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Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Stacy Woodworth <woodws@rpi.edu>

Tue, 08 Oct 1996 23:51:58 -0400

Mona Lisa Overdrive was my favorite of the trilogy. Everything came together, even the old Finn was there. I have to say I was kind of disappointed that we didn't get to talk about the book on Monday. I hope we have plenty of time next class, even though we'll have Snow Crash to discuss. But we did watch a movie on Monday, and well, I was not very impressed (please don't hit me). It was so slow! and dark and wet and I know I probably missed the whole point of the thing, but my first impression was thumbs down. However, I will watch it again, someday, and maybe gain a better appreciation of the film. I still want to check out the web sites on it, too, and see what the heck everyone's taking about. I do not mean to start anything here, I'm just being honest. (Hey MIck, it's a lot easier to be honest electronically - I don't know if I would have said this in class on Monday had there been more time.) Finally, I don't believe in many of the things Prof. Dave was asking us about late Monday. I certainly don't want to live in a world that has AI's or anything really close to them. I don't think it's ethical or even wise to put ourselves in a position to have to make the kind of decisions you would have to make once you have sentient computers. Who owns the computer and it's thoughts or feelings, when is it to be "terminated", etc. I'm afraid for the future, actually. I'm a scientist, yet I fear science and what it could do to our world. Does anyone else suffer this paradox? The futuristic world portrayed in films and literature looks terrible, and I often stop and ask myself if I'm contributing to an ugly future.

Stacy

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 11:37:12 -0400

Sorry, seem to be replying to just the sender rather than the list sometimes...

I think Stacy brings up an interesting point. What was the last movie you saw that portrayed a good, happy future?? I can't remember seeing any! Does this say something about humanity's future, or does it say something about our state of mind right now??

I recall the expression "if a man is sure he will die by sunset, he will usually find a way to make it happen." If we are so sure our future is going to be bleak, will that cause it to be so? Gettin' scarier...

Ted
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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Bill Moller <mollew@rpi.edu>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 12:07:04 -0400

Uh, Demolition Man. It was too happy.

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

dporush@widomaker.com (David Porush)

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 11:11:40 -0500

Dear Stacy,

I really appreciated your thoughtful, honest, and ETHICAL considerations

(below). They are worth a second reading.

Prof. Dave

At 11:51 PM 10/8/96, Stacy Woodworth wrote:

>Mona Lisa Overdrive was my favorite of the trilogy. Everything came

>together, even the old Finn was there. I have to say I was kind of

>disappointed that we didn't get to talk about the book on Monday. I

>hope we have plenty of time next class, even though we'll have Snow

>Crash to discuss.

>But we did watch a movie on Monday, and well, I was not very impressed

>(please don't hit me). It was so slow! and dark and wet and I know I

>probably missed the whole point of the thing, but my first impression

>was thumbs down. However, I will watch it again, someday, and maybe

>gain a better appreciation of the film. I still want to check out the

>web sites on it, too, and see what the heck everyone's taking about. I

>do not mean to start anything here, I'm just being honest. (Hey MIck,

>it's a lot easier to be honest electronically - I don't know if I would

>have said this in class on Monday had there been more time.)

>Finally, I don't believe in many of the things Prof. Dave was asking us

>about late Monday. I certainly don't want to live in a world that has

>AI's or anything really close to them. I don't think it's ethical or

>even wise to put ourselves in a position to have to make the kind of

>decisions you would have to make once you have sentient computers. Who

>owns the computer and it's thoughts or feelings, when is it to be

>"terminated", etc. I'm afraid for the future, actually. I'm a

>scientist, yet I fear science and what it could do to our world. Does

>anyone else suffer this paradox? The futuristic world portrayed in

>films and literature looks terrible, and I often stop and ask myself if

>I'm contributing to an ugly future.

>Stacy

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 12:22:16 -0400

You call Demolition Man happy???? The whole world was in anarchy except for LA, and everyone was totally denied normal freedoms!! Couldn't swear, even!! :)

Oh, does it get happy when the criminals come back from cryogenic sleep (another violation of a persons freedom) and start killing and destroying? How about the people living in the sewers who are denied food and water, are they happy????

Not a future I look forward to!

Ted

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

lavalj@rpi.edu (Jean-Etienne LaVallee)

Wed, 09 Oct 1996 17:08:18 GMT

Stacy,

>I certainly don't want to live in a world that has

>AI's or anything really close to them. I don't think it's ethical or

>even wise to put ourselves in a position to have to make the kind of

>decisions you would have to make once you have sentient computers. Who

>owns the computer and it's thoughts or feelings, when is it to be

>"terminated", etc. I'm afraid for the future, actually. I'm a

>scientist, yet I fear science and what it could do to our world. Does

>anyone else suffer this paradox? The futuristic world portrayed in

>films and literature looks terrible, and I often stop and ask myself if

>I'm contributing to an ugly future.

Often, I stop and ask myself if I'm contributing to an ugly present.

The world for the most part isn't a pretty place, with or without technology. We have the luxury of sitting back and being able to contemplate such things behind the walls of social, biological and iconoclastical security that our own microsociety has built for us. But take a good look at things on the base level. We're still hyperactive monkeys brandishing the bones from dinner. Oliver Twist is a vile look at society and that is literature from the past. Something I like in Neil Stevenson's stories are his adding of a "common man" element to his stories. In Snow Crash, this is played out by seeing the life of QT's mother throught her daughter's eyes.

I just got a dog about three weeks ago. She's only a couple of months old, and I'm already doing the protective parent thing with her. To a similar extent I see this being done in society when it comes to technology. We'll push the bounds of science but only as we see "ethically fit." But who's to say what's ethical? What if there's a stream based consciousness in the internet RIGHT NOW that we lack the ability to connect to? Do we not try because we're more comfortable with our self-isolation? This is like the kill-anything-that-moves attitude between the buggers and humans in Ender's Game.

And what should happen if we make AI's, or as I like to think of it, we stumble into AI's? What if someone get's romantically involved with an AI? What if an AI kills a person or persons. Haven't they already? What do you think guides a guided missile? Granted, it's no Albert Einstein, but it makes decisions based on predestined orders which result ins death.

I think it comes down to trusting human nature. Something I have trouble with often. Can we trust that we won't make a machine that will kill us all, or give us all eternal bliss (which would be worse?). I'd be scared to see an emergent AI in modern times. It would probably hate all of us. Read "I Have No Mouth, Yet I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison. It kept me up at night for a while after I read it.

I play with videogame programming. Last year I was writing a 'bot for a 3D MUD project I was working on at the time. The bot was pretty dumb, it looked like me 8^). If no one was near it, it "walked" in a circle. If a user got close to it, it would "tag" along and follow the user around until another user got close. Then it would follow the other user if a random number was generated that was even otherwise it kept following the first user. By itself, the bot was really boring, it just followed you around. But things got neat when you put three of them together in the environment. They would start following eachother around the environment, changing the lead and direction in a pretty much random pattern. If a user got in the way, it all went to hell, but if not, they actually would wander around. I didn't write anything in the bot code to do that. It was wild seeing it. I spent a couple hours in that week just sitting there following the three bots around the dungeon-like environment. To me that was a bit of AI coming out. It was really driven by how the computer I used generated random numbers and if I had mapped "their" motion it probably would have yielded a fractal like structure that was a function of the rand() function's mathmatics, but it was wild to see. The feeling I got is what I think drives alot of people to create. Be it art or products or AI's or children, there is a human excitement that comes from that which I don't think we can ever deny to ourselves. Even if it scares us.

l8r,

Etienne

"The world is a vampire." Smashing Pumpkins

/__ /\ / ___/ /\ / |\/ __ /\ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

\ / / / /\ / / / /| |/ /\/ / / Jean-Etienne LaVallee /

/ / / __// / / / / / / / / / reply to: lavalj@rpi.edu /

/ / / /\ / / / / / / / / / / lavalle@cat.rpi.edu /

/____/____/_____/_____/_____/ / http://www.rpi.edu/~lavalj /

\ \ \ \ \ \ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"I'm a limitless person, living in a sadly limited world." - H.E.Ellison, "Levendis"

"All we're waiting for is something worth waiting for" - KMFDM, "DOGMA"

"I beat my machine, it's a part of me, it's inside of me"- NIN, "the becoming"

"Christmas IS carnage!!!" - Ferdinand the Duck, _Babe_

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 12:33:11 -0400

Jean-Etienne LaVallee wrote:

And what should happen if we make AI's, or as I like to think of it, we stumble into AI's? What if someone get's romantically involved with an AI? What if an AI kills a person or persons. Haven't they already? What do you think guides a guided missile? Granted, it's no Albert Einstein, but it makes decisions based on predestined orders which result ins death.

I don't think a guided missile constitutes an AI. It homes on a laser dot, usually... be that dot on a building or a small tree. It has the brains of a toaster oven, at any rate. Besides, the "smart bombs" didn't work well at all in Desert Storm, we mostly used "dumb bombs" (drop em and they blow up).

Now, admittedly, I'm just a hyperactive monkey, but I'm fairly sure we don't have any AIs floating around the net yet. For one thing, the servers are all seperated by slow, often unreliable connections. If an AI were to form, it'd get chopped up into different bits of code before it could get much done! Maybe if it had a really big server with lots of input, say AOL's main computer... but then it would just be a retarded AI. ;)

Jean, might want to look into a project done a few years ago, guy built a dozen mini-robots with simple programming and watched them interact... pretty nifty! I'll try to remember where it was done.

Ted

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

takats2@rpi.edu (Dimensia)

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 13:29:08 -0400

INCLUDED IN THIS MESSAGE:

-------------------------

An Ugly Future

Science Fiction Always Dismal?

Response to Class Poll on Monday

Sorry I'm Rambling

An Ugly Future

--------------

Oh, I have no doubt that I am unhappily contributing to an ugly future...

As a society, I believe that certain attitudes and perceptions cannot be stopped from filtering from one person to another. For exapmle, I personally believe that the Internet should be a "free" Internet rather than a commercial Internet. (I am presently discussing several ideas on two other listservs about how this could happen, if anyone is interested.)

HOWEVER, I also play the hypocrite in that my very major leads me to making money through the Internet. It becomes a paradox of what is ideal, what is realistic, and what is possible.

I also agree with Professor Porush when he related American society to the fall of the Roman Empire. It saddens me to know that I only speak two languages (one not so fluently) when my fiance from Addis-Ababa (?spelling) speaks five languages fluently, his father seven. How can our society possibly prosper in an environment that is continually declining?

Science Fiction Always Dismal?

------------------------------

This previously mentioned concept is why I agree that many futuristic movies are cast in a dismal light. It seems to me that others realize the steady decline.

I agree with Stacy in that Blade Runner was a bit of a let down. I've always had a dislike for movies that are too dark and dreary. I understand that it was made that way for other cinematic and story line reasons, but I cannot help but be turned off by this.

As for Deckard being a replicant... Well, I guess the evidence points to a definite connection. However, I'm sorry but I don't think I would have really cared if I was watching the movie on my own. (I guess I'm just a middle-brow reader and watcher... at least where sci-fi is concerned.)

Response to Class Poll on Monday

--------------------------------

I was thinking about the questions Professor Porush was asking the class. (The ESP, wizard, time travel questions.) Professor Porush's repsonse to my belief that wizards with exceptional power of physics might have existed bothered me and I was wondering what other people thought.

Let me clarify that I do not necessarily believe that wizards (as I previously defined them) existed. I do, however, believe that they could have and may exist. I do not see how it can be positively ruled out that they did not exist.

It's like saying that humans are the only race in the entire universe. IMHO it seems arrogant and conceited for us to say that the human race, presently, is at it's highest level of knowledge and that what we know now could not have been known before.

True, scientists say that humans evolved in a certain way at a certain time in a certain time line. How much of that can be known as the whole truth? I'm not saying that it is not true, but simply implying that it is not necessarily true.

The same principle holds for UFOs (though I do not believe a single thing I have ever heard through the media), ESP (though my belief comes also through personal evidence), time travel, AIs, etc.

I just hate these questions, because I could answer that I believe that all of the above can, but not necessarily come true in a certain time. Anything is possible and I believe we, *I*, do not have the superior knowledge or arrogance to claim necessarily knowledge of these phenomena.

Sorry I'm Rambling

------------------

Sorry, for ramblng, but just wanted to express a few opinions on a variety

of subjects. This message is more like a stream of consciousness...

--Sarah


__________the soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears__________

Sarah TC Takatani

Email: takats2@rpi.edu

Electronic Media Arts and Communications

Professional Work: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu

____________________________________________________________________________

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 15:03:02 -0400

One quick thing about ESP: I have personally experienced it on a number of occasions.

It's not usually a "vision" (though I had such a vision once... it was correct but totally meaningless), but many times a single word or phrase will pop into my mind, or be said by the person I'm talking to seconds after I thought the words.

Admittedly, it can sometimes be attributed to luck, but the experience doesn't involve "catch phrases," it's not something the person is likely to say. I most often experienced this with my mother, and she claims a few similar experiences with others. These could involve a name (like when she asked my dad "who won the race?" and the winner's name came to her before he had said it, with NO WAY she could have known in advance).

There have been quite a few such experiences in my life. Suffice it to say I am absolutely convinced they were ESP related. Has anyone else experienced similar?

Ted

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

lavalj@rpi.edu (Jean-Eteinne LaVallee)

Wed, 09 Oct 1996 19:19:27 GMT

Ted,

>I don't think a guided missile constitutes an AI. It homes on a laser =

Well, I was thinking more of cruise missiles which are given a longlatelev target value and go chasing it. A friend of mine is a programmer at Rathyeons defense division and while he's never told me anything that would get him shot, he's hinted at the "fuzzy" qualities of the programming that goes into those missiles. They're designed to avoid aircraft and mountains. There's some level of intellegence in that. But you're right it's only like a flying VCR...that kills people.

>Now, admittedly, I'm just a hyperactive monkey, but I'm fairly sure we =

>don't have any AIs floating around the net yet. For one thing, the =

>servers are all seperated by slow, often unreliable connections. If an =

>AI were to form, it'd get chopped up into different bits of code before =

>it could get much done! Maybe if it had a really big server with lots =

>of input, say AOL's main computer... but then it would just be a =

>retarded AI. ;)

Hmm, well, you're assuming that an AI would be a structured entity. Don't bound it like you think you'd implement such a thing. If AI would "happen" it would arrise from the "ether" of the net (and I don't mean ethernet). It's like my 'bot experience, I didn't program the bots to wander around the virtual environment, but they did. Likewise, I don't think that an AI would arrise from a structured situation, but rather would exist as a sum of structured parts.

>Jean, might want to look into a project done a few years ago, guy built =

>a dozen mini-robots with simple programming and watched them interact... =

>pretty nifty! I'll try to remember where it was done.

Yeah, I've seen the chirpers that "talked" with little speakers and moved in clumps. Also, the stuff being done at MIT's robotics lab is pretty neat with minimallist decentrallized processing. Like Atilla, a six legged robot that can walk on all kinds of strange terrain yet has no programming to actually analyze the terrain. They also have the robot/AI that rights and modifies it's own code.

Anyone seen _Ghost_In_The_Shell_? It's a really cool Anime movie that just got released by Manga. Mondo AI stuff. Also a very dark future kind of thing, but I like it.

l8r,

Etienne

please call me Etienne

Etienne is the name I go by

Zeldo too

not Jean

not Jean-Etienne

/__ /\ / ___/ /\ / |\/ __ /\ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

\ / / / /\ / / / /| |/ /\/ / / Jean-Etienne LaVallee /

/ / / __// / / / / / / / / / reply to: lavalj@rpi.edu /

/ / / /\ / / / / / / / / / / lavalle@cat.rpi.edu /

/____/____/_____/_____/_____/ / http://www.rpi.edu/~lavalj /

\ \ \ \ \ \ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"I'm a limitless person living in a sadly limited world." - H.E.Ellison, "Levendis"

"All we are waiting for is something worth waiting for." - KMFDM, "DOGMA"

"I beat my machine, it's a part of me, it's inside of me." - NIN, "the becoming"

"Christmas IS carnage!!!" - Ferdinand the Duck, _Babe_

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Bill Moller <mollew@rpi.edu>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 17:31:38 -0400

Obviously, we have different views on the subject. I'm still happy though.

Gee, disagreeing & being happy... that kinda reminds me of the movie Demolition Man. Being careful not to apply views of today onto people of the year 2039, I believe each party involved was still happy. I do not recall the whole world being in anarchy besides LA ("Remember Dr. Cocteau "saved" them all? Saved them from what?" You might ask. Yes, I do recall the good Dr. saving them, but regardless that is the future I'm talking about) Also,no one is ever denied food & water. They are however prevented from stealing from Taco Bell. Just because you don't look forward to their future doesn't mean they aren't happy.

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wednesday, October 09, 1996 12:22 PM

You call Demolition Man happy???? The whole world was in anarchy except for LA, and everyone was totally denied normal freedoms!! Couldn't swear, even!! :)

Oh, does it get happy when the criminals come back from cryogenic sleep (another violation of a persons freedom) and start killing and destroying? How about the people living in the sewers who are denied food and water, are they happy????

Not a future I look forward to!

Ted

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Bill Moller <mollew@rpi.edu>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 17:46:37 -0400

I have experiencesd similar, but I've always attributed it to something learned. I've learned that when I say "hi" to someone, they will probably say "hi" or "hello" (usually one of those two) back. Like when two people raise their hand's in class and the first to be called on upstages the second because, "he/she said what I was going to say". Do we attribute this to ESP or maybe have two people learned the same thing which they want to call attention to? I've learned that consistant winners will in all likelyhood continue winning. Do you see what I'm saying?

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 18:04:02 -0400

Ok, on the ESP thing...

I considered putting in something about how I'd rather not get stupid or mocking responses, but I figured this was unnecessary because of the level this class in general operates on. Apparently I was mistaken. ESP is not the process of being able to guess a likely response to a specific question, or the way someone will react if you say 'hi' to them. It means that I can be working with a number, most recently it was a four-digit mumber, and could walk into a different room and have someone pull that number out of the blue as an example in something he's saying to me, with NO WAY to have known the number.

Get a clue and don't waste everyone's time with stupid responses.

Ted

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Bill Moller <mollew@rpi.edu>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 19:10:33 -0400

Temper, Temper Ted. I dare say I've learned never to disagree with you again. Especially in a public forum such as this. If you have that much of a problem with someone's opinion, maybe you should take it up with them personally.

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 19:44:36 -0400

To spare you all from the burden of this silly little discussion, this will be my last public message on the topic.

It turns out that Bill was upset that I argued with him over whether Demolition Man was optimistic or pesimistic, so he attacked my ESP ideas. I had to talk to him personally to find this out, though. How kindergarten-esque.

If you don't like me having an opinion about topic A, there are other answers than making pointless mockery of topic B, right? If you disagree with THIS message, I hope the rest of the class isn't forced to listen to you.

Apologies to all,

Ted

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

takats2@rpi.edu (Dimensia)

Wed, 9 Oct 1996 23:02:22 -0400

In response to Ted's mention about ESP:

In my previous message, I did not go into detail about my experiences about ESP specifically because I did not want to risk being ridiculed, but seeing as how you went out on a limb... well, I guess I should also be courageous.

I don't care if anyone believes this or not. The following account is considered true by all people involved (and that is all that matters). I just figured people might find it interesting.

MY BEING IS A MIRACLE

---------------------

My mother and father married when they were both 22. They knew they wanted to have at least 12 children (honestly) and were devastated when the doctors informed them that due to malformation of my mother's ovaries, it would be impossible to have even one child.

Who were the doctors to say they couldn't have children? They tried anyways, buying the newest infertility drugs, enrolling in experimental medical procedures, etc. One of the experimental drugs actually caused my mother's skin to raise in a horrid rash that left scars over her face.

By the time they were 27 years old, they began to give up hope. My mother told my father to leave her and find someone else that could give him children. (He was the last of the Takatani line.) Of course, my father refused.

One night, my mother had a dream. She had had many of these types of dream before. Needless to say, all of them came true. (One of them saved an ex-boyfriend's life.) This particular dream, however, was especially poignant because it was revealed to her that she would birth a daughter in two years. In her dream she was instructed to name her Sarah.

Well, my mother was so ecstatic that she was going to have a baby. She went around telling all the doctors and all her friends, but no one believed her because she said, "My dream said I am going to have a baby girl in two years." Who would believe that?

A year went by and she still believed in her dream. Perhaps it is the power of the human body or perhaps it is a true case of precognition, but she conceived several months later. I was born two years after she had the dream. She stayed true to her dream and named me Sarah even though she had wanted her first daughter's name to be Tracie. (That name was eventually delegated to my younger sister.) We, my siblings and I, were all miracles to the doctors, but most of all, we were miralces to our parents.

CONCLUSION

----------

So, do I believe in ESP and/or precognition? Personal experience leads me to say yes. My mother's dream was documented in her journal two years before I was born. How can I say I don't believe in it when my mother believes?

I believe ESP experiences don't have to be meaningful, though. How often have any of you simply been driving down a road or walking down a corridor and recognize the feeling of having done so before? How often have you been carrying on a conversation and known what was going to be said? It happens quite often to me as I suspect to others also.

I have many theories for and against ESP, stemming mostly from personal and my mother's experiences. If anyone would care to chat, I'd love to. (I don't know if people on this listserv want to hear it, though.)

--Sarah

__________the soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears__________

Sarah TC Takatani

Email: takats2@rpi.edu

Electronic Media Arts and Communications

Professional Work: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu

____________________________________________________________________________

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Garden Gnome <andret@rpi.edu>

Thu, 10 Oct 1996 15:05:28 -0400

On Oct 9, 11:11am, David Porush wrote:

> Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

>

>

> Dear Stacy,

>

> I really appreciated your thoughtful, honest, and ETHICAL considerations > (below). They are worth a second reading.

>

>

> Prof. Dave

>

>

> At 11:51 PM 10/8/96, Stacy Woodworth wrote:

> >Mona Lisa Overdrive was my favorite of the trilogy. Everything came

> >together, even the old Finn was there. I have to say I was kind of

> >disappointed that we didn't get to talk about the book on Monday. I

> >hope we have plenty of time next class, even though we'll have Snow

> >Crash to discuss.

> >But we did watch a movie on Monday, and well, I was not very impressed

> >(please don't hit me). It was so slow! and dark and wet and I know I

> >probably missed the whole point of the thing, but my first impression

> >was thumbs down. However, I will watch it again, someday, and maybe

> >gain a better appreciation of the film. I still want to check out the

> >web sites on it, too, and see what the heck everyone's taking about. I

> >do not mean to start anything here, I'm just being honest. (Hey MIck,

> >it's a lot easier to be honest electronically - I don't know if I would

> >have said this in class on Monday had there been more time.)

> >Finally, I don't believe in many of the things Prof. Dave was asking us

> >about late Monday. I certainly don't want to live in a world that has

> >AI's or anything really close to them. I don't think it's ethical or

> >even wise to put ourselves in a position to have to make the kind of

> >decisions you would have to make once you have sentient computers. Who

> >owns the computer and it's thoughts or feelings, when is it to be

> >"terminated", etc. I'm afraid for the future, actually. I'm a

> >scientist, yet I fear science and what it could do to our world. Does

> >anyone else suffer this paradox? The futuristic world portrayed in

> >films and literature looks terrible, and I often stop and ask myself if

> >I'm contributing to an ugly future.

> >Stacy

>

>

>-- End of excerpt from David Porush

I have to agree that from time to time I wonder if the path I've chosen in such a high-tech field is really going to contribute anything to society or just continue the materialism of western culture. I still enjoy my studies/work but I also know that it is important to keep everything in perspective.

thayer

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Tony Bartling <bartla@rpi.edu>

Thu, 10 Oct 1996 15:09:22 -0400 (EDT)

Sarah,

In regards to your "wizards" statement, the only response that I could think of at the time was due to your wording. You said something like "...wizards are people who control physics better than we do." This statement is rather tricky, because it assumes right off the bat that _we_ control physics, which I believe to be false. We don't even understand it all, let alone "control" any of it. We just exist and predict, quite often erroniously. As I said, however, this was just my initial reaction. Since then, I have thought more on the topic and found myself agreeing with you, in that it is possible that some "people" (not necessarily humans) have stumbled onto the secrets of the universe and discovered ways to manipulate the laws of nature. I wish that I were one of them. :)

--Tony

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Garden Gnome <andret@rpi.edu>

Thu, 10 Oct 1996 15:31:41 -0400

Well, Demolition Man (poor example I know) appeared to have something of a Utopian future but that was only superficial if I remember correctly. I seem to remember that everybody was happy all the time simply because they chose to ignore society's ills. It reminded me in many ways of Brave New World.

thayer

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Agent Webb <webbj>

Fri, 11 Oct 1996 09:03:55 -0400 (EDT)

Ted Cooper reported:

> One quick thing about ESP: I have personally experienced it on a number =

> of occasions.

>

> Admittedly, it can sometimes be attributed to luck, but the experience =

> doesn't involve "catch phrases," it's not something the person is likely =

> to say. I most often experienced this with my mother, and she claims a =

> few similar experiences with others. These could involve a name (like =

> when she asked my dad "who won the race?" and the winner's name came to =

> her before he had said it, with NO WAY she could have known in advance).

>

> There have been quite a few such experiences in my life. Suffice it to =

> say I am absolutely convinced they were ESP related. Has anyone else =

> experienced similar?

I've had similar experiences, but would not catagorize them as ESP. I would attribute them to some sort of socio/psychological interpersonal insight. There probably isn't conclusive evidence either way, but I don't beleive in ESP anymore (or luck... or god... or free will).

-jon 'master control program' webb-

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RE: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Ted Cooper <coopep>

Fri, 11 Oct 1996 11:32:27 -0400

On the ESP topic...

Again, it's not just that one person knows the other really well. I believe that the brain, since it is leaking electric signals all the time, can sometimes pick up and read the signals of other's close by. Everything I've seen has invloved close physical proximity, and the data one picks up (or sends?) is truly data... not just a feeling or idea, but a name or number. I have never talked about this stuff before, and DEFINITELY won't go preaching or trying to convince anyone who doesn't want to be convinced, but if you're interested in this stuff please write to me personally (no need to bore the class!)

On the Blade Runner topic...

OK, Rachel's a replicant, right? She probably hasn't spent her short physical life learning to play the piano (assumption) so she must know how to play from implanted memories. I don't play so I couldn't tell you how hard it would be to play a song well the first time you see it, but I imagine it's very tough. So she's either really talented at the piano (possible) or she has that song implanted. Incidently, does anyone have the book so they can see if we know what song it was?

Now, Deckard also knows the song. He has the sheet music, so we can assume he learned the song himself. The fact that it's the same song that Rachel knows could mean that he knew what memories the replicants were programmed with (being a Blade Runner and all) and decided to learn that song as a way of trying to understand a little more about them. Or it could be that Deckard is himself a replicant, and who says the sheet music is for the song they were playing, anyways???

Ted

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Xanatos <gentrj@rpi.edu>

Sat, 12 Oct 1996 13:28:29 -0400 (EDT)

> Often, I stop and ask myself if I'm contributing to an ugly

> present.

I agree. Not only that, but also if i'm contributing to an even uglier future by not just my own actions, but supporting my friends' actions. For instance, a roomate of mine has as a goal to implant chips into organisms to make "life easier." Of course, this also means that Big Brother now has instant tabs on you. But, he doesn't think that's a bad tradeoff.

> And what should happen if we make AI's, or as I like to

> think of it, we stumble into AI's? What if someone get's romantically

> involved with an AI? What if an AI kills a person or persons.

Romance w/ an AI. sounds like a twilight zone i once saw.

> Haven't they already? What do you think guides a guided missile?

> Granted, it's no Albert Einstein, but it makes decisions based on

> predestined orders which result ins death.

Is it really making decisions? I have troulbe believing cruise missles are truly nondeterministic. Of course, any NFA can be mapped into an equivalent DFA, so who knows. I remember hearing that Selmer's project of having the programs write books (isn't Prof Porush working w/ that as well?) was for him to show that AI can't exist. I could be wrong, but I believe his theory is that AI's can become very remarkable at imitating humans, but aren't "intelligent" in their own right. That is, our skills at programming are increasing (well, we'd like to think so, but Mr. Bill seems to be turning us back several notches w/ each new release) .. and our processing power is increasing, so it stands to reason we can put in more processing in a program for the same cost. This is why it seems that machines are getting smarter, IMO - not because we are any closer to "AI", but rather we can put more of us in a program such that it imitates humans better.

I'm inclined to believe that if an AI ever did exist, it'd turn out to be malicious. Sure, it's cliche, but think about it ... if you had that much power .... remember the adage, "power corrupts, blahblah"

j

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

dporush@widomaker.com (David Porush)

Sun, 13 Oct 1996 21:34:20 -0500

At 1:28 PM 10/12/96, Xanatos wrote:

The project referred to below is called AUTOPOEISIS which means "self-making" in Greek. It was a collaborative project in which Prof. Selmer Bringsjord and I took different routes to trying to get a computer to imitate the behavior of a story-teller. Selmer at the time was quite thoroughly convinced that there could be a true AI arising from a properly-programmed computer. I have always been and remain a skeptic. My implementation was called GAMEWORLD and it became pretty good at outputting stories. It proved some interesting characteristics about narrative and complexity.

In the last few years, I think Selmer has had a change of heart.

dp

>I remember hearing that

>Selmer's project of having the programs write books (isn't Prof Porush

>working w/ that as well?) was for him to show that AI can't exist.

>I could be wrong, but I believe his theory is that AI's can become

>very remarkable at imitating humans, but aren't "intelligent" in their

>own right. That is, our skills at programming are increasing (well,

>we'd like to think so, but Mr. Bill seems to be turning us back several

>notches w/ each new release) .. and our processing power is increasing,

>so it stands to reason we can put in more processing in a program for

>the same cost. This is why it seems that machines are getting smarter,

>IMO - not because we are any closer to "AI", but rather we can put more

>of us in a program such that it imitates humans better.

>

>I'm inclined to believe that if an AI ever did exist, it'd turn out

>to be malicious. Sure, it's cliche, but think about it ... if you

>had that much power .... remember the adage, "power corrupts, blahblah"

>

>j

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Xanatos <gentrj>

Tue, 22 Oct 1996 20:35:29 -0400

> Sounds to me, oh time-travel-speculator, like you've been reading

> one of my favorite novels

Well ... no :) But I don't think that it is all that uncommon a belief. The main opposition I get when I say those things are people who feel that, for instance, not only is Time travel impossible now, but that it will always be so.

To me, this arguement, for any tech, is absurd. How can we be so arrogant to know what will be possible 1000 years from now, when 1000 years ago our technology would seem utterly godlike.

j

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Tony Bartling <bartla@rpi.edu>

Tue, 22 Oct 1996 21:55:50 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 22 Oct 1996, Mick Doherty wrote:

> Sounds to me, oh time-travel-speculator, like you've been reading

> one of my favorite novels -- Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in

> King Arthur's Court."

>

> What's the quote from Asimov? Any technology adavanced enough to

> the society it is introduced to will appear as magickal?

>

> Hmmm ...

>

Now there is a man worth quoting. Asimov was truly a genius, even if he didn't envision anything resembling virtual reality as we think of it, he did pretty much create the ideas we have about robots, especially humaniform robots. Many authors have even quoted Asimov in their robotic works, with such lines as "the Asimov laws" (ie, _Software_ and _Wetware_, although the author escapes me). Sorry for the digression, but I would kinda like to see a discussion on Asimov.

--Tony

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Re: Mona Lisa Overdrive, etc.

Leareth <leareth@rpi.edu>

Wed, 23 Oct 1996 12:08:39 -0400 (EDT)

well, paper time is coming up, as perhaps many of you are now just starting to realize.

i've been kicking around a few ideas for my own paper. i was thinking of analyzing something from neuromancer (my fav(cough) of the three). something along the lines of case and his self-hate... i have a few passages to choose from, but i'm not sure i can analyze 5 pages worth on

it..

perhaps some bored/intelligent person can kick a few more ideas my way, ie what maybe i could consider touching upon/expand upon, or perhaps a better topic to digress on?

thanks for any help. :)

### ##### http://www.rpi.edu/~hallm4

######## ##### leareth@rpi.edu

#### ### ######

######## ####### i have stood here before inside the pouring rain

###### #### ### with the world turning circles running 'round my brain,

##### ######## i guess i was hoping that you'd end this reign,

### ##### but it's my destiny to be the king of pain... Police

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Class web site created Fall 1996 by:
Ted Cooper, Brian Mardirosian, Tony Mrazik, and Sarah Takatani.