SMBC: Fixing social media

via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (click through for red button caption)

These days, I usually share these on Twitter, but this one seemed more relevant for this venue.

Despite using Twitter to share interesting articles and sites, I’ve never found it to be a great platform for actually sharing complex thoughts or having long conversations.  I’m too much of a pontificator to stay within the 280 character limit (or whatever it is these days).  On the few occasions that I’ve attempted it, the short pity exchanges that sometimes followed left me unsatisfied.

Blogging may be old fashioned at this point, but it still seems the best way on the internet to have thoughtful discussions.

SMBC: Do humans have feelings?

Apropos to the previous post, albeit from a different angle.

Hovertext: “This comic was posted in order to increase my social status, acquire wealth, and thus improve the reproductive fitness of my offspring.”

Click through for full sized version and red button caption.

via SMBC

I’ve noted many times before that emotions and other instinctual urges are basically human and animal programming.  The idea that robots would be designed to experience emotions, just for the sake of having them is, of course, what many humans intuitively think is the reality for us.

SMBC: What researchers study

This seems relevant to some of our discussion on the previous post.

via (Click though for hovertext and red button caption.)

The last caption may be in reference to these developments:



SMBC: Do ethics actually exist?

This is just too close to some of our recent discussions for me not to call attention to it.  As usual, Weiner knocks it out of the park.

(Click through for hovertext and red button caption.)

via: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal


xkcd: Why Asimov put the Three Laws of Robotics in the order he did

Source: xkcd: The Three Laws of Robotics

The Three Laws from the Wikipedia article:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.[1

Not sure I’d agree that the third xkcd scenario inevitably leads to Killbot Hellscape.  This is fortunate since it’s probably the closest to what will be.  Indeed, its somewhat already the case with existing systems (well, minus the third law).

Personally, I’m wondering about the wisdom of even having the third law (the robot should protect itself), except strictly in support of obeying humans.  As far as I can see, if there are ever any flaws, any unintended loopholes in the first two laws, the third law can only cause trouble.  This comes down to not creating survival machines, particularly enslaved ones.

Critics of the Three Laws often point out that the devil is in the details.  What exactly does it mean to avoid harming humans?  Or if the orders from humans are contradictory, which ones should take precedence?

In reality, the Three Laws seem more like guidelines for engineers, who would have to work on the details of what they mean in each context.  Of course, eventually the engineers will likely be robots.

xkcd: Squirrel Plan

I have to say that this is along the lines of what I think about when people confidently assert the existence of the multiverse, their favorite interpretation of quantum physics, or any other metaphysical assertion.

via xkcd: Squirrel Plan.


SMBC: Proof altruism exists?

(Click through for full sized version and for the red button caption.)

via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Of course, as we discussed on the Selfish Gene post, even if we are acting completely altruistically at a conscious level, our impulse to do so is broadly tied up with evolutionary survival advantages.

SMBC: Free will and personal responsibility

Click through to see full sized version.  I’ll have to remember this strategy.

via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

How to divide up the wealth

Click through to see the full sized version, and a popup bubble comment from the author.

via Buried Treasure – Existential Comics.

If you don’t know much about these guys, Marx wants to divide up in the communist manner, Rawls wants you to evaluate societal rules as if you don’t know what your role in society will be (i.e. rich, poor, etc), Hobbes wants to talk about the social contract you agreed to by being a member of that society, and Rand  basically just wants everyone to look out for themselves.

Finding platonism

Click through to see the full version.  Be sure not to miss the popup bubble on the second page.

via The Sighting – Existential Comics.