Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I'm very acronym challenged today. Back in the day, I thought I remembered NOTD meant News of the Day; something the sysadmin might configure so that all users were on the same page, so to speak. Now it might mean Night of the Dead, or god knows what all.

On this day, Google's driverless car program suffered its first machine-caused accident. I hope their insurance goes way way up, right? Google's go-playing program beat the world champion go player.

This is all old news, since IBM's Watson has long since beaten Jeopardy and let's not even talk about chess.

But at the same time, our political system seems to be melting down.

WTF, right? I'm going out on a limb here to claim that these are all the same event. Approximately conterminous with detecting gravity waves, the Higgs boson, the largest structure in the cosmos, a cure for cancer. Sorry, just joking about that last one, and didn't mean to hurt anyone's hope.

Machine-mind, which is generally associated with masculine mind, has reached its limit. Intuition of any sort has never been on the table, but let's stay short of that and make the outrageous claim that the machine mind has no clue about how to read social science. It's too hard, and the rewards are too dim.

I have this on first hand highest authority.

The thing is, masculine machine mind has the right to toss aside social science as all sorts of convoluted rhetorically challenging gobbledegook, while at the same time claiming a kind of privileged access to that arcane mathematical and algorithmic language rewarded best on intelligence tests (which even Google doesn't use anymore to get its best employees) that the rest of us sheepishly claim ignorance about.

See it doesn't matter who wins in the contest between man and machine, since the man in the contest is already a machine. There are plenty of really cheap and easy ways to reduce automotive mayhem, and driverless cars are by far the most complex. Way more complex than a system of globe-circling airlines, or a trip to the moon and back which still had a man at the tiller.

In a mild sense this imperiousness about the locus for solutions to mankind's problems constitutes a kind of collective rape. Of the Earth, of the female of the species, of our children. One could measure this by differentials in wages, in representation, in education male to female, but that would be a bit too much math again. Shoved down peoples' throats. Get on the STEM bandwagon, women, or you'll be left behind. It's not that black lives don't matter, it's that black thinking doesn't count.

Fact is we men have a hard time taking responsibility, and would rather foist that off onto the future in the form of perfected knowledge, as though all accident might eventually be shoved off the table and our women about whom we doth protest far too much our love might live in peace and harmony.

Clearly, that's not about to happen. There is no limit to what we will expend on war materials of science to develop autonomous cures for life. Even while we allow that person almost right next to us to drown because we won't tarnish our new shoes, as lots of very nice social thinkers might observe. Turst me on this, nothing here is original with me.

I wish I could join the elder march - nothing more to lose - on Washington this April, but I'll be in China where such silliness would never be suffered to happen. I guess it should be said that they don't let amateurs get so close to power as we do either.

Is Bernie an amateur? I hardly think so. He's spent his life solving very real social problems. Is Hillary an amateur? I don't think anyone on earth would say so. Trump? Nope - he's just some kind of crazy narcissistic reflection of the gut feelings of the least informed among us. Get rid of him, and those gut feelings still remain. He's the sort of narcissist who gets rich, but not the sort who makes anything worth having. Gut check that!

Would we have a future, we had really better start taking responsibility and stop thinking only about ourselves and our little local fame and fortunes which allow us to persist in our comfortable moving or stationary wombs with a view.

Yes yes, it's all very exciting to imagine driverless cars all packet switching their way to zero accidents and minimized stop and go. But the real point is to keep us separate from one another so that we don't have to interact.

With the political will and a tiny itsy bitsy smidge of social science knowledge we could almost tomorrow ban all cars to the cities' edge and provide house-to-garage timespans to retrieve them from the Big Garage at the frontier should we want to drive out of town which is the only fun to be had in a car anymore anyhow. A simple network of smart buses and no new infrastructure could get us around the city in less time than it now takes to walk. That would buy us the time to reconfigure for a future in which we sit on our front porches again because we actually know our smelly neighbors.

Talk about a pipe dream! Well, I do live in Burlington, home to Bernie, 100% sustainable electricity grid. Still walking across town takes about the same amount of time as driving and parking. Now there's a metric to chew on.

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