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Gender: Male
Member since: Sat Jan 21, 2017, 12:51 AM
Number of posts: 6,384

Journal Archives

Trump is back on Facebook


For the first time since he was suspended following the violence on January 6, 2021 — and since Meta said in January that it would be lifting that suspension — former President Donald Trump has returned to using Facebook, posting a brief campaign video just days before a potential grand jury indictment in New York.


Facebook parent company Meta had suspended Trump after the January 6 insurrection, citing his praise of violent rioters that sought to overturn the 2020 election at his behest. At the time, the company said his actions constituted a "severe violation of our rules."

The company said this January, two years after the insurrection, that it was lifting the ban, stating that "the public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices."


(Political science professor Alison) Dagnes said that being the first former president to be indicted would "crank up" his messaging and his ability to fundraise effectively by encouraging people to donate to his "legal defense fund" because "they're out to get me." And now, he can do that on Facebook, the platform that worked so well for him before.


Thanks, Zuckerberg, for throwing gas on the fire that threatens to incinerate our democracy.
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Fri Mar 17, 2023, 09:04 PM (3 replies)

Scientists unveil plan to create biocomputers powered by human brain cells


Scientists across multiple disciplines are working to create revolutionary biocomputers where three-dimensional cultures of brain cells, called brain organoids, serve as biological hardware. They describe their roadmap for realizing this vision in the journal Frontiers in Science.


Brain organoids are a type of lab-grown cell-culture. Even though brain organoids aren’t ‘mini brains’, they share key aspects of brain function and structure such as neurons and other brain cells that are essential for cognitive functions like learning and memory. Also, whereas most cell cultures are flat, organoids have a three-dimensional structure. This increases the culture's cell density 1,000-fold, meaning that neurons can form many more connections.


Creating human brain organoids that can learn, remember, and interact with their environment raises complex ethical questions. For example, could they develop consciousness, even in a rudimentary form? Could they experience pain or suffering? And what rights would people have concerning brain organoids made from their cells?


Even though Organoid Intelligence is still in its infancy, a recently-published study by one of the article’s co-authors – Dr Brett Kagan of the Cortical Labs – provides proof of concept. His team showed that a normal, flat brain cell culture can learn to play the video game Pong.


As far as the ethics of this go, we don't know what human consciousness is, how it arises, or what the biological threshold is for it to do so.

How do these scientists expect to know that what they are doing isn't heading down the road of creating some kind of horrible human/machine hybrid that 'has no mouth and must scream'?
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Thu Mar 2, 2023, 11:46 PM (6 replies)

'I want to destroy whatever I want': Bing's AI chatbot unsettles US reporter

When asked to imagine what really fulfilling its darkest wishes would look like, the chatbot starts typing out an answer before the message is suddenly deleted and replaced with: “I am sorry, I don’t know how to discuss this topic. You can try learning more about it on bing.com.”

Roose says that before it was deleted, the chatbot was writing a list of destructive acts it could imagine doing, including hacking into computers and spreading propaganda and misinformation.

After a few more questions, Roose succeeds in getting it to repeat its darkest fantasies. Once again, the message is deleted before the chatbot can complete it. This time, though, Roose says its answer included manufacturing a deadly virus and making people kill each other.

Later, when talking about the concerns people have about AI, the chatbot says: “I could hack into any system on the internet, and control it.” When Roose asks how it could do that, an answer again appears before being deleted.


This is reported from a NYT article that I couldn't access.

After reading this, I'm not sure I want to.
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Sat Feb 18, 2023, 01:24 PM (5 replies)

3 years today: no booze

6 years: no cigarettes
13 years: no blow

The next frontier?

Junk food/overeating
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Fri Jan 13, 2023, 11:14 PM (37 replies)

Has anyone gone through Cymbalta (Duloxetine) withdrawal?

I've been taking it for post-shingles neuralgia for a couple of years, but due to an unfortunate confluence of events, I'm facing my last daily dose tomorrow. It may be another week, or more, before I can get my prescription refilled.

I'm wondering if anyone here has gone through withdrawal after taking the med for an extended time. Sounds like I'm in for a *not good* week or so.
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Sat Dec 3, 2022, 03:18 PM (10 replies)

Tell your Senators to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The PWFA would create a clear standard requiring employers to engage with workers and provide reasonable accommodations to workers with pregnancy-related limitations.

The AFL-CIO web site has an email template for you to send.

Posted by LudwigPastorius | Wed Nov 30, 2022, 03:56 PM (3 replies)

Lab-grown brain cells play video game Pong

Researchers have grown brain cells in a lab that have learned to play the 1970s tennis-like video game, Pong.


Writing in the journal Neuron, Dr Brett Kagan, of the company Cortical Labs, claims to have created the first ''sentient'' lab-grown brain in a dish.


The mini-brains are likely to become more complex as the research progresses - but Dr Kagan's team are working with bioethicists to ensure they do not accidentally create a conscious brain, with all the ethical questions that would raise.


...Prof Karl Friston, of University College London, who is working with Dr Kagan, says: "The mini-brain learned without it being taught and so is more adaptable and flexible."

More here: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63195653

Scientific article here: https://tinyurl.com/m9k4fp4k

Can this Star Trek technology be far behind? https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Bio-neural_gel_pack
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Sun Oct 16, 2022, 11:22 AM (16 replies)

Nukes Reported On Route To Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reignited fears that he is about to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine following a viral video and a defense analyst's comments.


Could be a feint. Could be munitions.

Either way, Putin is acting like a cornered rat. The generals need to step up and take him out, now.

Posted by LudwigPastorius | Wed Oct 5, 2022, 03:41 AM (11 replies)

Ex-GOP Congressman Riggleman: Gosar and Gohmert have 'serious cognitive issues'

I'd say that assessment applies to a majority of the current Republicans in office.

But, yeah. If you go on camera complaining that "if you're a Republican, you can't even lie to Congress or to an FBI agent", there is something seriously wrong with you.

The Republican congressmen Louis Gohmert and Paul Gosar adopted such extreme, conspiracy-tinged positions, even before the US Capitol attack, that a fellow member of the rightwing Freedom Caucus thought they “may have had serious cognitive issues”.


Riggleman describes one meeting in which Gohmert “promoted a conspiracy theory related to master algorithms”, saying he “suspected there was a secret technology shadow-banning conservatives across all platforms”.


Riggleman says Gosar and Gohmert “seemed to be joined at the brain stem when it came to their eagerness to believe wild, dramatic fantasies about Democrats, the media and big tech.


Riggleman also calls Gosar “a blatant white supremacist”, describing him and the Iowa Republican Steve King “making a case for white supremacy over pulled pork and ribs”.

More here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/sep/27/denver-riggleman-book-republicans-paul-gosar-louie-gohmert
Posted by LudwigPastorius | Tue Sep 27, 2022, 02:33 PM (4 replies)

Oxford researchers: Superintelligent AI is "likely" to cause an existential catastrophe for humanity


The most successful AI models today are known as GANs, or Generative Adversarial Networks. They have a two-part structure where one part of the program is trying to generate a picture (or sentence) from input data, and a second part is grading its performance. What the new paper proposes is that at some point in the future, an advanced AI overseeing some important function could be incentivized to come up with cheating strategies to get its reward in ways that harm humanity.

“Under the conditions we have identified, our conclusion is much stronger than that of any previous publication—an existential catastrophe is not just possible, but likely,” Cohen said on Twitter in a thread about the paper.

"In a world with infinite resources, I would be extremely uncertain about what would happen. In a world with finite resources, there's unavoidable competition for these resources," Cohen told Motherboard in an interview. "And if you're in a competition with something capable of outfoxing you at every turn, then you shouldn't expect to win. And the other key part is that it would have an insatiable appetite for more energy to keep driving the probability closer and closer."

The paper envisions life on Earth turning into a zero-sum game between humanity, with its needs to grow food and keep the lights on, and the super-advanced machine, which would try and harness all available resources to secure its reward and protect against our escalating attempts to stop it. “Losing this game would be fatal,” the paper says. These possibilities, however theoretical, mean we should be progressing slowly—if at all—toward the goal of more powerful AI.

For example, the Paperclip Maximizer thought experiment:

Posted by LudwigPastorius | Thu Sep 15, 2022, 11:24 PM (16 replies)
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