Character is ... Destiny?


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I don't think he envisaged Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment insurance.

--Brant

Lol Brant...no I don't think so, however Franklin sure did understand the perfidy of power and the lusts of man...

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He didn't own any slaves. The North and the South were already severely culturally divided.

He was actually a scientist--one of his century's best. He was only into that for about ten years.

He is rightly described as the first American. That's because he was so proto-typical. The man was so modern he could fit into today with hardly a blink.

The 18th Century deserved him much more than this one does.

--Brant

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Is Ben Franklin's birthday the same as MLK's? Doesn't Ayn Rand's birthday coincide with Groundhog Day? What is the significance of that. I think June 27th is Roger Bissell's birthday and therefor has become "Jolly Roger Day."

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Good morning, Dave: The voice and dialogue of Hal. That was the creepiest ever, Dude.

I mentioned before that after looking at an advertisement for lawn tractors, vacation spots, etc. at an ad on Yahoo, or MSN, those same products would show up, where ever I went on the web, including Objectivist Living. Recently, I have been having stories and other links pop up, when I went to someone’s original link and no one else saw the relinks, unless they were kidding me. I did go and delete cookies, but I left my level of security as is, for now. Right now BayHealth has an ad at the top of this post a letter page, with an ad for 3D mammography. My youngest daughter may have been looking options up. Her friend who must be all of 31 has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but her prognosis is good. She is going to get treatment at Johns Hopkins.

A little early for the singularity? Only if you think the universe at some point will reach its predetermined multidimensional limits, (taking into account the uncertainty principle,) will then start to contract under gravitational pull, and once again form another singularity which will lead to another Big Bang. The trick will be, if you are a sentient being, to remain outside the dimensions of time and space, and then rejoin the new universe after it expands and cools. Welcome to The Twilight Zone.
Peter

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Oh, Brant, you are as big a scared -y cat as Stephen Hawking. The idea of smart machines, means they will also have a prevailing culture which over time will diverge into different cultures that might be at odds with each other, or with us. I still think that before that point robots and computers will be produced with Asimov’s four laws of Robotics.

Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics.

1) A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection, does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others: 0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
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Miles Stevenson wrote: How this programmed morality functions in real life, with Robots using their perceptions of reality, in much the way humans do, is where the drama comes in. Should a robot allow a human being to do something risky? Should a robot steer a human towards more rational acts? Is the greatest good for the greatest number of humans, a consideration for a robot? Within its parameters can a robot be volitional?
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I know we have Suri and the computer that wins at Jeopardy. We are building machines that can repair themselves. But do I think the reason no intelligent life has contacted us is because the machines have wiped them out and the machines are plotting against us? No.
Peter

Notes:
From Wikipedia: The technological singularity is a hypothetical event related to the advent of artificial general intelligence (also known as "strong AI"). Such a computer, computer network, or robot would theoretically be capable of recursive self-improvement (redesigning itself), or of designing and building computers or robots better than itself. Repetitions of this cycle would likely result in a runaway effect – an intelligence explosion – where smart machines design successive generations of increasingly powerful machines, creating intelligence far exceeding human intellectual capacity and control. Because the capabilities of such a superintelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is the point beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable to human intelligence.

From: BBfromM@aol.com
To: atlantis@wetheliving.com
Subject: Re: ATL: Re: AI and the Vast Gulf
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 20:43:11 EDT

Dennis, thanks for your explanation. It has made your position more clear to me.

In another post, you wrote: unless we are to believe those who still hang onto biology as a process producing mysterious unknowable indivisible consciousness forces [what I view as mysticism, but that is an argument for another time].

I don't think anyone -- in any event I don't -- believes that consciousness is inherently unknowable. It is at present not much understood, but that is not the same as saying it cannot be understood.

I'd like to ask you some questions about conscious machines. Will they ever experience self-doubt about their appearance or desirability? Will they have nervous breakdowns that require the services of a psychological machine? Will they feel pain or joy? Will they have self-generated goals? Will they be either virtuous or evil? Will they have a moral sense? Will they respect the rights of other conscious machines? Will they philosophize? Will they respond to beauty? Will they make horrific mistakes in their thinking? Will they feel fear? Will they have color preferences? Will they sometimes evade? Will they fall wisely or unwisely in love? Will they sometimes be irresponsible? Will they occasionally be suicidal? Will some of them they be environmentalists, others communists, and still others libertarians? Will they be courageous? Will they be heroic? Will they experience loneliness?

All these possibilities and much more are inherent in the fact of human consciousness -- although not of a cat's consciousness. (Not even my cat.) I'll be very interested in your response -- and I hope you will not simply say that conscious machines will be an improvement on human consciousness.
Barbara

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Here is definitely a character that has become its own destiny.

You have to read this from Lindsay Perigo to understand how rampant bigotry is in O-Land.

... we happy few who are human should have a good time while we wait for death. But we are morally entitled to postpone death as long as possible. We should encourage the airhead masses to commit suicide—or murder each other—which they glorify in their anti-music, and celebrate their suicides/mutual murders when they commit them.

. . .

... we should celebrate the demise of pomowankers and their virulent appeasers, just as Christopher Hitchens celebrated the demise of the disgusting Jerry Falwell. The only sad thing about Muslim suicide bombers is that they kill others in their otherwise-admirable self-extinction. It's good that the Brandens no longer pollute this world. Every rapper who ends his own life does the world a service. The best thing about Hitler was his suicide. The only good Muslim who takes it seriously is a dead one. Etc., etc.

"We happy few who are human?" And everyone else should die from suicide or murder?

What "real" humans are these, pray tell?

Gimmee a break!

I can't think of a more perfect example of a fixed mindset. No growth is possible here except in the direction of bigotry.

One of the characteristics of a cultish mentality is to dehumanize all who fall into sin within the cult's core storyline. And to celebrate the death of others, mixing truly odious violent humans (like Hitler) with people the cult doesn't like.

This idiot Perigo continues to speak in the name of Ayn Rand and there are still those who believe this is as it should be.

They deserve that nasty little soul if they continue to appease it.

At least he has become a failure without influence.

Michael

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I am not using the following as a counter argument / defense for Lindsay. However, Rand could start a negative train of thought in her fans. I thought that Rand was rightfully pessimistic though realistic when she spoke the following, but it also influenced her followers to sound jingoistic. There is a combined moral and tactical approach that takes into account which country initiated force making it moral to use retaliatory and defensive measures, but which also factors in the potential loss of innocent lives. If Iran, Pakistan or North Korea uses or hands over nukes to terrorists we should have a well thought out plan.

Peter

Q: What should be done about the killing of innocent people in war?

AR: This is a major reason people should be concerned about the nature of their government. Certainly, the majority in any country at war is innocent. But if by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness, they couldn't overthrow their bad government and establish a better one, then they must pay the price for the sins of their governments we are all paying for the sins of ours. If some people put up with dictatorships some of them do in Soviet Russia, and some of them did in Nazi Germany then they deserve what their government deserves. There are no innocent people in war. Our only concern should be: who started that war? If you can establish that a given country did it, then there is no need to consider the rights of that country, because it has initiated the use of force, and therefore stepped outside the principle of right. I've covered this in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, where I explain why nations as such do not have any rights, only individuals do.

Q: Assume a war of aggression was started by the Soviet Union; assume also that within the Soviet Union, there were individuals opposed to the Soviet system. How would you handle that?

AR: I'll pretend I'm taking the question seriously, because this question is blatantly wrong. I cannot understand how anyone could entertain the question. My guess is that the problem is context-dropping. The question assumes that an individual inside a country can and should be made secure from the social system under which he lives and which he accepts, willingly or unwillingly (even if he is fighting it he still accepts it because he hasn't left the country), and that others should respect his rights and collapse to aggression themselves. This is the position of the goddamned pacifists, who wouldn't fight, even when attacked, because they might kill innocent people. If this were so, nobody would have to be concerned about his country's political system. But we should care about having the right social system, because our lives are dependent on it because a political system, good or bad, is established in our name, and we bear the responsibility for it. So if we fight a war, I hope the "innocent" are destroyed along with the guilty. There aren't many innocent ones; those that exist are not in the big cities, but mainly in concentration camps. But nobody should put up with aggression, and surrender his right of self- defense, for fear of hurting somebody else, guilty or innocent. When someone comes at you with a gun, if you have an ounce of self-esteem, you will answer him with force, never mind who he is or who stands behind him. If he's out to destroy you, you owe it to your own life to defend yourself.
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Peter,

Notice what is missing in Rand's words as compared with the idiot's: glee and celebration in anticipating the destruction of human life.

There's a lot to disagree with re Rand's rationalization on blaming the victim, but one cannot accuse her of sadistic pleasure in it. She set off a cognitive misfire, not an effusion of savage bloodlust.

And, in some cases (not all) of political indifference, I believe she has a point. Citizens who know their government has crossed a line where evil far outweighs the good, and support it while ignoring the evil, are guilty along with the government they support.

Michael

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Michael wrote: And, in some cases (not all) of political indifference, I believe she has a point. Citizens who know their government has crossed a line where evil far outweighs the good, and support it while ignoring the evil, are guilty along with the government they support.
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I agree it is a very complex issue with the equal potential for wrongful death, or justice. Remember the news reels and interviews, a few years ago, of people cowering when a comet exploded over Russia? And then they were asked what they thought the explosion was. Many thought it was the U.S. finally nuking Russia. If a person supports their government then they share in the moral wrong a country does, but the immorality is less than if they joined a club or society advocating the initiation of force. The reason it is less of a moral wrong is because of the unambiguous, coercive nature of government.

One of the best examples of this principle from history is German General Rommel. He was a career soldier, not a Nazi, but he did not resign when Hitler came to power. He was a nationalist, and he could not bring himself to quit the job he was made for, or see Germany lose. Should he have been tried for war crimes, if he had survived? I don’t think so, but he shared some guilt.

I have heard the same guilt by association argument from libertarian people like Wolf and Francisco since the Vietnam War. If you paid your taxes and did not protest you were also responsible for genocide, unholy war, napalm, the draft, etc. The distinction I would make is that civilian citizens of countries should not be tried for war crimes or deserve death through a WWII style bomb or a modern nuke. We need to think it through with concepts like the hostage principle and just war theory.

Imagine that “The Big Bomb” just exploded. From Ayn Rand’s Anthem, Chapter 10: Then today, at sunrise, we saw a white flame among the trees, high on a sheer peak before us. We thought that it was a fire and we stopped. But the flame was unmoving, yet blinding as liquid metal . . . . And now we look upon the earth and sky. This spread of naked rock and peaks and moonlight is like a world ready to be born, a world that waits. It seems to us it asks a sign from us, a spark, a first commandment. We cannot know what word we are to give, nor what great deed this earth expects to witness. We know it waits. It seems to say it has great gifts to lay before us, but it wishes a greater gift from us. We are to speak. We are to give its goal, its highest meaning to all this glowing space of rock and sky.
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Is nuclear war going to occur, and herald in a new, optimistic era? I sincerely doubt it but I hope America suffers few losses and we are victorious. The winners write the history, but the truth always . . . well, maybe it doesn’t always triumph, but reality does.
Peter

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