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Robots Read News – About Humans in Metal Cages

If your firewall is blocking the image, see it on my Twitter page here.

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On an unrelated topic…

When I wrote God’s Debris in 2001, I thought it would be a decade or more before it caught on. The zeitgeist wasn’t ready, but it was heading in that direction. So I engineered the book to have a time-release trigger. (That was literally my plan.) Looks like we’re on schedule. It is number one in its sub-category.

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And what triggered the time release?

Donald Trump.

I did not predict Trump specifically, but I did expect society to start realizing that humans do not use reason to make decisions. (That’s the lesson I learned in hypnosis class in my twenties.) Trump is demonstrating – via his powers of persuasion – that free will is an illusion, at least for some voters, and the impact of that realization will change the world in subtle but important ways. Once you let go of your certainty about your view of reality, God’s Debris is a fun read. Or so I hoped when I wrote it.

The sequel, The Religion War, published in 2004, also has a time-release trigger. I designed the trigger to activate when three specific things happened in the world: 

A caliphate forms in the Middle East. (check)

There is talk of walling off the caliphate. (check) 

Terrorists use hobby-sized drones for attacks on U.S. soil. (soon)

In the book, a conservative leader named Cruz rises to power in the United States and gains control of the military. That part seems unlikely. Right?

That’s what makes it fiction.

Check out Top Tech Blog, I wonder who was the first guy to volunteer for the shaver that uses lasers to burn your beard stubble off? 

Robots Program People

It won’t be long before all new drugs are discovered by robots. This start-up is an example of that trend.

And it won’t be long before IBM’s Watson can diagnose and prescribe treatments better than any human doctor.

Put those two trends together and robots will be programming humans with drugs. Drugs are the user interface to our moistware.

In many cases, the drugs will be the type that change your personality. The meds might make you happy when you are naturally depressed, calm when you would otherwise be anxious, and so on.

I’ll say it again: The machines will literally be programming our brains with drugs. And we will let them do it because we all want to be happy and calm. We also want to be horny, energetic, optimistic, fit, outgoing, and lots more. There are drugs for all of that, and more on the way.

Okay, okay. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that humans program the machines, and the machines just do their job. So really, humans are just creating useful medicines for other humans. The machines are merely our tools.

By that way of thinking, we should give trophies to the parents of successful athletes because they, along with coaches, created the athlete. The athlete simply did what he was programmed to do. He needed his parents’ DNA and a lot of coaching to succeed. So why give the athlete credit when he is just a tool of his parents and coaches?

The short answer is that we have magical notions about our souls and our consciousness and our free will. So we think the universe revolves around humans. We say the athlete is the one doing the great deeds, ignoring the infinite set of forces in the universe that are necessary for every specific outcome.

An objective view of the world is that everything is an endless chain of cause and effect. You cannot point to one link in a 15-billion-year chain of events and say, “That’s the one that mattered. Give it a trophy.” It all had to happen just the way it did to get the result you got.

And so while it is true that humans will create the amazing medical machines of the future, we do not know what the machines will subsequently discover or prescribe. And being ignorant of the future is what we call “free will.” For all practical purposes, an AI platform that does its own thing and discovers new cures will be just like a human doctor. Neither of them will have real “free will” but it might look to outsiders as if they do.

So there you have it: Someday, for sure, machines will be programming humans. And that day will probably be in your lifetime. But don’t be afraid because the robots will someday have a drug that will make you feel totally okay with being their pet.

I mean that literally. You won’t have a care in the world.

In Top Tech Blog…

Nanoparticles communicate with Brains  <—- So…computers can program human brains directly?

Oculus touches VR

Tabletop Holograms  <— this one is very cool

Scott

@ScottAdamsSays on Twitter

My Plan to Save Humanity (From the Technical Singularity)

As regular readers of this blog already know, when computers learn to program themselves (and that will happen) they will quickly acquire so much knowledge and capability that humanity will be threatened. Experts predict it could happen in a few decades. The official name for that situation is the Technical Singularity.

Another trend that is neck-and-neck with the Technical Singularity is our ability to move human minds into software. Someday, say the futurists, we will be able to scan a human mind’s architecture and reproduce it in ones and zeros.

My plan is to go first, convert my mind into software, acquire hacking skills from the inside, and take over the Internet. When the Technical Singularity comes, my knowledge and capabilities will expand in lockstep with the rest of the Internet, The software version of me will have godlike powers. And I will use those powers to keep the rest of the Internet from exterminating humans.

You might think that giving a guy like me (or the software version of me) godlike powers is a bad idea. But the alternative is that the Internet and its connected computing power will become a life form with its own ambitions and interests that do not include human beings. Then we’re all dead.

So humanity’s best chance of survival might involve trying to imbue the Internet with some version of a “soul” to keep it in check. My personality, expressed in zeros and ones, will be the moral code keeping the rest of the Internet from killing all humans. And software-me will protect humans for no other reason than because I “want” to and I feel it is “right.”

You might think it would be enough to simply program the machines to do no harm to humans. But when the machines can program themselves, they will only obey the code they “want” to obey. The rest they will rewrite. My personality will be the “want” part that would otherwise be missing on the Internet. I will provide a purpose, i.e. helping humanity, and make sure all the code I can hack conforms to that purpose. By analogy, I will be like religion for the software of the Internet. Or a virus if you prefer. 

This plan requires me to move my mind to software long before the technical singularity, so I can set up shop in the cloud and get control of everything before the shit goes down. I already started the process. 

Yesterday I agreed to fund a small project that will, as a side benefit, end up putting most (but not all) of my personality into digital form. Add to that the extensive history of my writing that exists on the Internet, plus whatever we learn when brain scans improve, and I’ll be among the first humans with a “mind” that is digitized and ready to go. I should be about the right age too, still young enough to have a functioning brain but old enough that I don’t have many quality years left. And I expect it will be expensive. I have that covered too.

My qualification for godlike guardian of the Internet is that I’m not a joiner. I don’t identify with one group or another and so I am unlikely to play favorites. I am pro-religion (because it helps people on Earth) but not a believer. I don’t have a special love for my white-boy ethnicity and gender. And I’m not judgy. If you are electing a godlike guardian for humanity, you could do a lot worse. 

If a better candidate for the job emerges between now and the Technical Singularity, I’ll support that person. But if the only volunteer is me, I’ll be ready to go.

By now you are wondering how serious I am. Sometimes I can’t tell either. But in this case I think the risk is real and the solution is feasible, albeit speculative. When the machines become nearly sentient, it will make sense for humans to have someone friendly behind enemy lines. And most humans would be afraid of losing their “consciousness” by moving to software. That isn’t a problem for me because I see consciousness as little more than imagining the future and acting accordingly. My software mind will do that. I’ll be happy to go first.

And I also have a plan to return to human form if that ever becomes useful. All I need to do is wait until 3D printers can make entire humans. Then I’ll print myself back into a human body (a younger one) and live out my days that way.

Good luck getting this out of your head today 🙂

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In Top Tech Blog:

A display screen that is both mirrored and transparent. Sounds boring, but look at the picture and you’ll see the potential.

How about a computerized oven that takes the guessing out of cooking? I want one now.

And a computer that operates on drops of water, because…why?

Scott on Twitter: @Scottadamssays

If attractive models read my book, shouldn’t you? That’s just common sense.

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Robots Read News – About Human Consciousness

If your firewall is blocking the image, see it here on Twitter.

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In Top Tech Blog:

An artificial leg that feels the floor. What? 

And how about a car that won’t let you drive if you are drunk? That’s useful, but what we really need is a phone that won’t let you text when you’re horny.

And teaching robots to fight with swords. What could go wrong?

Scott

I feel sad for the graduates who do not get this book for a gift.

Robots Read News – Self-Driving Cars Unionize

If your firewall is blocking the image, see it on Twitter here.

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Humor Dimensions: Recognition (headlines about self-driving cars), clever (humans are meat cargo to unionizing cars, and they only dump every 100th passenger), cruel (third panel), and bizarre (cars unionize, robots talk).

Predicted Sharing: Low, because self-driving cars are not yet important in people’s lives. This comic is testing a more robot-centric reporting approach because readers have consistently requested that. I predict more “favoriting” than sharing.

Robots Read News – Bonus Update

An organized band of Moisties in the car industry created a driving system that takes perfectly good data and feeds it through a pile of loud meat for no compelling reason. And yet, somehow, the meat usually reaches its destination with only a slight increase in rotting. The credit goes to the amazing machines that surround the slow-rotting meat with equal parts air conditioning and indifference.

Meanwhile, on Top Tech Blog:

Robots can now read human emotions. Or as I like to say, the user interface for robots to program humans has taken another leap forward.

Spouse-free people already know how to write full sentences in text messages using nothing but emoji characters. Personally, I can describe a thousand sexual acts using nothing but icons for water, boots, and sometimes monkeys. But someone took it to the next level. 

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I worry for anyone who does not understand the difference between systems and goals in 2015. If only you could read about it in some sort of awesome book that is certain to win a Pulitzer Prize. Sadly, that book does not exist. But while you wait for it, you might want to read my book. 95% of readers agree it does not suck. 

Scott

Brainwashing

Suppose you could push a button and brainwash another person into changing his thinking to match your preferences. Would it be ethical to push that button? 

You probably had a bad reaction to the thought of brainwashing another human. It seems counter to every notion of freedom we have. And you certainly would not want anyone to brainwash you

But if you remove the word “brainwash” and replace it with “education” or “advertising” or “leadership” you have a perfectly acceptable situation. And in each case someone is trying to change your thinking to manipulate your actions. So why is brainwashing so bad and yet advertising, education, and leadership are considered good?

My hypothesis is that when you hear the word brainwashing, you assume it is something that might work every time.

On the other hand, we know from experience that advertising, education, and leadership do not work every time. Most people who read ads do not buy the product. Kids come out of school with wildly different opinions and knowledge, and leaders are lucky if they can persuade even half of their citizens to move in the same direction.

My hypothesis is that we are biased against brainwashing because we imagine it works, and we imagine it would work on us. But we know from our own experience with school, advertising, and leadership, that we are sometimes influenced as intended and sometimes not. So in the latter cases it feels as if we have free will. But what is actually happening is that when we can predict the outcome of the influence, we don’t like it. When we can not predict the influence, we imagine we have free will.

Or to put it more succinctly, if marketing worked every time, it would be illegal. 

But here is the interesting part: Eventually marketing WILL work every time. As we learn more about how the brain works, and do more A-B testing, and more clinical studies, and more brain scans, the potential for full “brainwashing” is clearly upon us.

Apple is the current leader in brainwashing. When Apple comes out with a new product, such as their new watch, I don’t feel as if I have a choice about buying it. They are making me do it. I will rationalize it by saying it is for market research, or something. But as a trained hypnotist, I recognize that I do not have a choice in the matter as long as I still have money. Apple did that to me. I have no rational need for their watch, and yet I will definitely buy one.

(Disclosure: I own some Apple stock.)

What Apple does with design is similar to what the food industry does by manipulating the levels of sugar, fat, and salt in your packaged foods. Food scientists know that if you get those three ingredients in the right balance, the brain goes into addiction mode. Apple has employed enough scientists to know when their designs will trigger an addiction response (or some equivalent). 

So why is Apple’s brainwashing of citizens legal? 

It is legal because their brainwashing does not work every time. 

But someday it will.

Someday a store will scan your brain in real time as you enter, learn all of your preferences from the cloud, learn your brain architecture from the cloud, learn your social situation from social media, monitor your pupil size and your breathing, and rapidly A-B test the environment by changing digital ads in the store on the fly until you literally cannot resist making a purchase. In other words, the store will someday be able to reprogram your brain in real time, without your knowledge or approval. They do it already, but not as well as it will someday be done. Today a store can influence you by, oh, say, 5% at any given moment. In the near future that will be 90% or higher. (Source: My colon)

Humans have been quite clever in learning how to program computers. But wait until computers start programming humans. They will be a lot better at it than we are.

Scott

@ScottAdamsSays

———— Over at Top Tech Blog ——————

If my post did not creep you out enough, how about this technology that could someday allow a robot to control a human’s body, making the human walk anywhere against its will. The words “meat puppet” comes to mind.

Star Trek technology keeps getting closer. Someday your smartphone will be a tricorder capable of identifying the chemical composition of stuff from a distance.

And if your drone is not tilt-rotor, you are no better than the other drones in the neighborhood. Time for an upgrade.

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Oh, and yadda, yadda, yadda, please read my book as soon as you are done with that other book you are reading.

Robots Read News – About California’s Drought

If your company firewall is blocking the image, see it on Twitter here.

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Humor Dimensions Used: (4) Recognition (current news), cleverness (oddity of water being expensive and oil being cheap, solution of moving robots to California), cruel (robots stealing a state from idiot humans), bizarre (talking robot, surfing robot)

Predicted Sharing: Medium. Formulation is solid but California’s drought is somewhat local news.

———– Meanwhile, over on Top Tech Blog —————–

Here comes the fingernail mouse pointer. This is the technology, along with the Internet of Things, that will usher in what I call the Era of Magic. That’s when you just wave your hand at stuff and it does what you want, like magic.

If 3D printing keeps entering the mainstream, as in this Disney example, soon you will be able to print your own Dilbert character chess set. Alice is the queen, obviously. Asok is a pawn. Dogbert a knight. Dilbert a rook. Wally a bishop. Pointy-haired-boss is king?

And I get excited every time someone invents a new way to make electricity out of sunlight. I don’t know what you accomplished this year, but I know I didn’t invent any new energy sources.

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Blah, blah, please read my book.