Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Google and I - "Getting to know me, getting to know all about me....."

In 2009 I read about and wrote a bit about Raymond Kurzweil (and his natal chart). I then felt much admiration for the guy. By 2013 though my admiration was tinged with annoyance that his brilliant mind wasn't being used to address the world's greatest needs.

Now what's he up to?

Google Will Soon Know You Better Than Your Spouse Does, Top Exec Says

In short, the Observer writes, Kurzweil believes that Google will soon "know the answer to your question before you have asked it. It will have read every email you've ever written, every document, every idle thought you've ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself."

As creepy as this may sound to some, Kurzweil -- who has long contended that computers will outsmart us by 2029 -- believes that the improvement of artificial intelligence is merely the next step in our evolution.

"[Artificial intelligence] is not an intelligent invasion from Mars," he told the Montecito Journal in 2012, per a post on his website. "These are brain extenders that we have created to expand our own mental reach. They are part of our civilization. They are part of who we are.

Another article on the same topic, by Carole Cadwalladr is at The Guardian:
Are the robots about to rise? Google's new director of engineering thinks so…
Ray Kurzweil popularised the Teminator-like moment he called the 'singularity', when artificial intelligence overtakes human thinking. But now the man who hopes to be immortal is involved in the very same quest – on behalf of the tech behemoth..............

Dang! I'll repeat my last year's criticism : is this the kind of thing the best and brightest scientific brains on the planet ought to be focusing on? How about lending a few genius-tinted thoughts to climate change, worsening water shortages, and new power sources to name but a few? The world needs its best and brightest minds on such problems right now. If someone doesn't focus on these issues there will not be much of a world left upon which Google could practice its all-seeing, all-knowing crapola.


mike said...

Many are in denial over climate change, because the remedy is bad for business. We acknowledge water shortages, but place the bulk of the blame on a fickle Mother Nature. It becomes rhetorical when we claim climate change has affected Mother Nature. The USA is rejoicing over "new" energy sources in our own backyards, but it requires huge volumes of water to frack it out of the ground...not to mention possibly destroying underground water reservoirs in the process. Contamination of underground reservoirs and earthquakes are relegated to the denial heap, too...causality can't be proven. CA is in a record drought, but Governor Jerry Brown is reluctant to implement restrictions, because it would interfere with fracking ( The dollar always seems to win every decision.

Humans take pride in thinking our species is the only one with extraordinary intelligence, yet that intelligence has diverged out of compliance with the natural world. We live in a perfectly wonderful world and universe, but artificiality becomes us, attracts us, and leads us ever deeper into our demise. We attempt to fix the perceived ills of the natural world without comprehending the inherent perfection that we plaster over. Our thinking has been ersatz for such an extended duration that it's only logical we would desire to exceed ourselves with extra-artificial intelligence, much like a delusional schizophrenic that refuses medication.

I often ponder whether humans are some fluke of evolution or if we truly serve some pathway toward Earth's intrinsic destiny. We appear to be on the fast-track to extinction while engrossed with our digital toys (brains?). I always LOL when I see video of people texting and walking into a pond or off a balcony...survival of the fittest, but perhaps a telling clue to our future.

LB said...

Wow. Thanks for posting this, Twilight. Thanks also, for the links to previous posts.

Reading the thoughts attributed to Kurzweil, about how Google will someday be able to read our minds based on reading every email we've ever written and every word or phrase we've ever searched for, makes me want to hurl my computer through the window.

In looking at Kurzweil's natal chart, I noticed his Moon and Mercury are in Pisces, with his Moon possibly forming challenging aspects to Uranus (in Gemini) and Jupiter (in Sag) - also possibly trining Chiron and SN in Scorpio, making it easy to tap into other people's stuff and/or spy.

Regardless of aspects, here's an example of Pisces wanting it all without understanding or respecting people's need for privacy. Nor does this mindset take into consideration any reasonable expectation the public might have that certain boundaries exist (especially when it comes to emails) - though most of us are becoming aware they don't.

We know privacy on the internet is an illusion. IMO, it's also an illusion that technology will someday save the day - which isn't to say we haven't benefited from it in some ways.

But when the Earth has become one gigantic landfill, littered with and contaminated by the discarded remnants of generations of technological waste created by our growing addiction, maybe it will all become more clear. Or maybe not.

Even in medicine, our narrowing focus on the use of and over-reliance upon certain technological advances is questionable. Instead of taking a more holistic approach - one that focuses more on root causes and teaching us how do what we can to *prevent* disease by stressing the value in individual efforts aimed at creating and maintaining good health (whenever possible)- we put our faith in technology to diagnose symptoms and then cure us.

For instance, I don't think many women are aware of the fact that each mammography exposes them to **1,000 times** more radiation than that of a chest x-ray. Or that cumulative radiation exposure increases cancer risk and likely causes some forms of breast cancer. Or that many of the cancers commonly diagnosed through mammography, and which are then aggressively treated here in the US, are actually thought to be non-invasive "pre-cancers" that, according to some experts, would most likely *never* have become invasive or killed many of the women who were treated.

I'd include a link, only my computer didn't read my mind well enough to find me what I'm looking for. Or maybe it did and didn't approve.:0

Though not what I was looking for, here's the link to a large study that recently looked at 90,000 Canadian women and mammography:

The findings not only bring into question the usefulness of mammography in improving women's survival rates from breast cancer, they also touch upon the serious problem of overdiagnosis. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"If the researchers also included a precancerous condition called ductal carcinoma in situ, the overdiagnosis rate would be closer to one in three cancers, said Dr. Anthony B. Miller of the University of Toronto, the lead author of the paper. Ductal carcinoma in situ, or D.C.I.S., is found only with mammography, is confined to the milk duct and may or may not break out into the breast. But it is usually treated with surgery, including mastectomy, or removal of the breast."

Technology has its place, but maybe it's time to re-evaluate how to make better use of it.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Second paragraph of your comment is spot-on - absolutely spot-on!! :-)

We were certainly a very unhappy accident for planet Earth, we've done nothing at all to enhance our planet home, and everything to destroy it.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I think many guys (and gals), with brain power on the level of Kurzweil's, are just a hair's breadth from madness. They can become so besotted with their own brilliance, the idea must occur to them that they must be capable of god-like attainment. :-/

I did read the article on mammography recently. I was particularly interested as I'm due to make my next appointment for same. I've resisted the official USA *annual* mammo recommendation so far, and extended it to minimum 18 or 24 months, for the reasons you've mentioned.

The technology involved in mammography has been improved over the years. Now, at our hospital they do both sideways and top/bottom views - I think it's digital now, whereas in the past they did just the sideways views. These extra views do involve extra radiation though - I guess, but the machine is a wee bit easier on the boob. ;-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ Under duress (and against my better judgment), I had one mammography in my life. It was many years ago when I was a much younger (and less assertive) woman.

Having said that, I don't doubt that they find *some* cancers.

Yes, the technology has changed over the years. 3-D mammography (a type of digital mammography) is now frequently used in conjunction with 2-D mammography. From what I've read, this combination also results in a higher dose of radiation exposure:!

BTW, I'm not suggesting you or anyone else stop having mammograms. I just think it's always a good idea to make informed choices.

LB said...

Twilight ~ Sorry, what I meant to say was that I agreed with you about digital mammography's higher dosage of radiation - based on what I've read.

The reason I mentioned mammography is it seemed to relate to the problem of invasive technology in getting to know all about us. The subject of mammography is still fresh in my mind, having just listened to an online summit on breast cancer prevention. Several of the summit's featured speakers (comprised of doctors, former doctors, researchers, teachers, nutritionists, whistle-blowers, alternative health practitioners, etc.) specifically talked about mammography concerns.

Twilight said...

LB ~ There is a kind of link to the "getting to know you" technological invasions, but at least it is our choice whether to have a mammogram or whether not to have one, and with what for the rest of the techno invasions, not so much any more.

In the UK the recommendation for most women was "every 3 years", which I followed while living there, sometimes with an annual manual check by a female GP.

As in all things it's a personal choice. I chose not to have a colonoscopy, which they kept trying to "sell" me. I think they've given up on that now. :-)

LB said...

You're right, of course. Mammograms are different in that we at least have a choice. The problem is, I don't think most of us understand what it is we're choosing. Same as when we choose to communicate via emails and wrongly assume certain protections are in place to keep their contents safe and private.

ex-Chomp said...

" I'll repeat my last year's criticism : is this the kind of thing the best and brightest scientific brains on the planet ought to be focusing on? How about lending a few genius-tinted thoughts to climate change, worsening water shortages, and new power sources to name but a few? The world needs its best and brightest minds on such problems right now. "

And you are simply right!

This world is ending in many ways, and these people miss the point, the key-point! Instead they focus on a false dream, that of the so-called "Promethan" dream that impested the West in XIX Century.

Unfortunately the XXI Century seems more a false and devious return to the XIXth Century that a true going **beyond** the limits of the XXth.

Twilight said...

LB ~ We're beginning to see behind the veil now, little by little.

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ That's an insightful observation!
With each turn on time's spiral, it seems there's a more intense version of what happened last time around waiting for us. :-)