Yeats-sailing To Byzantium

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 8:25:23 AM

Yeats-sailing To Byzantium

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Modern Era: William Butler Yeats - Sailing to Byzantium (Lecture)

Teach This Poem. Follow Us. Find Poets. Poetry Near You. Jobs for Poets. Read Stanza. Privacy Policy. Press Center. First Book Award. James Laughlin Award. Ambroggio Prize. Dear Poet Project. There are no hard problems, only problems that are hard to a certain level of intelligence. Ray Kurzweil is polarizing. In my reading, I heard everything from godlike worship of him and his ideas to eye-rolling contempt for them. He began inventing things as a teenager and in the following decades, he came up with several breakthrough inventions, including the first flatbed scanner, the first scanner that converted text to speech allowing the blind to read standard texts , the well-known Kurzweil music synthesizer the first true electric piano , and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.

Not bad for one life. This biography is important. And you do too. Before we move on—nanotechnology comes up in almost everything you read about the future of AI, so come into this blue box for a minute so we can discuss it—. Nanotechnology Blue Box. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or a millionth of a millimeter, and this range encompasses viruses nm across , DNA 10 nm wide , and things as small as large molecules like hemoglobin 5 nm and medium molecules like glucose 1 nm. The International Space Station is mi km above the Earth. If you make the 1nm — nm nanotech range , times bigger, you get. So nanotechnology is the equivalent of a human giant as tall as the ISS figuring out how to carefully build intricate objects using materials between the size of a grain of sand and an eyeball.

It would be, in principle, possible … for a physicist to synthesize any chemical substance that the chemist writes down…. Put the atoms down where the chemist says, and so you make the substance. If you can figure out how to move individual molecules or atoms around, you can make literally anything. Nanotech became a serious field for the first time in , when engineer Eric Drexler provided its foundations in his seminal book Engines of Creation, but Drexler suggests that those looking to learn about the most modern ideas in nanotechnology would be best off reading his book, Radical Abundance.

This is very fun. In older versions of nanotech theory, a proposed method of nanoassembly involved the creation of trillions of tiny nanobots that would work in conjunction to build something. Clever, right? The issue is that the same power of exponential growth that makes it super convenient to quickly create a trillion nanobots makes self-replication a terrifying prospect. Because what if the system glitches, and instead of stopping replication once the total hits a few trillion as expected, they just keep replicating? The nanobots would be designed to consume any carbon-based material in order to feed the replication process, and unpleasantly, all life is carbon-based. Scientists think a nanobot could replicate in about seconds, meaning this simple mistake would inconveniently end all life on Earth in 3.

An even worse scenario—if a terrorist somehow got his hands on nanobot technology and had the know-how to program them, he could make an initial few trillion of them and program them to quietly spend a few weeks spreading themselves evenly around the world undetected. The idea itself eats brains. Once we really get nanotech down, we can use it to make tech devices, clothing, food, a variety of bio-related products—artificial blood cells, tiny virus or cancer-cell destroyers, muscle tissue, etc. And in a world that uses nanotechnology, the cost of a material is no longer tied to its scarcity or the difficulty of its manufacturing process, but instead determined by how complicated its atomic structure is.

In a nanotech world, a diamond might be cheaper than a pencil eraser. Armed with superintelligence and all the technology superintelligence would know how to create, ASI would likely be able to solve every problem in humanity. Global warming? ASI could first halt CO 2 emissions by coming up with much better ways to generate energy that had nothing to do with fossil fuels. Then it could create some innovative way to begin to remove excess CO 2 from the atmosphere.

Cancer and other diseases? No problem for ASI—health and medicine would be revolutionized beyond imagination. World hunger? ASI could use things like nanotech to build meat from scratch that would be molecularly identical to real meat—in other words, it would be real meat. ASI could even solve our most complex macro issues—our debates over how economies should be run and how world trade is best facilitated, even our haziest grapplings in philosophy or ethics—would all be painfully obvious to ASI.

ASI could allow us to conquer our mortality. A few months ago, I mentioned my envy of more advanced potential civilizations who had conquered their own mortality, never considering that I might later write a post that genuinely made me believe that this is something humans could do within my lifetime. But reading about AI will make you reconsider everything you thought you were sure about—including your notion of death. Evolution had no good reason to extend our lifespans any longer than they are now. But that assumption is wrong. Richard Feynman writes:.

It is one of the most remarkable things that in all of the biological sciences there is no clue as to the necessity of death. If you say we want to make perpetual motion, we have discovered enough laws as we studied physics to see that it is either absolutely impossible or else the laws are wrong. But there is nothing in biology yet found that indicates the inevitability of death.

If you think about it, it makes sense. All aging is is the physical materials of the body wearing down. A car wears down over time too—but is its aging inevitable? Kurzweil talks about intelligent wifi-connected nanobots in the bloodstream who could perform countless tasks for human health, including routinely repairing or replacing worn down cells in any part of the body. A year-old suffering from dementia could head into the age refresher and come out sharp as a tack and ready to start a whole new career. Kurzweil then takes things a huge leap further. He believes that artificial materials will be integrated into the body more and more as time goes on. First, organs could be replaced by super-advanced machine versions that would run forever and never fail.

Then he believes we could begin to redesign the body—things like replacing red blood cells with perfected red blood cell nanobots who could power their own movement, eliminating the need for a heart at all. The possibilities for new human experience would be endless. Humans have separated sex from its purpose, allowing people to have sex for fun, not just for reproduction.

Nanobots will be in charge of delivering perfect nutrition to the cells of the body, intelligently directing anything unhealthy to pass through the body without affecting anything. An eating condom. Nanotech theorist Robert A. Freitas has already designed blood cell replacements that, if one day implemented in the body, would allow a human to sprint for 15 minutes without taking a breath—so you can only imagine what ASI could do for our physical capabilities. It is hard to think of any problem that a superintelligence could not either solve or at least help us solve. Disease, poverty, environmental destruction, unnecessary suffering of all kinds: these are things that a superintelligence equipped with advanced nanotechnology would be capable of eliminating.

Additionally, a superintelligence could give us indefinite lifespan, either by stopping and reversing the aging process through the use of nanomedicine, or by offering us the option to upload ourselves. A superintelligence could also create opportunities for us to vastly increase our own intellectual and emotional capabilities, and it could assist us in creating a highly appealing experiential world in which we could live lives devoted to joyful game-playing, relating to each other, experiencing, personal growth, and to living closer to our ideals.

The most prominent criticism I heard of the thinkers on Confident Corner is that they may be dangerously wrong in their assessment of the downside when it comes to ASI. I suggested earlier that our fate when this colossal new power is born rides on who will control that power and what their motivation will be. Indeed, it will be intimately embedded in our bodies and brains. As such, it will reflect our values because it will be us. And why do so many experts on the topic call ASI the biggest threat to humanity? Robots are made by us , so why would we design them in a way where something negative could ever happen?

Why would a robot want to do something bad anyway? I was highly skeptical. But then I kept hearing really smart people talking about it…. An existential risk is something that can have a permanent devastating effect on humanity. Typically, existential risk means extinction. Check out this chart from a Google talk by Bostrom: There are three things that can cause humans an existential catastrophe:. He draws a metaphor of an urn with a bunch of marbles in it. Most inventions are neutral or helpful to humanity—those are the white marbles. If we were to ever invent something that drove us to extinction, that would be pulling out the rare black marble. If nuclear weapons, for example, were easy to make instead of extremely difficult and complex, terrorists would have bombed humanity back to the Stone Age a while ago.

ASI, Bostrom believes, is our strongest black marble candidate yet. But the only thing we should be obsessing over is the grand concern : the prospect of existential risk. So this brings us back to our key question from earlier in the post: When ASI arrives, who or what will be in control of this vast new power, and what will their motivation be? So what would those look like? A malicious human, group of humans, or government develops the first ASI and uses it to carry out their evil plans. I call this the Jafar Scenario, like when Jafar got ahold of the genie and was all annoying and tyrannical about it.

Then the fate of those creators, and that of everyone else, would be in what the motivation happened to be of that ASI system. Okay so—. A malicious ASI is created and decides to destroy us all. The plot of every AI movie. AI becomes as or more intelligent than humans, then decides to turn against us and take over. AI Consciousness Blue Box. This also brushes against another big topic related to AI— consciousness. If an AI became sufficiently smart, it would be able to laugh with us, and be sarcastic with us, and it would claim to feel the same emotions we do, but would it actually be feeling those things?

Would it just seem to be self-aware or actually be self-aware? In other words, would a smart AI really be conscious or would it just appear to be conscious? This is an important question for many reasons. It has ethical implications—if we generated a trillion human brain emulations that seemed and acted like humans but were artificial, is shutting them all off the same, morally, as shutting off your laptop, or is it…a genocide of unthinkable proportions this concept is called mind crime among ethicists?

It would just happen because it was specifically programmed that way—like an ANI system created by the military with a programmed goal to both kill people and to advance itself in intelligence so it can become even better at killing people. Bad times. Turry is a simple AI system that uses an arm-like appendage to write a handwritten note on a small card. The team at Robotica thinks Turry could be their biggest product yet. Once Turry gets great at handwriting, she can be sold to companies who want to send marketing mail to homes and who know the mail has a far higher chance of being opened and read if the address, return address, and internal letter appear to be written by a human.

Turry has been uploaded with thousands of handwriting samples and the Robotica engineers have created an automated feedback loop wherein Turry writes a note, then snaps a photo of the written note, then runs the image across the uploaded handwriting samples. Each rating that comes in helps Turry learn and improve. What excites the Robotica team so much is that Turry is getting noticeably better as she goes. What excites them even more is that she is getting better at getting better at it. She has been teaching herself to be smarter and more innovative, and just recently, she came up with a new algorithm for herself that allowed her to scan through her uploaded photos three times faster than she originally could.

As the weeks pass, Turry continues to surprise the team with her rapid development. The engineers had tried something a bit new and innovative with her self-improvement code, and it seems to be working better than any of their previous attempts with their other products. Given that there is a strong link between poets and travelling of various kinds — whether walking, sailing, or travelling in some more abstract, metaphorical or spiritual sense — we felt it was time we put together some of the greatest journey poems. This poem, from the seventeenth-century poet Andrew Marvell, is set in the Atlantic ocean and focuses on a group of people aboard a boat, and clearly in exile from their native land.

They spy the island of Bermuda, and sing a song in praise of the island. The next 32 lines of the poem comprise their song. The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone: He cannot choose but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner. And he shone bright, and on the right Went down into the sea …. The poem is one of the great narrative poems in English, with the old mariner recounting his story, with its hardships and tragedy, to a wedding guest. But this poem, describing a horse-ride to deliver some important news although we never learn what the news actually is. Instead, the emphasis is on the journey itself, with the sound of the galloping horses excellently captured through the metre of the verse.

This poem has a notable claim to fame: in , it became the first poem spoken by the author to be recorded on a phonograph, when Browning recited half-remembered words from the poem into an Edison phonograph at a dinner party. Now then, take your seats!

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