AI Documentary

That doesn’t sound like you.

I have done many things in life including a bit of journalism. I started by writing about sailing and sailboat racing for the Caracas Journal. Clem Cohen, who later became Editor in Chief, was the Sports Editor at the time and he taught me a lot about style such as the importance of human interest. Above I included some human interest, Cohen’s promotion to Editor in Chief. This adds weight to Clem’s teachings. It’s not me but the paper’s owner praising Cohen! Most readers will not be aware of the technique but it will work its magic on them all the same.

When reading PR pieces by the companies we invest in, most will tout themselves as “a leader” in the field and it is an utterly meaning phrase. Only ONE of them can tout themselves as “THE leader” in the field. Journalistic style has three parts, “1) tell them that you are going to tell them, 2) tell them, and 3) tell them that you told them.” I already knew what Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking thought about AI, that it will harm humanity. The first few minutes of the video say:

“Do you trust this computer?”

“You are my creator, but I’m your master…”

“What are we on the brink of is a world of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence”

“Technology is running so much faster than society has the ability to protect us as citizens”

“[something] is coming and it will destroy our lives”

"The artificial intelligence that watches us, knows everything about us, and begins to try to change us

“Eventually millions of people are going to be thrown out of jobs because their jobs will be obsolete.”

There are probably more sound bites but I stopped there. This is part 1) tell them that you are going to tell them. I’ve posted about the problem of income distribution in an automated society quite some time ago. Unhappy with my initial proposal I have posted other solutions, one of which is working in Chile.

I was raised to solve problem, not to moan about them. This is what I was taught at home, in school, and at work. One anecdote, at IBM my boss called me to ask if I knew the paper tape to punched card machine.

Me: “No, I don’t.”
Boss: “A client is having a problem with his machine. They are coming this afternoon. Help them out.”
Me: “I just told you I don’t know the machine.”
Boss: “That’s YOUR problem.”

I met that client again over 20 years later. He was so impressed he remembered I had solved his problem. It was not the IBM machine but the NCR punch which I have never seen in my life but the tape was punched wrong.

In the NPI post I mentioned peak oil that was going to end civilization as we know it. I was a “peak oil denier” not because I knew what the solution would be but because I trusted that technology would provide the solution in time. We seem to be swimming in oil these days.

Saul, “It is exactly like me.”

Denny Schlesinger

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