Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Utopian Purgatory

I've said many times before that any sci-fi dystopian scenario in no way frightens me. What frightens me is prosperity. Not because prosperity can disappear, but because prosperity is an unknown that we as a species are poorly constructed to deal with.

Should prosperity disappear, you are back to dsytopia, which is well known, the squalid, brutish shit-covered past. We've been there. We know how deal with that.

Case in point. My healing progresses as it should. My wounds are itching. Some regularity is returning "down there". I've a major hunger for chicken and waffles, or kimchi, or bibimbap, or pulled-pork BBQ, or veggie pizza, or vanilla malteds. Nope. High fiber stuff and good bacteria for general welfare of the holobiont known as me. I've now to work on lung function and slowly expand the tissues around that big ham slice where that Godzilla of a kidney used to be.

I go for a walk through my old neighborhood this morning. (I walked a mile and a half yesterday). I walk down to the old O'keefe farm. (Now not a farm, a manicured suburbia surrounding the old O'keefe farmhouse, although the pond where I fished for bluegill is still there out back). Even though it is not the idyllic countryside of my youth, I revel in the wild sweet smells of late summer, that spicy sweet smell of weeds and overgrown ditch vegetation. It's hot. It's humid. Id' have whined about it a few weeks ago, but it's real, and out of my control, and I can do nothing but endure it.

I wonder how hot it is? I check my phone to look for Valparaiso weather, and it is more than ready to be helpful. It is suggesting spellings. Google wants to butt in to help. This is not what I want. The robots, the nets of deep learning are stumbling over each other with suggestions, assistances, cute playful coddlings and nudging assurances.


(By the way, it is 86F and 66% humidity). The problem as I see it is we have these clumsy puppies known as Deep Neural Networks, that some cute clever goofballs are trying to reverse engineer from a not-very-well-understood mental model of how our own gestalt beings operate, are just not quite up to snuff. Is a half-assed utopia better than none at all? I don't think so. The most damning words a leader can hear about their administration is "he meant well".

Speaking of Deep Neural Nets, what about the old TV trope of Herman's Head, or the "What Happens During An Orgasm" NASA control room vignette in Woody Allen's spoof of "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask"?

It's got to be an old theme. Hobbes' Leviathan for starters maybe. The more contemporary Gargantuan Mecha. Is there a term? Ship of a person crewed by homunculi shortened to what?

How old is this theme? Going back to a time when the old sailing vessels crew size equalled or surpassed Dunbar's number? Would that be around 500BC or so? About the same time as the Greek quinquereme?

Ramming Speed!

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