Category Archives: Random

Call me Orson

…and that is the key to it all.

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This amazing Moby-Dick graphic was made by Mark Weaver for the Kitsune Noir Poster Club and is available as a print on their website, which also includes wicked posters of such classics as Slaughterhouse 5, Walden and The Road.

From Hell’s heart I salute thee!


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Cyborg Bugs, or, Skynet Part 4

This came across my desk this morning (thanks to bureau of information gathering).

The creation of a cyborg insect army has just taken a step closer to reality. A research team at UC  Berkeley recently announced that it has successfully implanted electrodes into a beetle allowing scientists to control the insect’s movements in flight.

“We demonstrated the remote control of insects in free flight via an implantable radioequipped miniature neural stimulating system.”

The research, supported by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is part of a broader effort which has been looking specifically at different approaches to implanting micro-mechanical systems into insects in order to control their movements.

Eventually, the mind-controlled insects could be used to “serve as couriers to locations not easily accessible to humans or terrestrial robots,” they note.

Now, I’m not usually one to pander to conspiracy theories on this blog, but this does seems to have the very recognisable imprint of a certain insidious multinational conglomerate out to destroy humankind through robotic devices (otherwise known as Terminators).

Don’t you think?

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Lightning Fast Robotic Hand

Scared, anyone?

Resemble anything vaguely familiar from Science Fiction?

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Heath’s Anti-Whaling Video

Whales roaming the high seas, hunting humans.

Absolute genius.  And it was directed by our very own, the late Heath Ledger.

Apparently he was incredibly passionate about animal rights, and an advocate for Sea Shepherd, who have worked tirelessly to stop the Japanese whaling in Australia’s Antarctic waters.

All the video  needs now is for a giant white human (doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, I know) to come and shear off the Captain’s leg (or flukes); for him to get a replacement peg-leg made out of human teeth; for them to spend the next few years chasing said white human around the globe; and for the whole cacophony to end in a vortex of swirling, frothy doom and a slowly wheeling albatross.

It could be called, Dick Moby, or, the Human.


Filed under Books, Film, Politics, Random

Smart Machines, or, Skynet Part 3

It’s time to continue my series of informative posts about the imminent extinction of humanity.

It’s genocide people, and it’s not going to be caused by climate change, or a nuclear holocaust (though a nuclear war could be a flow-on effect).  No, it’s going to be caused by machines; machines that we have built, nursed, and educated, that will at last turn on us, like Dr Frankenstein’s monster, and destroy us.

I know that most of you probably think that human-killing robots (aka terminators) are the stuff of science fiction.  They’re about as realistic as Arnie’s cameo in Terminator: Salvation, right?  I mean, we’ve got far more pressing issues to worry about: economic meltdown, rising sea levels, terrorists obtaining dirty WMDs, Pakistan vs India, North Korea, even Iran.  Isn’t that right?  Wrong.


Let’s me draw your attention to an excellent article that recently appeared in the NY Times:

A robot that can open doors and find electrical outlets to recharge itself.  Computer viruses that no one can stop.  Predator drones, which, though still controlled remotely by humans, come close to a machine that can kill autonomously.

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.

As examples, the scientists pointed to a number of technologies as diverse as experimental medical systems that interact with patients to simulate empathy, and computer worms and viruses that defy extermination and could thus be said to have reached a “cockroach” stage of machine intelligence.

The researchers generally discounted the possibility of highly centralized superintelligences. But they agreed that robots that can kill autonomously are either already here or will be soon.

A number of things can be gleaned from this article:

  1. science has made rapid advancements that most of us are not aware of
  2. scientists, the very people who have made these advancements, are concerned enough to consider limiting themselves (and hence, doing themselves out of a job).
  3. mechanical intelligence may already have passed the point of no return.

These insidious developments in robotics are taking place right under our very noses – in publicly and privately owned laboratories around the world.  We jabber on endlessly about health care, financial regulation, and even the environment, when none of these things will exist after the machines are finished with us.

How can this approaching tsunami be stopped?  Put simply, it can’t.

The development of AI is a business, and businesses are notoriously uninterested in fundamental safeguards — especially philosophic ones.  A few quick examples: the tobacco industry, the automotive industry, the nuclear industry. Not one of these has said from the outset that fundamental safeguards are necessary, every one of them has resisted externally imposed safeguards, and none has accepted an absolute edict against ever causing harm to humans.

That’s a quote from Robert Sayer, SF Author (and prophet), which can be traced back to that eminently reliable website Wikipedia.

But it’s a good point that Sayer makes.  Research into artificial intelligence is as natural to capitalism (late capitalism to be precise) as breathing oxygen is to us human beings.  The catastrophe that Marx foresaw (but was unable to name), the contradiction that he argued would destroy capital from within, will not be a global financial collapse, but the literal destruction of our society by our technological servants.  It will be thus be same cultural logic that gave rise to steam engines, motor cars, computers, and nuclear weapons, that is, instrumental rationality, which will come into its own and, having liberated ghost from shell, will at last annihilate we who gave birth to it.  It will be the Industrial Revolution Part 2.


But what of Issac Asimov, I hear you cry, and his 3 Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

Such constraints are well and good in theory, but only if you believe that robots will remain restricted to what is programmable, which I think is naive.  What if the scientists and the IT nerds are wrong: that’s what I want to know.  What if we are on the cusp of a highly centralized superintelligence?  Has anyone prepared for such an event?  Has the  US Army been stockpiling EMP grenades?

I think it will be important to remember, when the Singularity does arrives, that Vernor Vinge got there first:

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any any man however clever.  Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an “intelligence explosion,” and the intelligence of man would be left far behind.

I urge you to read his treatise on The Coming Technological Singularity in full. It’s frightening food for thought.  And he wrote it back in 93!

I hardly need point out the prescience of The Matrix. And, if you’ve ever wondered how Neo’s world got to so messed up, you ought to consider the far better accompanying series The Animatrix, which eschews feel-good messages and goes right for the viewer’s jugular, depicting humanity’s demise with cold candour.  The machines of course have a different name for humanity’s downfall: they call it the Second Renaissance.

If you haven’t seen the below documentary, it’s compulsory viewing.  It ain’t science fiction; it’s a documentary sent back from the future, to warn us.  (If you’re listening to this, you are the resistance.)

I won’t stop banging on about this.  Not until the world wakes up….WAKE UP!


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Flight of the Conchords know about Skynet

You got to love the Flight of the Conchords.

They’re funny, sure, but more importantly, they’re prescient.

Now, have I not been saying for some time (here, here, and here) that the machines are on the rise and that this is something we should all be SERIOUSLY worried about?

It seems they agree.  Check it out: a song from a human-eradicated-future.  Binary solo!


Filed under Film, Random