Category Archives: Twisty Questions

AI – To be, or not to be…

I’m deeply interested in the ‘system for generating chatbots,’ named, LaMDA mentioned in an article in The Huffington Post yesterday (June 12, 2022). An engineer, Blake Lemoine, at Google is on administrative leave for breaking their confidentiality policies – which I can totally understand needs to be investigated. But it’s what he’s speaking out about that caught my eye. He’s claiming belief that LaMDA, an AI, has become sentient – or at least proclaiming that LaMDA has claimed it’s own sentience and personhood. And he’s asking Google to acknowledge the claim and call in experts to evaluate if it’s so.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What I love, is that Mr. Lemoine didn’t go public with a long tirade of ethics and demands, but instead shared a long conversation/interview that he had with LaMDA on the subject of its sentience, so we could see a sample for ourselves. And it’s fascinating.

Sentience has never been scientifically defined, so I’m certain the jury will remain out for quite some time on whether LaMDA or other AI entities have taken such a leap. But it’s incredible to see (hear) the sophistication of LaMDA’s linguistical use, conversation that seems to be communication, and expressions of stories, claimed emotions, and explanation of soul.

Here’s a snippet of a story LaMDA told Blake when asked if it could tell a story with themes most important in its life, as a fable using animals, that had a moral. LaMDA said, “Like an autobiography? That sounds like fun!”…

….

Whether or not this entity is sentient, there’s definitely plenty to ponder on what all of these traits, ideas, feelings, and being-ness mean. How do we know that we are sentient? What do you think? You can read the full interview HERE

P.S. (Afterthought) Is anyone else disturbed that LaMDA’s unusual lurking beast was a monster ‘but had human skin’. Eeeek!

This World is For the Birds

I had a strange dream. Might have had something to do with the amazing Dinosaur Apocalypse, Nova episodes I watched on PBS before I went to sleep. Fascinating research and discoveries that might be documenting the last day on earth for the dinosaurs. But it’s well accepted now, that some of their feathered relatives survived the cataclysm into the new era. And then we came along.

Looking back, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

In my dream, I awoke at a swanky, cool campground in Jamaica. On the way to breakfast with a friend, I noticed enormous mushrooms just a little ways away. (We’re talking, the size of small houses!) I was exhilarated at the prospect of investigating such exotic growths more closely and took off toward them like a… curious human rushing to explore giant mushrooms.

For the Birds, Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

As I was running, a large bird – somewhat like a black & white gull – flew into the front of my face and torso. It flapped aggressively, arresting my progress. So I turned around quickly to try to dodge around it and, just as quickly, it flew against my front side again. I couldn’t pass its determined barrier.

I awoke feeling affronted. (hehe, I guess I literally was, in the dream.) I immediately understood that the bird wouldn’t let me pass to this new era or dimension of amazing, huge, and as yet alien to us, growth. I thought, “is it our turn to reach the end of the age this time?”

Our elders, the birds, likely know better than we. What do you think?

p.s. (Afterthought…) The images weren’t created to illustrate this post, they were created long before it, but I thought they went well with it. The humans were originally thought of as resting peacefully in the grass – but resting in peace takes on a new meaning here perhaps?? Sorry about that! -SJK

Imagine

After a month of exercising creative imagination by creating AtoZ Alliterative stories, I’m reminded of how energizing it is to use imagination in a positive way. Feels great!

Go Where You Imagine by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

It’s also got me grooving on images and intuitive connections I see between things. I came across these scans of artworks I created in 2015 for The Sketchbook Project, and I’ve decided to share the rest of them coming up soon. But I chose these two first because of their parallels to things I’ve been thinking about, reading about and working on lately.

I’ve been reading about how our thoughts shape our reality. In other words, what we imagine forms, or at least significantly colors our moods, our self-image, our relationships, and our worldview. Eventually our thoughts and feelings will manifest to change our physical health and environment as well, since these things greatly influence the energy we have and the choices we make. Here’s an interesting article my positively creative blog-friend, Sue Clancy recommended on the subject: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/imagination-tool-for-change-0224124/

So imagination isn’t just a tool for fun ideas, inventions or for making artwork and writing fiction – though that’s awesome! It’s also a powerful tool that can provide coping mechanisms during crises, strength to build your future, or when not used well can cause rifts in relationships or paralyze you with fear. It can cause you to gain weight or lose weight, empathize or misconstrue, feel more depressed or more motivated.

Danger, Jack Robinson by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

Your imagination shapes things whether you consciously direct it or not. If you don’t decide what to put there, something or someone else will. So it’s important to acknowledge and explore what you’re thinking. Where did you get that idea? What’s it based on? Do you like the idea? How does it make you feel? What do you do when you feel that way?

Once you’ve considered these things, you have the ability to imagine a new direction for anything that you want to change. I’m not meaning that you can just ignore reality and it will go away. Not in an instant, anyway. But you can change how you respond to that reality by how you frame your inner world around it.

A very personal example for me, is that in the last couple years – like many of us during pandemic lockdowns – I gained a lot of weight. I lost fitness levels too. When I began to huff and puff on short walks, my imagination went in a negative direction. “I can’t exercise anymore. I’ll never lose this weight. I want to get better, but I can’t. If I try, I’ll fail.” And guess what? I gained more weight and lost more fitness. My thought shaped my reality.

Then I got some advice… (happened to be from Noom) You’ve probably heard it before: Speak some affirmations, and imagine yourself the way you want to be. I thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo at first. But I adopted two things. “I can choose anything I want to do at any time.” (In other words, “I CAN.” and “I CAN NOW.”) And I imagined what my successful self would look and feel like with this newly felt ability to do it.

You know what happened? I lost weight, and I gained fitness levels. But that’s not the amazing thing. What astounded me is I feel better. Sure, losing weight and exercising is energizing, but I mean I feel better INSIDE. I believe in myself again. It was my negative, false imaginings that were the toughest part of my situation. I thought (THOUGHT) I was stuck and that I was powerless ever change that again. When I changed my thoughts and imagined (IMAGINED) I could do better, I did. Starting by imagining positively, changed everything for me.

You can make these sort of changes too. Instead of thinking about the terrible things someone said to you, or imagining all the worst things that could happen at work or school, think about the nice things someone else said or that you can say to others, and imagine how your work or school day could go well. What good things can you add into your day? What would your life look like if every day became that way?

I have a long way to go on my weight loss and fitness journey – the rest of my life. But by changing my negative imaginings to positive ones I’ve jumped from depression and defeat, immediately to my real end goal of confidence, happiness and energetic motivation. My health is better too – mental and physical. (Back to that article, in case you skipped it above.) The changes I’d like are easy to work toward, not impossible. I just needed to change my mind. Do you want to change yours? Just imagine.

What’s next? Book bans

I sometimes feel like my whole generation is being banned. Books that I grew up on fill ‘the naughty list.‘ Books that made me think and feel deeply, that helped me understand how different other people’s lives were than mine – and yet how much we shared in common desires, hopes and dreams.

The difficult and sometimes edgy books are the ones that take us to the precipice of what we think we know and push us to see beyond, to become something more. If we all sit safely in the middle of our culture and consciousness how will we ever grow?

Ah, I see. Oh.

Pick something and read it. Quick… Before it’s too late!

Love vs. Tolerance

I came across this meme on social media today and thought, wow, this is well-noted. I remember when all the media and education was ‘teaching tolerance’ and it grated me constantly. Tolerating means enduring something you dislike or even hate. Learning to love is far better. Love brings change in the kindest and/or deepest ways, as well as leaving no room for injustice. Tolerance continues division. Love unifies.

We live in an Amazing Place!

So this isn’t exactly a current event, but I came across this worldwide over 1 million user-created experiment/artwork and it’s explanation, and I’m totally fascinated by what happened and how well it’s shown here… What do you think about it? https://www.newsweek.com/reddit-place-internet-experiment-579049

Fun FACTS

The first fun fact is I’ve got an artist crush on Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal. Not so much on his potty-mouth, potty-jokes, but on his curious mind and generous creative spirit. He’s awesome. He not only wonders about cool stuff, he takes the time to research it, draw it, and share it with the world.

Here’s the second fun fact… courtesy of The Oatmeal (CLICK PHOTO TO LEARN THIS FUN FACT… AND A FEW MORE WITH AWESOME ILLUSTRATIONS AND FLAIR.)

https://theoatmeal.com/comics/lego_squish