Brad Nelson : This chat box does seem to work. I liked that other one I had (Quick Chat) better because it allowed you (or at least me) to delete specific chats (especially when just testing). But Quick Chat would
pst4usa : This is my test of your chat box Brad. Have a good night.
pst4usa : By the way Brad, the letter to the editor I sent in was rejected, too long, and too harsh, so I had to rewrite it.
Brad Nelson : Hi, Pat. Your letter was terrific. Perhaps we could work it here as an article. Thanks for testing the chat. My previous chat post was cut off. I have since increased the max length to 500 characters. That ought to work even for me!
Timothy Lane : I hadn't known there was a character limit. I don't recall ever encountering it, which for me is surprising. I believe you now allow more than Twitter. And one can always continue comments through more than one posting.
Brad Nelson : The character limit can be set on the back end. Like most things these days, everything probably starts out hardened against the typical spam that bots spew out.
Timothy Lane : It's always nice to see someone catch up to us. I've said for years that leftism infantilizes people, with spoiled brat archetype Veruca Salt as the model for many leftists. But in an article dated today, listing the Boeing 737 as one of the good things capitalism produces may be unwise. The latest I've seen blames the crash on the autopilot, which apparently takes over too quickly and has a problem with takeoffs.
Brad Nelson : Yeah...Boing could have some kind of computer glitch going there. Yikes. I think at some point these systems become so complicated, nobody really understand them. I know this is true of computer operating systems which is why changing them can be so difficult.
Timothy Lane : This is a point Trump made recently, and that was before they read the black box. As a programmer, I know just how difficult this can be. When you do an operation thousands of times a day, the error rate must be phenomenally low because an error can lead to a serious blow-up. This is even worse with autopilots and self-driving cars than it is with factory automation or dairy cow feeding.
Brad Nelson : Yes, Timothy. Finding an error in code can be difficult. These errors can be found and it’s likely that, long-term, a code running an airplane will be safer than even the best pilot. But whether too many martinis-and-stewardesses or undetected bugs, there are risks with both.
Timothy Lane : It seems the plane that crashed almost crashed in the same situation the day before. Luckily they had a pilot on hand who knew how to fight the autopilot and win. Next day they didn't.
Brad Nelson : Wow. I hadn't heard that. Human tragedy aside, I'd be very interested to find out how such an obvious programming mistake ever got through.
Timothy Lane : Mistakes happen, but this does seem odd. Apparently the autopilot takes control after takeoff and then reacts to the fast rise by trying to lower the plane. How on Earth did no one ever notice this?
Brad Nelson : That does seem odd. I guess they notice it now. One has to wonder how the actual implementation in planes differs from what had to be a lot of testing in simulators.
Timothy Lane : Just think: Will self-driving cars work better than Boeing 737 autopilots? At least with the latter, someone can gain control from the bot. And that doesn't even take into account hacking the cars, as has been done as a test.
Brad Nelson : Thanks for the link. I guess that's an appropriate cartoon. I was also thinking, Timothy, that this whole problem with the systems in the plane is like that Star Trek episode where they had trouble disengaging the M-5 multitronic computer in order to regain control of the Enterprise.
Timothy Lane : That was the very first episode of Star Trek I ever saw. The fact that it was about a computer interested me. The show quickly became a favorite, of course.
Brad Nelson : The guy who plays Dr. Daystrom is great in that episode ("The Ultimate Computer"). My favorite line is when Daystrom is trying to talk-down his computer from going rogue. He appeals to its Snowflake-like self-esteem with the line "You are great. I am great." It shows you that Daystrom was as techie as his computer.
Brad Nelson : That is "tetchy." I lovely word more often heard in British programs and such.
Timothy Lane : Dr. Daystrom did say he used his own engrams for the computer. Maybe if he'd used a different set it would have worked.
Brad Nelson : I read a terrible article at NRO the other day about some new book on Darwinism — how natural selection could guide us in our ethics. Suffice it to say, NRO continues to decline. The writer’s art is being lost in the slop of word diarrhea.
Brad Nelson : But my point is, the mechanisms of the material world (whether amino acids or microchips) are a realm below ethics and purpose. None of these things, no matter how well they are wound-up or programmed, can tell us what to do or what things mean. You can create a fancy computer, but imbuing it with the ability to make moral choices is a dicey affair.
Timothy Lane : I wonder if this was by Michael Shermer, a noted skeptic of everything religious (except for leftism, of course). He was the one who suggested calling the non-religious "brights" -- a term he insisted wasn't meant to insult the religious. Sorry, Michael, but the Brooklyn Bridge is a bit beyond my means.
Timothy Lane : He proposed some sort of scientific basis for ethics, but I stopped reading him after the "brights" incident.