12.21.2003

A blog entry from a friend of mine that would fit quit nicely in here:

countplusplus and AI

12.09.2003

Another thought:
Early humans foraged for grains, nuts, roots and, if they were lucky, some tasty berries. We still go nuts when we watch chimps on TV use a stick to make ants-on-a-stick, a great example of what must have been early human haute-cuisine.

Now we spend top dollar to eat Crackin' Fibrous Chunks or Organic Recycled Cardboard Tofu Chips. Pretty much the same shit our ancestors wouldn't feed their pets.

I'm not advocating we eat McDonald's sugar-enriched pseudo-burgers five times a day (I don't care what Dr. Ronald McDonald, diet expert, says) but does eating healthy mean eating things that look and taste like industrial byproduct? I take great pleasure in eating. It is an intensely visceral experience for me. I like the taste of meat much like my ancestors enjoyed a haunch of slow-moving animal. I think chocolate is as much a wonder of life as a sunset or a really dirty limerick (and I don't mean the crappy, North American, not-even-close chocolate).

I think the Romans screwed us hard when they popularized and romanticized gorging and binging (as much as a culture that had "vomitoriums" can romanticize such things). Moderation, people. In all things, moderation.
The sound of shuffling feet will only become more commonplace as years go by. The atrophy of the human body is well underway.

From Segways to Supermarkets, our need for physical vessels is being eroded, slowly but surely. We already have athletes being paid millions of dollars to perform great sporting feats so we don't have to. We have TV and the internet to keep our minds amused as our bodies dwindle to input devices. Perhaps a future generation with have a remote/keyboard/mouse implant? Can we perhaps invent the neural shunt sci-fi has promised us? We're already way behind on the jet pack and moon bases.

We used to need to be able to hunt tigers and gather berries. Then some lazy bastard got on a horse and said, "Walking is for chumps." Then some clever but movement-hating proto-human said, "Check this out: irrigation." Next came the chariot, the palanquin, aquaducts and theatre. Before you know it, clocks start showing up and people begin efficiently using their time so as to maximize their "not doing squat" time.

Nowadays we can't even be bothered with going to war. Why send 100,000 troops? Send 20 and arm them with a force multiplier of 50,000. We have cars, planes and boats. We have dinner-in-a-box (dinner-in-a-pill just doesn't have the same experience, but for some reason dinner-in-a-shake seems to be ok with a lot of people). We have enough drugs to make certain that our minds will go long before our bodies.

Why even bother? Just scoop out my non-motor-control neurons, slap it in some petri dish with nutri-gel, and hook up some electrodes. The red pill? Hell, we've been working on the blue pill for generations.

12.03.2003

When I have kids, and I really do want kids despite the extreme difficulty, it seems I'll have to deal with Santa Claus. A lot people have strong feelings about telling kids about Santa and how great the memories are and how cool it is to believe in made-up things for kids. There is, however, another camp that really doesn't understand the need to lie to kids, the pain of disillusionment when they find out he doesn't exist, etc. etc.

I like the idea of Santa. It's a cute, harmless cultural tradition here in the Western, christian world (though I suppose he's not particularly religious a figure). At the same time, I am against feeding lies to a child. It's a tough line to walk. So far the best idea I've heard and one I plan on using is telling my kids:

"Listen, there is no Santa. Mommy and Daddy put the presents under the tree for Christmas. But at Christmastime everyone pretends there is a Santa."

Perhaps it'll be couched in more kid-friendly terms but that will be the gist of it. This shouldn't lead to my child ruining other kids' Chirstmas and me getting yelled at by other parents, in theory at least. And it shouldn't make my children social pariahs by being hardcore sceptics at the age of four. I don't really see the harm in actively pretending there is a Santa so long as the child understands that it's a fiction that people willingly participate in. After all, that is one of the more important concepts people learn as they grow up.