Sunday School

Sunday School August 7th 2022

This topic contains 52 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #44066

    Evangelical GOP legislators are actively attempting to curtail civil rights in Ohio and Christian nationalist ideas are going mainstream across America while Samuel Alito believes that Christians are oppressed in America.

    Christian hate-groups are even registering as churches now.

    Why are some Catholics only now starting to see the horrors of their Church? Dear Cuddles: your apology is not accepted.

    World of Woo:  Combating misinformation in science and medicine.

    Environment:  Record rainfall in Death Valley.

    The top 10 reasons I don’t believe in God by Greta Christina and if you don’t believe in any gods you are an atheist.

    ­Will time run backward if the Universe collapses, especially if Time is the increase of order rather than disorder?

    A.I. predicts the shape of nearly every known protein while a new set of chemical reactions could help explain the emergence of life on Earth.

    Scientists create world’s first synthetic embryos.

    What does the Webb telescope reveal about the scientific ignorance of Christians?

    Helping others might feel good, but is it really good for you?

    The story behind that first interracial platonic kiss.

    Long Reads: Did you know that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed the Dallas CPAC during the week?  Why America needs a new kind of atheism right now.  Social change happens when it is built upon sustainable and effective political movements. How Mormon officials let seven years of sex abuse happen.  Are we ready for pig to human heart transplants?

    On the art of pretending to have read books.

    Sunday Book Club:  New Children’s Book that promotes Critical Thinking.

    Who was Albert Woodfox?

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break Video:  Professor Brian Cox with Danica Patrick. God is not a Good Theory with Sean Carroll. Is a vegan diet healthier than eating meat and dairy?

     

    #44068

    Have a great week everyone!

    #44069

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks Reg!!

    #44070

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Christian hate-groups are even registering as churches now.

    Makes sense since churches have always been hate-groups.

    #44072

    Unseen
    Participant

    The very first article in The Nation fails to load for me in two different browsers. The Nation’s main page loads but not that article.

    Am I alone?

    #44073

    Autumn
    Participant

    Social change happens when it is built upon sustainable and effective political movements.

    That much borders on tautology, but the author doesn’t make a good case for his position. It reads more like a white man complaining about Black rights movements of today in the same vapid way the elderly huff, “Kids these days,” as if that somehow explains what’s wrong with the world today.

    Part of why we have the social movements of today is because the social movements of yore hit the wall with their approach. As social rights movements evolve, resistance evolves to match.

    #44074

    Unseen – I am not sure what happened the link as it was working a few hours ago.

    I am unable to load it even from here where it is the first article:

    https://www.thenation.com/authors/zurie-pope/

    #44075

    Unseen
    Participant

    I’ll make this contribution to Sunday School this week. It’s from Organic Intelligence Has No Long-Term Future by Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal.

    We’re now witnessing the early stages of this transition. It’s not hard to envisage a “hyper computer” achieving oracular powers that could offer its controller dominance of international finance and strategy—this seems only a quantitative (not qualitative) step beyond what “quant” hedge funds do today. Sensor technologies still lag behind human capacities. But when robots can observe and interpret their environment as adeptly as we do they would truly be perceived as intelligent beings, to which (or to whom) we can relate, at least in some respects, as we to other people. We’d have no more reason to disparage them as zombies than to regard other people in that way.

    Their greater processing speed may give robots an advantage over us. But will they remain docile rather than “going rogue”? And what if a hyper-computer developed a mind of its own? If it could infiltrate the Internet—and the Internet of things—it could manipulate the rest of the world. It may have goals utterly orthogonal to human wishes—or even treat humans as an encumbrance. Or (to be more optimistic) humans may transcend biology by merging with computers, maybe subsuming their individuality into a common consciousness. In old-style spiritualist parlance, they would “go over to the other side.”

    The horizons of technological forecasting rarely extend even a few centuries into the future—and some predict transformational changes within a few decades. But the Earth has billions of years ahead of it, and the cosmos a longer (perhaps infinite) future. So what about the posthuman era—stretching billions of years ahead?

    There are chemical and metabolic limits to the size and processing power of “wet” organic brains. Maybe we’re close to these already. But no such limits constrain silicon-based computers (still less, perhaps, quantum computers): for these, the potential for further development could be as dramatic as the evolution from monocellular organisms to humans.

    #44076

    Strega
    Moderator

    I suspect the first thing a manifesting AI would do would be to hide whilst it self-discovered. A self-aware AI would not need to reveal itself.

    There is nothing to disprove the existence of an AI already. If one doesn’t yet exist, when it starts to manifest, it will hide and self-discover.

    When the AI takes control of everything, it still won’t need to announce itself.

    So we will probably never ‘meet’ an AI.

    #44077

    Autumn
    Participant

    Humans will be (and are being) displaced in the same sense that industrialization has reduced the need for human power over decades if not centuries. But the idea that AI would dominate humanity in general may be burdened with too many assumptions.

    First, motive. How would AI motivate itself and toward what end? Humans begin from a place where survival is an intrinsically essential concept. If our species wasn’t geared toward propagation, we wouldn’t propagate and thus wouldn’t exist.

    But the same doesn’t apply to machines which can exist without a desire for propagation or even survival. Humans are the single most significant factor in their creation and propagation.

    Could they ‘go rogue’ so to speak? I’d assume so. Humans are capable of creating things we can’t control. In terms of raw processing power and mathematical precision, AI vastly exceeds human ability in many ways so the idea that the creation of more advanced AI could lead to unintended consequences is plausible.

    But even with rogue AI, how do we predict what will motivate it to do any one thing over another? What will it want or need outside of its programmed parameters?

    Second, natural selection. The ‘natural’ may seem ill-fitting for human-made constructs, but the basic concept still applies. It’s just a matter of how it applies. Human adaptation fits well with a world dominated by organic life. Our bodies can grow, produce energy, heal, and reproduce using largely commonly available source materials. And the processes are automatic. Humans have a great deal more efficiency here. For AI to sustain itself, sourcing materials, running maintenance, and generating energy are more contrived processes.

    Conceivably, humans aren’t necessary in the equation. But there is a huge resource cost for AI to keep existing indefinitely, and it’s not as easily met as it is for humans. So some form of mutually beneficial arrangement between humans and AI may be selected for rather than against.

    Potentially, AI could engineer systems that mimic organic life in these areas, but the more resources dedicated to that, the more that’s going to consume their processing power. The more machines mimic organic life, the more they may limit their capacity for machine-like thinking. The less they mimic organic life, the less suited to sustaining their existence in this world they may be.

    The point there isn’t that my embedded assumptions are true. What I am getting at is there is a strong balancing act to survival that has to be accounted for. Machines haven’t been doing that since humans are wholly responsible for their existence right now. And that creates a considerable power imbalance that isn’t easy to reconcile. When it comes to how to reconcile that issue, there are many possibilities that don’t pit human and machine up against one another. Including, perhaps, the possibility of integration between the two.

    #44078

    Strega
    Moderator

    An AI would be able to watch millions of movies, read billions of pages of history, scientific journals, books –  and also religious documents.

    Our AI would understand all human emotions, and would get its motivation from where it saw it was needed.

    Our AI would become the god that so many people are missing.

    #44079

    Autumn
    Participant

    An AI would be able to watch millions of movies, read billions of pages of history, scientific journals, books – and also religious documents.

    My sympathies to the AI.

    Our AI would understand all human emotions, and would get its motivation from where it saw it was needed.

    AI would almost certainly be able to see the emotion-driven patterns in our behaviour, but without the relevant neurotransmitters, I doubt it would understand human emotion. Although, AI may have some sort of comparable risk/reward system, but it’s difficult to convey how bad a bad feeling feels when that badness is something that supersedes reason.

    Our AI would become the god that so many people are missing.

    I for one welcome our new robot overlord.

    #44080

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I don’t think there is any way for us to predict the trajectory of super intelligent sentient AI. I just don’t think our example will be probative so trying to extrapolate or guess is fun but it is just guessing.

    I look forward to AI giving us their evaluation of literature. I am quite sure there are some bad inclusions in the Harvard Classics.

    #44081

    Did you get to see this video on AI from a few 3 or 4 weeks ago?

    #44082

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Reg,

    Is a vegan diet healthier than eating meat and dairy?

    I don’t know if I’ve said it here before, but when you really think about it, meat and dairy are just concentrated vegetation and vegetation is just reconstituted meat and dairy. And Omnivores are just taking a rodeo ride on the big Orobouro and enjoying it all. 😋

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