Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough

The BBC set up an Skype interview between Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough.

It was late December, 2019.  She was 16, he was 93. You can hear the respect each has for the other. This isn’t a super bang speech, instead it is just interesting to listen to two of the most influential people of our time “saying hello”.

Click the link for an 8 minute listen: Greta and Attenborough.m4a
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Greta’s father was interviewed by BBC the same day.

Click the link for about 9 minutes: Gretas Father.m4a


Wanted: No War

The longer other countries, such as Iran and North Korea, are not allowed to have nuclear energy, the longer they are dependent on oil!

As The Guardian said “The establishment assumes that Iran can never possess nuclear weapons, yet the United States lives with nuclear-armed adversaries like Russia and China and aligns with the nuclear-armed military dictatorship in Pakistan.”

The Climate Crisis almost demands that we enable the building of more nuclear power plants. We have learned from our mistakes how to build them safely now. We should offer to build nuclear facilities for any country that wants them! Especially Iran and North Korea.

But Big Oil, with their fossil fuels lobby, holds tremendous economic power and influence on politics, particularly in the United States. They continue to scare the public over anything nuclear.

We need to fear Climate Crisis more than War. Iran having the ability to build a nuclear warhead is not nearly as dangerous as Trump having control of the US arsenals.

The Moral Machine

Take a short 13 item “test” to see how you would program AI cars to choose between unavoidable scenarios involving who lives and who dies. There are no right or wrong responses. The quiz has been taken by 3-4 million people already from 233 countries. Your responses will be displayed as compared to the totals.

The current results have just been published in Nature Magazine 1 Nov 2018. Take the test here, go to bottom and “Start Judging”.

http://moralmachine.mit.edu/

Some items are tough… 5 old people in a car vs. 5 mixed age pedestrians. Some are easy… people vs. animals.

The research article itself is behind a pay wall at Nature.com. If you have a subscription, you can find it here:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0637-6.

The applied results will be driving past your house soon. But the programming will be changeable. Help the programmer near you make ethical choices.


“Before you travel, do not forget to sit on your luggage in silence for a few minutes before leaving home.” – A Russian superstition


Life 3.0

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence (AI), I highly recommend that you read this new book Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, a professor at MIT. His book is an easy read for the amateur and weighty enough for the AI students and professional. It explains (finally someone got it through to me) how neural networks work, how our mind learns and remembers and generally how machines can be built to mimic these processes. This is a realistic book, issues in the future are explained, not sidestepped. This is a science book that is not only important, but fun to read. I give it 5 stars!

 

“This is a conversation that everyone needs to join. But for them to join it constructively, we need to educate them about what the challenges and opportunities actually are. Otherwise it degenerates into the scaremongering that the British tabloids do. Ultimately, this is a very exciting opportunity. Everything I love about civilization is the product of intelligence. If we can create a beneficial superintelligence, we can help humanity flourish better than ever before.” — by Max Tegmark

“Worth reading Life 3.0 by @Tegmark. AI will be the best or worst thing ever for humanity, so let’s get it right.” — by Elon Musk in Twitter

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – by Bill Gates


“If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.” – so said Voltaire


No Is Not Enough – the book

The new book “No Is Not Enough” by Naomi Klein should be read by all. It was rushed out in reaction to Donald Trump, but includes important comments about climate change and the anthropocene.

Because one of the most unjust aspects of climate disruption is that our actions as adults today will have their most severe impact on the lives of generations yet to come, as well as kids alive today who are too young to impact policy — kids like Toma (her son) and his friends, and their generation the world over. These children have done nothing to create the crisis, but they are the ones who will deal with the most extreme weather — the storms and droughts and fires and rising seas — and all the social and economic stresses that will flow as a result. They are the ones growing up amidst a mass extinction, robbed of so much beauty and so much of the companionship that comes from being surrounded by other life forms.

The above quote from the book is how I feel about my grandchildren (aged 12-19). Global warming, climate change, neoliberalsim, the USA oligarchy, Trumpism, all of these things are not their fault. The adults of the “western world” have effed up society and the planet so bad that I feel revolution will be the only way out. And these kids will be fighting the wars, unless we can help wake people up to the dangers.

Get a copy of the book, buy it, library it, borrow it. And learn more at

noisnotenough.org

theleap.org


“I’m not looking to overthrow the American government, the corporate state already has..” – John Trudell


States that Discriminate

I love my state — California. We have an Assembly Bill AB 1887 that prohibits state sponsored travel to 8 states that have passed laws discriminating against various classes of people. I think more states should follow suit, to put pressure on these backward, mean state governments.

This list is here to help me remember to not vacation in these states and to minimize travel time if we must travel through them on the way to somewhere else.

• Alabama
• Kansas
• Kentucky
• Mississippi
• North Carolina
• South Dakota
• Tennessee
• Texas

Some day, hopefully, these states will change their laws and support all people.

Noam Chomsky Interviewed at Google

Noam Chomsky appeared at Google in Cambridge May 23, 2017, to speak to an audience of primarily Google staff. The video of the “Google Talks” event was published to YouTube June 5.

This discussion seemed to be more personal than I have heard Chomsky before. Usually Professor Chomsky is “on topic” all the time. The interviewer did a great job, acting like a student sincerely interested in Chomsky’s early life and how he became an activist.

Later in the talk, the word “internet” came up, more and more. Chomsky obviously uses Google products, but only mentioned Google Translate specifically.

He warned about using Artificial Intelligence for more than just data mining. AI should be used for more humanistic endeavors. Understanding ourselves, our species, should be the focus of our prime directive.

I enjoyed it and recommend that you take an hour to listen to a very open discussion: human existence should be our number one priority.

You can watch it by clicking here

or by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C-zWrhFqpM directly.

You can also just search in YouTube.


Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems. – Sergei Brin


Good Books

If you are at all interested in anthropology or the lives of your Neanderthal ancestors, this novel will be an enjoyable read.  This reminds me somewhat of the old series called Clan of the Cave Bears, but it is much easier to read (and shorter). The author Claire Cameron acknowledges help from Yuval Harari and Ian Tattersall.

Perhaps this will be the first of a series.  I hope so.  I know I enjoyed it.  Thought provoking.  It is a “fast read” and holds your attention.  But caution is required, this is either adults only or at least older teens.

The book is about two women, separated by 40,000 years.