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Science!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Natalie, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    A not so comforting prospect:
    Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540

    .. "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded" ..
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  2. Brigantium

    Brigantium Work Geordie for hire Staff Member

    He has a point. Smartphones are already smarter than many of the people who use them. :D
     
    Forostar likes this.
  3. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Says a guy in a wheelchair. He is just worried about compromising the future rule of cyborgs.

    I for one welcome our new half-robot overlords.
     
  4. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    AI scientists call it The Singularity. It's like "judgement day" from the Terminator series: the day AI becomes self-aware and genuinely sentient. From what I've read, most AI specialists expect it to happen this century. A few years ago 2050 was a common guess; I don't know if that has changed since my reading. There's a good chance many people on this forum will live to see it happen.
     
  5. Zare

    Zare Dream of broken citadels

    He's 100% correct. It would be devastating, like the Borg. Thankfully both don't exist.

    artificial intelligence isn't machine learning

    @smx can you pass me any links on that if you have them at convenience?
     
  6. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

  7. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

  8. Black Wizard

    Black Wizard Out of the Silent Planet

    The thing about mice having their memories wiped with a flash of light is very Men in Black.
     
  9. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Zare likes this.
  10. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    Renamed thread because I want the freedom to post things about science that aren't necessarily new or recent discoveries. Welcome to all who want to philosophize about the state of science in the world today, alternative facts, climate change, the birth of science as we know it during the Enlightenment, what the hell is peer review anyway, do we need philosophy of science, etc.

    Also, because I want to open the discussion up to more light-hearted topics such as science comics (xkcd anyone?) and science in the media.

    Ok ok, it's really an elaborate excuse to post this exciting bit of actual news: Blue Planet 2 is on the way!

    Has anyone else here watched Planet Earth 2? Thoughts?
     
  11. Zare

    Zare Dream of broken citadels

    Well climate change is bogus because everyone knows if ice melts sea is going to be cooler.
     
  12. The Flash

    The Flash Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

    Anti-science movement is concerningly loud nowadays. It was always alive and well in the non-Western societies, but it's growing in the West as well. Be it the climate change is a hoax people, anti-vaccine people, proponents of pseudoscience under the name of alternative medicine or the flat earthers. It used to be just the religious nuts like creatonists and Christian scientists, now you see anti-science people everywhere, across the political spectrum.

    Anti-education movement is growing as well. Far too often I see people mention entrepreneurs and businessmen who dropped out of school, or didn't attend school and still achieved massive success and equate that to "You don't need to attend a good school", "You don't need good grades" etc. A lot of kids are gonna take this the wrong way and say fuck education, only to end up unemployed and poor.
     
  13. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    The anti-education business is perhaps the most alarming. However, it isn't a leap to recognize that it may well be the consequence of the over-pricing of education (at least in the US), and that these days even with a college degree (or phd) it's very much a gamble whether you can get a job, let alone one that justifies (in the economic sense) the years you spent getting that degree. It's almost like there's an education-bubble and it's on the verge of bursting. We may well all end up being unemployed and poor regardless of education level (so why bother eh?).
     
  14. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    Technically cooler than now is also a change in climate. But it raises a good point. I chose the words 'climate change' on purpose, not 'global warming'. However, often they're used interchangeably, a mistake in my opinion.
     
  15. Brigantium

    Brigantium Work Geordie for hire Staff Member

    Flash is right, anti-establishment politics is being accompanied by an anti-intellectual, anti-education and anti-scientific sentiment. Science has never been immune to being used - or research being conducted - to back up a particular political standpoint, but today there's a growing popular trend for settling on a preferred belief and then attempting to prove it (or at least picking flaws in science that doesn't fit with the belief.)

    I think the armchair anti-education thing has always been there, especially amongst the generation in which you could the join a company as tea boy and work your way up to MD. That doesn't really work now, and far more people are using education and qualifications to get ahead younger. Even if you don't see the value in academic education in its own right, and believe everything should be about specific or general vocational skills, however, I think the business world would be worse off for a total lack of education. Qualifications and no common sense is bad, but so is a lack of wider understanding, knowledge and analytical skills beyond the very basic scope of a role. Help is available in this country if you're very low income but want to pursue further or higher education, so higher education education is possible for a lot more people.

    Part of it, I think, is also objecting to the idea of passively 'being educated' by others, too, because it sounds condescending. Plus the objecting to education that doesn't fit your own beliefs.
     
  16. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Planet Earth... It looks nice. But what do we learn?

     
  17. The Flash

    The Flash Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

    I disagree. There are thousands of documentaries that have stories and things to teach. Planet Earth's specialty is its incredible delivery of nature's beauty and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
     
  18. Natalie

    Natalie Insect of Terror Staff Member

    When I watch the Planet Earth series I get the sense that the show is more about showcasing nature (beautiful shots, slow motion, etc) in order to evoke a sense of wonder in the viewer, fascination even, that's meant to encourage the viewer to discover more about nature. I think it's more about making nature and those who study it 'cool' or at least appealing to the viewer. In terms of story-telling it seems to me that the show makers want to make the animals relatable, so often they follow an 'individual' (of course it's not the same one throughout the shots) that's trying to find a mate or food or must survive an attack or has an arduous journey to undertake. The show focuses on the struggle, risks anthropomorphization to a fault yes but I think the risk is acceptable. I think the agenda is establishing connection between the viewer and nature on several levels so the viewer recognizes (or at least feels) how much they are, in fact, a part of the 'circle of life'.
     
  19. Poto

    Poto Educated Fool

     
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  20. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    If Planet Earth connects more people with nature, good thing! But (how) does it really connect?

    Does it give a good impression of what is really happening with nature and wildlife?
    = = = = = = =

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/01/bbc-planet-earth-not-help-natural-world

    The BBC’s Planet Earth II did not help the natural world
    Martin Hughes-Games
    Producers claim such series encourage conservation – but in fact their brilliance and beauty breeds complacency about our destruction of the planet

    It has been wonderful watching Planet Earth II. What a glorious, spectacular and fascinating series. Hats off to the production team, the camera crews, the film editors and the splendid music – and to David Attenborough himself for the marvellous commentary and script. We have surely never been so close to the action and never have the pictures looked so luxurious.

    I have the greatest admiration for the teams who made Planet Earth II – whose final episode was broadcast last night on the BBC – but I fear this series, and others like it, have become a disaster for the world’s wildlife. These programmes are pure entertainment, brilliantly executed but ultimately a significant contributor to the planet-wide extinction of wildlife we’re presiding over.

    The justification, say the programme makers, is that if people (the audience) become interested in the natural world they will start to care about the natural world, and will be more likely to want to get involved in trying to conserve it. Unfortunately the scientific evidence shows this is nonsense.

    For instance, the World Wide Fund for Nature and Zoological Society of London’s authoritative 2016 Living Planet Report has concluded that between 1970 and 2012 there was a 58% decline of vertebrate population abundance worldwide. This encompasses the period in which Attenborough’s outstanding natural history series have been broadcast (starting with Life on Earth in 1979). The prime factor in this destruction is humankind’s insatiable need for space – destroying and degrading habitat at an appalling rate – coupled with species over-exploitation, pollution, invasive species, climate change and rampant poaching.

    Yet these programmes are still made as if this worldwide mass extinction is simply not happening. The producers continue to go to the rapidly shrinking parks and reserves to make their films – creating a beautiful, beguiling fantasy world, a utopia where tigers still roam free and untroubled, where the natural world exists as if man had never been.

    By fostering this lie they are lulling the huge worldwide audience into a false sense of security. “If David Attenborough is still making these sorts of wonderful shows then it can’t be that bad, can it?” Yes it can, and it’s going to get much, much worse. Even as Planet Earth II was being broadcast, it was reported that elephant and lion numbers were tumbling, and last month it became clear that the giraffe could be heading towards extinction, with numbers plummeting by 40% in the past 15 years. But no hint of the continuing disaster is allowed to shatter the illusion.

    I’m not for one moment suggesting such shows should not be made. They are wonderful records of the beauty rapidly disappearing from our planet. I believe that in 100 years people will be amazed, and profoundly sad, that it was still possible to make such programmes. What I am suggesting is that the fantasy should be balanced by reality.

    I would like to propose a “conservation tax” among natural history commissioners across all channels. This tax would insist that a fifth of natural history commissions are significantly conservation-oriented. As a matter of urgency, a development team should be set up to think how the reality of what’s happening to wildlife worldwide can be portrayed in innovative ways, integrated in dramas, in children’s shows – in collaborations with producers like Aardman Animations, perhaps, or video diaries of inspirational people working with animals, and cartoon characters.

    Some shows could be overtly conservation-oriented, others more subtle – perhaps a detective drama where the villains are smuggling rhino horn or ivory. But why would any TV development team put effort into imaginative conservation programming when escapist productions are so successful – unless it were taxed?

    The BBC is in a unique position to work with a conservation tax. It could do this as part of its public service remit, without having quite the financial pressure and need for profit that independents and commercial producers do. It would also be a very positive initiative for the BBC to be seen to be doing.

    We cannot simply carry on producing escapist wildlife fantasy almost totally ignoring the manmade mass extinction raging around us.
     

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