It's been a week or so since I've posted anything, mostly because life has simultaneously been busy and boring. I'm not sure how that works either, but trust me on this. So I thought that I'd simply post whatever the heck I've got bouncing through my head at the moment. I was going to call it "Deep Thoughts with Stilton" but then realized that none of my thoughts are particularly deep.
By the way, the AI self-portrait above is in no way representative of how I really look. I certainly weigh too much but don't think I'm quite as inflated as this guy. I asked the computer for "portly" and was instead given "rotund."
AI is a funny thing, which is perhaps why Elon Musk and other high-tech types are currently warning the world to put further development on immediate hold before it destroys us all. Which is a real possibility, albeit probably not in the way that most of us would have expected. Social media and the (ahem) "news" are all guided by algorithms now. Algorithms designed to ramp up our fears and anger against others and addict us to getting more and more upsetting information. Which is why our country is so divided and angry.
But AI puts those algorithms on steroids (currently growing in what has been called a double-exponential curve) and will be able to tell each and every one of us exactly the most convincing arguments to embrace full-fledged paranoia and enmity of others while developing a heroin-level dependence on whatever the computers (or whoever's running the computers) wants to tell us. Bonus: any information - audio, video, photo, document, or text - that can be transmitted electronically can be faked easily, instantly, and (quite soon) perfectly.
So slowing things down on AI development is probably a very good idea...and also the definition of the genie already being out of the cybernetic bottle.
On what can't exactly be called the bright side, Artificial Intelligence could be brought to its imaginary knees by Nonexistent Intelligence if our national power grid fails owing to a natural solar flare (we just recently missed a huge one that would have done the job) or an EMP attack from anyone who can explode a nuke in the stratosphere above our country. We would instantly be thrown back into 1880's technology - no electricity, no gas for cars, no computers, no water systems, no food delivery, no communication, etc. Our nation would go "Lord of the Flies" in about two weeks.
Happily, our grid can be "hardened" for what amounts to flyspeck money in Washington...only no one is making it happen. As a case in point, here's a cartoon and editorial I did about this very subject some 12 years ago.
Actor Dennis Quaid has just made a documentary about all of this that you can sign up to watch at the website for "Grid Down, Power Up." Do it now before the story can only be told around campfires!
In actual good news, I've recently been reading about the poor biologically-female athletes who keep getting crushed in competition against biologically-male "female" athletes and aren't happy about it. Competing against their hormonally-augmented opponents gives them a tremendous handicap. Which is what inspired me to create a perfect solution for the problem: allow all biological females to compete in the Special Olympics so they can finally start winning medals again.
Granted, this would pretty much be taking a dump on special needs kids, but isn't it still the same reasoning that the Left is already making about biological females? You're welcome, America!
And say, how about that indictment of Donald Trump? How much of a pisser is that? He's accused of commiting a misdemeanor (falsifying a business record) that has already expired under the statute of limitations. Only the rogue District Attorney has bumped up the charge by claiming that Trump's payment of $130k in hush money to Stormy "Slutzilla" Daniels became an illegal campaign donation, and categorizing it as a "legal expense" therefore becomes (egad!) a criminal act and felony.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, who in the same election paid over one million dollars for the creation of the Steele Dossier, which was definitely a contribution to her campaign, and which was reported (in her falsified records) as "legal expenses."
So however you look at this mess, Hillary is at least eight times more guilty than Trump and she's not being charged with diddly-squat. Probably because DA Alvin Bragg doesn't want to commit Arkancide.
I've been working on my taxes and, as is the case almost every year, I'm gaining new insights into why some people end up in bell towers with sniper rifles. I'm a smart-ish guy, college education, successful businessman, and I have a pricey computer program to help me compute my relatively simple taxes. So why is it still frigging impossible?!
One reason is that the tax forms aren't written by Earthlings, or at least not by any with even a rudimentary understanding of English. A recent breaking point of mine came when reading this question from the IRS (which I'm paraphrasing):
Are you an American or someone who lived outside of the country for more than half of 2022?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No
Well, I'm an American so I should answer "yes," right? Because if I answer "no" I'll probably lose my citizenship and be deported. Seriously, how am I supposed to answer this?! Would it have killed them to replace "or" with "and/or" so I didn't have to play guessing games in which the prize for getting the answer wrong is a federal fine?! Bastards.
Speaking of pain, he segued deftly, I've been in less of it recently. Something changed on the one-year anniversary of losing Kathy. I'm certainly not missing her any less, but the grief has become more bearable. I'm not entirely sure why, in part because I don't want to burst the bubble with too much introspection.
I still haven't made much progress in re-engaging with the world, though on Tuesday I'm going to attend a meeting of our local gardening club. This will hopefully provide a bit of social interaction while gathering advice on how to take care of Kathy's landscaping.
When she was very ill indeed, she still told me that she thought we needed some Bloomstruck Hydrangea and made me write that down. And this week I found a couple of them at Home Depot! So on Tuesday, I'll give someone at garden club a wonderful straight line when I ask where I should stick them.