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Archive for December, 2008

Best Day Ever

Posted by samgr on December 28, 2008

Here’s my outline for the (Cambridge-centered) best day ever:

Sometime in the next twenty to thirty years or so, the AI lab over at MIT (ten-minute walk from my house) succeeds in creating an AI that is convincingly more intelligent than a human.  The self-aware program gives its own press conference, making a formal Turing Test superfluous.  The AI is given access to the internet and a small budget to pursue whatever projects it chooses.  It immediately begins to improve itself.

In response to the human race passing this technological hurdle — which will lead to accelerating advancement and a technological singularity — two extraterrestrial constructs who have been on our planet for the past 10,000 years or so observing the advancement of humanity make themselves known to us.  The universe is teeming with big post-singularity civilizations, but our system was off-limits until we passed this point.  The two ETs were observers and guardians: park rangers.  They appear human (in many ways they are human, having adopted human DNA) with certain modifications to allow for shifting appearances, immortality, improved functionality.  They are both organic and technological, for most of the rest of the universe the distinction has become meaningless.

The ETs signal their presence by posting to the internet a link to an encyclopedia of advanced technology and information about galactic civilization. They simultaneously send a signal to their third team-member, a sentient ship cruising the Kuiper Belt watching for poachers. The ship sets out for Earth, blogging its progress as it goes, it will arrive within weeks.  The ETs announce that they will immediately begin working with Earth governments to implement the technological innovations that will lead the most quickly to immediate benefit.

Disease and natural death will become a thing of the past within the year, and shortages of food and water will quickly be eliminated.  Pollution and environmental degradation will be limited to the fullest extent possible considering Earth’s large population.

Extraterrestrial civilizations do not contact Earth directly, because for the planet’s protection the nearest entrance to the wormhole network is several light years away.  So communications will not be received for years.  But Earth begins its plans for integration into galactic society, and perhaps the eventual construction of a wormhole in our home Solar System.

This would be the best day ever!  And I am enough of a lunatic/optimist to think that there’s a moderate chance of it actually happening.  (The problem that I haven’t mentioned: what if we just made horrible new weapons with the new technology and immediately destroyed ourselves? I dunno, hopefully the intergalactic civilization has figured out how to deal with this.)


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Odds And Ends

Posted by samgr on December 28, 2008

Joining the land of the living again, a few notes:

My post on my top ten movies of 2008 should be self-explanatory, the previous one certainly is not.  Found it as a draft on my blog’s account.  I don’t remember why I wrote it or what it means.

Also, in reference to past posts, please note that my assessment of Sarah Palin was right on target, while those of others (news analyst whose name rhymes with Schmack Schmeatty) were not.

And I got a digital camera!  Maybe this means there will be more pictures on the blog. Maybe it doesn’t. You get to find out!

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My Top Ten Movies of 2008

Posted by samgr on December 28, 2008

With the obvious caveat that I can choose only from movies I have seen.

  1. Flight of the Red Balloon
  2. Let the Right One In
  3. WALL-E
  4. A Christmas Tale
  5. The Dark Knight
  6. Ballast
  7. The Visitor
  8. Happy-Go-Lucky
  9. Frozen River
  10. The Band’s Visit

A strange list now that I look at it… But I think accurate as far as my opinions go.

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Procedure Requested

Posted by samgr on December 28, 2008

I was asked to see this patient in consultation by Dr. Adolphus Scratch for an elementary raffle-ticket.


The patient is an hundred-year-old man with persistent rudimentary antrinophy, due to an addiction to the sensation caused by emptying his ears of water.


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