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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 3, 2020, 5:29am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

The Emissary has spoken.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"We can't simulate it exactly, but we can give a pretty damn good rendition of it. What exactly can you experience with your 5 senses that you believe can't be simulated?"

What of one's senses can be simulated? In the end a computer can only process things as digital information, 0s and 1s. Is a data stream meant to approximate a sight or a touch equivalent to actual sight and touch? Or are we back to the dog photo problem?
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Quincy we can't simulate a physical environment anymore than we can simulate an apple by photographing it.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"This debate would require an actual computer scientist to remain meaningful."

There are some interesting perspectives on the "mind body" problem in Possible Minds: 25 ways of looking at AI. This article reviews some of the challenges in addressing how to teach an AI to think like a child.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/2/28/18239993/artificial-intelligence-children-machine-learning-alison-gopnik-psychology

The broccoli example is an amusing illustration of how children can accomplish feats that no AI, however sophisticated, can do.

Like with sublight interstellar travel, I feel the media and popular entertainment have underestimated the challenges of creating general AI - so much so that this technology may be as far beyond us as warp drive.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 11:43am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"So if we copied the information alone, you'd get nothing. But if we also had a computer that processes this info in *the same way that the brain does*, then I don't see why it wouldn't posses intelligence." [emphasis added]

I have put asterix around the key point here. A brain does not process information independent of a body within which the brain resides. The origin of the thing we call intelligence is stimulus received from our five senses through our bodies and a complex heuristic process of feedback. Think about how babies respond to stimulus, evolving incrementally as they interact with their physical world. A toddler cannot be taught to crawl or walk as some intellectual exercise - and this is not merely due to a lack of sophistication due to immaturity. In fact *no one* of any age could learn a task as complex as walking through the ingestion of raw information, even if the information could somehow be beamed into their minds independent of the five senses.

Trying to create a general intelligence, artificial or otherwise, absent a physical body, is akin to trying to teach someone to walk as a pure intellectual exercise, only multiplied a million fold in difficulty.

It is plausible that what we call "consciousness" or "self-awareness" which is the essence of human intelligence, is the culmination of millions of these understandings derived from the complex interaction between sensory information from our bodies and heuristic learning in our brains.

Trying to teach a disembodied computer that through some binary code is ass backwards - like trying to recreate a cake by just throwing a bunch of chemicals you read off the back of the ingredient list from the bakery in a bowl and expecting the result to be a cake.

"The notion that it has to be a perfect physical copy doesn't make much sense. It just needs to be capable of performing the same FUNCTION. On what basis are you claiming that only humanoid brains can perform this function?"

I am not, although at present the technology to recreate what a human intelligence does simply doesn't exist. The premise that some who study AI have begun to accept is that the body and the senses aren't just some incidental thing in the development of intelligence but a necessary precondition. It is an essential catalyst for the "recipe" and without it it's just random chemicals in a bowl - no cake.

"I also don't understand how it is possible to "mimic" intelligence without actually *being* intelligent. Intelligence is about having a certain set of cognitive abilities. Either a computer is capable of intelligently responding to its sorroundings, or it isn't. What does it even mean to "fake" or "mimic" such a thing?"

Well anything from a Google search engine to good old Dr. Sbaitso can mimic intelligence without being intelligent. Conceivably, you could even develop an algorithm so sophisticated that it could carry on a natural seeming conversation flawlessly. And yet it would only be an algorithm not a conscious being. And if you somehow gave this algorithm command of a physical body, it wouldn't know how to walk *at all* even if it could explain the process in exacting manner. Because knowing *about* walking and knowing how to walk are distinctive things.

As I see it, the holocharacters we see in Trek are hyper advanced algorithms that perfectly mimic intelligence but are no more intelligent in a general sense than Google. Data, however, through his positronic brain *and* physical body, is the real deal.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Omicron what you're describing would cease being a photograph and would just be a full on replication. Admittedly the analogy fails when you take it too far but you get my drift.

It reminds me of a painting I studied in college where the artist rendered the image with such fine detail that you could magnify the image and find ridiculous details that would be invisible to the naked eye. And when you're a kid you imagine you could step into the painting and it would be real.

Except it's all a mirage. Paint on canvass will never be 'real' anymore than bits on a magnetic tape will be 'intelligent'. It doesn't matter how fine the detail. Human intelligence is inseparable from the body that evolved it. You can try to mimic it like the painting bit that's all it is - mimicry.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 2, 2020, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I agree with Andy's post. His distinction between an artificial *brain* versus artificial intelligence is exactly right although in Voyager undoubtedly this was muddled quite a bit (and also in TNG with the Moriarty character, admittedly).

It comes down to the question of embodiment and what that means for the development of any general intelligence, artificial or otherwise. Much of scifi and mainstream cultural representations of AI have proceeded on the assumption that human intellect could be transferred or copied independently of the body, or that something equivalent to it could be constructed from scratch in a disembodied state. This dualistic notion that intellect can be neatly disentangled from physicality is almost certainly wrong. It's arguably one of the reasons why our quest for general or 'strong' AI has been so futile and most serious work has essentially abandoned the mission of recreating general intelligence in software.

It is like imagining that if only we had an accurate enough camera with high enough resolution we could somehow recreate a real dog in a photograph where the photograph would be equivalent to the dog.

One of the things about Data's portrayal, such as his inability to use contractions, or his difficulty with the Chinese Finger Trap, at least in my head canon, arises because unlike a computer program which is constructed to *mimic* intelligence (essentially in a top down way where you start from the end point and work backwards) Data was much like a real person where he learned from doing and being and therefore his intelligence needed to experience something physically in order to understand it.
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Jammer essentially excuses an episode (and by extension, the series) that wastes the audiences' time for 9/10 of its running, while rendering 9/10 of the series nugatory, for the sake of one worthwhile scene at the end.

As predicted, pretty much the entire story thus far ended up in the garbage. Why did Soji have amnesia? What was her mission? Why was Maddox "on the run" when he could have lived on the synth colony in safety? What the hell is up with the Romulans? (the helpless refugees of one episode have a ginormous Dominion War level armada in the next?!)

Best not to dwell on such minutia. Plots don't have to make complete sense , or some sense or errr... any sense at all whatsoever.

I will say this: Data's death was well-done. Like everything else in the story it disintegrates under the slightest inspection but the emotional core was satisfying and the performance by Spiner and Stewart was nice so I'll take whatever scrap I can from what was otherwise a garbage fire of a series.
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R.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Can anyone see this going on for another season? The entire conflict of the show has been resolved now. What's left? More Romulan conspiracies for the insane? The return of the Borg? There's no set-up at all for another season. I half-expected the Enterprise-F(?) to show up at the end like the Discovery season one finale. Oy vey.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 8:11am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

"Yeah, why should work be reduced to an economic transaction??! Crazy! I mean there are so many jobs who require more than 10 hours of work a day and pay absolutely nothing.
You see, I can make snarky comments, too."

I wasn't being snarky.

But if you insist on seeing being a stay at home parent as a "job" like plumbing or driving a bus, then it's understandable, if misguided, to see such people as "slaves".

Respectfully, do you know any stay at home mom's? Have you asked them why they chose to stay at home?
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

"What is your problem?"

None. I don't intend to beat a dead horse.

But it's of interest to me that on one hand, you're suggesting that being a stay at home mom or housewife is menial work, akin to being some kind of servant or slave at the man's behest, but on the other hand, their labour must be worth this fantastic sum of money.

Incidentally, I reject the entire premise that such "work" can be reduced to some economic transaction or that money should be the guidepost when assessing the choice to stay at home or not.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Booming, the Filipino people must be the richest in the world since such a large segment of their expats are pulling neurosurgeon wages. Their country must be like Wakanda by now with all that cash pouring in.
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Jason R.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

Yes that would be a live-in nanny. We have them in Canada too.
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Jason R.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

"@Jason
They were taking individual tasks and adding them up. Like cook, shopper, childcare and so on."

In other words, the tasks done by a typical live-in nanny. Incidentally, if that's 1972 currency then forget about a BMW, they'd be driving Bentleys.
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Jason R.
Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

"I once read an old federal government report from 1973 and in it they estimated how much one would have to pay somebody to do all the jobs a housewife does. In today's money it would be around 5500€. It was a pretty sweet deal for men."

Haha. Umm ok sure. Full time live in nannies / housekeepers must be driving BMWs.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Quincy the Admonition wasn't mentioned for the first time until last episode.

Soji's secret identity and lack of insight into herself was the central axis of the entire first half of the series. Indeed the pilot was about her sister who also had no memory and was mysteriously "activated". Every mind numbingly boring scene on the Borg cube between Romulan Romeo and Soji, every insipid scene with his homicidal sister, revolved around how to extract Soji's lost memory, culminating in The Impossible Box, which was an episode devoted exclusively to Soji's amnesia.

Meanwhile, the other central axis of the series was the search for Bruce Maddox, whose lab was destroyed, on the run from Zhad Vash agents.

I'm gonna make a bet with you. None of this gets mentioned again. None of it matters. It was all just a complete waste of time. Whatever, a wizard did it.

It's the difference between Frodo not flying on the eagles to get to Mordor and Frodo not riding his Boeing 747.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"If Soji's amnesia was thrust front and center as the central mystery of the show, like the Zalkonian John Doe in the TNG episode, "Transfigurations," I might agree with you."

It's not some trivial or incidental thing. Her amnesia is literally the central plot point of the first 2/3 of the story.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Pretty neat Quincy. I guess we will never know because it will never be addressed in any fashion on the show.

Oh, and another one - why is Soji a "destroyer"? If the Admonition wasn't a prophecy what was it pertaining to? Did it describe an apocalypse in our galaxy? In some other galaxy?

I again doubt that any of this will be addressed in the show or if it's addressed, the explanation will create more plot holes than it fills. But maybe we can try to speculate.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"But has it completely sunk the show? I guess it depends on how much you need to have spelled out for you, and how soon. "

Tim we've already been down this road with other Mystery Box shows and movies. The answer is that things like why Maddux was on the run or even more fundamental questions like why Soji and her sisters lost their memories will never be explained. They will end up in the same foggy narrative trashbin as the reason why there was a map to Luke in The Force Awakens.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Lynos those are great questions. Another: just what was Soji's mission exactly? It is mentioned in the episode but I still can't explain it. Just as I can't explain why Maddux was on the run and needed to turn to gangsters for protection.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 4:33am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Picard isn't ineffective because he lacks a starship - that's baloney. He's ineffective because his words are vapid and unpersuasive (the latest example) or because everyone just disregards what he says anyway be because ok boomer (seven).

And you know I do think I know where the writers are going with this. It's all telegraphed in that sad little speech Picard gives where he tells them he's going to personally do this and that for them, he's going to be their advocate for the Federation.

And it's just so not Picard to be so transparently self-centered and egotistical. Just like it was not Picard to be arrogant and to not listen to anyone but himself the way every single damn character has been lecturing him every episode.

Because BINGO that's his arc. At the end he learns his lesson from the Romulan refugee debacle and realizes he can't save everyone himself that he needs to rely on others blabidee bla.

But you know here's my prediction. He's still going to suck in the end whether he learns a lesson or not. Other younger people are going to beat those terrible Romulan anti synth bigots (or whoever's the bigots of the week are going to end up being once the random plot generator finishes spinning) and Picard will say some nice words but he'll still be an ineffectual old man past his prime and not good for very much but I'm sure the others will pretend he's not.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"I can't see how that could in any way be said to present him as being befuddled, feeble, or doddering. Hasn't everybody been in that situation on occasion, sitting down at some bit of technology that has been "upgraded" so that its completely unfamiliar? Think of Windows 10 when it came out? And if the last time you had used a computer before being faced with that was back in the stone age at the start of the century?"

Do an experiment Geronitus: watch any Picard focused episode from TNG like The Defector or Sins of the Father or Measure of a Man. Then watch Picard's speech to the androids at the conclusion of the latest STP ep.

Can you honestly say it's the same character? Can you seriously imagine the Picard who faced down the Klingon High Council or argued for the Data's rights being this laughably ineffectual?

Then consider that he's called an "old man" in that very same scene, in the very episode where he reveals to his friends that he has space Alzheimers but not to worry because he's just fine.

Do we need to draw you a diagram?
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"It is an exaggeration but I do see where he's coming from, because the way Picard is treated on this show is disheartening. Someone suggested that it's because characters need to overcome challenges, but it doesn't feel like an "arc." It feels more like the show has contempt for it's own main character."

Bang on. Thank you Sir / Mam. Nailed it.

In the latest speech Picard comes across as this ineffectual fool. As you hear the speech you know it's falling on deaf ears - the telltale sign being that it's a garbage speech that's about on par with telling the androids he'll petition the Federation council to commission a committee to study the problem.

It's not even like the speech he gave to 7 which was warm and full of pathos and regret. She rejected his advice in that scene (and I'd argue the writers were spitting on Picard there too in a different way) but that was more of a WTF moment when she beamed down and started phasering everyone.

Here we know Picard is irrelevant be because his words are ridiculous - and what's more, the show is flat out signaling us that he's a useless fool. In the very next moment, (in case the message wasn't clear) the Android is dismissing him as an "old man" (the script's words, not mine!)

So what other conclusion are we to draw but that not only is Picard a doddering old fool, but that's how he's *written* to be?

And can you imagine Picard in his TNG prime years (or even circa Nemesis) being this way? What other explanation could there possibly be other than age having diminished him to a shell, a mockery of his former self? Are we the "ageists" here or is it the script? I put it to you that it's the latter.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"I also belive they said that Star Trek Beyond was the best movie of the new trilogy."

I was going to react to that statement with astonishment.

But then if someone claimed Leprechaun 3 was the best of that series, would I be able to muster outrage?
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:22am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"even if it bore any relationship to what we have been shown (which it doesn't)."

They refer to Picard as an "old man" in the episode when the Androids are tallying their resources. Even his speech is written to sound like hollow platitudes from a has-been (I will do my best to petition Starfleet bureaucrats to allocate resources to take up your cause in a Federation committee!)

They might as well have added "doddering" given the overall subtext of Picard's complete impotence to do anything to help anyone.
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