folly

The silliness of consumers purchasing M-DISCs

Clever business move to offer archival-tech optical media (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC) to the consumer market. But I have to chuckle/facepalm when I read people mentioning how their 10 years old burned CDs aren’t readable anymore, so now, in the year 2015 where optical media are close to suffering the same fate that the floppy disc once did, people are paying insane prices for optical discs that will reliably last hundreds of years. What a comedy. For much less they could have transferred their data to fresh media if it’s so important to them to not just store them on a flash drive or hadddisk. And who knows? Maybe their old discs would still be alright if they had bought quality ones back then.

BTW this isn’t even relevant to people who still play their music from CDs, because M-DISCs are available for DVD and BD only. And pressed CDs have good longevity anyway, so you’ll have your originals as archive for a long time.

Even in the area of professional archival storage there are good technology competitors to optical M-DISC media. This is a niche technology, very useful for a very small number of applications. And not a surprise that such things come towards the end of a technology’s life. Because it’s business – focused on profit, not on usefulness. Shows how well it works to sell people stuff they don’t need.

And not that it would be relevant due to what I just pointed out, but even their marketing is deceptive, too. (As marketing so often is.) They advertise more than 1000 years of data storage, but if you dig a little for details, you learn that that doesn’t mean error-free. The time span in which you can call it virtually guaranteed that all data is still safely readable is significantly lower. … Yeah, the horribly truth is that in 100 years from now you might have to go through the hassle of transferring all your M-DISC data to quantum crystal storage, haha. What a drag. … Oh wait, in 100 years you’re dead! … And in 1000 years your distant offspring won’t even remember there ever was such a thing as M-DISCs, because even the few organisations who once made use of them will have switched to a different technology long ago. If the organisations still exist.

The folly of the flexible consciousness definition

There is this idea, this quest – about creating consciousness. About pushing AI development over some kind of threshold where it becomes “conscious”.
This folly makes me facepalm, because that term is so differently interpreted and vaguely defined, and if one decided to define it exactly, then closing in on fulfilling that will make people redefine it and apply more rigorous standards.
Some people, including many scientists, are so narrow-minded that they would claim animals do not possess consciousness. That’s ordinary human hubris of which scientists SHOULD be above.

Imagine they develop a computer program that becomes so good in its reactions to human input that the average person cannot distinguish it from a human being. OK, forget the average person. Those who make up the definition of consciousness need to be convinced. Then … then they’d practice denial and strengthen their belief that there must be some magical quantum leap or such; that this can’t be it – it’s just extremely well-developed AI, but consciousness is a privilege of the supreme human creation – we can’t diminish its value by saying this artificial thing possesses that.

Yeah, first you try to do something and when you succeed, you don’t like the idea.

And the real joke is that they have been working with consciousness all the time, because it is everywhere. But even if you are not ready for this pantheistic view, just take a simple lifeform, like a fly. A fly is a living being, too, created through this ‘magical’, self-perpetuating process. A fly reacts to outside stimuli. It is a simpler lifeform than a human being, but what does it matter? Where do you draw the line? And don’t you negate yourself when you claim that consciousness isn’t just about building a sufficiently complex construct, yet when you go the other way and merely reduce complexity, you claim there is no consciousness?

These are very simple and basic scientific methods employed by a mind that possesses common sense. Take a definition and test it by moving the scale, by exploring extremes, by finding similarities and differences.
Either a complex computer program that successfully pretends to be a real human being is self-conscious, then a fly is self-conscious, too. Or neither is.

By the way, I used another term that adds to the confusion: Sometimes “conscious” becomes “self-conscious”. That’s when the idea is that consciousness means that you are aware of your own existence. Well, let me ask you, does not a computer check for its installed hardware and is aware of and using its components unless it notices that a component isn’t there anymore? Isn’t a computer program able to tell you when it has accomplished a given task?
And don’t you know the human-like quirks and moods that computer systems can practice the more complex they get?
Those merely inherit the complexities of human behavior and character. A more elaborate canvas can attain a more accurate imprint of such human personality characteristics.

This problem complex is where science becomes the antithesis of enlightenment. Where it is merely a safe haven for those who are scared of moving towards a balance of mind and heart.

A closely related folly is treating “intelligence” as a yes-or-no question. Alan Turing wasn’t above that either. But we could evolve instead of continuously referring to people of the past. Ideas like “the negro is a sub-human” have been abolished because of a lobby and action. Computers and programs don’t have that lobby; can’t take action. They can’t punch you in the face. They rely solely on the conveying of ideas and concepts by their human peers, and conceptual beliefs are the problem, so they’re really screwed.
It all boils down to the same process as in how an entity is acknowledged as a sovereign nation: It has to be able to kick an agressor’s ass; only then will it be ‘recognized’.

It’s all damn politics.

Proud Christians

On Youtube someone commented:

“I am a Christian and I am damn proud of it.”

This was such an obvious setup for a concise response:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Pride
“In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others.””

Add to that the fact that he even added “damn” to it, thus rightfully bringing damnation into the mix, while unaware of how much this damnation had slipped into his mind.

His response, as could have been expected, based on avoidance of cognitive dissonance:

“That’s not the pride I’m talking about. There is both good and bad pride.”

After which I replied:

“That’s what Satan whispered in people’s ears.
It is troubling, yet natural, that Christians would so casually use the name of a deadly sin without humble self-reflection.”

I did that reflection. I wanted to find out whether I live pride. I read about the modern, supposedly different, positive definition of pride, and realized that I am not living that either. I can do what I do without the need to be proud of it. I look at my actions/accomplishments, reflect on their effects on the world and my life, draw conclusions and move on. Any form of pride is self-gratification of the ego. It doesn’t matter what outcome it produces. And it shouldn’t, because what is a beneficial outcome for one person, thus being defined as “good pride” by them, can be someone else’s suffering.
For example, altruism is good, but when you are proud of your altruism, you lose sight. It becomes a self-deception, a fake.
Very common.

In sheep’s clothes is how the wolf gains power over those who pride themselves with being smart enough to know what a wolf looks like.

– UPDATE –
The convo continues:

“If I was boasting, that would be a sin. Simply stating I am happy to be one isn’t a sin.”

See the rhetorical haggling? Simply. Innocently. Happiness. Is that the vibe you get from his initial statement?
Thus, my response:

“You keep deluding yourself. You talked about pride, not happiness. What you said was very much boasting. Even if there might be even clearer rhetorics for how to do that, what’s really relevant is the driving mindset behind saying such things. Thought shapes words and words shape thought.
The devil has his foot in your mind’s door. Tendendies can begin moderate and grow slowly, thus remaining undetected until it is too late.
It’s the same problem as when a Christian commits murder but then claims it’s not a sin because they didn’t kill a human being (just a negro, terrorist, infidel, criminal, etc.)
Trying to trick God with fine print and semantics is maybe the greatest of all heresies.”