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Radio Free Burrito 38b: Let’s Try This Again

wil, · Categories: Books, Film

Another try at going straight into Audacity, with some new settings.

This episode is 28.4MB and 19:41 long.

And for those of you who can’t use the embedded player, here’s: 038b-RFB

20 Responses to “Radio Free Burrito 38b: Let’s Try This Again”

  1. Linus Hollis says:

    the weight just rolls off in Lents; I’m Orthodox, so we have 4 and fast/abstain most Wednesdays&Fridays. No godtalk, just the good health: almost vegan, but shellfish and no oil and 1-2 meals a day. The modern kicker is avocados. As a fruit, allowed, as a fat source, excellent, on your skin-test first! Avocado pesto with fresh basil, crab salad, plenty of satisfaction. Sleep can be in 2 shifts: try 2-6 & 2-6. Sleep through the heat, etc… I write best in the cool of the am, fresh from dreams. Early siestas seem to work well. Thanks for your vocal blog. Blind buds appreciate.

  2. Martine says:

    Much better sound this time! I’m glad to hear you’re taking some time off (the Internet will miss you though) – it sounds like you really need it! As for your sleep issues and overall yuckyness, I recommend drinking more water. A LOT more water. Cutting the beer out(while painful)is a great start too. The benefits of drinking water are immense. I’ve read that a glass of water before bed can even help with your leg shaking. Happy to hear that you’re working on your physical health – mental health usually is improved as a result. Hope that helps, at least a little.

    I find A.I. fascinating as well, and plan to see Ex Machina asap. It Follows sounds cool too! You bring up a lot of good points about the ethics behind the subject of A.I. If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading Off Limits: Tales of Alien Sex. It’s a neat collection of short stories.

    I’ve only seen the Destiny Conversations with Creators (I think that’s the first one), and found it to be more interesting than expected. Will check out the rest for sure!

    This got to be waay longer than I thought.. you DO read these right?

    Take Care!

  3. CrazyE says:

    Is this the return of a regular RFB?! Pretty please?

  4. Brian says:

    My 1st download seems to jump & skip. I am attempting a 2nd download. Did anyone else have problems or it just me?

    • Brian says:

      Oopsie! My 1st comment belongs to the previous broadcast. Note: Don’t drink & download – a public service announcement.

  5. Chris says:

    Hey Will;

    I generally have a lot of trouble sleeping too, One thing I do is play a little game in my head. One thing I do is, In my head I will list off one animal or something else per letter in the alphabet.
    E.G.: Aardvark, Bull, Cougar, so on and so on. It gets my brain to let go of the things throughout the day and just relaxes me.

    Hopefully you can get better sleep, have a great month off.

  6. Jared Bentley says:

    I understand the issues getting to sleep, but on the plus side doing it without alcohol should make it more restful sleep when you get used to it.

    Melatonin helps, but people tend to get restless in their sleep, and I’m sure you don’t want to kick Ann in your sleep.

    What I do the most often is basicly try to jumpstart my dreams. I get comfortable, relax, and then start visualizing the type of thing I’d like to dream about. 9 times out of 10, it works. That 10th time is still a win, as it inspires a poem or some kind of writing.

    Also, don’t let people try to box you into a disorder because you aren’t a morning person. Most of the creative people I know are wired to be up late and sleep in, authors, musicians, painters, photographers, and more. There are exceptions, but they require lots of coffee and often have a habit of going on morning runs. However, the important thing for your health is to have a consistent sleep pattern. If you get used to getting up earlier, (and doing it for more time with the ones you love is excellent incentive for such,) staying consistent will help.

  7. Chelle says:

    If you have not read them, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion and Rise of Endymion books go in-depth about AIs and their evolution, with and without human assistance. A very good series.

  8. Scott Langdon says:

    What you’re discussing in regards to Ex Machina and A.I. in general verges on asking what defines a person. Is something that is (nearly, in this case) indistinguishable from a person but you know to be artificially created a person. (Procreation similarities anyone?) Ava is very much an individual who shows growth over the course of the movie and ends up being someone akin to individuals many people have dealt with in youth. (Note: REALLY trying not to spoil here, so need to be vague)

    The real question regarding Ava is not is she intelligent, because she clearly proves she is, but is she a person. What separates us from machines that think and behave like us; why are we people but they machines?

    Note, I am not a philosopher, but hang around with a lot of them, and I’ve had this discussion with them after seeing this movie and had the headache to prove it. my layman’s interpretation of things may be just as flawed as yours, but it’s in asking the questions we get a little better at BS-ing the answer.

    • Amonyoshu says:

      Re: the ethics of robot subjects question you posed, Shelly Kagan provides a succinct explanation of some of the ethical ramifications of the claim that there’s something fundamentally wrong with treating a self-aware AI as an object. Said argument is made within the first 4 minutes of his 5th lecture in the Open Yale course Philosophy of Death. Link here: Philosophy of Death: Argument for the Existence of the Soul Part III
      Quick summary: 1.) Self awareness does not necessitate an evolution out of deterministic automation of programming. 2.) Free Will can be argued to be a characteristic which sets one apart from that determinism.
      3.) Human beings have free will where even self- aware robots do not.
      4.) Via inference to the best explanation, the soul is the source of (or, I prefer, housing for) free will.
      5.) Therefore, human beings, having both bodies and souls, are dualistically composed, and should not be held to the standards of human subject interaction when dealing with sub-human objects.

      It’s worth noting here that the soul used in the argument does not demand any particular spiritual association whatsoever, but only the ascription to the idea that it exists in human beings. So, to the point that Scott brought up, “Why are we people but they machines?”, the dualist has a ready answer (great insight, Scott!).

      • wil says:

        This is fascinating. Thank you! Also, I edited your comment to close a tag, but the content is unchanged.

      • Scott Langdon says:

        I generally try to avoid talk of souls and dualism because it has so many pitfalls that people can fall into and there really is no satisfactory answer. Your point #3 can be argued to be invalid, or at least uncertain, in the case of quantum computing.

        I posit that a technological ‘soul’ could arise as a byproduct of quantum non-determinism. There definitely is something within humans that transcends the physical and biological, but can’t similar be said for quantum computing systems? What odd effects might arise from the interplay of the grey areas that lurk in fuzzy logic? A standard binary system definitely satisfies point 3, but I remain hopeful that quantum systems can break that veil.

        It’s too early in the infancy of quantum computing, as Stephen says in a post below on the technological realities of A.I. I can’t wait to see what happens when that tech becomes less experimental and more people get to look at it from more perspectives.

        • wil says:

          I’m just chiming in to thank you for all for being part of this conversation. Your responses and thoughts are really interesting, and exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to get when I mentioned it in the show.

          • Scott Langdon says:

            You’re welcome, glad we could help. Questions of person and what makes us us fascinate me as much as they perplex and frustrate. This is one of those times when being best friends with an ethicist and hanging with a bunch of philosophers comes in handy.

            Never really did address the matter of ethical treatment of AIs. The optimist in me would hope that it would be smooth running from day one but I fear that would not be the case. Until the matter of person-hood was resolved AIs would initially be treated as chattel servants at best. Perhaps by the time humanity reaches the point of achieving human-level AI we will become better at recognizing persons in forms other than our own. Not saying we’d maliciously mistreat AIs, just that we wouldn’t hold our interactions with them to the same standard as amongst ourselves. For example, we’d eventually treat an animal-level AI the same way we’d treat a real animal but there would be a lag between the development of the tech and how we interact with it. Almost sounds like how we interact with tech today, just a few orders of magnitude higher in complexity and consequences.

            This dilemma is central to two of my favorites TNG episodes “The Measure of A Man” and “The Quality of Life” which deals with the issue of the treatment of non-human persons in nice bite-sized chunks laypeople can digest without too much of a headache.

        • Stephen Hammond says:

          Hi Scott,
          A system based on quantum principles would have even less in common with the film version of AI. The properties of quantum coupling would link each individual quantum processor into a single intelligence. Each mobile avatar would be part of this composite mind but the loss of an avatar would not damage it. So the moral of how to treat the physical avatar units would be less important.
          Such an intelligence would be difficult to contemplate and understand as it has only a limited amount in common with animal intelligence.
          The future looks to be a very interesting place!

  9. Kat says:

    As someone who always has issues with sleep, I thank you for sharing your story about it. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

  10. Stephen Hammond says:

    I am a software engineer amongst other things and would like to chime in regarding the depiction of AI in films.

    Nothing we have created to date is capable of any level of independent conscious or intelligent behavior. We have created various systems which successfully mimic intelligent behaviors and exhibit complex problem solving.
    This is all as far from the level of AI shown in the movies as a caveman banging rocks is from the Hubble space telescope!

    Our current understanding of intelligence in the brain and also largely the operation of the brain itself is laughably limited. We are unable to produce a scientific description of how intelligence works. Or for that matter learning, or memory, or emotions, or dreaming, or instincts. We don’t even know for certain why we sleep and what happens in the brain when we do.

    What the films containing AI have in common is that to tell a compelling story the AI always has the same or amplified failings that human intelligence has. This is understandable as the film would otherwise be somewhat dull. There is no reason however to assume that if we were at a level of engineering and scientific know-how required to create a human level or greater AI that we would be forced to build in such behaviors.
    Animal intelligence is not a designed construct but is the result of continuous change and evolution. We carry a huge amount of instinctual and behavioral baggage from this process which an AI would not need or contain.

    As far as the ethics or how we would treat AI’s I tend to be optimistic. Once the majority of people understand that these future constructs are truly intelligent then human nature outside of films is mostly positive. Most of us are kind to animals and they are not as smart or as able to express themselves as an AI would be.
    Still we have a while to think on this one, we are in my engineering estimation at least a century of not several from human level AI systems.
    Which is a shame in at least one way, if they were here now then we would always have someone to play more games with 🙂

  11. Matt says:

    I have the same 2am – 10am thing… and its a really problem because i go to bet at 2 and have to get up at 7:30 (for work)…. ive tried the earlier thing. im going to look into the “disorder” you mentioned.

  12. Ben Duguid says:

    There’s a good show at the moment on Channel 4 in the UK called “Humans” which is covering an awful lot of what you’re thinking about to:

    Should we treat “synths” as more than machines, what effect does using them for sex have on relationships and attitudes towards each other, etc.

    All very interesting 🙂