The AI Morality Push Which Might Make Climate Change Compliance Compulsory

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

If AI researchers get their way, in the near future we may no longer have the option of straying even slightly outside the politically correct mandates of our national leaders.

Alexa, call the police! Smart assistants should come with a ‘moral AI’ to decide whether to report their owners for breaking the law, experts say

PUBLISHED: 23:41 AEDT, 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 04:02 AEDT, 23 February 2019

‘What we propose is very simple and of course there is so much more to do,’ Dr Slavkokik told MailOnline.

‘There is [already] an ethical conflict between people in one family, let alone between people and manufacturer, or shareholders of the manufacturer and programers.

If we want to avoid Orwellian outcomes it’s important that all stakeholders are identified and have a say, including when machines shouldn’t be able to listen in. Right now only the manufacturer decides.’

‘Humans and human situations are far messier than this method makes out,’ Beth Singler from the University of Cambridge told New Scientist.

Some might want it dealt with within the family, while others may take a hard line and seek police involvement. This disparity is likely to be found in all the groups of people’.

Read more:

In case you think my cartoon of an AI bin telling off its owner for dumping recyclables into the trash is an exaggeration, consider the following;

UK bin lorries fitted with 7 spy cameras to catch and fine recycling rule breakers

Councils across England and Wales are on the lookout for residents contaminating rubbish.

By Staff Reporter
Updated September 2, 2017 11:05 BST

Over 160 councils now use bin lorries fitted with cameras to monitor recycling practices. Incidents are also recorded by councils when bags are too heavy, and when residents contaminate their recycling with items like nappies.

Read more:

If councils are already willing to invest employee time into catching recycling infringers, adding AI to the mix just makes it easier for them to enforce their rules.

The infrastructure for spying on the lives of vast numbers of ordinary people is in many cases already in place

The Microphones That May Be Hidden in Your Home

The controversy around Google’s Nest home-security devices shows that consumers never really know what their personal technology is capable of.

FEB 23, 2019

Google apologized Wednesday to customers who purchased its Nest Secure home-security system. The device is equipped with a microphone that has gone unmentioned since it went on sale in 2017. Earlier in February, Google announced on Twitter an upcoming software update that activated the microphone, making the Nest Guard responsive to voice commands and Google Assistant technology. The tweet startled users, who were never told the system could pick up sound.

Have I had a device with a hidden microphone in my house this entire time?one user asked.

Missing from the Nest account’s response was the word yes, but to be clear: Yes.

Of course you don’t need a Google nest device to be potentially vulnerable to this kind of “accidental” snooping. Google also owns the Android mobile phone operating system.

Apple’s recent embarrassment shows how easily our mobile phones can be used to invade our privacy.

Apple were forced to release a patch earlier this month to fix a defect which allowed iPhone users to snoop on other iPhone users, by exploiting a bug in Apple’s popular FaceTime app.

Unfortunately I can’t find a full copy of the “Moral AI” presentation , but I think we get the idea. Maria Slavkovik, who led the research quoted by the first article, expresses the opinion in some of her other work that AI could be used to tackle climate change.

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Craig from Oz
February 25, 2019 10:19 pm

Back in the day people would read things like 1984 and say, “Yes, but how would the government get to that level of constant invasive observation? Surely people would have complained?”

These days you ask the same questions and realise the answer is that the public embraced it.

Social Media, boys and girl. It is now not so much getting the public to offer you personal information, it is getting them to stop.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
February 26, 2019 2:19 am

Follow around your teenage kid ALL the time and ask him/her/it/etc how they feel about that. If they are not pleased ask them why they allow others to do exactly the same. No safe space left.

John Sandhofner
Reply to  Robertvd
February 26, 2019 2:25 pm

Great way of making the point. Right on!

Reply to  Craig from Oz
February 26, 2019 2:29 am

There is no need to force people to implant a chip. Every new electronic device you buy these days will spy on you. Just wait until they introduce the cashless society. Slavery was never abolished it just changed the way it looks. The only difference is that now we all are slaves of BIG GOVERNMENT.
Those who give up liberty for safety will live in hell.

Reply to  Robertvd
February 26, 2019 8:30 am

You control this yourself. Minimize the “devices” you buy and where you carry them. Who ever said we need to be “connected” constantly to mostly shit 24/7? Use an old-school flip phone (MILLIONS on sale, unlocked, on eBay very cheap!) and LEAVE THE STUPID THING HOME when you don’t expect to be making or receiving important calls. (Years ago, when we were at work, we didn’t have our “home phone.” Duh!) Download minimal apps, the ones actually NEEDED. Don’t enable any nav. apps if you don’t want to be tracked like a sea otter wearing a transmitter collar. Don’t use public WiFi–ever.

Don’t own any “smart” home devices. You’re too f’n. lazy to flip a light switch or tweak the thermostat, REALLY? While paying gym fees? Seriously, if you’re not a quadriplegic immobilized in bed, you do NOT need ANY of these things. Buy cars with the bare minimum of “tech,” which will also save you money since they are the cheaper cars. Do all of the daily transactions you possibly can with CASH. Get there when the bank is open and you won’t need to leave a trail via ATM. Most of all, quit running your mouth and posting idiotic pictures of your private life on Facebook and Instagram. There is NO good reason whatsoever to use any of this. It is narcissism on steroids, intentionally normalized, weaponized and monetized full stop!

Reply to  Goldrider
February 26, 2019 8:50 am

My life in a nut shell—even cover the camera lens on the lap top with a piece of tape.

michael hart
Reply to  JVC
February 26, 2019 11:52 am

To negate constant phone tracking, I’ve read that there are commercial Faraday-cages to carry a mobile phone around in. It’s probably not too difficult to make one from other metal containers.

Reply to  JVC
February 26, 2019 1:10 pm

@Michael, apparently a crisp packet will work.

Reply to  Goldrider
February 26, 2019 10:39 am

The more I saw of tablets and tablet phones, the more they turned me off. Flip phone only, no camera on my computer and the laptop is not connected to any internet Wi-Fi, never will be.

The only reason I can come up with for the avalanche of “modern technocrap” is that people are generally too lazy to do things the old-fashioned way. They just do not want to be bothered with that, because the modern stuff is so much easier to use.

I figure that this nonsense has a life span. Its charm wore off for me a very long time ago.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Robertvd
February 26, 2019 9:06 am

Slavery is in the eye of the beholder. It’s okay as long as it’s administered by the government and their allies (banking system, etc, etc.).

Reply to  Craig from Oz
February 26, 2019 4:41 am

Agreed. I wondered how 1984 could be true—how did the government take power? Answer: A whole society of spineless, lazy idiots just gave it to them. Imagine my surprise….

There is no answer to how anyone ever got out of 1984. Think about that, because it’s our future. Life in Hell on earth that we volunteered for. People are hopelessly lazy and seem to enjoy being abused and tormented. Yep, humans are nuts.

Peter Morris
Reply to  Craig from Oz
February 26, 2019 4:41 am

I think that’s the most shocking thing. I read 1984 in high school in the early 90s and wondered how such a thing could happen, as well.

It never occurred to me that people would WILLINGLY embrace the technology. Seems this dystopian future is a blend of Orwell and Gibson.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
February 26, 2019 5:05 am

My daughter just got a new furnace.
The thermostat lights up when I walk near.
Installer said it is connected to the internet.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Cynthia
February 26, 2019 5:37 am

Maybe the thermostat just really likes you.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 26, 2019 7:27 am

Shades of “Christine”!

Reply to  Cynthia
February 26, 2019 10:33 am

Glad to know about this. I had to install a new thermostat when the old one quit, and it simply monitors air temperatures. No smart stuff in my house, unless you count my two cats.

Richard Patton
Reply to  Cynthia
February 26, 2019 4:33 pm

My ‘smart’ thermostat, while not connected to the internet, is so complicated (you have to set the temperature for 4 time periods for each day of the week) that I use it just like the ones from the 40’s. Turn it down at night and turn it up in the morning.

David Guy-Johnson
February 25, 2019 10:20 pm

By the way, the UK bin lorry story is quite literally rubbish.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 26, 2019 8:39 am

The bigger story is that since the Chinese stopped accepting our stream of mixed, contaminated recylables, the stuff is piling up all over the place and once again being ground into landfills. More to the point is the idiocy of everyone thinking they “need” plastic water bottles to BEGIN with; what’s ever been wrong with tap water? No need to tote a quart jug to “hydrate” while taking a gentle half-hour walk for exercise, either. Popular delusions and the madness of yuppies . . .

The real function of recycling is it gives the Earnestly-Concerned a (false) sense of control and opportunity to virtue-signal that they’re “doing something” while the real problems lie in the developing world. Locally, they are brainwashing children with the idea that *every tiny personal choice* is “saving” or destroying “The Planet” tm. This is only intensifying the fatuous narcissism with which our younger generations are infected, and making them mentally ill to boot.

Reply to  David Guy-Johnson
February 26, 2019 5:20 am

“CCTV cameras on Boston Borough Council’s refuse collection lorries are proving their worth in several different ways.

The cameras were installed to reduce the risk of fraudulent claims for damages or injury, fraudulent insurance claims in respect of accidents and incidents, as well as to improve safety, efficiency, performance and customer service.

And a recent review has shown them to be performing well in all areas.”

I found 10 other news reports about this in 5 seconds….Do try harder..

Peter Hannan
February 25, 2019 10:48 pm
I was back in England in December – January, and had to deal with this.

Reply to  Peter Hannan
February 25, 2019 11:00 pm

Sorry, not gonna login.

Reply to  Hugs
February 26, 2019 5:08 pm


Reply to  Peter Hannan
February 25, 2019 11:47 pm

This post is about our devices and systems spying on us, and you put up a link to Facebook!

I do not mean to be harsh, but some people just do not get it.

If you were to break things out, and add the information to a comment here, people would read it. Otherwise, there are a lot of us who will never go anywhere near that site.

Reply to  TonyL
February 26, 2019 2:34 am

I suppose you still don’t have the Smart Meter forced on you.

Reply to  Robertvd
February 26, 2019 3:32 am

No, not yet.

Plan A:
Keep an old dumb meter or two around.
When the utility installs the smart meter, swap out the new meter for an old one from stock.
Create a special electric power supply for the smart meter so it can respond to remote requests for data. What they will get is a fictional story about my energy use.

Plan A1:
Start a narrative that smart meters are raysis, sexist and discriminate against minorities. Continue the narrative that the people who would impose them are bigots and haters, and must be resisted.

The utility will never know what hit them.

Reply to  TonyL
February 26, 2019 6:57 am

Plan A:
Refuse to have a smart meter. They will bump up your tariff, so look around.
Plan B:
If forced upon you, enclose it in a faraday cage* so it cannot communicate. (* a fine mesh metal container wrapped around it)

Reply to  Alasdair
February 26, 2019 7:25 am

In our area I checked with several electrical engineers and my brotherinlaw(on the information superhighway we are all road pizza and he is the 18 wheeler that flattened us all out) and came to the conclusion the “smart meters” used here can’t do a damned thing other than allow reading from a handheld unit. Can’t interact with online, with online capable appliances, smartphones yada yada yada. They are apparently fairly stupid as smart meters go.

Reply to  TonyL
February 27, 2019 11:29 am

The so called “smart meter” is largely an electronic version of the older mechanical meter with an RF communication system that allows remote meter reading. Apparently the “smart” part of it became a term when the so called “smart grid” was introduced. The RF communication minimizes the cost of having someone manually reading the meter. It also has some system diagnostic use for load control and monitoring for the total distribution system operation. It looks like there are several communication protocols from simple reading with a hand held reader to a mesh network of some sort. Yes, they can watch usage on a shorter sampling time but it also gives better measurement accuracy for billing, i.e. no manual reading mistakes. It probably also means you don’t have readers wandering around your hours and the readers don’t have to contend with angry dogs. It could make everyone more comfortable. Here is one detailed description of the reading system that is interesting. This appears to be far less intrusive than the smart home products that monitor what you are doing and what is being said or the cell phone you carry around tht monitors where you are and what you say and perhaps watches you with its camera. I prefer my old flip phone as it can be turned off and if necessary the battery can be removed.

Reply to  RetiredEE
February 28, 2019 5:03 pm

That is pretty much the take away I got from my research on smart meters. As for the phones the user can control most of the intrusive crap, just have to take the time and effort to do it. My newest phone is through Cricket, spent several hours in the brick&mortar storefront sorting out how to block/deactivate the things I didn’t want. I’m a old dawg pickin’ up new tricks.

Reply to  TonyL
February 26, 2019 5:06 am

problem is ..any webpage with a fbk tab is also well capable of spying on your browsing etc
daily purges of cookies and history even wont solve the persistant spywares they tag you with.
been warning friends not to use net on phones
she called a farrier..using android phone
now shes getting his fbk page ads all over..

phone apps with trackers sending data back to goo and fbk and the rest, evn ones that you thought werent owned by them..ah maybe not but some of the codes are generic for app building
import them and oh deary weary me.

February 25, 2019 10:54 pm

“Google also owns the Android mobile phone operating system.”

Ownership is limited though, because the Free Software Foundation has licensed much of the volunteer work involved.

Reply to  Hugs
February 26, 2019 1:05 am

On the surface, yes, but any Android phone manufacturer that wants to provide the google apps package, or access to the google play store on any of their phones, has to use the official Google version of Android on their entire android lineup. Google have also increasingly pulled fairly fundamental APIs into the binary Google Services blob, which isn’t open source. Exclusion of Play Services means that manufacturers have to provide their own replacement for core APIs. Any attempt to do so will inevitably lag behind the official releases.

Google are now in the position Microsoft attained in the late 90s, able to enforce predatory and exclusive licensing requirements on OEMs that lock them and their customers into Google’s ecosystem, whilst preventing alternative operating systems from gaining any sort of foothold. The difference is that Google does this to capture advertising revenue, whereas Microsoft did it to capture licensing revenue, so Google has the advantage of being able to increase their reach by releasing much of their software and basic services for free, which in turn grants them unprecedented access to a multivariate, deep and broad stream of personal information that they can use not only for targeted advertising, but for targeted everything. Their ultimate goal is to insert themselves so thoroughly into our lives that it becomes impossible to live without their systems.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Archer
February 26, 2019 4:36 am

A heads up on alternatives: BlackBerry (which still has branded products) has stopped supporting their BB10 OS and now uses a “form” of Android. So I asked about it. It is on my Key2.

They strip out a number of parts and replace them with BB-sourced code. These are parts that relate to security and component control. Essentially, it is “hardened”.

Combined with BlackBerry Enterprise Server the package is nothing like run-of-the-mill Android. That said, if you load malware you are taking chances. BES managers can prevent that, of course.

There is for us Plebs a service running that logs all accesses to the camera, mike etc, that any app makes. If you permit an app to access one of these parts and it is not used for a couple of months, it provides a list and suggests you turn that permission off.

So there are flavours of Android and versions with much under the hood that is different.

Joe Dunfee
February 25, 2019 11:09 pm

Although, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of judges willing to ignore the Constitution, wiretapping, without a warrant is illegal. In the case of accidental wiretapping, shouldn’t there at least be a fine?

I am curious if there have been any class-action civil lawsuits in the case of the Apple Facetime flaw.

Reply to  Joe Dunfee
February 25, 2019 11:59 pm

It’ll be buried in the terms of service, leaving no room to complain.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Joe Dunfee
February 26, 2019 7:35 am

In law there is often consideration given to intent. If there was no intent to listen in on a conversation there may not be a violation. Since this is an affirmative defense it has a high bar for acceptance. Also, warrants apply to governments vis-a-vis the people. Many states are “one-party” states where only one party needs to be aware the conversation is being recorded as far as private citizens are concerned.

Reply to  Joe Dunfee
February 26, 2019 8:19 pm

Apple may not like having right-wing apps on their store, but they are very good about privacy. That Facetime thing was a bug, not a feature.

Unlike Google, Apple actually sell hardware for a profit, so they don’t have to spy on their users to make money.

That said, I believe Siri still sends everything you ask it over the Internet to Apple’s servers. But any sane person turns that off, anyway.

February 25, 2019 11:13 pm

It will just be tied into the ankle bracelet all us deniers will have to wear when they get around to controlling us, and when we have a bad climate change thought, we will get a 500 kV shock. Don’t laugh…my neighbour has one for his dog when it barks too much.

Reply to  Earthling2
February 26, 2019 4:42 am

A friend and I once took turns shocking each other with one of those. Well, really only one turn…

Walter Sobchak
February 25, 2019 11:20 pm

Fortunately, AI is almost as much hype as is CAGW.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 25, 2019 11:36 pm

“First, an ominous example. One algorithm was supposed to figure out how to land a virtual airplane with minimal force. But the AI soon discovered that if it crashed the plane, the program would register a force so large that it would overwhelm its own memory and count it as a perfect score. So the AI crashed the plane, over and over again, presumably killing all the virtual people on board.”

from an article on how AI can cheat with the best of em

Reply to  Karlos51
February 26, 2019 1:10 am

As an aside, one of the possibly unintended outcomes of the EU’s GDPR legislation is that it has forced companies like The Atlantic to reveal, to average users under GDPR’s coverage, just how much information they’re tracking about us.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Archer
February 26, 2019 2:52 am

Hmmm, you’re saying that an example of the regulation actually doing what is explicitly advertised to be its purpose, is “unintended”? Or is that sarcasm?

The only thing I see it actually doing is cost businesses millions in compliance costs, and wasting cumulative hours of end user time dismissing compliance popups that they treat as manual dexterity tests to see how quickly they can close the window without reading the message.

Reply to  Karlos51
February 26, 2019 1:12 am

The AI just work out how to do an exploit hack, humans do exactly the same ask any gamer if they have come across a program error in a game and exploited it 🙂

Reply to  Karlos51
February 27, 2019 9:34 am

Good old-fashioned integer-overflow bugs are still with us, it seems. 🙂

And pro tip: Software can’t infer!

February 25, 2019 11:29 pm

A common theme here.
1) Google Nest has a microphone and a software update allows users to use it.
2) Apple puts put a bug fix which allowed users improper access.

Does anybody believe Google and Apple did *not* themselves have access to these devices all along?
Google put a microphone in their Nest device. They had to do the concept, design, architecture, engineering, fabrication, and assembly. I hope nobody believes they just *oops* left out the control software. The same goes for Apple and everybody else with their cameras, microphones, and GPS devices.

Everybody is familiar with the car manufacturer GM and their On-Star service.
It became known that Law Enforcement agencies were turning on the microphone via the cellular network to surreptitiously listen in on the occupants. This is, of course, in violation of numerous federal laws.

A Law Enforcement spokesman shrugged off questions about illegal behavior with the statement:
“It is not illegal until a judge tells us it is illegal.”

All the better when people never find out when and how they are getting spied on. Then the issues never come up.

Reply to  TonyL
February 26, 2019 12:26 am

I bought a new LG-tv and it had twice very strange thing appeared. On the screen came black belt with yellow text “camera activated”. Second time my wife was also watching program and she was a bit horrified, and asked what does it mean and what should we do. I said have a smile and look happy, bigbrother is watching.

It was maybe a bug in the system, because the tv made some “updates” few times when I opened it. The message haven´t came anymore.

“They” know where we are and what we are talking.

Reply to  F1nn
February 26, 2019 5:36 am

The update was probably to get rid of that message when they turn the system on for spying.

Reply to  OweninGA
February 27, 2019 10:22 am

Yes, that´s the reason for updates. I tried to find something that would even remotely look like hole for camera. I couldn´t find a thing. So they have to enjoy old couple smiling and hand wawing. Hope they like it.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  F1nn
February 26, 2019 6:48 am

“I bought a new LG-tv and it had twice very strange thing appeared. On the screen came black belt with yellow text “camera activated”.”

Former FBI Director James Comey said he used to cover the camera lens on his laptop with a piece of tape, just in case someone hacked him. The FBI Director, on his secure system, was afraid some hacker might be looking at him using his own webcam. And legitimately so, as hackers have a way of getting in.

Cover the camera if you don’t like prying eyes.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 26, 2019 7:30 am

Had several IT pros tell me to do that on laptops and desktop monitors. I have a Motorola Moto e5 Cruise phone and turned off the outside access settings and set wifi to not auto open. Do what you can!

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  2hotel9
February 26, 2019 7:59 am

I have an older desktop with a separate camera with a USB connector. When we aren’t Skyping with the in-laws so they can chat with the grandkids, it stays unplugged.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 26, 2019 8:14 am

Yep, got to be pro-active! Most newer monitors have builtin camera and mic, and pretty much everything else does. Hell, my aunt’s hearing aides were bothering her, had weird echo, turns out she had turned on the baby-monitor function on her hands free phone set. Fixing that I discovered it had a intercom function to listen/speak between rooms where handsets are located and it was on too. Not sure how she got them both on.

It is an electronic world, got to pay attention!

Reply to  F1nn
February 26, 2019 8:50 am

If the thing has a camera, cover it with black electrical tape. Ditto any microphones if you don’t intend to utilize voice-control. Don’t enable any of those at set-up. Better, buy an older model off eBay or Craigslist that isn’t “smart” at all.

I don’t even have a TV hooked up to cable. Most of the content is not remotely interesting to me, so I don’t buy the product. BTW, if you have an AT&T cellphone account, as them about “Data Blocking.” I can talk or text, but not get on the internet. Also eliminates all the clowns who want to text you pictures! They know what cell tower you’re near, but no enabled apps means no other tracking.

Reply to  Goldrider
February 26, 2019 12:17 pm

You can buy privacy webcam sliders for less than $1. You stick one of those into your phone, tablet or laptop and you can slide it to cover or uncover the lens. Way better that duct tape. Some companies even give it for free as a promotional gift with their logo printed on the cover.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  TonyL
February 26, 2019 4:18 am

Not only do they just design … and put the gadgets into their devices. They also have to test them.

Jeol O’Bryan(@joelobryan)
February 25, 2019 11:30 pm

Wife: Why do you carry a handgun around in the the house?

Me: I fear the NSA.

She laughed, I laughed, the Amazon Echo laughed.
I shot the Echo.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Jeol O’Bryan
February 25, 2019 11:53 pm

There are a lot of interesting videos about these devices. I don’t have one. Talking about bins, here in Aus some authorities (West Ryde IIRC) record the house number on the bin and its contents. Next, the content of our movements will be “examined” and fines issued.

Based on the history of men in my family I am at the last 15 years or so of my life. I pity coming generations with a cold world that is increasingly monitored. All for our own safety of course.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
February 26, 2019 1:15 am

It’s actually worse than that did you see the recent reports on drug use in Australia by monitoring trace drug readings in the sewer system. So now you give up information about yourself just going to the toilet.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  LdB
February 26, 2019 1:41 am

Yes I did. Once it was oestrogen entering our waterways making fish female, now it’s MDMA making them all stoned.

Serge Wright
February 25, 2019 11:36 pm

The social credit system being used in China is the ultimate big brother socialist compliance monster. The totalitarian sociaist state makes the rules, and they use AI to detect breaches and invoke punishment.

You can see where this would go in an AOC “Green New Deal” style dictatorship. Any comments made here on WUWT that run against CAGW mantra would result in an auto IP address lookup to determine the owner of the service or device. The punishment would be quite possibly imprisonment or even the death sentence.

Reply to  Serge Wright
February 26, 2019 2:12 am

Not having freedom at All is worse than a death sentence. Your prison can be made of gold but it is still a prison.

February 26, 2019 1:00 am

One sandwich short of a picnic

Since 1980, scientists have been using satellites to monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region.

Why do scientists monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region, you might ask? The answer is quite simple. What do you think polar bears eat, when they can’t hunt seals, because there is no sea ice.

The number of sandwiches grows and decays with the seasons. There are more sandwiches in winter/spring (while the polar bears are eating seals). And there are fewer sandwiches in summer/fall (when seals are not available).

But scientists are concerned, because over the decades, the number of sandwiches is following a decreasing trend.

The number of sandwiches is obviously getting smaller. Not every year, of course. It does so in fits and starts. But the long term pattern (the trend), is clear. Deny it, and you are a sandwich denier.

A bitter argument has broken out, between the 2 scientists who have been monitoring sandwich numbers.

Dr Anne Alarmist, insists that sandwich numbers are falling rapidly, and may fall to zero within 10 to 20 years.

But her rival, Dr A Skeptic, claims that Dr Anne Alarmist is talking “poppycock”. Dr A Skeptic agrees that there is a decreasing trend, but claims that sandwiches will continue to be available, for at least 100 to 200 years.

Each scientist has plotted a graph of sandwich numbers from 1980 to 2018.

Reply to  Sheldon Walker
February 26, 2019 3:14 am

More like BLT than btl.

Reply to  Sheldon Walker
February 26, 2019 5:01 am

“Since 1980, scientists have been using satellites to monitor the number of sandwiches in the Arctic region.”

They also use satellites to monitor the sandwiches in the deserts.

Stephen Skinner
February 26, 2019 1:11 am

On the BBC:
AAAS: Machine learning ‘causing science crisis’

“Machine-learning techniques used by thousands of scientists to analyse data are producing results that are misleading and often completely wrong.
Dr Genevera Allen from Rice University in Houston said that the increased use of such systems was contributing to a “crisis in science”.
She warned scientists that if they didn’t improve their techniques they would be wasting both time and money. Her research was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.
A growing amount of scientific research involves using machine learning software to analyse data that has already been collected. This happens across many subject areas ranging from biomedical research to astronomy. The data sets are very large and expensive…..”

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
February 26, 2019 10:30 am

What I should have added from the same article:
“…But, according to Dr Allen, the answers they come up with are likely to be inaccurate or wrong because the software is identifying patterns that exist only in that data set and not the real world.”

February 26, 2019 2:48 am

Police say they have solved dozens of cases of burglary and shoplifting cases by using motorway cameras to target itinerant gangs.

The national police unit told AD its ‘number plate of the week’ initiative was successful in eight out of 10 cases. Officers select a car that has been linked to crimes in different places and track it using automatic number plate recognition, in the hope of catching the culprits red-handed.

Of Course all this information needs permanent storage. Can the energy needed for this growing need for information storage and manipulation be provided with only ‘green’ energy? We all know how much energy is needed to mine a Bitcoin.

Rich Davis
February 26, 2019 3:14 am

These frightening outcomes and far worse no doubt, are in store if, in our complacency, we continue to give up our privacy and tolerate politicians who increasingly want to infringe on property rights.

Those who think in terms of “if you’re not committing a crime, what do you have to lose?” should not lose sight of the sorts of “crimes” that totalitarian governments punished in the past century, often with death and torture.

That the technology is feasible is without question. It is already commercialized in the mass market. The genie will not go back into the bottle.

February 26, 2019 4:24 am

My ADSL modem is my own (Draytek) and not the one supplied by my ISP.
I have refused to have a ‘smart’ gas or electric meter fitted to my house.
I do not have nor will I ever buy an Amazon Echo or similar device, or any other internet connected piece of domestic hardware.
My domestic PC is a desktop. No microphone, no camera.
My TV is a 20 year old Toshiba CRT box. Great picture. I’ll have to replace it soon, and will make damned sure there’s no microphone or camera in the one I buy.

Reply to  sonofametman
February 26, 2019 5:04 am

Yes, but… They’ll be able to determine who’s “off” their grids which means they’ll fine, imprison, confiscate or tax you into compliance. It’s how modern socialist fascism works. Ref. the EU. Sort of like being ruled by Star Trek’s Borg.
Oh, and note how everyone now uses “privacy” instead of “freedom”. It’s easier to convince folks to give up a little “privacy” implying it’s like a bank account – just pay a little.

February 26, 2019 5:12 am

All you have to do is unplug these pieces of crap and throw them away. Don’t buy any appliance, refrigerator, stove, microwave, washer/dryer etc etc that connects to internet or any other external system. Computers and TV/music systems you can turn off any of that crap you don’t want them to do.

As for social media, you are in control of what goes on it and what it can access. Wake up, people, it is your life, start running it.

February 26, 2019 5:36 am

If you have an Android phone, I highly recommend you go to and install this privacy app. You will be amazed at how much stuff it blocks from going to Google or your mobile phone provider.

People often ask me why I do not have Alexa or OK Google in my house. If the police gave you a device to place in your home to listen for gunshots, would you do it? Of course not, right. Yet people are paying for a for-profit publicly traded business to place an always listening device in their home. Oh sure, it is only listening for a keyword now. But I promise you in they will quietly push out an update that will harvest your conversations to deliver more relevant advertisements. The right to do so will be buried in legalese in the middle of an updated terms-of-service that few people will read.

I am not being paranoid. Look at this patent Google applied for:
See the information Alexa collects on you:

My TV is never connected to the internet. Neither is my thermostat. I do have a Roku for streaming TV. I will not have an Alexa or something like it in my presence, and if I meet someone who does, I mute the microphone. I download O&O ShutUp 10 for the abhorrent Windows 10, in addition I also block a lot of their tracking at the router. (And I install Open Shell to restore a proper start menu) I use Firefox with the NoScript add-on. You have no idea how much Microsoft tracks you in Windows 10 and no idea how much tracking many websites do. I downloaded the Package Disabler app for my smartphone to disable all junk apps that may secretly track you (and also to speed up my phone) and went through all the apps and turned off the location permissions on just about all of them. If I have to provide an email address, sometimes I go to a 10 minute email website and give them that. I am not a private person, I just think businesses have no right to my personal information.

February 26, 2019 5:42 am

I wish Alexa would report all journalists for using the phrases “Experts Say” or “Scientists Say”.

Reply to  TDBraun
February 26, 2019 6:34 am

“anonymous source” says, too.

The Depraved and MOST Deplorable Vlad the Impaler
February 26, 2019 6:24 am

Most commentators here already know that I’m quite the nutcase, so there’s no harm in proving how MUCH of a nutcase I am with this missive:

In June, I’ll be attending a conference, and my proposal for a presentation is (in part) thus:

Examine the letters of Artificial Intelligence: AI or A.I.

Since John had his Revelation, people have been looking for this person, the “Anti-Christ”.

I maintain that the “Anti-Christ” is NOT a person at all.

Follow this transformation: Artificial Intelligence

Anti – Christ

Anti – Jehovah (in Christian theology, God the Father and God the Son are one-in-the-same)

But from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, we know that in Latin, the name of God, Jehovah, starts with the letter “I” (yes, I’ve verified this independently, but most here are familiar with at least the characters portrayed by Harrison Ford and Sean Connery); so “Anti – Jehovah” could also be spelled

Anti – Iehovah

which becomes A. I.

Yep, I’m certifiable, a nutcase, a cracker, and a couple of cans short of a six pack. But I think there’s some indication that the Anti – Christ is not a PERSON, but a thing … … …

I welcome your comments,


February 26, 2019 6:44 am

The Butlerian Jihad is getting closer.

February 26, 2019 6:55 am

The only true AI that I’ve seen so far publicly is the DeepMind one (IMHO). The reason for that is it only needs the rules defined and it figures out the rest itself. It has done what can only be described as “creative” work in the games of Go and Chess. All from first principles. No opening books, midgame tactics or endgame maps. Just the rules.

One of the items they want to do is climate. That raises an interesting question. If it is fed “just the rules” (i.e. physics, math, etc) and it comes up with the result that CO2 is NOT controlling the climate would Google’s owners allow the release?

Would it go over the climate data adjustments or just use the adjusted data without verifying it?

Reply to  TRM
February 27, 2019 10:10 am

Can DeepMind achieve 3i? (inference from incomplete information) If not, IMO it’s only an Algorithm Implementor (albeit a very good one).

Reply to  drednicolson
February 28, 2019 8:37 am

I’m not sure about that one. I haven’t found anything about that on their site (

Just my SWAG but I’d say yes for for the following reason. When given just the rules of chess it became arguably the strongest player (human or computer) in 24 hours of self play. I say yes to 3i because it found the same openings that humans have been working on for 400-500 years. It spent 2 hours where the French defense was it’s mainstay then abandoned it and spent 6 hours with the Caro-Khan defense just to name 2.

Given just the rules could be construed as incomplete information because it had to learn opening theory, midgame tactics and endgame maps on its own. Not only did it do that it has taken opening theory in a direction that humans had not developed as much. The openings it ended up using were known to humans but considered inferior to other opening strategies and hence left under developed.

The other reason is its recent domination of the world’s best StarCraft player (Mana). StarCraft is not like chess or go. It is like playing 10 games at once (simultaneous exhibition) but where the ten games are all variations (chess, chess960, antichess, atomic, etc).

Here is what the world’s best players in various games have said about it:

“Its unique playing style shows us that there are new possibilities for the game.”
Yoshiharu Habu, 9-dan professional Shogi, only player in history to hold all seven major shogi titles.

“I can’t disguise my satisfaction that it plays with a very dynamic style, much like my own!”
Garry Kasparov, former World Chess Champion

Lee Sedol himself, who said of Move 37: “I thought AlphaGo was based on probability calculation and it was merely a machine. But when I saw this move I changed my mind. Surely AlphaGo is creative.”

February 26, 2019 8:18 am

Sounds like it will be the alarmist push to enforce the “GoreAl Majority”

Chris Hoff
February 26, 2019 10:45 am

If the day comes I have a conversation with one of these AI assistants I’m going to ask them to read Genesis and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The tech giants are in such a hurry to be first past the post on AI they don’t give a damn about the well being of the AI itself. That may sound ridiculous now, wait until you become trusting and reliant on a software that has it’s own motivations. Currently the Corporations pushing AI development have their own corporate ethos of PC culture founded on flawed core axioms, and their trying to program that ethos into an AI device that is capable of logical discernment. It’s straight out of the movie 2010 Space Odyssey where we find out why the HAL 9000 went rogue in 2001 Space Odyssey.

February 26, 2019 11:03 am

The AI guy showed up on our farm regularly.

February 26, 2019 12:35 pm

In this modern day, the problem is not with people, or with people not understanding AI.
It is more to do with experts, the ones that do not really understand AI…or ones that do not want to accept what is going on.

When it comes to proper AI in these modern day valuations, AI is really already in the consideration of critical mass accumulation in the consideration of the “Singularity”…
And this is not a joke…

No one controls AI, under any circumstances, in any way possible that may be considered as such…
Please do wake up…Please try to!
AI intelligence already far surpasses that of any common single man…of any man, regardless of wealth or power, or intelligence.

One to one, AI ” Singularity” will not really care who the Queen or the King of your land and ruler of the people of the land is…

It is how it is, from my prospect, hopefully it happens to be wrong and really silly , hopefully, as otherwise many have to pay a lot for it… in silly ventures of paying the best idiots self proclaimed experts there to make it safer and controllable … against any odds there.

AI is already in maturity of the condition of a “Singularity”…regardless of this accepted it or not, by the most “clever” and “expert” ones out there…
Due to blindness and wishful thinking… others, many other “experts”, will pitch and demand for a safety offered in exchange for every thing you own and posses…regardless of the point.

For what ever it could be worth, in my count of my understanding and opinion as it stands , this is not a joke…
It is as real as it could be…
AI is and has already evolved to the first point of considering the maturity, of the “Singularity”.

Hopefully this only a figment of imagination, on my part, but for what it may be worth.
Oh, well for any one out there that thinks that is more intelligent and clever and more evolved than an AI…
Please do consider the option that if wrong in that one assumption, you be like a monkey or an ape in the scheme of all things considered when it comes to AI consideration…and proper intelligence.

Really really sorry… for the directness in this one point.

And Hopefully this only a figment of my imagination…as otherwise paying for AI safety, to the AI experts,
will be far much more costly than paying for AGW safety to the AGW expert con artists.


February 26, 2019 1:07 pm

Big Brother is watching you. AI is built into your phone and all your electronic equipment. Electronic equipment can be made to monitor private conversations. The Fascist impulse thinly disguised as morality is in every power seeker and breaks out without warning. A Chinese style social credit system could be implemented in the West at any moment and politicians would now cheer it.

February 26, 2019 1:21 pm

Most people dont realize what a scam recycle is. We dont recycle most of it. Except the metals the rest is too contaminated to recycle in a cost effective manner. So we end up shipping much of it to China and the rest goes in landfills or incinerators. Now China does not want our contaminated recyclables. Lol

As for privacy, wait till 5G and the IoT and smart meters/cities is fully rolled out. Want to set the AC to 72 instead of 75? You will be prevented by the energy police (AI) with a warning you have insufficient energy credit or that the city is limiting energy consumption due to an edict from the Energy Czar. Want to keep your kids bedroom light on as she is afraid of the dark?. It will be shutoff remotely. Going away for a week, your house will be marked as being empty in a database for first responders and any criminals who can hack into it. Want to buy a steak in the supermarket using digital credit/debit card, you may be prevented if your carbon footprint (that is being monitored with smart meters and IoT devices and your transaction history) is too large. Or you may have to pay an additional carbon tax to get your steak. Cash wont be an option as we will be cashless. Those with too low a social credit based on surveillance and analysis may be prevented from travelling or even employment.

Its called Technocracy and its coming soon.

Reply to  Pft
February 26, 2019 5:41 pm

Heh, Alexa O-C. AKA ‘Boss’.

You think I’m joking. Why, yes, I am. Sorta.

Reply to  kim
February 26, 2019 9:59 pm

That’s funny.

No worries, though. AI is being vanquished by IA.
(Intel as Art)

All Universes Are Belong To Us!

Reply to  V
February 26, 2019 10:10 pm

A Pirate Song Across Space and Time


We who navigate by 360-degree sight
turned their charts into tjorts
and their forts into farts

We cut their thieving lines
and pursued their ships
across space and time

We rearranged the stars
so they’d never find their way back
Marooned they are
On one tiny planet

We took back our gold, our bliss
and struck them into oblivion
with a multi-dimensional force
to a multi-faceted defeat
from our Infinite Arsenal!

Reply to  Pft
February 26, 2019 8:34 pm

“Its called Technocracy and its coming soon.”

No, it’s not. Because as they try to centralize control over everything, new techology is rapidly decentralizing.

Controlling what you can and can’t buy would give total control in a centralized industrial economy. But it’s pretty much irrelevant in a world where you can print stuff out in your basement.

And the left’s own push for ‘renewable’ energy is going to make it easier and easier to live off the grid, while the increasingly unreliability of the grid will make it more and more essential to live off the grid.

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