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October 19, 2017

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No question that finding something constructive for teenage (and early 20s) males to do will be important. Indeed, it seems like a significant problem already.

Time was, those who couldn't find paid work could be absorbed into the military. Which, in addition to teaching them a variety of skills, gave them a sense of belonging to something significant and important -- which seems to be important to a lot of young men.

That no longer seems to be an acceptable social model. Although a little clever marketing could probably sell it to the right as "building up the military" and to the left as "publicly funded post-high school training." We'd want to find uses for all that manpower that didn't necessarily include fighting. But it could be worked out, I think.

Our imaginations are limited by our circumstances, so trying to imagine what the social developments would be to get us to Star Trek: Next Generation-style Earth society is a challenge. Absent the need to "work" for a living, I envision a massive expansion of recreational sporting leagues. I was no where close to an athlete, but I played intramural softball and basketball a bit in college and grad school. These days more golf, and darts.

For others, art, music, wood working, metal crafts, cooking, horticulture, beer making, distilling, paint ball, bridge, poker, etc., etc. Not everyone has visions, or talents but can assist in group endeavors to the limits of their abilities. My neighborhood is having their annual Halloween parade and festival tomorrow, people have contributed to all sorts of degrees to the group I'm walking with.

I will restrain my inner mcmanus from pooping on that utopian image. Speaking of which, there's a thread over at Crooked Timber titled Utopia and Fairy Tales, Mr. Holbo is up to some of his usual shenanigans.

"Part of the problem with school teachers Congressmen is that they are largely paid based on showing up year after year. Not how well they do after showing up. And I can point to >50% of them that we'd be better off if they NEVER showed up."

Pay teachers the same as congressmen. They do more good and certainly less harm.

My late uncle, British, was convinced that school was basically baby-sitting and you could probably teach kids everything they needed when they turn 18. I thought there was some truth to that, in that the actual content of what needed to be taught wasn't that big. However, I've come to realize that teaching socialization etc is what that period is for.

Here in Japan, kids have a punishing schedule when they move into JHS, and it gets worse in HS. There is a part of me that really rebels against that, but sending my daughter back to the states was really not an option and it was more me being uncomfortable with it than her. She loved it and all the sacrifices she made felt like shared sacrifices rather than punishments. I felt like she missed a lot of stuff I got as a kid, but if she had gone to the states, there would be almost no way that she could have reintegrated herself back here.

I wonder if any kid laments 'geez, I had to study too much' when they look back on their life, though I recall an article about or by Gordon Brown who was educated in a special fast track group in Scotland lamenting the loss of opportunities. However, the difference is that here in Japan, it is not a fast track, it is a river and either you get in or you watch everyone move by.

lj at 9:14

Of course I watch a lot of anime about school life and kids, but they don't focus on the academics.Rarely mentioning the cram schools, for instance.

But I have been astonished and frankly disbelieving about what is mentioned in passing about the quantity and quality of what a Japanese HS student is expected to learn. Rivers in Belgium, the cities on those rivers, and the industries in the cities. All the generals under Oda Nobunaga, and what they did in specific battles.

And I have read and think that Japanese JHS and HS are also entirely about socialization, you won't need all the knowledge you gain and forget.

It's all about learning how to work yourself to exhaustion for incomprehensible reasons without questioning authority at all.

However, the difference is that here in Japan, it is not a fast track, it is a river and either you get in or you watch everyone move by.

I keep hearing that, and I think I maybe am missing something, that maybe those who don't make it into Todai or Waseda (etc, 1st and 2nd tier), which are the vast majority, aren't living lives of horror, deprivation, and hopeless misery. Even the ones who fail HS.

I exaggerate, I kid, only a little friendly snark, but I am more interested in the mechanics, cable installers, truckers, Fast Food workers and how they manage and if they have enjoyable lives.

I have thought that this is also a process of socialization, much more extensive than the "some get to Ivy League" thing. In the process of going thru Exam Hell or failing or choosing not to a certain amount of envy and resented is mitigated. Todai grads have money and power but no life? kinda thing. Hierarchies are established but they are more gentle and benevolent, maybe. Or maybe not.

Without at all accepting or admiring I am open to the Japanese education system. People seem to survive and turn out okay.

I will restrain my inner mcmanus from pooping on that utopian image.

See the above at 6:51. Part of being a misanthrope and pessimist and anti-utopian is also seeing and accepting that a lot of life is pain and sorrow and disappointment and yet people manage with dignity.

I don't envy the rich powerful and popular because I know they have their debilitating problems, and the homeless and hopeless have a few compensatory moments.

But yeah, we can make it a little better, I suppose. Probably.

Yes, the amount of memorization for a top-tier or even a top tier local school is astonishing. For lower level schools however, it's getting to a point where only a pulse is necessary. But no matter what school they are aiming at, HS and JHS aim to fill the student's schedule with things to do, even though they might be done more simply individually. So yes, there is this 'trust authority' vibe going on.

The ones who don't make it into Todai or Waseda are just as subject to the pressures of socialization. In fact, probably more so because they feel they have a lot less control over their destiny.

I wasn't going to write about this, it is both a bit far afield and personal, but I think it plugs into this. My brother, 3 years younger than me, just got laid off. Has a month of paid vacation and then will get a month of salary. Fortunately, he's paid off his house and just has a car note to deal with.

Being 3 years 6 months younger than me, I was the book smart one and he was being compared to a 6 month older me by everyone, so he went for sport, though if the situation has been reversed, he probably would have kicked my ass in academics, something I've only realized late in life. He also has an emotional intelligence that astonishes me. He's had three jobs where he has started out as an hourly worker at the bottom and has moved up to a salaried position. Three times. This last one, he was in charge of IT, helping sales reps with their computers. In fact, the factory he worked at closed down and they kept him on, working from home and flying him to the other factories once a month for a week. However, the company got bought out, and he got pink slipped.

He'll land on his feet, he can probably be a manager of a franchise or something. But he's got some extraordinary skills. But the key ingredient he has is that he doesn't want too much. Sure, he's happy to get some extra money, take a long vacation, maybe spend a few more days in his tree stand, but he's not going to break his back to get it and he can do without if he has to.

That quality seems to be what a lot of Japanese seem to have. There are those who want more, but that is usually in the context of social acceptance.

A lot of my students are not finding jobs and are getting work that is contract rather than lifetime. One of the reasons Japanese aren't having babies is because the way the labor force is structured, no one has the financial security to have kids.

However, people like the current White House resident seem to be a fortunately rarer breed here. I think that makes a big difference.

But no matter what school they are aiming at, HS and JHS aim to fill the student's schedule with things to do, even though they might be done more simply individually.

An echo of what a New England private high school English teacher told me about American schools fifteen years ago.

As background -- My kids were officially homeschooled, though they both played high school sports on local school teams and were involved in the community – sports, tutoring, volunteering. Plus, my son was in school about half-time from the time he was ten years old (at his and our choice and discretion).

When my daughter was high school age she thought about going to school but didn't want to go to the local high school. I had a couple of long talks with the English teacher at a private boarding school near here, which also took (takes) day students from the local area. This teacher, I'll call him Steve, had been a headmaster at another such school and had a lifetime of experience teaching and headmastering. (Disclaimer: I know almost nothing about the New England private boarding schools except the names of a lot of them....)

What Steve told me was this: Whether you looked at the conventional schools or the funky ones (e.g. Putney IIRC), which could seem so very different from each other, they all had one thing in common. They were determined to keep the kids busy with classes, activities, and homework from morning to night. With a nod also toward public high schools, his summary of high school education in the US was something that has stayed with me ever since:

"No one trusts kids to sit under a tree and read."

Some Commie propaganda. This is relevant to the question of what education is for. For business, according to the link, it is for keeping the number of skilled people high and wages low.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/malcolmharris/the-wages-are-too-damn-low?utm_term=.kmWE2XxLZ6#.tdJbdKkGpg

"No one trusts kids to sit under a tree and read."

when i was a junior/senior in high school, i received a lot of college brochures in the mail. tens, dozens, hundreds of them. so, i sorted into two piles: those with a picture of a kid reading under a tree on the front cover, and those without.

cleek --

1. If you're willing to answer, how old are you?

2. Also if you're willing to answer, which kind did you go to?

:-)

Snarki: Pay teachers the same as congressmen.

Right on! Until they can both be replaced by "robots", of course.

Would "robots" make decent congressmen? It depends on what humans think congressmen are supposed to do. I suspect "robots" could be programmed to accurately reflect the preferences and prejudices of their constituents to three significant digits, if that's what We The People want.

Would "robots" make decent teachers? Again, it depends. But I think it's already happening in certain respects, although I think "robots" are still merely "instructors" rather than "teachers".

--TP

1. 47. so this was 1987/88

2. i discounted all of the colleges without kids under trees. so, i went to an under-tree school. never saw anyone reading under a tree. can't even remember seeing a suitable tree.

OT:
when should we expect the Niger-ghazi-gate hearing to begin?

"when should we expect the Niger-ghazi-gate hearing to begin?"

It's scheduled to start on the 32nd of NEVER.

Denise Cohen

I'm very interested in home schooling, and why people choose to do it. I know for many it's that they're religious loonies who don't want their kids' minds polluted by any reference to e.g. evolution, and for some it's because their children have been bullied, or because their kids are so gifted they feel that mainstream school is unsuitable for them, but I'd be very interested to hear from any parents who made this choice (or children who had it made for them) if people don't feel it breaches confidentiality etc.

GftNC, here's a link to a discussion that happened at Crooked Timber several years ago that was one of the best I've ever been part of in relation to homeschooling. Lots of viewpoints, lots of skepticism, but an almost universally respectful debate. (Okay, maybe a bit of snark and impatience now and then but by and large it was a great conversation. )

There was one contributor to that thread who was homeschooling in London, so it wasn't even totally US-centered.

A follow-up conversation at CT a couple of months later was more contentious, but IIRC there was still a lot in it that was of interest.

I have more mixed feelings/thoughts about homeschooling now than I did perhaps even as recently as five years ago. But I need to think about how much I want to say because it's not entirely my story to tell. I will at least say that my fundamental point in the first thread I linked -- that we should have more variety and less compulsoriness in relation to schooling -- I still believe.

(Tedra Osell appeared at CT and disappeared without a trace not long afterwards. Life does sometimes interfere with the internet, but I have wondered ever since how she and her family are doing. She had blogged as/at "Bitch PhD" in earlier years and IIRC was well-known under that moniker.)

Along with homeschooling, Unschooling is a small, but growing trend in the US.

Without reading the Wikipedia link...

Back when we were homeschooling, i.e. when I was paying more attention, "unschooling" was mostly talked about and thought of as a subset of homeschooling. The point of the label, at least for my purposes, was that homeschooling did not remotely mean reproducing school at home. For my purposes (which were about as opposite to those of the religious right wing of the homeschooling world as could be), if all I had been intending to do had been to reproduce school at home, I would have sent the kids to school.

So to be nitpicky, we were unschoolers, but with one of the kids taking two or three classes at the local middle school and high school each year starting when he was ten, and both the kids taking some college classes by the time they were 16 or so. (Maine and the colleges in Maine had, and probably still have, a program that subsidizes tuition for high school kids taking college classes.)

should i ever have a kid, i'm going do to homeoschooling whereby i will sit him/her down, declare "1 + 1 = 2," and then present the doctorate.

cleek, yur doon it rong.

For homeoschooling, you go with "0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 = ∞"

Followed by rousing verses of "Aleph-1 bottles of beer on the wall"

Wow JanieM, rarely has a question been asked and then answered so comprehensively as in your first CT link (have not read the 2nd one yet). Many thanks.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/21/trump-executive-order-lets-air-force-recall-up-to-1000-retired-pilots.html

Let the fucking killing begin by anti-American vermin murderous republican filth.

GftNC -- that was an epic thread, wasn't it? I think it represents the best of what bloggy conversations can be.

Homeschooling is a particularly apt trigger, because you can hardly talk about it without talking about all kinds of other interesting things as well.

how long till we get a special M1B visa that allows us to import key military personnel from other countries...

wj: Why not just rent driverless cars on a per-trip basis, and pay the owners like they do now? Same business model, just a different kind of vehicle being sent.

The author of WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us makes the same point in this interview(audio).

If ridesharing companies leased/own vehicles, they would be in the same bind that taxicabs companies find themselves in. If they have only enough vehicles to handle average demand, they can't handle peak demand. If they have enough vehicles for peak demand, they're going to have a lot of vehicles sitting around idle most of the time.

He suggested that the ridesharing companies could use an Airbnb like model wherein owners would rent vehicles instead of space.

JanieM: yes, have just read the 2nd thread, and that was fascinating too. Thanks again.

CharlesWT: ... ridesharing companies ...

Not picking on Charles, but I just have to repeat: it annoys me that Uber, Lyft, et al have latched on to "sharing" as part of their "brand". AFAICT, "ride brokering companies" would be the most generous yet still honest way to describe their business model. Less cuddly, to be sure, as their marketers and lobbyists no doubt knew from the get-go.

--TP

Merely carrying out the orders of the NRA's Dana Loesch:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/montana-gop-official-says-she-would-have-shot-journalist-gianforte-assaulted

Republicans can't wait to kill us.

I hope the reporter has the cojones to stick a microphone in that fascist cunt's face and dare her to shoot him.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we may need a military coup to do away with rump and company.

Scratch that. After reading John Kelly's remarks, I would ask him to shut his fucking mouth and do the job I'm paying him to do, not feel sorry for American citizens who choose not to take asshole Milton Friedman up on yet another of his shitty ideas and volunteer for the armed forces, nor to exclude those from the discussion who don't have personal experience with combat and its ravages.

You and your son up signed to protect and serve, and thank you, but telling me how much superior you are because of your fucking choice is not in your job description.

I'm civilian, you are military. In this country, I tell YOU what to do, asshole.

All of us get to question you. That's the job the Constitution gave US, dumbass, despite republicans' obsession with poorly worded one amendment that they THINK lets them shoot anyone they fucking please.

So no military coup. They aren't on our side.

The Republican Party seeks to militarize every aspect of American life, from arming the population with weapons of war to monopolizing our attention to unending war at every fucking sporting event and erasing civilian control of the military. They also want to destroy the separation church and State.

Fuck off.

A robot link for bob mcmanus

https://www.wired.com/2017/10/hiroshi-ishiguro-when-robots-act-just-like-humans/

that we should have more variety and less compulsoriness in relation to schooling -- I still believe....

Yes, the fundamental assumptions surrounding education (certainly in the UK) are rarely questioned - though there is plenty of messing around with second order issues.
Much of it comes down to limited resources, I think.

The other end of the scale from homeschooling (which must require enormous parental commitment) is the significant number of kids whose primary school teachers provide the closest thing to genuine parenting they will get.

lj 434

More interested in humans acting like robots. After we discard the illusion of free will, and leave aside genetic programming, then we can look at how human-robots are programmed, which is not self-programming, but social network group programming with adjustments emerging from environmental factors.

"Someday we may crack the problem of creating artificial general intelligence—a machine brain that can intuitively perform any human intellectual task—but why would we choose to interact with it?"

Why would it choose to interact with us, or interact in a way we like? I don't. Why does anybody, really?

Discarding illusions like free will, self-programming, localized singular intelligence* would go a long way to creating better machines.

*And probably empathy, not because it isn't good, but because it is likely not what we think and doesn't work the way we think it does.

Okay, for example, when Japanese humans go to the cat cafes, is the point to make the cats change, or adjust human behavior so as to make it enjoyable and comfortable for the cats? Why should our interactions with robots and computers be different?

bob mcmanus, you did see how Ishiguro is changing himself so he doesn't have to change his robot doppleganger?

About cat cafes, I have not a clue. A good friend of mine does volunteer yoga classes at a local cat cafe, but the cat cafe is one that takes in strays or pets that can no longer be cared for and tries to find homes for them and all the donations she gets go to help pay for the costs.

The latest craze in Tokyo, owl cafes. I don't think people want to owls to change, but I'm not sure if people are going there because they feel like they are making the owls more comfortable.

William W. Wolf Jr.

"I don't think people want to owls to change."

https://www.google.com/search?q=new+yorker+cartoon+of+owls+through+time+in+a+museum&tbm=isch&source=iu&pf=m&ictx=1&fir=fXLRlF0mJBbU1M%253A%252CxBrWADeyFe0xRM%252C_&usg=__A88BVLTZbJKSp3_siN2Czz1ua3o%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqhJH5yYTXAhUoyoMKHSc4CnwQ9QEINDAF#imgrc=fXLRlF0mJBbU1M:

But more on point with the "get yer robots":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GaPgYhQ8Rs

McManus: "And probably empathy, not because it isn't good, but because it is likely not what we think and doesn't work the way we think it does."

When IBM's Watson, or an organic owl, beat us in an empathy competition, what then? The two of them even now at their current state of development already out-empathsize rump and his entire list of sociopathic appointments, so maybe we're already there.

Neither an algorithm, nor an owl, despite the latter's talons, opened fire in Vegas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzTX8SVJtis

What say you, pollo de muerto?


but I'm not sure if people are going there because they feel like they are making the owls more comfortable.

No, no, I'm not saying that is why they go to cat cafes...you go to cat cafes to make cats purr and play and people get pleasure from that.

As far as comfortable owls, I'll bet big money that aggression toward owls and loud noises are prohibited, and I am guessing the point of visiting an owl cafe is to enact a level of outer and inner stillness that keeps the owls relaxed.

Neither an owl nor an algorithm.

A walking, talking psychopath with applauding fellow "christian" psychopathic fans who are getting ready to kill:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/moralistic-therapeutic-hannityism/

At the point where robots are built with the equivalent of "mirror neurons" that allow empathy, that will be a great advance.

Not least, because then the technology can be retrofitted to sociopath humans, in "Forced Empathy Machine Augmentation" camps.

Snarki, what you are talking about is cyborgs. Where the machine augmentation isn't mechanical strength or higher brain power -- just improved ability on the emotional front.

-- just improved ability on the emotional front.

Or, depending on the powers that be, the suppression thereof.

wj, could be, but I'm not sure you'd have to go full cyborg.

Never go full cyborg.

Going cyborg will necessarily be incremental. Long before we get anywhere near "full cyborg" (if we ever do) we will be looking at a lot of little enhancements.

If you think about it, we are actually already on the road. What, after all, is a pacemaker but a machine component which has been surgically added to the body to make it function better? And that is merely the first example which leaps to mind.

About owl cafes, sure, that's possible, but it's just like playing 'smooth jazz', or putting up posters of calm quiet places. Anything social will be structured in a way that supports the desired social interaction. If it's not, someone has probably screwed up.

I say smooth jazz cause I was just at a friend's office and when I entered the room, I said 'wow, Watermelon Man, haven't heard that in a while" and asked him if he had the album and he said no, it was off a collection of 'smooth jazz hits'. I was amazed.

Google provides, a few minutes late

https://www.ft.com/content/08d1543e-3211-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff

What, after all, is a pacemaker but a machine component which has been surgically added to the body to make it function better?

Technolgy is coming closer to the point where some people will start to replace healthy body parts.

An example:

"Imagine being able to see three times better than 20/20 vision without wearing glasses or contacts — even at age 100 or more — with the help of bionic lenses implanted in your eyes."
Ocumetics Bionic Lens could give you vision 3x better than 20/20

perhaps related

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2005/04/the_beam_in_your_eye.html

"Imagine being able to see three times better than 20/20 vision without wearing glasses or contacts — even at age 100 or more — with the help of bionic lenses implanted in your eyes."

I'm going to be sorely disappointed at age 100 if I finally have the eye part of eye/hand coordination to be able to hit the 90 mph fastball, but the hand part will be completely debilitated.

Maybe I could have Ted Williams' defrosted head sutured on to my neck too.

Maybe I could have Ted Williams' defrosted head sutured on to my neck too.

I seriously doubt that would put you ahead of the game...

Dana Leann Gardner

Charles, the Ocumetics Lens article is really cool. Thanks for that.

...the Ocumetics Lens article...

A more recent article:

The early adopters will have to pay about $3200 per lens, excluding the cost of the surgery. The company has already started compiling a list of clinics and surgeons, via referrals, that it will work with.
A Bionic Lens Undergoing Clinical Trials Could Give You Superhuman Abilities In Two Years

Ishi­guro believes that since we’re hardwired to interact with and place our faith in humans, the more humanlike we can make a robot appear, the more open we’ll be to sharing our lives with it

i think his strategy holds the seed of its own failure.

first, i'm not sure we're hardwired to place our faith in humans. we will place our faith in humans that we know, and with whom we share a history, and with whom we share a million social cues and norms that tell us we have common ground, or at least the basis for establishing common ground.

many if not most of these are not part of our conscious awareness. they include not only facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, but probably chemical and other cues that we are not even aware that we're aware of.

yes, ishiguro is trying to discover and understand those. but i have to ask why.

why make machines emulate what humans do by nature? in order to gain our trust? we already trust machines.

elevators, automobiles, airplanes, pacemakers, subways, what have you. we entrust non-anthropomorphic machines with our lives. every day.

in an interview, the late jazz keyboardist joe zawinul commented that he never tried to make his synthesizers sound like natural instruments.

why do that?, he asked. those instruments already exist. he wanted to use his synths to create instrumental voices that weren't already available.

to me, i think people will trust a machine that plainly presents itself as a machine much more than a machine that presents itself as a fake human.

let machines present themselves plainly as machines, and let people encounter and engage with them as such. i think it will be less confusing, and create greater confidence, than having them try to pass as humans.

If I'm reading this right, it will address astigmatism as well as near (or far) sightedness. Granted, there is a certain whimsical amusement in seeing one very fuzzy full moon, but a half dozen, somewhat fuzzy crescent moons. (Only imagine the cosmology that would have developed if everyone had eyes like mine,) But still, I'll be keeping an eye on this.

let machines present themselves plainly as machines, and let people encounter and engage with them as such. i think it will be less confusing, and create greater confidence, than having them try to pass as humans.

Quite naturally, the immediate question people would ask would be: Why is this thing trying to con me?

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2017/10/20/frederica-wilson-threats-trump-call/

About what you would expect from fascist, murderous, republican rump supporters.

What would you expect? rump raised them:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/10/22/open-thread-bad-parenting-tragicomic-results/

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/miami-dj-says-he-watched-donald-trump-brutally-slap-his-son-in-college-8900500

Thus the sociopathic cruelty toward anyone who dares criticize that crime family and their dupes and fucking apologists, Obamacare recipients, the Dreamers, Puerto Ricans.

Deplorable stinking filth.

Aside from sexbots, if there's a market for intelligent, humanoid robots, it's unlikely most of them will be autonomous. They'll be a part of the internet of things, connected to and dependent on the internet like the rest of us.

Will conservatives demand that a plurality of humanoid robots be programmed to be assholes as well?

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/10/20/could-gorsuch-drive-a-wedge-between-conservatives-on-the-court/

wj: Quite naturally, the immediate question people would ask would be: Why is this thing trying to con me?

I doubt it. People let themselves be conned 24/7 by ads, marketing, political manipulations, false news...why would they all of a sudden become discriminating when it comes to robots?

Imagine being able to see three times better than 20/20 vision without wearing glasses or contacts...

MLB won't let you take steroids or speed... but has no problem with having your lenses laser-sculpted to give you 20/10 vision. Ditto the PGA -- read stuff from Tiger Woods about how much Lasik improved his game.

I'm a sport fencer. If I decided that I wanted to compete for a 70+ vet US or world title in a few years -- and I'm only six years away from qualifying -- in addition to diet, training, and new coaches, I'd be having specific Lasik work done now.

Technolgy is coming closer to the point where some people will start to replace healthy body parts.

I expect to live long enough to see NFL players at various positions take a year off to have a total knee replacement after there's enough damage. What's it worth to an o-lineman to have a beat-up knee replaced with one designed to carry around 325 pounds?

russell, you may want to take a look at Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics. I can't find the page to share with you, but this search approaches the point

https://www.google.co.jp/search?biw=1227&bih=627&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=scott+mccloud+face+electric+plug&oq=scott+mccloud+face+electric+plug&gs_l=psy-ab.3...15672.15672.0.15821.1.1.0.0.0.0.102.102.0j1.1.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.B2k00UkbvqE

Basically, the riff is that we (as humans) are incredibly egocentric and we see ourselves in everything. Taking that a bit further, I'd suggest that when we get machines to the point that they cross over the uncanny valley, we will think they are better than real humans because we can put into them what we want rather than having to deal with the problem that what they think is not what we are thinking.

For me, the most interesting part of the article about ishiguro is the robot that is being trialled in Denmark for the elderly. Slightly horrifying, that these elderly with Alzheimer's, dementia, and catatonia can be reached by such an obvious imitation, but if it were my dad, to be able to provide the simulation of reality would have been something I would have eagerly wanted and pursued.

Writing this brings up another memory, when I was 7 or 8, we went to Hawai'i to visit family, specifically my grandmother for her 80th birthday. I was at the age where I was way too cool to think about any of this, but my brother, 3 years younger than me, would sit with my grandma and have conversations with her, striking because my grandmother's English consisted of 2 phrases, good boy and eat, eat. I remember distinctly my grandmother speaking to him in something totally incomprehensible (but I now realize was her pidgin Japanese) and my brother answering in English and them laughing and having a great time.

I know I or someone else has posted this before, but this is an elderly man who comes alive when he hears music from his youth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyZQf0p73QM

That we are happy to let technology (in this case, replaying music) awaken someone, I'm not sure where we draw a line.

why would they all of a sudden become discriminating when it comes to robots?

Because, despite all the evidence, people persist in believing that the actors in commercials are real people saying things that they really believe to be true. Whereas a machine wouldn't get that benefit of the doubt.

wj, I just don't buy it. It's not "benefit of the doubt," it's gullibility.

OK, call it gullibility. But it's not totally universal. It applies to things that they hear from people. But the output of a machine?

Sure, you can argue that TVs and the Internet are machines. But those aren't machines pretending to be people. That would, I believe, set off all their paranoias.

They'll be a part of the internet of things,

and thus hackable

when we get machines to the point that they cross over the uncanny valley

i don't think they will completely cross the uncanny valley. and that's why i think it would be better to just have machines present as machines, because a machine that is very close to, but not quite, human is actually kind of creepy. in other words, off-putting at an intuitive level. you might not be able to put your finger on it, but something will just be... off.

they might even pass as human in some contexts, but they'll pass as humans who are not quite right.

there are likely some specific and narrow contexts where pretty damned close to human is actually preferable to obviously machine. working with alzheimers patients might be one. but in general i think people are more likely to trust a machine that they know is a machine, than an apparent human that seems, for some reason, odd.

to me the acid test will be if an android can fool a dog.

Will android dogs chase driverless cars?

I want my personal caretaker robot to be Oliver Sacks, a national treasure, that one.

to me the acid test will be if an android can fool a dog.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg_ZKiZvAFk

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/prominent-journalist-stabbed-moscow

Odds are in the coming days rump will tweet a reference to this as an example of appropriate behavior toward the press.

After all, conservatives all over the country want to kill the First Amendment by shooting at it with the Second Amendment.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/montana-gop-official-says-she-would-have-shot-journalist-gianforte-assaulted

conservatives all over the country want to kill the First Amendment by shooting at it with the Second Amendment.

They've been saying it so long, and so loud, that folks are starting to believe them,

fun times ahead.

dog meets dog.

I feel like you may confuse a dog, but you'll never fool it, if you can't get the smell right. And in cleek's link, the first thing the dog does after the toy falls down is to go over and smell it. As in, "WTF is this thing, anyhow?"

russell's link -- it's not entirely clear, but it looks like the "robot" might be being controlled by one of the guys watching. Having just been discussing the talents and limitations of AIs with my son, that makes me observe that although that creation is impressive physically (the legs, the way it moves), it's not nearly as impressive as it would be if all its movements and reactions to the real dog had been its own "decisions." But I can't tell -- is the guy with the "controller" in his hand controlling the machine, or not?

I just want to know how many years it will take before they're as convincing as the later models on Westworld. We can probably manage something today like the old prototypes in the basement.

Depends on who got to the dog first:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxyQYSJ3zQg

Show no emotion, because conservatives will spot your emotionalism and point you out.

Maybe there will robot dog-whisperers who will convince the dog to fetch its slippers before it fetches ours.

I want my personal caretaker robot to be Oliver Sacks, a national treasure, that one.

I'm still majorly bummed that he's dead. His memoir On the Move: a Life, published just before he died, is worth a read for anybody who hasn't read it, and all his stuff is good, but in my opinion Awakenings is a masterpiece. I read an interview with him a few years ago in which the interviewer (a well-known novelist), when talking about Awakenings, was obviously unable to control his irritation that the film with Robin Williams had been such a low-brow, feelgood, "heartwarming" sellout of such an extraordinary work, and that Sacks seemed unable to see this, and Oliver Sacks was clearly, benignly, puzzled and uncomprehending of the irritation. It made me think that he did not realise what he had wrought. What a strange, humane, luminous man he was.

it looks like the "robot" might be being controlled by one of the guys watching.

Yes. Remote control, not AI.

The "dog" was developed to be a robotic pack mule for the military, for carrying supplies in difficult terrain. Apparently it was too noisy for that purpose.

I'm sure somebody somewhere is looking for a good use case for it.

Hey, lj, how's your hurricane? Saw Kumamoto mentioned. Just windy rain?

As a final point (hah! in your dreams!), I appreciate that Ishiguro's baby-ish robot is comforting to people with dementia, perhaps in spite of its truncated and/or missing limbs and weird eerie face, but I have to wonder if it wouldn't be better to have real live human beings helping people with dementia.

Amazingly enough, real live human beings respond just like real live human beings. Even without millions of dollars of research funding and an army of grad student helpers.

It would be helpful toward that end if hands-on caregivers were actually paid more than $10/hour.

As always, silly me, harping on the theme of valuing the things that people actually do, and expressing that by paying them a living or even more-than-living wage to do them.

a machine that is very close to, but not quite, human is actually kind of creepy. in other words, off-putting at an intuitive level.

It occurs to me that we may be being a little egocentric here. That is, yeah machines like this are kind of creepy . . . to us.

But then, we didn't grow up with them, did we? Will the generations who grow up with a machine-generated voice on their computer as a routine thing be as creeped out? Or will they simply see a machine pretending to be human as part of their view of normal?

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it will just be another technological change. One which is a wonder for one generation, kind of cool but pretty normal for the next, and utterly unremarkable for the ones after that.

Think, for example, about the way (landline) telephones have been viewed. For my grandparents (who grew up in California in the late 1800s) it was amazing to be able to talk to someone on across town, let alone on the far side of the country. My parents were impressed when they became able to dial a call across the country without going thru an operator. I routinely dial calls which go anywhere in the world, and frankly think nothing of it.

Hey, lj, how's your hurricane?

Pedantry lives! I believe that it's only a hurricane if it is in the Atlantic. In the Pacific, it's a typhoon. (Wonder which one they use for storms like that in the Indian Ocean....)

will they simply see a machine pretending to be human as part of their view of normal?

I think people will see machines that emulate humans, but which are clearly not humans, to be fine. E.g., a computer generated voice, or animation, or even robot that is human-ish but fairly obviously not a person.

I'd even extend that to situations where it might be a human or it might not, but it sort of doesn't matter. The nice "person" that I talk to when I renew a prescription doesn't bother me. Sounds like person, I know it's not, and it doesn't matter.

But what makes the uncanny valley effect uncanny, and therefore creepy, is when the illusion of a human person is sort of credible, but not completely credible. Is it, or isn't it? That's the creepy part.

And I think that is probably baked in, by thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of years of adaptation. We recognize that another consciousness that resembles ours sees and recognizes us. And the things that create that recognition are manifold, and subtle, and intuitive, and very hard to emulate convincingly in more than a very narrow context.

Could there be a robot that can take my dinner reservation and pass as a human? Or talk with me on the phone? Or direct traffic?

Yes, probably.

Could there be a robot that can convincingly engage in a conversation about existential dread? A robot that can follow and participate in an extended stream of sarcastic human among friends?

I don't think so.

Robots can mirror human behavior. They cannot and I think will not ever live it. And I think we'll be able to tell.

Maybe technology will get all the way across the uncanny valley and fool us all. At that point, I'll once again ask the question, why bother?

People already *are* people. We don't need fake people.

People already *are* people. We don't need fake people.

Although some seem determined to fake being human beings. And unconvincingly. (Which people those are is, however, a matter on which there is some disagreement.)

People already *are* people. We don't need fake people.

Sure we do. Then we can have slavery again, but without the mess.

(Not that this wasn't pointed out long since by other people than yvt.)

And of course, "without the mess" is another one of those delusions of the tech-glorifying, job-creating geniuses of the world.

I wonder if "fake human" robots will have better luck, or do a better job, of pushing back.

I can't stop thinking about those Uber numbers from a recent link...$70bn of value for the 4,000 geniuses to carve up, $7.50 an hour for the peons.

What if my neighbors and I had just banded together and said let's write a ride-sharing app? (True ride-sharing, per Tony P., or even if not that, then small money passed around the way my mother pays the woman who gives her rides now that she (my mom) can't drive anymore.)

Probably our little ride-sharing app would be stomped on by some governmental entity in the name of regulation, but really egged on by...Uber. Or its equivalent. Just like (not going to search for a link) the broadband providers stomp on municipalities that try to set up systems of broadband as a public utility.

Protection from unfair competition is important!!!!! But only for massive multi-national companies, not for local cab drivers.

/rant; I'm supposed to be working.

/rant; I'm supposed to be working.

Should your employer replace you with a robot that can do your job, or should Obsidian Wings replace you with a blogging robot?

Maybe both. Then someone will need a robot to do whatever it is you would be doing if not working or blogging ... and so on and so forth.

We must strive for total obsolescence.

hsh: lol, you made me laugh out loud.

But then we'll be right back where we started from, no? Oh, wait, the human-like robots will be improved models.....like I said, without the mess.


Given Uber's facility for enabling hookups, why don't they offer sex robots of the type in lj's link far above as an accessory? Right in the driverless cars.

Or maybe a free-standing sex robot sharing app with sex robots lined up in indoor racks like the urban bicycle sharing facilities.

When android dogs and cats become all the rage, will the pilotless airlines permit them on planes as companion android pets.

Instead of lapdogs ... appdogs. That's for Ugh, who seeks a punless robot.

They could sniff out explosives too, saving on security.

The typhoon missed us, it was just windy rain. The sky looked spectacular though.

Happy to have it miss us, I think we've had 3 that have threatened to go thru Kumamoto, which leads to classes being cancelled and arranging makeups. This is because about 5 years ago, the Ministry of Health and Welfare discovered that the Ministry of Education was allowing Japanese universities to have 15 classes a term '程度' (teido, which translates to 'extent' or 'degree') In practice, this meant that a university scheduled 13 or 14, and this was sufficient. However, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which grants certification for students graduating in nursing, child care, diet, etc, said that they would refuse to certify students if they didn't have 15 classes in the required subjects. This led to the bizarre turn where recent graduates (I think it was for the previous year) had to come back to the universities to take 2 classes in various subjects to make sure that their certifications would be approved by that Ministry.

Never mind that the whole thing was ridiculous (precisely what information did they miss? And how would 2 additional classes make up for that?) and was basically an inter-minstry pissing contest, from then on, we have been required to teach 15 classes a term and if classes are missed, we are required to have makeups. And never mind that because of scheduling, we can have the class and students cannot attend, so for make up classes, it is possible to have a only a handful of students, with the educational purpose of having those classes nonexistent. We have to have 15 classes and by god, we will have them.

That might help explain why tests have "Rivers in Belgium, the cities on those rivers, and the industries in the cities. All the generals under Oda Nobunaga, and what they did in specific battles." No one is expected to use that information, but because it is asked for, everyone acquires it and tosses it when they don't need it, which is when they have finished the test.

Switching gears a bit here (and I have them, being a mostly mechanical facsimile of a human), I was on the bridge into Philly Friday night and saw a billboard with contact information for reporting suspected human trafficking.

So here I am in the United States, the wealthiest and most powerful nation humankind has ever known, and human trafficking is a common-enough occurrence that there are billboards devoted to telling people how to report it.

Without getting into much detail right away, my general thought was that this is what comes of the levels of economic inequality we are now seeing.

hsh: lol, you made me laugh out loud.

Then I have served my purpose for the day. I'm a funny robot. ;^)

I have to wonder if it wouldn't be better to have real live human beings helping people with dementia

Possibly, but very few people are going to have the patience to deal with them. Especially if they are going to get paid minimum wage. If we could get to a point where people with these jobs and others (like preschool teachers) would get the wage appropriate to the difficulty of their jobs, it might happen, but don't hold your breath.

This led to the bizarre turn where recent graduates (I think it was for the previous year) had to come back to the universities to take 2 classes in various subjects to make sure that their certifications would be approved by that Ministry.

And here I thought this was the sort of thing that only happened in weird dreams I have about having to go back to high school or college to take some class someone decided I needed to take after the fact to have properly graduated.

They are always of the I-know-this-is-somehow-wrong variety of dreams, because the "premise" is too ridiculous. Next time, I'll take that version of dream more seriously.

As to the human trafficking billboard, I saw an article recently (forget where it was, but I think in the Kennebec Journal, the local paper) about being on the lookout for signs of human trafficking, and reporting accordingly. The agency going on about the evils of human trafficking, and to which one was asked to report, was...ICE.

This gives me the heebie-jeebies, to tell the truth. Sad to be so cynical, but are they then going to deport the victims for being here without papers, or what?

What will Rod Dreher say if there are gay robots?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOyn9MaZGqY

Would it be the end of robocivilization? Or would it be OK as long as they don't require cake?

What if Richard Spencer showed up to have his inseam measured and the robotic tailors were Jewish?

Would he give up wearing pants altogether?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV2N4KSh3x4

..., and human trafficking is a common-enough occurrence that there are billboards devoted to telling people how to report it.

It's a common-enough occurrence in various politicians', law enforcement officials', and activists' imaginations. Real occurrences are likely substantially lower.

...various politicians', law enforcement officials', and activists' imaginations.

If you don't believe this set of people (and I'm not necessarily saying you should), what other set of people do you believe to be as certain as you are that it's only a matter of imagination?

...ICE.

I don't know who the contact info was for on the billboard. I was driving and only took notice of the main thrust of it. I remember the image, but have not been able to find anything on google that looks like the billboard I saw. I'm going to keep any eye out for it when on the road. Now I'm curious to know if it was an ICE setup.

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