Good afternoon, friends, and welcome to an all-new episode of Snarky Snippets! I had really hoped to settle into a more in-depth post today, but for any number of reasons, it didn’t happen. One of those reasons is that every news site I visited this morning had an angst-inducing story right on their front page. So, here goes …
Oh goodie … something new to lose sleep over
The headline caught my eye:
Ex-Google worker fears ‘killer robots’ could cause mass atrocities
This was in The Guardian, not some fly-by-night, off-the-wall website, so of course curiosity got the better of me and I had to delve deeper.
Laura Nolan is a former Google software engineer who resigned last year in protest at being sent to work on a project to dramatically enhance US military drone technology. Her position is that AI killing machines not operated by humans should be banned. For the record, I agree with her.
Nolan went to work for Google in Ireland in 2013 and became one of their top software engineers. Then in 2017, she was sent to work on Project Maven, which takes drone technology a step further, removing to a large extent, the human factor. According to the article in The Guardian …
Instead of using large numbers of military operatives to spool through hours and hours of drone video footage of potential enemy targets, Nolan and others were asked to build a system where AI machines could differentiate people and objects at an infinitely faster rate.
Nolan has predicted that autonomous weapons being developed pose a far greater risk to the human race than remote-controlled drones. She outlined how external forces ranging from changing weather systems to machines being unable to work out complex human behaviour might throw killer robots off course, with possibly fatal consequences.
What could possibly go wrong, eh? Plenty, according to Ms. Nolan …
“You could have a scenario where autonomous weapons that have been sent out to do a job confront unexpected radar signals in an area they are searching; there could be weather that was not factored into its software or they come across a group of armed men who appear to be insurgent enemies but in fact are out with guns hunting for food. The machine doesn’t have the discernment or common sense that the human touch has.”
It isn’t enough that we have nuclear weapons in the hands of madmen posing as world leaders, and that the earth’s atmosphere is being destroyed even as we speak, while greedy corporate executives and politicians pretend it isn’t happening, but soon we will have killing machines flying above us, deciding all on their own who or what to destroy in a given instant. Way to go, humans … see if you can’t find more ways to hasten the demise of all life on earth.
Two thumbs up to …
United Auto Workers (UAW), who will be going on strike nationwide at midnight tonight against General Motors over the usual – wages, healthcare and profit-sharing.
Here’s the thing, though. General Motors, in an effort to cut costs, has made healthcare more expensive for their workers. This might be understandable if General Motors was weren’t making profits hand over fist, but … they are. In fact, their revenue for 2018 was $38.4 billion, net income was $8.1 billion, and … with Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy, the company not only paid no taxes in 2018, but will be getting a tax refund of $104 million!!! But they cannot take care of the people doing the work to earn them those profits. SHAME!
This, my friends, is a classic example of capitalism run amok. Once again, this nation is putting the grotesquely bloated profits of the few ahead of the basic health and welfare of the many. And it is being supported and encouraged by Trump and Congress.
Pompeo wants war …
We may be rid of warmonger John Bolton, but there’s still Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, and he seems to see fit to start a brand-new war today. Yesterday, attacks on Saudi oil refineries knocked out an estimated more than half of Saudi oil output or more than 5% of global supply. Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility. But, apparently Mike Pompeo, with no evidence, has decided to blame his arch-nemesis, Iran.
“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”
What. An. Idiot.
An idiot and a dangerous fool. Iran is not taking this lying down. A not-so-subtle warning was issued by Senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amirali Hajizadeh …
“All American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles.”
Way to go, Mikey … start a bloody war sans cause. Oh, and by the way, folks. The destruction of all that oil has a price. It is expected that tomorrow the price of oil will rise from between $5 to $10 per barrel, so look for prices at the pump to jump.
Okay, friends … I now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday activities.