Friday, May 24, 2024

Daily Wire Backstage: Introducing The 2nd Greatest Commercial Ever

These discussions are always interesting.  Their commercials are annoying.

They get tangled up over the definition of freedom to the point where it makes it look like they don't know what they are talking about.   Freedom is very simple; you should be able to do what you want just so long as you don't interfere with the same right of others.  The exact boundaries can be unclear which is one reason why you need a legal system to define rights.  For example, free speech and property rights need legal definitions.  I just can't claim that something of yours belongs to me.  There needs to be a system for determining what is property.  Likewise, people shouldn't violate other people's rights in the name of free speech, although there is a lot of that going around.

However, their discussion claims to be for freedom while apparently wanting to constrain freedom by religious values.  It makes them look hypocritical.

As a side note, some claim that we have "natural rights".  The problem with this is that you may think that you have the right to live but a bear thinks that it has the right to eat.  People have preferences and tendencies, where they prosper when they are free, but without a legal system, they have no rights at all.  It just becomes the rule of the most powerful.

The political discussion that followed was good.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Why Democracies Always Fail

Two centuries ago, a somewhat obscure Scotsman named Tytler made this profound observation: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.

Life is not a problem to be solved ...

I've seen this movie.  I found it a bit boring.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

WARNING: ChatGPT Could Be The Start Of The End! Sam Harris

Sam Harris spends 30 minutes talking about the dangers of AI.

He makes assumptions about the future. I think that he underestimates the difficulty of building a general AI.  

I think that ChatGPT is overhyped.  It is like a Wikipedia that can talk.  It has no understanding except to predict what words should follow other words based on statistical information.  This is why it gets so much wrong.  I asked it to write some computer code and the answer wasn't even remotely correct.  

We will inevitably develop general AI, but AI is a tool to solve specific problems.  We don't have to make an AI that matches human intelligence when it is more efficient to have problem-specific AI.  Calculators can do math far better than I can, and even the best 8-bit chess computers can outplay me at chess.  It would be like saying that when we developed mechanical locomotion, we needed to make a machine that functioned exactly like a horse.  We found better ways to do locomotion.

This means that AI will be solving problems long before we have a general AI, but more importantly, we will be treating it as a tool, just like any other tool.  For example, twenty years ago I was annoyed when Microsoft Word automatically corrected my spelling without asking me.  It felt like the machines were already becoming smarter than us.  Although that was a novel experience twenty years ago, we wouldn't think twice about it today.

Friday, December 29, 2023

The single greatest failing of the human species

The single greatest failing of the human species is the tendency to believe almost anything without good evidence.  There are many cults where you can see this.  People lack the ability or are unwilling to step back and look at things objectively.  People don't question what they hear.  Humans have a strong tendency toward Confirmation Bias, where if something supports their narrative, they will take it as gospel.

Things have been said about the COVID pandemic and vaccines that are not supported by the evidence.  I see many sources claiming that it has been proven that the vaccines don't work and are dangerous.  However, the data shows a much lower rate of death among the vaccinated.  It doesn't mean that the vaccines are perfectly safe or effective, but the evidence shows that you are much safer taking the vaccines.

I have multiple friends who think that vaccines are part of a conspiracy to kill off the human race.  One of my doctors has encountered this and called these people paranoid.  

Fear is the most powerful emotion and our greatest motivator.  It is normal for people to have fears and be wary.  This makes them susceptible to fearmongers.  Many sources claiming to be scientific and objective are really just playing to people's fears.