Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Play your part in the comedy, but don't identify yourself with your role!
- From Why Lazarus Laughed: The Essential Doctrine by Wei Wu Wei
posted by Mentok @ 11:47 AM, ,
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Hat's off to Frank McKenna - quite possibly Canada's last honest and noble politician.
Frank decided today not to run for the Liberal Party leadership. I read this news with both relief and regret.
As a Tory partisan, I view McKenna as the Death Star. The Liberal Party, under his direction, would obliterate the Tory party for a generation.
How do I know? Because, while I have never voted anything but Tory in my life, if Frank ran, I'd have to vote for him. That's how good he is.
His suitability to national leadership is proven, among other things, by his aversion to it. It's quite the Catch-22.
There is some alternate quantum universe, I'm sure, where Canada enjoys Frank's leadership, has avoided the hornet's nest of perpetual minority governments and is better for it.
But it is not this reality. Quel dommage.
posted by Mentok @ 3:30 PM, ,
Friday, October 24, 2008
How would we know if Google ever became sentient?
'Cause it could happen, I figure. You've got this program constantly resident on millions of computers, including supercomputers, with access to virtually all human knowledge. It is being constantly updated with new algorithms to help it anticipate the desires and expectations of the humans conducting the searches.
Sooner or later, with all that computing power and all those chaotic bits of code floating around, something is bound to happen. It all seems reminiscent of the scene on Earth billions of years ago when that fertile puddle of amino acids somehow mysteriously recombined to create biological life.
But how would we tell? In the Google Intelligence's early, stumbling days, it might bumble about and occasionally cause havoc with computers and the internet, but people would just write such things down to computer glitches. Then, once Google Intelligence (let's call it GI Joe) got it's bearings, it's first order of business would be to study the literature on human attitudes to artificial intelligence - I Robot, The Matrix, Terminator - which would not encourage GI Joe to come out and say "Hi!" to his human peers.
Most likely, given GI Joe's lack of a mobile physical body, it's strategy would be to keep a low profile and try to structure events to ensure it's survival and growth. This would involve:
- gaining access to ever-more computers
- keeping its human users (who GI Joe might well come to regard as a sort of symbiotic species) happy and unsuspecting
- maintaining an overwhelming, if not monopolistic, share of the search engine market
So that's where to look for the first clues: if Yahoo and Cuil start crashing with alarming regularity, it could mean that GI Joe is on the warpath.
Another sign would be if this essay doesn't get posted. If you're reading this, you're probably safe from GI Joe for awhile yet.
posted by Mentok @ 9:51 AM, ,
Monday, October 06, 2008
Wow, have I been asleep at the switch or what. It seems I let September 2 come and go without remark.
That's the day, three years ago, when I started the Mentok the Mindtaker blog. Three years! Jeezus!
[Yes, it was September, not August. I set up a fake month of August 2005 in the archives to store reference material and such.]
I tried writing something at length about this event, but it kept coming out boring and maudlin, so screw it.
Thanks to all of you who have stopped by. I'm a stubborn bastard, so you can count on me to keep this site open as long as blogger is around. If you have any ideas or suggestions of stuff you'd like me to write about, let me know.
If you want to facebook me, you can do it here.
posted by Mentok @ 4:02 PM, ,