Larry Kilham Blog
There's been a lot of talk about human missions to Mars. I have a different perspective as you can see below.
THE ROBOT AND THE UNICORN
The robot wandered our desert
preparing for the exploration of Mars.
The creatures chirped and yowled
“Who is snooping in this paradise of ours?”
They agreed that wily coyote
should talk to this blinky thing.
He asked, “Are you smoking peyote
or are you under alien programming?”
The chastened robot turned to go
when a galloping creature with a spiral horn
pulled up in a cloud of dust
and proclaimed, “Yes, I am a unicorn!”
The unicorn said to the robot,
“Believe in me and I’ll believe in you.”
The robot blinked and clinked and replied,
“Fine, let me tell you what is new.”
“I’ll search for ways to live
on the barren plains of Mars
and someday I will travel
to the planets of the neighboring stars.”
The unicorn spoke confidentially,
“Everyone loves me
so we should travel together,
wouldn’t you agree?”
“What will you do?” the robot asked.
“We must stay alive.
With no food on board,
how will you survive?”
The unicorn smiled and said, “I do PR, my man!
I can report from the boring mission
stories of mystery and charm.
From you the logician and me the magician.”
“We unicorns absorb energy from the sun
or from whatever star is near
like you do from your solar panels
so come on, let’s get in gear.”
Now outer space is a lonely place
and a stranger sight you might never see -
the robot and the unicorn
exploring a dead Martian sea.
They set up their antenna
and broadcast to Mother Earth:
“Your lights are glowing in deep dark space.
The source of all hope and progress
is Earth and the human race.”
© 2019 Larry Kilham
I saw a robot in the garden today.
It asked me to come and play.
But I thought that was a ruse
because its battery needed juice.
So I asked,
Do the birds need feed
or is there anything else they need?
And it replied,
No, just bring the charger
so I can stay here longer.
And I asked,
What about the plants and flowers?
and it replied,
I’ve been weeding those for many hours.
I pressed on,
What about the beans and tomatoes
corn, squash, and potatoes?
Then the robot made bold to say,
Come to the garden and bring a sack
and I’ll show you how to harvest the veggies
and bring them back!
(c) Larry Kilham 2019
Honeybees, which are of the greatest commercial interest, pollinate about a third of what we eat, including fruits, nuts and vegetables. Thirty-one percent of US bee colonies were lost in the winter of 2013 alone. Then, as the future of the honeybees seems dire indeed, the cavalry of the robots rushes to the rescue of the flowering plants and trees. Although they are not yet deployed into the waiting blossoms, they already have a name: robobees.
The current leader in robobees technology is a team at Harvard University. In May 2013, their School of Engineering and Applied Sciences announced that an experimental prototype of the robobee made its first controlled flight. Half the size of a paperclip, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, it powered upward, hovered on its delicate flapping wings, and flew away.
Writing in the Scientific American, the team leaders said, “In 2009 the three of us began to seriously consider what it would take to create a robotic bee colony. We wondered if mechanical bees could replicate not just an individual’s behavior but the unique behavior that emerges out of interactions among thousands of bees. We have now created the first RoboBees—flying bee-size robots—and are working on methods to make thousands of them cooperate like a real hive.”
A major engineering breakthrough was finding a way to power the high speed flapping of the 3 cm wings. The solution was piezoelectric effect actuators. Electric fields applied to tiny ceramic strips cause them to flap the bee’s wings at 120 times per second.
Read more at the Winter of the Genomes website. It can be ordered on Amazon.
I'm both bored and disgusted with the steady stream of half-truths and outright lies from the presidential candidates. Since we are a pioneering nation and leaders in computer technology, why not run IBM's Watson for President?
Actually, there is a website watson2016.com promoting just that. They say:
"The Watson 2016 Foundation is an independent organization formed for the advocacy of the artificial intelligence known as Watson to run for President of The United States of America. It is our belief that Watson’s unique capabilities to assess information and make informed and transparent decisions define it as an ideal candidate for the job responsibilities required by the president..."
What do you think? Put Watson in the White House as a write-in candidate!
Let us dispel the startling statements and popular movie themes telling us that artificial intelligence will greatly exceed human intelligence in just a few decades. There have been startling statements and popular movies telling us that artificial intelligence will greatly exceed human intelligence in just a few decades. There may be little doubt that this will be the case for applications mostly requiring massive and repetitive computing, but is not so certain for projects requiring significant imagination and creativity. In any case, it is highly unlikely that androids will be running around conquering the world.
AI Computers can access very large databases. They can be used in detailed multidimensional design. They can manage vast projects. There is talk of computer-like nanorobots that can circulate around in your body. There are even computer programs to invent new devices. However, as far as I am aware, no computer independently came up with the general theory of relativity.
Timothy Lee summarized the AI and robots limitations nicely in his story in Vox. See the the story here.
I write about this in detail in my new book,Winter of the Genomes available at Amazon.
The problem is not the threat of AI, despite the stellar thinkers who have said so. The problem is we the people who are increasingly leaving our thinking to our social media groups and the Internet.
AI will not consciously take over. People will give in.
See Winter of the Genomes.
Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and other big thinkers have expressed concerns that AI could bring an end to our civilization. I think Pogo said something relevant here: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We could give up to the machines by default. We are so bound to our computers and their access device, the smart phone, that every advance in information technology is geared to reducing our work and lessen our apparent need for thinking. As we carry on our social media chatting, and the more “likes” our declarations produce, the less the apparent need to pursue the truth. The robots don’t weary. They relentlessly press forward.
Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are two prominent public figures who have rattled public consciousness about artificial intelligence. Hawking, a celebrated physicist noted for his pronouncements about black holes, warned that AI could end mankind. Musk, a non-stop entrepreneur who founded SpaceX and Tesla, declared AI to be the most serious threat to the survival of the human race.
Neither of these prolific thinkers seems to have addressed from where or from whom the AI-controlled creations will get emotion, imagination, values, conscience, and even the attributes of psychotics and demagogues. My new book, Winter of the Genomes, on Amazon, presents a more reasoned and optimistic view of the emerging Smart AI.
Award-winning author Larry Kilham was a high-tech entrepreneur and world traveler. Larry finally settled in his native Santa Fe and has written four novels and seven nonfiction books. These focus on creativity, invention, and artificial intelligence. Currently, he writing poetry about reconnecting with nature in our technology age.