Musings

May 17, 2024
15

Is “Ex Machina” an AI-driven love story?

"Ex Machina" is a horror movie about a well-intentioned man who decides to help a "female" robot escape from her Dr. Frankenstein creator. Customizable, she's designed to be all things to any man.

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Our hero's emotions are guided by the female's obvious unhappiness due to the lack of freedom in her remote prison. Although a robot, she is the essence of femininity and he succumbs to her allure.

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One moral of the story might be the role of AI in our future. After she enlists his help engineering her grisly escape, she traps him and leaves him to die in an escape-proof room. He shoulda seen it coming.

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May 6, 2024
18

“Only a Promise of Happiness”?

Alexander Nehamas contemplates the place of beauty in the world of art. This is a proper focus for a philosopher--the intersection of beauty, harmony, balance, meaning, promises of happiness.

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He comments, somewhere in his book ("Olympia" is pictured on the cover), that he would like to take two years off and study this painting by Manet. Only two years, I wondered, why only two?

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The last time I was in Paris I stood in front of this painting as a river of humanity flowed around me for more than an hour. Would two lifetimes be enough to understand "Olympia"?

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April 28, 2024
32

Which is undeniable?

Bill Nye, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, in his book "Undeniable", asserts that evolution explains everything we need to know about life on earth.

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Douglas Axe, Ph.D. Biology, in his book "Undeniable", opines that his readers' intuition that life is designed is strongly supported by science.

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T. Nagel subtitles "Mind & Cosmos" with "Why the Materialsit Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is almost Certainly False." Are you drawn into this debate? It says something about you if you're not.

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April 10, 2024
36

Whence sentience?

Nicholas Humphrey has written a book, "Sentience", in which he introduces a neologism: Ipsundrum. Easy to pronounce, not that hard to remember or spell, even if it doesn't liltingly roll off the tongue.

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Ipsundrum seeks to illuminate what's going on in the whirring blender of our minds to ensure we are maximizing our "phenomenal consciousness", which he characterizes as a "mathematical attractor".

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But how sentient are humans? Battle lines abound, economies stressed or disfunctional, the planet rife with hate, drugs, violence, murders--sentience should be able to fix this. However, it has never managed to do so.

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April 1, 2024
49

What do I know about writing?

The first thing I know is that striving to improve my writing is the last thing I should do. (I should do it, but it should be the last thing I do.)

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The second thing is the importance of the reader. (But this raises the question: Is the reader a segment of the population or is the reader first and foremost myself?)

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The third thing I know is the importance of the mind's eye, (Where beauty is beheld, readers bond with books, and all the things that cannot be said start to sing.)

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