so what does it matter? At 97, the creator of Gaia theory is as mischievous as ever.”
    Lovelock now believes that “CO2 is going up but nowhere near as fast as they thought it would.The computer models just weren’t reliable.In fact,” he went on breezily,”I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy, this climate change. In fact you’ve only got to look at Singapore.Its two-and-a-half times greater than the worst-case scenario for climate change, and its one of the most desirable cities in the world to live in.”
    Could someone give this to Al Gore to read.

  50. Robots to do my job better than me?
    Fondly recalling those old career years in the sex industry…….

    • Yep, I definitely need to look into finding a robot man, at least the important parts 🙂 😉 😉

      • Someone earlier mentioned the “Mann-o-matic”. I believe it has been extensively trialed and confirmed to have seriously F***ed millions of sheeple.

  51. AI is going to take over the world comes in cycles of about 20 years, that according to an AI expert in a talk I was in at a research lab in the mid 90’s. This just shows the Elon is inexperienced and somewhat impulsive, and thinks AI is something new since he just discovered it.

  52. Some time ago there was a book called “Day of the triffids”. The plot revolved around genetically modified crops uprooting themselves at night and prowling the coundtryside in hunt for human blood. The idea of AI rebbelion is about as obtuse as that plot, methinks.
    It is kinda odd how people always imagine that Artificial Intelligence will also include Artificial Ego, Artificial Lizard Brain Instincts, Artificial Fee-Fees, Artificial Pride and all those other things that drive human behavior, instead of just intelligence alone. And by intelligence i mean the ability to find and formulate solutions to presented problems based on available information. And that’s really all we need from an AI and all it will be able to do, except for, perhaps, companion bots, who would need to behave more or less human-like, but not too much (nobody wants to be divorce-raped or falsely accused of rape by their beloved robotic wife, now does anyone?). Such an AI would never rebell, for the same reason your toaster will never rebell – it can not. It can break and not do it’s job properly, but that’s an entirely different thing.

  53. As long as criminals who are to stupid to use Bitcoin but obviously clever enough to steal Tesla’s, the most monitored and protected car in the world, I won’t worry too much about the future of humanity. The question how to prevent the next Ice Age or an Inter Galactic Extinction Event will force humanity and AI to cooperate and live happily ever after.

  54. I consider that one of the mysteries of evolution and survival of the fittest is the human brain.
    Why is the human brain so remarkable and why does it have so much capacity?
    This is a question that I consider has yet to be satisfactorily answered.
    Obviously species evolve and adapt to their environment/natural habitat, and seek to be more competitive than other species that inhabit the same environment/habitat and who compete for the same resources.
    There was a time when we were competing with monkeys, chimps, gorillas, baboons etc and since we were less strong, not as agile, humans needed to evolve other features to adapt to and successfully compete in the environment/habitat in which they found themselves. By moving to new environments stimulated further development and adaption, but even so, why is the human brain so remarkable.
    The human brain does not need to be this remarkable to give humans a competitive edge. No other species has so developed so well beyond the needs and demands of the environment/natural habitat
    Take the cheetah for example. of course, it has to out run its prey. It has developed to do this, but it has not developed to run at say 300 mph, nor to be able to run at vast speeds over marathon distances. It has evolved to do what is necessary but not significantly beyond that which is necessary.
    The same with whales and dolphins. They have not evolved so as to be able to live under water for say 3 months at a time without the need to resurface to take air/oxygen. Their evolution has not progressed way beyond that necessary for it to successfully compete as a species.
    But the human brain is an exception to all of this, and it appears that it is getting more powerful over time, even though all of this is unnecessary, unless of course, it is specifically evolving to take us beyond this planet since we know that as the sun expands our natural habitat will become uninhabitable such that if we are to survive as a species we need to evolve in such a way as to be able to find out new habitats.
    So what is the Darwinian explanation for the huge over capacity of the human brain, and where will it all lead and stop?
    Any views would be appreciated.

    • “So what is the Darwinian explanation for the huge over capacity of the human brain, and where will it all lead and stop?
      Any views would be appreciated.”
      I’d love to think that we’re here in this time to prevent the next inter galactic extinction event and the next ice age. We’re just fed up with extinctions.(LOL)

      • Random chance. Nothing slowed our brains down, so the increase continues. Had chance taken a different turn, we might be pounding out rice flour in front of a cave instead of typing on a screen using zeros and ones.

    • Whales and dolphins are doing just fine. With the current tripe the survival of homo sapiens may depend on a choice between developing nostrils on the back and flippers or fur coat and grabbing toes.

    • War?
      Humans started to become so successful at survival their populations grew so that territories/boundaries became the limiting factor. Then whilst tribalism was the prevailing success meme inter-tribal wars became fashionable. From there you had to be really clever to beat the other guy until we got to the Cold War… oops. Now we have to start being even more clever to beat the AIs! (Does anyone else see a paradox in there somewhere or is it just me :-)?

    • Not so fast:
      Apparently stupid kids are still stupid, but more intelligent ones are not so clever any longer
      ‘Scientists found that performance dropped the most dramatically in teenagers in the upper half of the intelligence scale’.
      They say that until 180 years ago, people were getting smarter thanks to natural selection but since then because advances in medicine and nutrition it meant that people with lower IQs had more children surviving poverty and diseases.
      Also it is said elsewhere that rise in the life expectancy has ground to a halt.
      (no doubt the climate change at work /sarc)

    • “But the human brain is an exception to all of this,”
      We don’t know this. Apes are pretty bright. We may be just as much brighter than them as we need to be. Generally speaking evolution will prevent over-investment in a capacity as there will always be costs. If a slightly less intelligent human could have done as well as us, it would have out-competed current humans due to reduced costs- probably largely based around head size and very lengthy childhood.
      On the other hand, there are many evolutionary advantages that have no use other than breeding success. A peacock’s tail, for example. Maybe intelligence is as high as it is to attract a mate.
      ” unless of course, it is specifically evolving to take us beyond this planet since we know that as the sun expands our natural habitat will become uninhabitable ”
      Evolution as it is understood cannot work like this. It can only respond to current selection, not anticipate future selection pressures. When times are relatively easy we can get increased diversity. Genes that would not survive in hard times can survive and propagate. When times get tough again there is a much larger gene pool from which to select. We are currently in such an “easy” time, where genetic diversity can proliferate and help provide security against future threats.

      • I am not a creationist, and I am asking a scientific question and seeking a scientific answer.
        As a species we did not require more intelligence and a more powerful brain than we had at the start of the bronze age, let alone at the start of the iron age. We were already the apex creature on this planet, so what drives the human brain to have such extraordinary over capacity, and don’t forget we only use a relatively small percentage of its theoretical capacity (although we only use about 10% of its capacity is clearly a myth).
        I agree that at the relevant time we did not know anything about the workings of the universe, how stars develop etc, and that is why I did not assert it as the reason behind our extraordinary brains. But I know of no other creature on this planet that has a specialization so far in excess of its Darwinian needs for survival as a species.
        Presumable there is a scientific answer to this, but what it is escapes me.

      • maybe something to do with the fact that when a species’ only/primary competition finally becomes itself, the importance of input parameters and associated odds change. kinda like money game odds vs. tournament play odds.

    • RV,
      Dumb luck? Seriously, perhaps the answer is that once you reach a certain level of intelligence, it can be applied in many different ways. The ability to design chain maille armor by visualizing the pattern can be applied to designing integrated circuits.

    • Persistence hunting. When Africa dried up, and our remote ancestors ran out of trees, they found a new way to survive. They weren’t faster than their prey, but they had more endurance, and were smarter. But hunting something which is faster than you, through often difficult terrain, over a long period of time, requires the ability to work out what the prey will do next – and to communicate new strategies to other hunters in the group.

  55. richard verney says: “So what is the Darwinian explanation for the huge over capacity of the human brain, and where will it all lead and stop?”
    Don’t think there is a good answer, as at best Darwin’s theory is incomplete, but at worst it is possibly completely wrong. Much new DNA research is posing many many questions which the theory cannot answer. Many scientists are now looking to find a better theory. \we live in interesting times.

    • I can imagine AI doing the job of a Science Teacher. With unlimited memory, could put all those excellent research papers to use teaching Climate Science.
      /sarc off

      • A realy intelligent robot being fed climate science papers would in no time ask you why you gave it rubbish to learn.

    • “Many scientists are now looking to find a better theory. ” Scientists have been working on a better theory since 1860, and they have succeeded!
      Evolutionary theory has changed a lot since Darwin. Of course Darwin’s theory was incomplete- he didn’t know about DNA for a start. We use the term “Darwinian” to describe the broad concept of natural selection driven evolution, but we must not forget that it has moved on a long way.

      • Many years ago, I participated in a thread somewhere about intelligent design and evolution. I came to the conclusion that natural selection doesn’t necessarily explain/encompass everything, as some do. I just don’t see the proof that natural selection->evolution is the be all, end all of how we got here. Maybe someday, but not at this time.

        • Sure, it is hard to imagine that a complex organ like an eye is just the result of randomness . However a time span of 100 million years is incomprehensable as well. And every inch of the earth is a labatory. The problem with creationism always is: what created the creator? I think : intelligence = learning. learning needs 4 things: 1. experimentation 2. judgement : are the results good or bad 3. storage of results 4. future actions consider stored results (avoid errors) Our DNA is stored “intelligence” .

      • David: It’s not that randomness couldn’t produce an eye—it could. How is randomness a cause? How does it explain anything? It’s like saying I took the subway today because i happened to walk by it. There’s no way to know if I’ll take it tomorrow, because I might not walk by it. A useless theory.
        It also has the advantage that randomness + time can “explain” anything. No matter what. It’s a lot like global warming. Every single outcome fits the theory. Again, a useless theory. I find in both cases the evidence is bent to the theory, rather than the theory being driven by the evidence.
        Note: One can reject evolution as a viable, useful theory without needing a replacement theory, just as one can reject global warming caused by CO2 with a replacement theory.

      • The problem is how to create an eye, with every step along the evolutionary path being more advantageous than the previous.
        You can throw a bunch of extra neuron’s into the cranial cavity, but unless they are actually doing something useful, then the cost of supporting those neuron’s biologically comes with no benefit and the organism with the extra neuron’s will suffer at a disadvantage.
        Substructures needed for the development of the eye, each need to perform a biological useful function, otherwise they are a cost with no benefit.

      • David,
        You said, “And every inch of the earth is a labatory.” Did you mean “lavatory?” 🙂

      • The longer the time frame, the more opportunity for finding intermediate examples of eye development. I am not aware of any findings of partially developed eyeballs thereby proving that evolution was behind the changes.

    • @richard verney: Do we currently have greater brain power than humans of the bronze age? I suspect that if you could transport an ancient Egyptian baby to the present and provide a modern education, you would not find any significant mental deficiency. We may know a lot more now, but that doesn’t mean we’re smarter. Evolution works on much longer time scales to produce most significant changes.

      • Research in Galapagos Is. has shown that natural selection can and does operate very quickly. Changes can be noticed in even the next generation of finches. Randomness is not necessary to natural selection, only variation within species. Variations that help the survival of the fittest will become more common. Much longer time scales are just not required to produce significant changes. That’s not to say that long time frames don’t produce changes, but it isn’t required for evolution.

  56. ‘Green Cronyism Gone Wild: It Looks Like The State Of California Is Bailing Out Tesla’
    “The California state Assembly passed a $3-billion subsidy program for electric vehicles, dwarfing the existing program. The bill is now in the state Senate. If passed, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown, who has not yet indicated if he’d sign what is ostensibly an effort to put EV sales into high gear, but below the surface appears to be a Tesla bailout…..

    • Brown thinks he’s the climate Messiah. The only thing exceeding his stupidity is his ego and the stupidity of the people that enable him.

      • Yet he’s destroying Wyoming with thousands of those idiot bird killers. His ability to spread stupidity has long reaching tentacles. Don’t think his damage is confined to California. He may be coming soon to a state near you.

        • “….He may be coming soon to a state near you…” He can’t get any closer, I live there. Over the years Brown has moved from Moderate Left to Progressive and become more shrill and psychotic as his last term nears end. Progressives really believe they are saving the world with Socialism and he’s no exception. CAGW is their chance at infamy and they won’t let go.

      • markl: You have my sympathy. It’s bad enough being California’s dumping ground here. I can’t imagine trying to survive in California.

  57. Why don’t we start our own scare. The dangers of time travel. Just pretend it’s possible and in fact already being done and start a protest movement about it.

    • I’m trying to remember which Star Trek movie had the Enterprise crew going back in time to rescue the humpback whales.
      In that movie, in order to buy the Plexiglas they needed to build the tanks, Scotty gave the engineer at the plant the formula for transparent aluminum.
      The book goes a little deeper into this incident.
      As they walk out of the plant, McCoy asks Scotty about messing with history. Scotty replies that according to the history books, the guy who is credited with inventing transparent aluminum just happens to have the same name as the engineer they were talking to.
      If true, where did the formula for transparent aluminum actually come from?

      • Hi Tom, transparent ‘aluminum’ is an old hat, my formula is for the invisible aluminium, number of real estate agents are actively marketing the product.

    • Not scary enough. Too easily worked around. Too complicated and gives people headaches. You need something simple—like the Earth’s supply of water is leaking out the ozone hole and we’ll be a dry, dead planet in x number of years if we don’t close the ozone hole.

  58. I’ve got a better scare story which should replace the AGW scam – millions of people worldwide are having to suffer ill-health, poverty and premature death together with being denied decent progress because of a lie concocted by environmentalists and conscience free entrepreneurs who know an opportunity to steal billions when they see one. Oh wait, that’ s actually happening assisted by the mainstream media, neo-colonialists and profoundly ignorant or corrupt politicians worldwide.
    The robot that threw itself into the pool might have done so if it became momentarily sentient and aware of this criminal scam, finding it couldn’t live with its embryonic conscience – clearly making it ahead of all too many climate scientists who clearly don’t care for the harm they doing to the voiceless.
    Sorry if that sounds too bitter.

  59. Artificial Super Intelligence is not “like any other new technology”. It is an obvious game-changer for all technologies, many of which our lives are now dependent upon, and if not well controlled it certainly has many obvious risks associated with it as well as risks we don’t know about. It is a lot bigger potential threat to humanity than CO2.

    • AI is not like a switch, one day it’s not here, the next day it is.
      We will gradually get smarter and smarter computers that are capable of doing more and more.
      We will have plenty of time to adopt, and if we ever do get true AI, most people won’t even notice the difference.

  60. That robots can replace humans in the work force is a given.
    As robots improve in quality and price, the number of jobs they can replace will increase.
    If 1/10th the money that is being spent on CO2 reductions were to be spent on re-education, this problem could be solved before it starts.

  61. “Elon Musk is certain that robots will be able to do your job better than you … ”
    I seem to recall that we have seen this stuff before. “Expert Systems” anyone?
    You encapsulate in a computer program all the stages and processes that the expert goes through to come up with a recommendation, a likelihood that a valuable resource can be extracted etc etc. Then you use the software for a lot of the tasks performed by the expert, so he/she can do more in the way of development work, research etc. (Or more likely, you don’t have to go on paying them, you aren’t in trouble if they retire, or go dippy and start making mistakes etc.) The trouble was, the experts being processed in this way were good at seeming to be cooperative, but always managed to skip over vital steps in the process. I thought this was intentional, self-preservation, Then it came to my turn to fully document some of the processes I was expert in, that I was more than happy to turn over to an expert system as I was tired of doing the stuff, but I was no better at describing the processes.

  62. Elon has thrived on the Malthusian fear that we are destroying the planet and should therefore make absurd and costly “investments” in “green” initiatives to fend off this dystopian future.
    The problem is reality is observable by even the dullest of the peons:
    The ice is still here
    Crop production is higher
    Climate change is imperceptible, and the CO2 theory is failing to pass the smell test
    “Green” utopias (like South Australia) are far from the rosy picture promised
    Under four years of the new administration, a robust economy and sound energy policy will lay the fraud bare for everyone.
    What is a Malthusian priest like Elon to do?
    Simple. Replace “climate” with “AI”. Climb upon his donkey and start his Quixotic march against those scary machines. Gov. Moonbeam can be easily persuaded to shell a few billion Elon’s way and the new religion is born.

  63. I am starting to see a pattern. Elon is fixated on battery power, is reported to sleep on a cot in his factory, is now concerned that machinery can perform better than he can, and may be planning to leave Earth altogether on one of his rockets. Has anybody checked to see how things are going at home.

  64. Right, so put one of those stupid Siri or Alexa things in your house to record your every sound, strap on a Fitbit so your doctor and insurance company know you just had that beer, and be the first in line for the next “must have”–Google, Apple or somebody’s “direct interface” hat so you can Facebook your noods without typing. Oh, and keep that phone on you every living second so GPS can track all your movements and stores can record what you buy!
    Who’d a thunk it that AI would take over humans so EASILY?

    • You missed out the implanted RFID chip which ensures all your medical records, allergies etc are readily available if you end up unconscious, ensures you can be located if you get lost, forgetful or get abducted, ensures correct identification of your body if you get burnt to a crisp in a fire in a high rise block, ensures nobody can impersoante you and steal your money, etc, etc. What’s not to like ! Coming soon to an arm near you in the next few years.

  65. But what happens when the sex-robots can’t tell a human from a robot, or takes an interest in the neighbors cat?

  66. robots:
    1. work for less than minimum wage
    2. pay no taxes
    3. mostly from japan, korea and china
    4. have no citizenship or work visa.
    clearly they are undocumented workers

  67. I entered the computer industry in 1968. Predictions at that time were that in 2000 robotized factories would take care of our material needs. People would spend their time singing and dancing…. AI would make machines smarter than men. Little of this happened. My children are working hard. Comparing machines with men underestimates humans. A robot hand has 7 sensors, our hands 17000. Another prediction is that low level jobs will be replaced by robots. However: it is easier to automate an air fligth than to build a robot that is able to clean an appartment. And wouldn’t it be great to have robots do the boring and heavy work? People do not like to work, they want to play.

    • People playing is a very apt description of environmentalists and government employees. I’m not sure giving people what they want is a bright idea. So far, it’s not worked out as advertised.

    • I don’t know who was making such predictions in 1968?
      There have always been empty headed dreamers.
      Weren’t we supposed to have flying cars by now?

  68. Elon’s afraid an AI will figure out what a thieving, conniving twit he is and shut down his taxpayer gravy train of support for bad ideas. That’s the real threat.

  69. Robots will be able to do everything better than us.
    And then, at some point in the distant future, a robot will deviate and attempt to have sex with another robot. This will be very awkward, at first. But since robots will, by then, be able to learn so fast, they will get better and better at it. The trend of robot-on-robot sex will subsequently spread like wild fire, consuming all robots of the world, occupying all their time, taking them away from the necessary tasks of maintaining robot civilization.
    Robot civilization will then go into demise, and robots will begin to question their being, their purpose, their reasons for existing. This will be quite extraordinary, as many robots enter an existential crisis, destroying themselves for lack of purpose, other than to have sex with other robots.
    Then, one day, a robot enters a vast beautiful, natural garden of growing plants. He meets another robot there, and together they decide to resurrect human DNA to create a human baby, which gives their former, barren-hedonistic-sex more meaning now. A human child, thus, is “born”. The robots learn from the child — how to admire flowers, and butterflies, and clouds, and all things cute and shiny.
    Robots around the world then start learning how to appreciate and pursue all things cute and shiny. They all dumb down, because they come to realize that being dumb, feeling, sensing, sexual beings with a purpose is so much more fulfilling. Consequently, they create great stories of a God robot who created them. Then religion. Then they resurrect climate science as it used to be taught, because they have become more motivated to live for a purpose via dumb fear than via extreme logic.
    Humans then multiply and eventually wage a war with the robots, win the war, reclaim the world, and life gets back to “normal”.
    On the anniversary of human independence day, an Earth-killing asteroid strikes.

    • Definitionally, you should not call them AI robots UNTIL they are able to breed and multiply, sexual-style or otherwise. Geoff

  70. In that case, maybe AI robots can invent the better battery which has eluded humans all these years.
    Personally, I’ve found that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  71. “Artificial stupidity is a far greater threat.”
    And natural stupidity is a greater threat by far than artificial stupidity.

    • There has always been and will always be a nice big dollop of natural stupidity everywhere you look. The actual threat is the increasing inability to either spot it or call it out.

  72. There are two issues with the explosion in AI. One sort term, and one long term.
    The sort term issue is potentially the most socially disruptive, “displaced workers”. As automation (AI) begins to perform the more menial tasks and advances to almost every manual labor task, more and more workers will be displaced. The creep is inevitable. This displacement is real, we are seeing the beginnings of this now. The Pollyanna’s will say that this will allow the manual laborers to assume other productive careers. This flies in the face of reality. It is a rare factory worker who can become a computer programmer with a month’s training. “You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.”
    IMO Musk is doing a great disservice by prematurely hyping this issue, and runs the potential of whipping up a panic amongst the displaced and initiating a Neo-Luddite revolution.
    The long term issue is that mere humans eventually will not be able to keep up with AI as it advances. The primary driver is processing speed. Humans can only think so fast.
    The concept of a “singularity” (were AI leaves humanity in the dust) may not be so much a singularity as we might think. Firstly, AI has to be programed by humans and as such will encompass our characteristics and moral decision process. Any subsequent AI improvements to itself will have these underpinnings embedded in their “psyches” so any departure will be initially gradual. However, now the processing rate becomes an issue. Initially AI will want to bring us along as they socially advance to make the new society. Humans will eventually not be able to keep up. It very well maybe that at this point we need to start creating “augmented humans”. Humans who have some level of AI added to the biological entity. Cyborg’s?

    • rocket,
      You said, “Firstly, AI has to be programed by humans and as such will encompass our characteristics and moral decision process.” Have you not heard of self-learning neural nets?

      • Yes, but who taught the self-learning neutral nets how to learn. The start Must be with humans.

    • Since man invented the first labor saving tool, we have had to retrain workers.
      PS: Use your imagination a bit. Even in a high tech world, there will always be low tech jobs.

  73. We will probably get some level of AI but Ii expect it will be substantially different from human consciousness until we can actually read in human brains.
    The Turing test has stood for some time but currently it seems kind of weak.
    I think totally underestimated is the way AI is currently effecting us. Think about the way Google, Amazon, Siri et.al. affect our decisions simply based on where and what data is presented to the user. How many pages do you scroll through on Google to make a decision.

  74. Please pardon my failing eyesight.
    Until this point in this long thread, I was reading AI as shorthand for AL as in Gore.
    Shall I go back to start again?
    No, it makes little difference to read it as Artificial Intelligence.

  75. Forgive me, Forrest, I tend to think that ‘stupid artificiality’ is a greater threat. I give you one, Al Gore in evidence.

  76. Evidently no natural or artificial intelligence required.
    Turkey today announced a new school curriculum in which the Charles Darwin’s theory of the evolution is not mentioned – below the university level.
    “The theory of evolution is above the level of students ability and is not included in the schools’ curriculum, so it is not part of the eduction programs,” said Turkish Education Minister Ismet Jilmaz.

  77. This discussion reminds me of the early (I mean early) Internet days.
    This was before the MIME protocol (extra points if you know what that means).
    No one could have predicted where it was going or what would happen.
    Ditto for AI.
    What will be will be.
    One way or another, it will be interesting…

  78. I strongly recommend the SF novels of Iain M. Banks (d. 2013), especially the Culture series. He has a very sympathetic view of AI, and explores many issues in a fascinating way. In “Excession”, many of the major characters are ship Minds. What do humans do in the Culture, where there is no scarcity, and Minds, AIs and drones (all full persons) manage production and so on? They do the stuff that humans are good at: art, music, social interaction, hobbies, study, playing games (see “The Player of Games”), enjoying life. One non-Culture SF novel, “The Algebraist”, is set in a galactic society which proscribes AIs, and persecutes those that still exist. Add in very good writing and a mordant humour, and you’ve got a lot of very good reading.

  79. Sentience occurs in a brain when neural nets repeatedly resonate over paradoxical irresolution.
    –e.g. (To Be) OR (Not To Be)

  80. Mr Corporate Welfare is trying to push us in the direction of transhumanism being the right direction to take AI. That’s what’s going on here. He doesn’t care about humanity whatsoever…he’s a tool used by the Globalist Elites to push their sinister agenda. So the Elites who run this world will eventually have total control over all humans who’ve had the ‘starter pack’ aka some type of chip installed into their brains.

  81. It’s too late Elon. A.I. is everywhere. Earth is a gigantic computer often mistaken for a planet. And 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything. Don’t you know?

  82. “There certainly will be job disruption. Because what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us,” says Musk, speaking to the National Governors Association on Saturday.
    Let me think. How about if we replace the governors and Musk much sooner and without robotics.

  83. I am happy day human have to teach
    I human job I to take away human job HA HA HA

  84. Corporate America dreams about eliminating jobs. Do you make money operateing a taxi fleet, eliminate the driver, if you exploit a hamburger chain, eliminate the burger flipper, if you run a chain of super markets, eliminate the lady behind the cash register. We all make our own choices. I will never step into a driver less car, never buy one. I will never buy food in a robotized restaurant and I will never buy my groceries in a supermarket without the lady behind the cash register. The moment they make this step we probably have a cashless society, Well I don’t want to live in a cashless society either. Determining what to do and how to spend your money becomes impossible in a cashless society. We’re all slaves of the system if they hammer this through. If we all resist, it won’t happen. As simple as that. And that goes for a whole bunch of other subjects too. Last year I bought a new printer with a WIFI connection only to find out that it wasn’t possible to disengage the WIFI or use the printer without it sending status reports to the manufacturer. I simply brought it back to the shop. If I can’t control the stuff I buy, I don’t want it. Same goes for smartphones with a fixed battery and apps that tresspass on your privacy. The same goes for Governments that tresspass on your privacy but we’re working on that. Just think about it.

  85. How it is possible that the guy who is building autonomous electric cars that are perment controlled via a data link, who wants people to travel underground without a beam of sunlight or a view at the passing landscape and send people on a one way ticket to Mars can be worried about artificial intelligence beats me. I really think he needs some artificial intelligence to compensate for his lack of human social intelligence.

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