Author Topic: Episode #706  (Read 1610 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #706
« on: January 19, 2019, 07:43:26 AM »
News Items: Microbes on Mars, Memory Works Backwards, Elephants without Tusks, Dunning Kruger and GMOs, Room Temperature Superconductivity; Who’s That Noisy; Name That Logical Fallacy; Your Questions and E-mails: Climate Change Around the World, Dangers of AI; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 01:05:26 PM »
The best defense against bears is to stay out of their habitat. Unless you already live there, you have other options. Especially in the case of polar bears. You most likely went far out of your way if you run into one of them. If you survive that but the bear doesn't, you screwed up big time.

With polar bears, apparently (a.k.a. according to QI. Also this article) you can strip and use pieces of clothing to distract them with. So if you have somewhere to escape to, you're good. Otherwise, once you run out of clothes, at least they get to eat you without consuming something they can't process.


Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2019, 06:57:42 PM »
It’s not true that the American Republican Party is unique in being the only political party that’s a global warming denialist political party.  The Australian coal-ition government (composed of the misnamed Liberal Party and the agrarian socialist National Party, which originally formed to represent farmers, but which is increasingly representing miners) is also AGW denialist, either claiming that it’s not happening, it’s not due to humans, Australia isn’t a significant cause, or that there’s nothing that can be done that’s affordable.



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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2019, 09:04:44 PM »
We won’t have artificial general intelligence butlers any time soon because the technology will be very expensive at first (if it ever comes, which I doubt.) The deepest pockets will get the tech first. That’s the military. Just as the first real robots were so-called “smart bombs” (that is, self-guided missiles, giving the lie to Issac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics) so the first AGI will be weapons systems. And will be used to kill people.

So, yes, IMO, AGI would be extremely dangerous if I thought it was a realistic possibility.
Daniel
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 10:29:44 PM »
We won’t have artificial general intelligence butlers any time soon because the technology will be very expensive at first (if it ever comes, which I doubt.) The deepest pockets will get the tech first. That’s the military. Just as the first real robots were so-called “smart bombs” (that is, self-guided missiles, giving the lie to Issac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics) so the first AGI will be weapons systems. And will be used to kill people.

So, yes, IMO, AGI would be extremely dangerous if I thought it was a realistic possibility.

Why would the military want AGI weapon systems, when AI produces perfectly adequate weapon systems?  Particularly if the weapon systems involve the destruction of the AGI?  Would an AGI commit suicide?

Actually, when I was listening to the item, I thought about ‘Red Dwarf,’ and its plot line of the ‘silicon heaven.’  The AGI butler in the TV series was fitted with a chip giving the delusion of immortality after the death of the robot.  Toasters also had AGI, but they weren’t fitted with the silicon heaven chip.
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Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2019, 12:24:22 AM »
When I listened to the segment on bears, I thought it was appalling how ignorant many of the rogues were about this stuff. Then I realized it was just my bias-- I lived most of my life in AK, where it is general knowledge. I'm sure that my ignorance about risks in Connecticut or L.A. would be equally appalling to the rogues  :)

Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2019, 02:28:42 AM »
After hearing the bear talk on SoF, I'm glad I live in a place where the wildlife (on land) doesn't hunt, attack and eat people.  ???

It’s not true that the American Republican Party is unique in being the only political party that’s a global warming denialist political party.  The Australian coal-ition government (composed of the misnamed Liberal Party and the agrarian socialist National Party, which originally formed to represent farmers, but which is increasingly representing miners) is also AGW denialist, either claiming that it’s not happening, it’s not due to humans, Australia isn’t a significant cause, or that there’s nothing that can be done that’s affordable.

I assume you mean coal miners. As someone who has worked in metalliferous mining most of my working life (34 years), I don't think any particular (major) party is more pro-mining than any other. They all want the royalties and tax dollars that mining brings. All would like to see another metals mining boom.

Only the Coalition wants more coal mines.


Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2019, 03:10:31 AM »
For anyone who is not sufficiently scared of A.I., I present the following statistics from 2006:

33.0 ppg, 7.4 apg, 1.9 spg


Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2019, 03:33:07 AM »
For anyone who is not sufficiently scared of A.I., I present the following statistics from 2006:

33.0 ppg, 7.4 apg, 1.9 spg

Thank goodness for Google  ;) I thought the stats would lead to some chess playing robot. But no.

Apparently you are referring to basketball player Allen Iverson (Who I've never heard of  ??? )

Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2019, 04:09:11 AM »
For anyone who is not sufficiently scared of A.I., I present the following statistics from 2006:

33.0 ppg, 7.4 apg, 1.9 spg

Thank goodness for Google  ;) I thought the stats would lead to some chess playing robot. But no.

Apparently you are referring to basketball player Allen Iverson (Who I've never heard of  ??? )
Yes! He is the original "A.I." I still can't listen to a segment on Artificial Intelligence without thinking of him. It seems like some of these tech companies should pursue an endorsement deal :)

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2019, 08:28:52 AM »
When I listened to the segment on bears, I thought it was appalling how ignorant many of the rogues were about this stuff.
Tell us more.

I was surprised by bear spray vs firearms.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 09:48:26 AM by DevoutCatalyst »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2019, 09:42:25 AM »
We won’t have artificial general intelligence butlers any time soon because the technology will be very expensive at first (if it ever comes, which I doubt.) The deepest pockets will get the tech first. That’s the military. Just as the first real robots were so-called “smart bombs” (that is, self-guided missiles, giving the lie to Issac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics) so the first AGI will be weapons systems. And will be used to kill people.

So, yes, IMO, AGI would be extremely dangerous if I thought it was a realistic possibility.

Why would the military want AGI weapon systems, when AI produces perfectly adequate weapon systems?  Particularly if the weapon systems involve the destruction of the AGI?  Would an AGI commit suicide?

Current “smart” weapons are single-use single-purpose weapons. Fire them, they (when successful) kill their target without further human intervention. “Smart bomb” is an apt description because they are just autonomous bombs.

An AGI weapon would be more like (though probably entirely different in appearance than) a robot soldier, given a mission rather than a target, and able to accomplish that mission and then attempt to return for refueling and reloading or await orders for another mission. It would have the capability of making decisions regarding the best way to carry out its mission.
Daniel
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-- Otto von Bismarck

Online brilligtove

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2019, 11:43:15 AM »
A soldier then, but without all that annoying human meat.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2019, 12:22:09 PM »
Making it a lot easier to commit war crimes, when there's no one with family members dying for it in your own country.

Offline BAWRFRS

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Re: Episode #706
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 01:12:05 PM »
When I listened to the segment on bears, I thought it was appalling how ignorant many of the rogues were about this stuff.
Tell us more.

I was surprised by bear spray vs firearms.

I can't speak for our friend from AK but from my understanding as a hiker and backpacker from black bear country (near the Smokies), there was at least one mistaken notion about bear stuff promulgated in the segment. Around the 94-95 minute mark Cara spoke about bear boxes/containers that one carries in one's backpack, and that they are smell proof. I know of no commercially-produced bear container that is smell proof. There is a product called the OpSack, IIRC, which is like an extra-heavy-duty ziplock and is said to sharply reduces odors. Some people use those in conjunction with a bear container, but the container itself is not odor-proof.

There were a couple of other questionable things. One was the notion of slowly backing away ... I defer to Tom Smith's talk to NOLS regarding this practice - IIRC he recommends against it, around 20 min in:



Lay down play dead - see 26 min mark etc. Good stuff. He's just one source, but he strikes me as very credible, like say a Stephen Herrero.

They did say you should not have food on you in bear country. This is not generally possible for a hiker or backpacker; food is indeed one of the essential items to bring on a hike, along with water, shelter, etc. And to the occasional predatory bear, you are food anyway, so there's that. But this leads into another couple questionable things:

that you should hang your food, and, separately, not keep it in your tent. Hanging your food, esp. over keeping in your tent, has been recommended (until very recently) as an acceptable alternative to carrying a bear-resistant food canister. Bears usually can't get into the latter, but bear cans are quite heavy, rigid, voluminous, and a real burden for most backpackers to carry. Some places, they're mandated, so you gotta carry them - and not just any, but one that is approved in that area. Not all canisters are approved everywhere. But where canisters aren't mandated, a "bear bag hang" has often been considered an acceptable alternative, particularly certain hang methods like the PCT method, in which the line is not tied off to a tree (where it could be severed, bringing down the bear bag), but left hanging in the air,  by means of a toggle that is clove-hitched and which stops at a carabiner, through which the line has been run. You can look it up. Anyway, the idea is that the bear can't grab the line easily, and even if they could, they would have to remove the toggle to get the bag down. So far so good.

But a good PCT hang is not very easy. You have to have the right kinds of trees around, with branches of the right thickness at the right height, you need to be able to toss your "throw bag" over the branch at a certain distance away from the tree trunk, etc. It turns out, most people do not do this well. The bag is too low; the bag is too close to the trunk; the right tree can't be found; the bear breaks off the branch or sends a cub to get it; the bear climbs on the limb to grab it or shred it in place, etc etc. Long story short, some famous guides like Andrew Skurka don't even teach bear bagging hangs anymore. This seems to be a trend, and I think before long the field will be now left to bear canisters, where required.

Where not required, the notion of keeping food in your tent isn't wholly without merit. Bears go after unguarded food, mostly, and bear bagging away from camp means you're going to let them work on it all night. The notion that you don't already smell like food is simply false. If you are cooking in the backcountry, those food smells will be on your clothing and maybe your gear too, and just because the actual food may be away from your tent doesn't mean the bear knows that or cares. Given that "a fed bear is a dead bear" - meaning, you want to keep bears from getting your food, for long-term considerations, some people think that having it with them (guarded, as it were) is safer for all involved - again, in the long run, versus encouraging bears to regularly seek unguarded food near where hikers and backpackers congregate. I should say, I'm not advocating this nor do I practice it myself, yet, but I acknowledge that there is a reasoned argument to make there. [at least for black bears - this may not at all apply to brown ... IDK]

Massive caveat: best practices are evolving in these areas, and may depend on black bear vs. brown bear. It's worth noting that bears are getting increasingly clever about getting into bear canisters. Some have found ways to get leverage against locked lids; others have discovered that if tossed off a cliff to rocks below, they can break them open. It's an arms race of sorts.

Bear canisters are required in some areas of western NC, and expanding this area of mandate is under consideration currently.

Quick word on predatory bears: while rare among black bears, it's not unheard of.

Bear spray: you don't have to be pinpoint accurate against a fast-moving target if you can spray a cone of bear pepper spray (which is about 50% more potent than the stuff you might carry on your person in regular life, not to mention, a lot more of it). With a gun, it would be very hard to be that accurate. You would indeed probably just piss the bear off, if you hit it all. And a gun of sufficient FPE to stop a bear - you're not likely to bring that into the woods, too heavy, unless you're hunting already.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.  - Bertrand Russell

 

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