Wednesday, December 30, 2015

another year nearly done.  time for some self-reflecting.  nah!  writing itself is reflection, and action.  this has been a crazy year.  we seem to be moving closer to self-destruction.  i have been reading article upon article on the worries experts have about AI.  will AI become self-aware and demolish us squishy, in the phrase of the late poet gregory corso, hairy bags of water?  most tech experts seem to agree that AI could become that dangerous.  i don't know.  but what sounds like sci-fi to me seems closer to fruition.  do you have a smart phone with SIRI?  does SIRI interact with you in a very human like way?  yes?  weird, right?

what if AI does become smarter than us and suggests solutions to our global problems, like climate change, that doesn't make a lot of intuitive sense.  will we disregard the suggestions of AI?  will we follow it?  e.g. have you ever plugged in an address in your cars GPS map and it takes you on a route that doesn't seem to make any sense to you?  have you ignored the route thinking you know the way because you feel your way is right but then got hopelessly lost only to turn back to the GPS route to get you to your destination?  would AI be like that confusing to us?

AI is on my mind because these past couple of weeks i've been reading a shitload of articles about AI and, also, autonomous vehicles.  i read a prediction by a tech writer today that 2016 might be the break out year for both technologies.  these technologies have the potential to remake our human species.  i don't think that is an exaggeration.  the potential changes are profound.  change is nearly always scary.

so what changes would i like to see change in 2016?  i don't know.  perhaps we grow the fuck up as a society and stop worrying about god.  perhaps we fully understand and know intuitively the robust dangers we face with climate change and overpopulation.  perhaps we train our police not to see its citizens as lethal combatants.  perhaps we begin to phase out petrochemicals in every aspect of our lives, manufacturing, and trade.  perhaps we celebrate science and the scientific method as fundamental to the health of liberal democracies.  perhaps we learn to celebrate our likenesses and differences because we are, all, human.

as for me, perhaps i'll eat more, drink more and take up smoking.  i am half way thru my life.  my friend, the late poet pearl stein selinsky, thought the difference between a poet and a non-poet is that the poet thinks of death all the time.  i don't know.  but i do.  and i am profoundly aware that my life is finite and it is the only life i get.  i don't believe in an afterlife, or providence.  i see death as permanent and life is ephemeral.  but life is the sweetest for being brief.  sometimes i am a cranky old man.  but more often i want to give the universe a large hug.

i don't make new year's resolutions.  either change or don't, is my thinking.  but as i face the new year i know i want to write a bit more, read a bit more, celebrate my family and friends and brothers and sisters in poetry.  i want to know more about science and technology.  i want to get my own head out of my ass and fall in love again with with the world. 

i think how we calibrate time is so much bullshit.  we can choose to call next year 1 or 5016.  nature doesn't care what we call time.  we give too much credence to decades and centuries.  we do because we live such a short while.  but really has human nature changed so much from say the 1960s to the present?  we live right now.  not in the past.  and not in the future.  but then so we do live in the present but let us remember our past and let us live for, not into, the future.  let us plan.  let us live.  let us love.  let us know.  let us create.  we have been cursed to live in interesting times.  yes, and the times are a'changing.  to what we don't know.   


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