[Childe Hassam, 1917]
Intrigued by a statement from one of my students, the statement “politics of locations.” I finished listening to Serial Season #3: “Serial is heading back to court. This time, in Cleveland. A year inside a typical American courthouse. This season we tell you the extraordinary stories of ordinary cases. One courthouse, told week by week.” The season is centered in Cleveland, so as the host and writers focus on the criminal justice system, the listener also tours the neighborhoods of Cleveland, meeting people struggling with economics and oppression.
Hidden Brain, an NPR radio program, focused recently on how zip codes determine destiny. The name of the broadcast is titled, “Zipcode Destiny: The Persistent Power of Place and Education.”
“People ask… is the American dream alive or not today? And I actually think the question itself is sort of ill-posed. The term ‘the American Dream’ — really we should think of it as ‘the Iowa Dream’ or ‘the Atlanta Dream’ or ‘the California Dream’ because there’s so much variation within this country.”
And MSNBC host Chris Hayes recently discussing implicit racism and politics on his podcast, “Why Is This Happening?”, the DNA of racism, literally in the soil of America’s South.
“Hayes speaks with Maya Sen and Matthew Blackwell as they trace southern racial conservatism all the way back to glacial deposits.”
Particularly fascinating in context of the GOP Senate outcome in Mississippi.
From all of this the imprint of Impressionism…the human impressionism of the environment on personality and behavior: good begets good, bad begets bad.
Yes. Absolutely. “Human virtue vs. capitalism.”
Thinking of Elon Musk and his ‘neural lace’ project which is completely focused on the future and humans, “needing to become one with machines.” How about now? Can we fix ‘now?’
One of the final statement’s in season #3 of Serial continues to loop in my mind:
“Let’s all accept something’s gone wrong and work from that premise.”
‘Neuralink is developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.’
[We are looking for exceptional engineers and scientists. No neuroscience experience is required: talent and drive matter far more. We expect most of our team to come from other areas and industries.
We are primarily looking for evidence of exceptional ability and a track record of building things that work.
All positions are full time and based in San Francisco. For positions not listed, you can reach us at email@example.com.]
‘Developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.’
Elon Musk: “Humans must merge with machines.”
But perhaps an even bigger threat, he said, is “incredibly effective propaganda … influence the direction of society. Influence elections.”
- AI can hone a message by watching online feedback and reacting to news, then making the message “slightly better within milliseconds.”
- Musk said Washington is losing the war to control AI: “The way in which regulation is put in place is slow and linear. And we are facing an exponential threat. If you, if you have a linear response to an exponential threat, it’s quite likely the exponential threat will win. That, in a nutshell, is the issue.”
Elon Musk, the inventor and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, told “Axios on HBO” that humans must merge with machines to overcome the “existential threat” of artificial intelligence.
- Musk said artificial intelligence is “just digital intelligence. And as the algorithms and the hardware improve, that digital intelligence will exceed biological intelligence by a substantial margin. It’s obvious.”
- And he said we’re way behind: “We’re like children in a playground … We’re not paying attention. We worry more about … what name somebody called someone else … than whether AI will destroy humanity. That’s insane.”
- Musk’s bottom line: “My faith in humanity has been a little shaken this year. But I’m still pro-humanity.”
Why it matters: Musk warned humans could go the way of monkeys, dismissed to small pockets of the earth. That could happen, he said, if we don’t respond more urgently the dire and increasingly real threat of machines holding exponentially more knowledge than mankind.
- “When a species of primate, homo sapiens, became much smarter than other primates, it pushed all the other ones into a very small habitat,” Musk continued.
- “So there are very few mountain gorillas and orangutans and chimpanzees — monkeys in general.”
- “They occupy small corners of the world — cages. … Zoos. Even the jungles that they’re in are narrowly defined so they were sort of like big cages … So, you know, that’s one possible outcome for us.”
Musk said his neuroscience company, Neuralink, has about 85 of “the highest per capita intelligence” group of engineers he has ever assembled — with the mission of building a hard drive for your brain.
- “The long-term aspiration with Neuralink would be to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”
- Wait. What? “To achieve a sort of democratization of intelligence, such that it is not monopolistically held in a purely digital form by governments and large corporations.”
- Musk said he’ll do that with an “electrode-to-neuron interface at a micro level” — “a chip and a bunch of tiny wires” that will be “implanted in your skull.”
- “I believe this can be done. … It’s probably on the order of a decade.”
- “And by the way, you kind of have this already in a weird way: You have a digital tertiary layer in the form of your phone, your computers, your watch. You basically have these computing devices that form a tertiary layer on your cognition already.”
Musk said an immediate application could be spinal cord injuries:
- “We already know how to do this: implant electrodes into the motor cortex of the brain, then bypass the severed section of the spine and have effectively local micro controllers near the muscle groups. It could restore full limb functionality.”
- “As people get older, they lose their memory — incredibly sad to have a mother forget her children, and that can be solved too.”
And Musk said people don’t appreciate the damage off-the-shelf AI presents today:
- “You could make a swarm of assassin drones for very little money. By just taking the face I.D. chip that’s used in cell phones, and having a small explosive charge and a standard drone, and just have it do a grid sweep of the building until they find the person they’re looking for, ram into them and explode. You could do that right now. … No new technology is needed.”
One more thing:
After a string of mind-stretchers, Musk added: “Maybe we’re in a simulation.”
“Are you joking?” we asked. “You’re joking, right?
Musk replied: “I’m not joking.”