Feeding the dragon

It’s human nature to accept gradually increasing levels of inequity.

Former KU chancellor receiving $500K salary for transition consulting

There are many, many people with ridiculous salaries that contribute little of real value. Coaches, athletes, entertainers, CEO’s. Does anyone really think they deserve so many times more than the average person? Aren’t there other things that money could be spent on that might help make the world a better place? Yet many will speak loudly that this inequity is justified.

Sometimes, like this, yet another example hits a nerve. Still, we believe that we are powerless to change things. So we just keep feeding the dragon.

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Should We Fear AI?

Many reasonable arguments are made to counter the fear of the increasing abilities of the computer systems collectively referred to as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

E.g.  The Three Laws of Artificial Intelligence: Dispelling Common Myths”

Simple logic and rationales based on historical events, however, give credence to a different perspective.

First, reasonable arguments have frequently been inaccurate in the extreme in predicting the future. Aviation gives an excellent example. Initial skepticism of the utility and adoption of aircraft was initially widespread. Later, when the impact of a rapidly improving technology became apparent, predictions of an airplane in every garage were likewise radically incorrect.

With AI, there are many unknowns. Just as the potential impact of the accidental escape of a small number of African bees in South America was far more significant than anyone could have expected, something as powerful as advanced computer technology is very possibly dangerous in ways we cannot foresee.

There are other vectors that AI may follow to cause catastrophic damage to humanity. If we assume that the risk of AI to humanity is, at worst, small, then we must consider AI as a powerful tool which, like any powerful tool, is likely to be misused–or, at least, used for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many. Every technological advancement has been used by one group or nation to obtain supremacy over a competing group. To assume we will behave differently in this situation defies logic.

It is reasonable to believe that, like many technologies, the pace of technological improvement in this area will accelerate. Eventually, this will likely become exponential as each advancement has a compound effect on the next.

Danger comes not only from the fundamental changes that AI has on society (e.g., job displacement) but also in our inability to keep up with these changes. One can argue that the social fabric of society is struggling–and perhaps failing–to keep up with the changes we are already experiencing. Social media is a single aspect of the technology that is central to our lives. Few would argue that stress, anxiety, and depression clearly correlate with our adoption of this new toy.

Like the Luddites opposition to the Jaquard loom, we are unlikely to be successful in stemming the adoption of ever more capable automated machines. Many argue that we will adapt to this change as we have to all the others.

There is one difference this time. If we extrapolate the capabilities of our mechanical servants, there will come a time when they can take over all of our physical needs. At that point, we only need do the things that we want to do.

The question then will be. Is that a good thing?

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Backstreet Lawrence

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Weekly photo

A photo of a subject or location taken somewhere in or near Lawrence, Ks.

Info on how this game is played


The Carnegie Library building at 9th and Vermont.

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In Plain Sight 10/4/2017

Another image from an obscure (or not) location in Lawrence.

Info on how this game is played

The back of the Aladdin Cafe

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In Plain Sight 9/25/2017

This week’s image of a secret location in the greater Lawrence area.

Here’s the background for these posts.

From the Japanese Friendship Garden next to the Wakins Museum

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In Plain Sight (9/13/2017- early)

I’m out of town, so wanted to get the image up early this week. This might be an easy one…. I’ve kept them all downtown up to now.  Will that trend continue?  This will go on the Lawrence Subreddit tomorrow.


The building

…near 7th and Mass, accross from Free State Brewery

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In Plain Sight 9/7/2017

Below are images of a location in Lawrence, Ks. The locations are usually popular, common, or specifically noteworthy.  This post is a contest that invites readers to identify the subject or location.  Additional images will be added regularly until someone correctly identifies the subject.

Additional info can be found in this post: 

More of the entire image:

Another angle

And a view from outside

Located in the back of the Amyx Barber shop near 9th and Mass.

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Another summer ends

The pool being emptied.

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Where is this?

Several years ago I had a blog on the LJWorld website. One of the things I did was to take pictures of various subjects around town, crop the image to make it barely recognizable, then invite the readers to identify it. Over a few days, I’d post larger images until someone recognized the location/subject (and posted it in the comments).

The LJWorld took the blogs off their main page and I discontinued that series of posts. Here I’m trying it again.

If you’re interested, you can find my old blog on the LJW here.


You’ll have to go back a couple of pages for the more interesting posts (If, indeed, you find them so), and the formatting of some of the really old posts may be messed up due to software changes on their site.

For now, I’m posting these on the Lawrence subreddit, also.

Here is a second image with more info:

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