American Elephants


“The Closing of the Scientific Mind” by The Elephant's Child

An excerpt from a post by David Gelernter on January 1, 2014, in Commentary: “The Closing of the Scientific Mind,” in which he challenges scientists, suggesting that “the cultural authority science has acquired over the last century has imposed large duties on every scientist.” Are you listening Michael Mann?

I hope this brief excerpt will prompt you to read the whole thing, which is brilliant.

The Kurzweil Cult.

The voice most strongly associated with what I’ve termed roboticism is that of Ray Kurzweil, a leading technologist and inventor. The Kurzweil Cult teaches that, given the strong and ever-increasing pace of technological progress and change, a fateful crossover point is approaching. He calls this point the “singularity.” After the year 2045 (mark your calendars!), machine intelligence will dominate human intelligence to the extent that men will no longer understand machines any more than potato chips understand mathematical topology. Men will already have begun an orgy of machinification—implanting chips in their bodies and brains, and fine-tuning their own and their children’s genetic material. Kurzweil believes in “transhumanism,” the merging of men and machines. He believes human immortality is just around the corner. He works for Google.

Whether he knows it or not, Kurzweil believes in and longs for the death of mankind. Because if things work out as he predicts, there will still be life on Earth, but no human life. To predict that a man who lives forever and is built mainly of semiconductors is still a man is like predicting that a man with stainless steel skin, a small nuclear reactor for a stomach, and an IQ of 10,000 would still be a man. In fact we have no idea what he would be.

And to return to 2017: This piece from Breitbart today:  “Kalashnikov Group Announced Fully-Automated Combat Robots.”

Kalashnikov, the Russian weapons manufacturer behind the most effective killing machine in history, has stepped into the future of warfare, announcing its development of autonomous AI-controlled combat robots.

If you find that all entirely too scary, here’s a thoughtful piece by Matt Ridley, who is always thoughtful:

“Why You Should Be Optimistic”

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