Some conversations are just plain hard! We often shy away from the hard ones, don’t we? What’s harder for you? Talking with a friend? Talking with your significant other? Talking with your family? Let’s see how our friends handle it.
Mirror Mirror: Chapter 22
Holidays bring families together. There is fun and laughter, games to play, stories to tell, and discussions around the dinner table, Christmas tree, or fireplace. Sometimes those discussions can get deep.
Are You Afraid of AI?
At the end of March, Elon Musk and other industry luminaries signed an open letter stating, “We call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least six months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”
In many respects, the questions asked about advanced AI in this letter mirror the discussion from as early as 1955 asking, “Should we fear automation?”
- Automation, boon or bane? [Bloomberg News; 10/8 1955]
- Automation Brings Fear of Joblessness; Production Lines Speeding Up [NY Times; 7/17/1961]
- Will Automation Cause Mass Unemployment? [The Atlantic Magazine; December 1961]
- Robots May Take Over Most Jobs in 30 Years, Experts Say [Washington Post Business; 6/10/1984]
If you substitute AI for Robots and Automation, you could have a headline in today’s news. Indeed the warnings given in Pause Gian AI Experiments: An Open Letter are legitimate. The major questions asked in the letter are:
- Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth?
- Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones?
- Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?
- Should we risk loss of control of our civilization?
These are all important questions that must be answered as AI moves forward. All areas of technical development that impact the lives of humans should be questioned. Here are some other areas of development that could dramatically impact society.
- Genetics – gene splicing and sequencing
- Biotechnology – custom viruses to infect or cure
- Nanotechnology – building machines at the molecular level that can work inside cells
I am confident you have heard about these in the news. What you may not have heard is that each of these technologies, including robotics and AI can be used for the good of society or for the control of society; for good or evil. You may know the arguments for and against nuclear energy. Frankly, fire can be used for good or evil.
So let me cut to the chase and keep this short. IMHO it’s not the technology that should be feared; it’s not even the people who invent and develop the technology; it’s the people to decide how to use the technology that need to be watched.
I grew up as a geek. I was (and still am) interested in every area of science and technology available. I programmed computers before they had screens and keyboards. I am fascinated by technology. So just the other day, I had my first chat with an AI.
I needed ideas on how to carefully and precisely cut soft plastic, such as on a plastic garbage can. I interacted with ChatGPT, an AI language program developed by OpenAI. My interaction was with version 3 and version 4 has just been released. The open letter references GPT-4 and requests that nothing more powerful be worked on for a while.
Perhaps you have seen AI draw detailed pictures like the one above. ChatGPT doesn’t do that. Without going into detail about different types of AI, think of ChatGPT as an app that understands what you type and can converse with you. In addition, it has access to the internet to find information and therewith answer your questions.
All of the bullet points above came from ChatGPT-3. You can read the full conversation here. For me, this type of AI is wonderful. I would describe it as a conversational search engine without the advertising. What could possibly be better?
So please, don’t fear technology. Embrace the good that could come from it. Encourage productive use of it. And keep your eye on the people who want to exploit it for their evil gains.
Mirror Mirror: Chapter 21
Where is your “life spot”? I mean, you need to discuss life with your closest friends; where do you go? Jerry and Ella had life changes to talk about. They need to talk; John and Rosa need to hear.
Streaming Alternatives – Update
At the time I wrote this, I had not viewed the content of Angel Studios for a while. Something happened that changed the browsing landscape. It felt more like a desert than the lush field I remembered. The only Dallas Jenkins content was The Chosen.
Perhaps I don’t understand media communications of the early 21st century (AKA today), but I had to ask a friend who follows everything Dallas Jenkins to help me understand what has happened. Because people want to crowd fund The Chosen projects, a non-profit organization was created. This separated the crowd funded projects from the Angel Studio commercial entity. Donations can now receive tax deduction status.
I have no problem with this whatsoever. It seems like a wise decision. My only issue is my inability to find content that I know was there. Being a Roku user for my streaming channels (which I learned are also referred to as apps) I added a new channel (I mean app) for The Chosen. This works fine but in the previous content, I saw trailers for shows that aren’t currently there. Perhaps this is just part of the transition.
All this to say, I hope I haven’t confused and frustrated anyone as I have been. It’s been a bummer for me. No one deserves what I have been experiencing. Thanks for sticking with me and understanding.
Apology and Warning
While writing the post on Alternate Streaming services, I mentioned the British comedy Mum. I did more than mention it, I endorsed it. In my opinion it is an outrageously funny comedy. It is NOT on the order of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but it does contain some vulgar humor.
Once I realized the juxtaposition of “wholesome streaming services” and “a comedy with vulgar content”, I melted inside. It is my desire to always present myself honestly and without confusion. By recommending Mum amid “family friendly” content, I performed a dis-service.
I humbly apologize and will strive to be more honest and forthright.
Mirror Mirror: Chapter 20
Jerry was cut; he lost blood; he is unconscious. The unimaginable happened. Now what?
Hello faithful followers. I appreciate every one of you. I have been slammed this past week but I want to take a moment to do a quick review of two streaming services you may enjoy.
The first is Angel Studios which can be found at angel.com. This is the home of the epic series, The Chosen. But it is also the home of many other shows for young and old. While The Chosen is an amazing depiction of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, Angel Studios offers so much more than religious content. It offers a wide range of programming for the entire family from animation for the kids to clean comedy for all of us.
To single out The Chosen, this is a wonderful departure from previous attempts to tell the story of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t say “thee” and “thou”. He and all the characters speak as we ourselves do, except maybe for the Jewish references. Created and directed by Dallas Jenkins, Jesus (played by Jonathan Roumie) becomes the God-man I never experienced before. And the disciples are such a ragtag group of infighting misfits, it’s a miracle Jesus chose any one of them. The recurring line that impacted me unfolds something like this: A disciple comes to Jesus and says, “I didn’t expect you to make this choice”, to which Jesus responds with a chuckle, “Get used to it.”
The other streaming service is Pure Flix. From their site, the service allows you to, “Stream clean and enjoy access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies, original shows, engaging documentaries and more”. I am still a newbie to Pure Flix but I am quickly falling in love. The love affair has been fueled by a brand new series, A Thousand Tomorrows, based on the book by Karen Kingsbury. While the first season is still being released, I’m a fan.
A Thousand Tomorrows is a rodeo love story. Cody Gunner is a champion bull rider. Ali Daniels is a champion barrel racer. Each has the love to compete and a reason not to fall in love with someone. Their secrets are too painful to share with anyone. But as you can guess, love doesn’t stop at painful boundaries. Love finds a way. It’s an amazing story and to tell you more might ruin the adventure for you.
There is plenty to watch for all ages. Tons of animation and movies for youngsters. Who remembers Veggie Tails? Bob the Builder, Inspector Gadget and more are on the way. For the older (OK, the mature) viewer, there more romance, drama and faith centered movies than you can watch in a year. I especially liked An Interview with God and need to watch it again. Seriously, if you were a journalist and received an invitation to interview God, would you pass it up?
As a recovering Netflix junkie, I will admit some of the movies seem to move rather slowly. It is an acquired taste. It is also a welcomed cleansing. I canceled my subscription to Netflix about a year ago. It became too worldly for me.
According to earthweb.com, there are currently over 200 streaming services. Some are genre based, such as Britbox that provides British content. (BTW, I love British mysteries. And if you want a comedy romance that will have you ROFL, check out Mum.) There are plenty of sports channels and services such as Hulu and Pluto TV are free, except for the annoying commercials. (Wait, over the air TV was/is like that.) My favorite channel in this group is Tubi because I can watch Midsomer Murders, the most convoluted British mystery show imaginable.
But if you are looking for wholesome, G rated programming the family can watch together (those of us over 65 remember those days), I urge you to consider Angel Studios and Pure Flix. Angel Studios is free. Seriously, it’s free. It is supported by 55,000 donors according to nrb.org. Pure Flix offers the first month for 99 cents. It is then $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year.
For those of you waiting to see what happens to Jerry, I promise I will post chapter 20 within a few days. Thank you for your faithfulness and patience. For those of you asking, “who is Jerry?”, check out Mirror Mirror.
Mirror Mirror: Chapter 19
Unexpected moments. Near disasters. Life is unpredictable, true? How one reacts during a life-threatening situation says a lot about a person. One of our friends will have to act quickly.
Mirror Mirror: Chapter 18
Have you stretched a promise because you thought it would make a friend happy? The problem with stretching a promise is, the promise could break.