Blog Archives

Since Artificial GRASS is a Problem…

Elon Musk, the face defining and promoting Tesla Motors and its impressively intriguing product line, gave surprising remarks recently to a gathering of American governors.

For the CEO of Tesla, Inc., which designs and builds cars that are arguably more supercomputers than automobiles, to speak about the far-reaching dangers of artificial intelligence going forward involving unrestrained technological variations in this arena is newsworthy. Fascinating, in the very least. Moreover, Mr. Musk has the unique perspective and influence to affect the mindset of large communities of people and innovators with his recent warning revealed in the video above.

But will people listen?

The challenge is that innovation, in its purest form, presents the eternally intoxicating allure of “the future” that every generation has imagined and pursued with purpose to varying degrees. The primary concerns of building a world heavily influenced and dictated by artificial intelligence seems more reckless than wise, yet Westworld (at least to Michael Crichton fans and HBO viewers) was built with great intrigue.

Aren’t you curious to visit Westworld?

Answer honestly.

Jimmy’s Daily Planet maintains its consistent position that innovation, in all of its varieties, should be viewed with excitement and caution in equal measure. What are the costs and the benefits? More often than not, the costs and the benefits of a particular innovation are on a sliding scale nowhere close to a conclusive 100-0 result. Artificial intelligence is a very slippery slope because, in the initial stages, the benefits may appear to make our lives easier, more efficient and, above all, better. It’s usually at this point, however, when the investment into something (in this case, AI) is too grand and, consequently, becomes too interwoven into societal expectations to turn the digital clock back.

It just seems like humans, in too many situations, are far too eager to not only “big brother” themselves, but to also make themselves less relevant and necessary through ill-advised inventions. Impressive? Typically yes. The best idea? Hmmm…

A Google search defines the word “artificial” as, “made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, typically as a copy of something natural.”

How would (will?) Google define a product consciously created and then made or produced by something artificial?

Hmmm…

P.S. In the video above, Elon Musk spoke about the need for increased regulations to combat the threat of AI in the future. While a sensible regulation here and there may help, do you want to know what the better solution would be to deal with AI?

Intelligent people leading by example, like Elon Musk. 

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America’s Greatest Goal

Only a few days removed from the wonderful conclusion to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and it’s somewhat strange to comprehend just how glorious that one month-long tournament was and is when it’s playing out. For several weeks, fans and casual sports fans alike come together to cheer for their respective nations, as well as their favorite players and teams they admire from afar. Patriotism is on full-display with a seemingly incomparable pride in one’s country. Flags are waved and worn, colors are as bright as the faces of the goal scorers and the energy around the world for this unique sporting event is palpable.

So, where do we go from here?

That is one of the critical questions to ponder, especially when considering the optimism of people from all over the world during the biggest tournament of the world’s most popular sport. Why do we need to keep waiting for events like the World Cup to witness so many of the great things and relentless, upbeat spirits of men, women and children from all over the country and the globe? The intensity of this past World Cup (for example) seemed to even trump the passion of the 4th of July when compared to watching the U.S. matches this year.

How can we bottle this exuberance to endure beyond one single day or month?

If and how this question can be answered may hold the key to (finally) rejuvenate the United States to its necessary, new level of hope for the future.

One can dream.

Thankfully, this is the perfect place to do just that while wearing red, white and blue.

What’s Apple’s iFuture?

Solar power? An iPhone 6 with a screen that spills-over the sides? A virtually comprehensive, computerized iWatch?

These are just a few of the new, special features/products Apple is rumored to be planning to release to the world either this year or in the near future. Will they prove to be game-changers? The verdict is and will be out for quite some time. However, these new leaks (which almost never happened under Jobs’ wildly successful tenure at Apple during the early years of this century…) sure do gin up excitement for a technology company that has struggled to recapture the magical and imaginative aura of the late Steve Jobs. While that once-in-a-lifetime energy is impossible to repeat, this year may prove to put some of the shine back on that timeless logo once again. Maybe this year is the perfect time for a new adaptation of that iconic apple to premiere alongside its rumored line of innovative products? It won’t be the first time and it shouldn’t be the last.

Still, there are countless questions at this point until new products are released, tested and reviewed by the public.

But what’s really NeXT for this technology giant?

The spaceship Apple campus? Yes. Expansion into the heart of San Francisco for a new generation of Apple street cred? An inventive clothing line? Who knows?

One of the most spectacular achievements of Apple has been how it has simultaneously defined itself as a technology and lifestyle brand. Competitor Bill Gates is well-versed in this strategy as well (Microsoft Windows and his vision of the ever-expanding business community). People feel connected to Microsoft and Apple and with that comes loyalty, especially given the required investment it takes to own just one of their products.

But what about that second product…what will get the masses to make that critical second Apple purchase that will reconnect them with the company?

Just as Punxsutawney Phil saw his own shadow this past Sunday (which sadly means there will be six more weeks of winter), Tim Cook and Co. need to stop hiding in the cool shadow of Steve Jobs in Cupertino, California and finally step out in front of it in the hot sun to definitively declare to the world (in a new kind of presentation) the next generation of Apple, Inc. has arrived, post-Jobs.

The time has come for Apple and its innovators to show us (and that guy with the light-faded blue jeans, gray New Balance 992 sneakers and black turtleneck watching and waiting with unrelenting anticipation) something that is amazingly cool.

Actually, that doesn’t quite get everybody excited. Let’s try that again.

The future products from Apple need to be insanely great!

That’s how they move forward and return the world to the timeless, healthy mentality of, “an apple a day…”

The Eternal Prison of Revenge

Colpevole.

The next bizarre chapter of the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito saga begins with the two former lovers being found guilty/colpevole by a Florentine appeals court. When the verdict came down yesterday, it had to be utterly surreal and downright depressing (mentally, emotionally and even physically) for Knox and Sollecito.

The two most important questions at this juncture: how and why?

How could there be a guilty verdict if there wasn’t any new, groundbreaking evidence to definitively prove that Knox and her former boyfriend committed murder against Meredith Kercher or that they were even at the scene that treacherous night? For a moment, contemplate the places you’ve walked through and sat down just today in the past ten minutes. Could you retrace your steps exactly as you took them and then clean literally every single spec and trace of your presence?

If it seems impossible, it’s because it is, unless you’re a villain from The Blacklist. And even then…

And, if Knox and Sollecito did pull off that impossible feat for themselves, why did they leave their partner-in-crime Rudy Guede with his DNA everywhere? If so, why didn’t Guede ever mention such a betrayal? It’s usually quite difficult to disclose something that didn’t really happen, which is why nothing like this was ever divulged.

Having followed the case closely, as well as having read Knox’s book that details her painful and exhaustive account, this case is not 100% clear-cut. That’s been well established. There were a few questionable reactions by Knox, but none of which was ever attached with hard evidence that would lead to her to be deemed guilty. To proclaim her guilt based on wild conjecture requires one hell of a story.

Why has this specific case extended far beyond a standard legal trial for murder? Sadly, ulterior motives seem to be part of the never-ending argument being formed by the prosecutor and his wild and disturbed imagination, the Italian police originally involved, the Italian public and the Italian legal system as a whole. A legitimate hypothesis is that they all feel forever embarrassed by how the world saw them investigate and conduct themselves throughout this highly publicized, divisive and scrutinized trial.

There is justice to be had, but it seems like one side is eternally clouded by bitter revenge.

One more thought to reflect on is whether or not the Kercher family owes (now or in the future) Knox and Sollecito an apology? Why is this question being asked? Think about what has been determined by hard evidence: Rudy Guede was at the crime scene with his DNA everywhere (including the walls, floor, bed comforter, the bathroom and Meredith’s body). He was a known criminal who had previously broken into other buildings. He then fled on a train out of the country the very next morning after the murder took place.

With the evidence lacking against Knox and Sollecito, and while being completely sympathetic to the Kercher family wanting to know every detail and to receive every bit of justice for their daughter and sister (100% understandable), it seems like what they have relentlessly put two innocent kids through in a suspect (at best) legal system multiple times should be at least mentioned.

Knowing that the above statement was a very sensitive and controversial proposition to bring up, it still seems like a legitimate point to make. Would the Kercher family feel the same way about their persistence of assumed guilt for Knox if their daughter was in Amanda’s shoes and Meredith was subjected to the same scrutiny and fantastical stories by the prosecutor, Knox family and local media?

Rudy Guede, who was proven guilty with overwhelming evidence and a confession, is locked up behind bars.

And yet, this is all just another crazy chapter in a surreal story that ceases to have a real ending.