Weapons-Grade Chatbot and Turing Test – computers outsmart humans for good or evil? #artificialintelligence #algorithms #FakeNews #FactCheck #FactsMatter

angry at something on the screenYour news source may be an algorithm.

The Turing test evaluates conversations between a human and a machine:

Developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Wikipedia

Maybe in conversation we can still spot a machine, but not in posts and articles. There’s a new text-generating algorithm that can write compelling articles without any ethical need to be truthful.

Last week, the nonprofit research group OpenAI revealed that it had developed a new text-generation model that can write coherent, versatile prose given a certain subject matter prompt. However, the organization said, it would not be releasing the full algorithm due to “safety and security concerns.” Slate

The algorithm was happy to write an article when prompted with nonsense like “scientists discover a herd of unicorns…” or “Russia declares war on the United States…”

Some observers think the danger to political discourse and public understanding of science is exaggerated, but if so, that will be temporary. How will you know what to believe any more on social media? On blogs? Can a giant like Facebook find a way to detect and delete such articles? Can you and I?

It will get worse. Software is being developed to create video and audio files too. If you think crazy memes mislead people today, imagine fake images of real people better than any CGI you’ve seen in the movies.

Perhaps we’ll lose faith in all news on social media and revert to viewing nothing but lol cats and baby pictures.

Fact checkers will be more important than ever, but we already have trouble agreeing on which fact checkers to trust. People are likely to seize on one source to trust and give up trying to evaluate what they see. Because sorting truth from lies can be hard and no one is an expert in everything.

You’ll be granting a lot of power to whomever you choose to follow. Be careful, because as the saying goes, power corrupts. We’re in for a wild ride.

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Glimmer of Hope – This 100 Year Old Girl Proves Her Species Not Extinct – Yet #nature #extinction #Galapagos

I’ve writen several posts about the sad loss of species to extinction. It’s time for some good news, even if it’s only a glimmer of hope.

Tweet about re-discovered Galapagos TortoiseA rare species of giant tortoise was feared extinct after over 100 years without any sightings on the Galápagos Islands. But now, officials say they’ve found one.

An adult female Fernandina Giant Tortoise, or Chelonoidis phantasticus, possibly older than 100, was found on Fernandina Island… The animal was transported to a breeding center on Santa Cruz Island [for] genetic tests. USA Today

Where’s there’s one, there may be more! Introduced species like rats, cats, pigs, and goats destroyed a lot of Galapogous wildlife, and the poor tortoises made excellent living pantries for early European sailors, but this particular species was threatened by lava flows over 100 years ago.

Today, only two groups of giant tortoises remain around the world – those on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean and others on Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean.

I wish the old lady and her keepers the best of luck. Lonesome George mated with females from his own island, but the eggs never hatched. Whether scientists learned anything from George that will help this Fernandina tortoise, I don’t know, but of course one lone female can’t breed on her own.

She’s already quite old – the tortoises are thought to have averaged 100 year life span before contact with humans, and some may have lived for 150 years. Their best chance at recovery may be if more individuals have survived, and if people and our traveling-companion animals will now leave them alone.

 What are the odds? Two bits of good news in one day. The world’s largest bee isn’t extinct either, though no one knows how many may survive. Check out the comparison picture to a standard honeybee.

What’s true? What’s not? How can I know? All Good Questions and Here are Some Answers #ConspiracySeries #video #investigation

 

There’s so much stuff out there. Stories that sound ridiculous, stories that sound plausible, stories that confirm our own biases – and we all have them. Whenever a meme or article pushes your emotional buttons or confirms your fears, be suspicious.

Great advice, but now what?

Try this great series of short investigations into some of our most popular theories. The series is on You Tube too. Listen to your favorites, whether classic Fortian damned data, the latest urban legend, or something darker. Crow when the report confirms what you already thought you knew, and open your mind when beliefs are challenged. Reality always wins in the end, so it’s worth the pain. There’s really nothing better than learning that what you know just aint so.

 

Let’s Go To The Movies on Mars – that’s movies about Mars, no need to leave Earth #Mars #movies

Bugs Bunny and Marvin the Martian

Bugs and Marvin in Haredevil Hare

Mars has been the backdrop for movies since Flash Gordon, and now someone is working to collect information on these gems in one place. Visit this nifty site. From Bugs Bunny to Mark Watney, our heroes have looked to Mars. Find some old favorites here that you may not have thought about for ages. Mars intrigues us and invades us!

Excuse My Bragging (she blushes modestly) But Woo Hoo! Grab My Top Ranked Scifi Book While It’s Free #scifi

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

#1 New Release on Amazon in its First Week

Titan – a cult colonizes Saturn’s moon – Woo Hoo – #3 in its Kindle scifi category! And it’s FREE through Feb 16th.

Don’t miss this new release. Are you reading this post after the 16th? Don’t despair. You can read it on Kindle Unlimited. (Or, shoot – just buy it.)

Want to say thanks? Please leave a review. A sentence or two is all it takes to help other readers find me. You’re doing me a big favor 🙂 Thank you 😉

Fynn learns the Kin’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod.

He’s not going back to college, he’s going with his father’s cult to settle on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Halfway across the solar system, cut off from Earth, the Kin believe they’ll create a paradise. But their leader’s bizarre behavior may be more dangerous than the profoundly cold moon with its dense, unbreathable atmosphere.

Scifi Book Titan Ranks #3 in its Kindle Category

I love proving it

 

The First Art Museum on Mars

Oh, I like this idea. Any colony in our solar system will face this: the only safe place is inside your habitat and what will you do there? Especially if you envision technology performing most of the tedious maintenance, people will have a lot of time on their hands. That can be very bad – idle hands are indeed the devil’s workshop.

In my scifi Mars series, my colonists become more and more unwilling to go outside, except for a few malcontents. By the final book, colonists spend their time on vocations that are not Great Art but little hobbies – like what I do myself here on Earth. Good enough for a life?

Planet Pailly

Last week, artist James Gurney posed a question on his blog.  He presented two options and asked which you’d prefer:

  • Spend the rest of your life trapped in a library or art museum, with unrestricted access to all the world’s great works of art, literature, film, etc?  Or…
  • Spend the rest of your life outdoors in nature, but never have access to any form of art again?

Personally, I lean toward the life trapped in a library/art museum option, but still… it’s a tough decision.  But then I started thinking more about this. Or perhaps over-thinking it. Why would I be trapped indoors with all this art?  Why can’t I go outside?  And then the answer occurred to me: Mars.

At some point in the future (perhaps not the near future, but at some point in the future, I’m sure) humanity will establish its first colony on Mars.As that colony grows, the colonists will develop…

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NASA Day of Remembrance #NASA #remember

Launch of Space Shuttle ColumbiaIn honor of Americans who died in the pursuit of space exploration and discovery – it’s not all fun and games – thank you.