I would argue that humans without empathy (sociopaths etc) are incapable of making moral decisions for themselves - they merely follow rules laid out by others for a “simulated” morality. Similarly, machines will be incapable of moral judgements until they have not just self-awareness, but awareness of others.
Until machines have desires AI will never create...
Life Has Meaning Only Relative To Other Lives
In a universe devoid of God or absolute morality, the only meaning human lives have is relative to one another. For non-believers it therefore only makes sense to consider morality in terms of effect on others. A planet in a universe in which it is the only body has no speed - the concept of travel only making sense when there is at least one other object to move relative to. It is also...
Why Verified By Visa is a Scam
A letter I am sending to online merchants who are implementing Verified By Visa (3D Secure). You are welcome to use it yourself. I wonder what the shopping cart drop out rate is for new adopters? Surely that is enough business reason to drop this rubbish alone. Dear Merchant, I’m afraid that your introduction of 3D secure “Verified By Visa” has stopped me from completing...
Good to see BBC News including the ability for those who have read an article to upload their own movies and pictures (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18352281) This means that those actually involved in incidents (such as those happening in Syria) - who are quite likely to come to the BBC site for information - have a method to get their voices heard. I have suggested this before...
The Truth About Love
There are 3 kinds. The chemical imbalance of “in love” love - that unbearable, irresistible, only other person in the world illogical mania. Then there is the quiet settled down respectful, tolerant co-dependency. Then the love given to myriad others of all ages and genders. The first exists on it’s own - is selfish, consuming - wonderful in youth but dangerous to the second...
Amazing isn’t it how if you suppress all the rainbow of possible sexualities bar one, then leave the only respectable course for anyone non-vanilla to cloak their differences by declaring celibacy and joining the priesthood - you are going to get a far higher proportion (than the mainstream) of sexually different people as priests. Firstly, this makes the Church’s failure to...
Lessons From Psychology #1
That thing that you’re focused on right now? It’s not as important as it seems. This is an important message (but not as important as I believe it is…) Look back at the last thing that really stressed you out. It was the end of the world at the time - but it’s not now, right? Relationship-wise; you couldn’t bear to be without your first love - and maybe...
SAVE UEA MUSIC!: SAVE UEA MUSIC! →
See also http://norwichmusic.com/post/12129478714/uea-possibly-stopping-mmus-degrees saveueamusic: Welcome to the Union of UEA Students ‘Save UEA Music’ blog. We’re going to be posting here about why it’s important to stop the University from closing this amazing school, and what we can do to make this happen. Let’s try to build massive support for this cause; it’s the biggest thing to...
Dear TED, I was hugely disappointed as an attendee of the TedxLondon conference and felt compelled to write to you about this, as what could have been the beginnings of an urgently needed revolution in education was hijacked by technologists with presentations which at times verged on advertisements. Sir Ken Robinson’s pre-recorded video pieces were excellently lucid (as was the...
Connecting the dots between the London Riots and...
No-one seems able to figure out what the current riots in London are all about - least of all those actually rioting. It’s certainly more than the flashpoint of a police shooting - but if this is the straw that broke the camel’s back, what is the camel? Men - real men, not just geeks like me (& you no doubt) - have been finding life increasingly difficult as the UK...
If a deterministic system becomes sufficiently complex, then free-will/randomness can be modelled so profoundly it is indistinguishable from actual free will - at which point it becomes immaterial to talk of a distinction. Like complex software sitting atop binary circuits
Is University Education Worth The Cash?
I didn’t pay anything for my degree, and yet I’ve still been known to question the waste of 3 years worth of my time. It’s not that it was a bad course - more that it did not match what was needed in the workplace, nor did it allow the freedom to truly learn or love the subject. This is a fundamental problem, and I believe something people in the UK considering spending £9k/yr...
Did Vodafone Do Anything Wrong?
or “Is UKUncut Fair To Target Vodafone?” There is a great deal of dis-information on either side surrounding UKUncut’s targeting of Vodafone as tax-dodgers. Do they owe £6bn in tax? It’s tough to wade through the rhetoric to see the wood through the trees - but the quick answers are: technically:no; morally:almost certainly (unless your morals don’t extend much...
A Quick Guide To The Flaws Of Capitalism
Mervin King is in a difficult situation today (5th Mar 2011) as the Bank Of England’s governor is beginning to see that Capitalism and the old belief in self-correcting markets is not just deeply flawed, but destined to keep breaking and messing things up for the rest of us. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/mar/05/mervyn-king-banks-exploiting-customers The problem is that he...
Meritocracy is Unfair
Sadly, the notion of rising inequality is routinely misused by politicians (particularly in the UK) to justify helping “smart kids” break their cycle of poverty. That’s great for the literally handful of kids who could get to Oxbridge but aren’t currently, but neglects everyone else - as if everyone has the same intellectual potential (they don’t, ok - I am fully...
Why Wikileaks Is So Important
Traditional journalism (particularly in America) is failing to hold western democracies accountable. The secrecy bar has been drawn so low (look at some of the banality of the leaked US cables) that we - the normal people - aren’t just kept away from legitimately secret stuff - like details of how to build nuclear weapons for instance - but from almost everything. Investigative journalists...
Here’s what I sent to the BBC which led to them asking me to speak on You & Yours today: There has always traditionally been a place for secrecy within National Security - instructions for building nuclear weapons etc. - but what is classified ‘secret’ readily grows as those who decide what is and isn’t use it to stop things getting out that are embarrassing or they...
University Education Not Cracked Up To Much At All
Many, many people have gotten themselves trapped into paying off student loans for the rest of their lives for a degree that is inherently worthless. Someone with common sense. Someone in charge with common sense! Based on a few years of observation, we noticed that there was little or no correlation between academic performance, as measured by grades [and] the type of college a person...
University Education Not Cracked Up To Much At All →