My sleep schedule is completely messed up, unfortunately… I was awake all night and asleep all day. Argh!
School’s over, but not all the grades are in, so it doesn’t feel entirely over yet. I’m still not sure exactly what I’ll be doing all summer (or next year, for that matter). I need to sort that out, right now I feel kind of weird… I want to be excited about the end of the semester, but… well… I need to secure a job! A good job. Not something like, dare I say… testing. 😛 (And don’t try to justify a bad job with money. An enjoyable job is much more important than money, and you know it!)
I bought tickets for this, a showing of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with a live orchestra and choir providing the music. Awesome, no? And it’s just next week too, woohoo!
When you hear an opinion or a viewpoint that you’re not sure about (you don’t quite disagree, but it goes against your intuition), do you consider the person’s age when trying to decide what to make of it? If the person is younger than you, you think he’s probably wrong because he doesn’t have enough “experience” or something. You’re also more comfortable arguing against him as you feel more secure about yourself in your relationship with him because you’re older. Even if you both disagree with each other, at least you’ll be the most “senior” in the argument.
If he’s older than you (and he doesn’t seem too crazy), you’re more likely to think twice about his opinion, he might just have something. After all, he has more “experience” or something. And even if you still disagree with him, you’re less likely to voice your opinion because he’s older than you, he would be the dominant “senior” guy in the argument. How could you ever sway his opinion? You feel less secure about yourself, or your opinions.
I keep writing in second person, but I don’t mean this necessarily applies to you, the reader, personally, whoever you are. I of course mean it in the general sense. I think it’s true for a lot of people, unfortunately. But we always “consider the source” so it’s a hard habit to break, it’s ingrained in our brain, in how we perceive the world. Yes, “consider the source” but don’t “consider the source’s age” if you can help it.
I feel like making this message the crux of a preachy Denzel Washington and Robert Redford film!
One more exam left!
I tried watching the film Lions for Lambs last night, but it was atrocious. It was basically a bunch of people talking… nay, preaching to each other. Three ongoing conversations for the entire film. Three preachy conversations. Gimme a break. And I was trying to eat popcorn… I eventually had to switch to Hulu.
Today, the power flickered and our DirectTV signal went out for a bit, most likely due to the very strong winds we were having. And it made me think… we have all this technology around us all the time… televisions, computers, cell phones, game consoles… we dedicate our time to them so much. Yet, when that power flickered and the wind howled, I heard something… like a whisper reminding me that world is so much bigger, and if we dedicate too much of our time to technology, we might miss the natural beauty all around us! When did the sun and the sky become things we only see when walking between buildings and cars? When did the complex design of a tree become something we overlook because there’s something on TV? When did the wind become something we only remember when the DirectTV signal breaks? A small part of me thinks the wind did it on purpose…
Just kidding. I hate it when people really talk like that. Gimme a break. 😛
I especially hate it when people write like that and act totally different in person… at least be consistent!
If we created a robot that had the intelligence of a human or greater, would it be ethically wrong to murder it? By which I mean, destroy its memory and central processing unit (for what are humans but a lump of volatile memory and neural connections?).
Problem is, how could we ever know that a robot is really conscious? We couldn’t. We don’t even know that other humans are conscious, but we tend to assume it. I think the assumption is hard wired into our brains, it’s how we see the world. That said, history has proven that it’s easy for one “race” of humans to see another as “less than equal” and perhaps even “not as human” … so I don’t think our species is hard wired to see everyone else as being just as conscious, perhaps that must be acquired through conscious thought and decision later on in life… or perhaps the opposite: the hard wiring perhaps can be rewired through conscious thought and decision…
But it doesn’t really matter. The point is, if robots are not given human characteristics that we feel we can relate to, it won’t matter how conscious or intelligent they are. Look at how many people fight for cute puppy rights, but not so many fight for slug rights. We can’t really know what it would be like to be either one, but we can certainly feel a much greater social connection with the cute puppy. Now what if the cute puppy’s brain was an algorithm running on a super computer? Would anyone fight to keep it running, keep it conscious? Of course not… when cute puppies become old sickly unresponsive dogs, we usually don’t even wait for them to die naturally.
Throughout history toy makers have always tried to make character toys sympathetic, even when stuffed. Robot toys will be no different. They’ll be so cute that microwaving their digital disk heads will eventually become a crime…
Meanwhile, there will be large groups of people who will be able to look beyond the cuddly faces and not see the central processing units as human enough to deserve any rights. We can’t know if any consciousness is emerging, so what’s the harm in murder?
And if a robot’s memory becomes non-volatile, can they even ever truly be murdered?
Just a stream-of-consciousness post, emerging from the neural connections…
Couldn’t blog last night, I had a massive headache, didn’t feel well at all. To reflect my pain, I magically conjured up a huge thunderstorm that sent lightning blasting through the sky and made thunder shake the earth. Correlation = causation! It is really annoying to have a massive headache, but to have to miss the fun of a good powerful thunderstorm because of it just stinks.
Anyway, I had my first final exam this evening on operating systems. I have no idea how I did.
Three more exams to go! And they’re all hard.
Today I started writing a book on writing melodies. It’s nothing I expect to finish anytime soon, if I am able to finish at all. I am hoping it will aid me in my exploration of the subject of melodies, a subject I think many musical theorists just skim over (many modern composers don’t even seem to like them much!). Not that there aren’t some good books on melody already, but the few that there are don’t seem to approach the subject in the way I would have, and will… hopefully. But, again, it will just be an ongoing project.
In other book news, I’m only on page 174 of Pinker’s book The Stuff of Thought and now I have to return it to the library because a bunch of others have it on hold. So I ordered it online, bwa ha ha! I also ordered the book The Seven Basic Plots which I also need finish reading. It looks like I won’t finish reading most of my other books from the college library, such as Critical Mass and Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, but oh well. I might try getting my hands on them later.
Anyway, I have my first exam on Friday, so school’s not over yet! 🙁
Below is a little slideshow showing screenshots from the ray tracer I had to program as a final project for my computer graphics class, which ended yesterday (exam next week!). Of course we didn’t have to program the ray tracer from scratch; much of the functionality was provided. And my end results were certainly not the most amazing in the class… though some students clearly had no clue what was going on…
Anyway, I worked on that long enough to start seeing ray tracing pics in my head as I went to sleep last night.
Tonight I’ll probably see Mario Kart Wii in my head as I’ve been playing that all day. It’s quite addicting, and I like playing with the Wiimote more than the finger joysticks other consoles have. But I really hate those banana peels.
I saw I Am Legend not long ago, which was fun. I’d give it a 5 out of 10. I think the film makers did an excellent job of making it engaging, especially since there’s only one character for much of the film. They also did a great job of making the first zombie scenes quite suspenseful. I didn’t really like the ending though. The story writers broke one of my “good story” commandments. I thought the alternate ending better, but still not good enough…
I hope my dog doesn’t become a zombie dog!
(I know they weren’t really “zombies” as they weren’t undead, but they fit the “monster” role in the story, so the word “zombie” fits, in my opinion.)
Anyway, today was the last day of classes, now I’ve got exams to study for… and then hopefully a life. Maybe.