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Religion and modern propaganda


nomadpete
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I recently watched a doco about the Great Wall of China. The wall (well, the bits shown in tourist brochures) is indeed impressive. I think a lot of reconstructing goes on where the tourists go.

 

A Chinese researcher was tasked to find the 'true' length of the wall and the amazing 'secrets' of its construction.

 

1. They now claim that the wall is some 26,000km long.

 

2. They claim its secret construction was Chinese technology (dating back some 2,000 years) - the layering of reeds between layers of tamped earth (sometimes with a little added lime - they found some seashells).

 

3. And they developed bricks for later outside cladding.

_________________________________

 

Point 1. Is blatant exaggeration. The wall is NOT 26,000 km long. It is comprised of many, many branches and dead end fragments (around 4,000?), Some were not actually connected. If all spurs and fragments were contiguous, would be 26,000k long. But they aren't. And many of the older mud bits have decayed into unrecognisable mounds. And it has never been fully joined up to be a continuous wall anyway.

 

Then I watched another doco about Mesopotamia.

 

Point 2 is not a Chinese invention. The Mesopotamians used a similar reed layer reinforcing method for their ziggurats 2,000 years ahead of the Chinese.

 

Point 3 - The Babylonians gave the world brickmaking around 4,000 years ago. It is true that the chinese developed mass production of bigger bricks to speed up more recent sections of their wall (nearest to Peking).

 

So, propaganda modifies truth. The chinese won't admit that their great wall copied the ancient arab's.

 

Where does religion come into this?   It does because religious fanaticism combined with ISIS propaganda has resulted in gross vandalism of ancient artifacts, buildings, ziggurats an museums in Iraq. These priceless antiquities that proved the advanced ability of Mesopotamia for thousands of years prior to the moslem faith were bulldozed.

Nobody wants to allow people to make a comparison between modern arab poverty with the pre religious heights that had been achieved. Religion (and politics) seems to like destroying history, to stop the plebs asking awkward questions.

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There must be vast amounts of ancient knowledge and technology that has been lost to vandalsim, religious wars and warlords intent on total world domination. I often wonder what was lost from the Library of Alexandria?

 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-library-of-alexandria-is-long-gone-and-all-around-us

 

Todays scientists are confounded by the ancient Roman cementitious mortar used to build their sea walls. After 2000 years, the Roman mortar is stronger than when it was first laid.

 

https://www.intellireefs.com/post/intellireefs-oceanite-ancient-roman-technology

 

The Incas found a mortar that would dissolve the faces of the stone they used, as they placed the stones in position. The result was mortar joins so fine, it's difficult to insert a knife into the mortar joins.

And the mortar they invented is stronger than any modern mortar. The Chinese can lay claim to a stupendous level of work, but their technology was never world-beating - just the sheer effort involved in their works, is what amazes.

 

https://www.siftdesk.org/article-details/On-the-reddish-glittery-mud-the-Inca-used-for-perfecting-their-stone-masonry/264

 

 

 

 

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You can't doubt that the Pyramids of Giza are also great feats of planning, designing and construction. Even Stonehenge is a great bit of construction for its time.

 

There's humungous amounts of information stored away around the world, and more that has been lost through accidents such as fires, floods and geological upheavals. I spent last Friday going through archived Dept of Civil Aviation files, and I was only looking at four of thousands. Imaging going through the US patent Office archives.

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I have seen a convincing account of how the destruction of the library at Alexandria was good for science. You are supposed to read up the current state of the art before extending it with more science. But the ancient library would have been full of nonsense religion etc. Especially with chemistry, that was full of alchemy rubbish.

So without the dead hand of history, people were free to think different thoughts.

But one of my favorite stories is the one about Erastothenes ( the chief librarian of Alexandria ) and the village of Syrena , where for a moment on only one day of the year you could see the sun right down a deep well, and the size of the earth and Columbus and the " indians" more than 1500 years later.

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There are still people that think the earth is flat. IF you pour water on a sphere it runs down the sides and off the bottom. Nuff said. . Man is created in the image of god. Nothing but the best for Us human animals and we can live forever unlike everything else.. We are SO special.  Wishful thinking?? Nev

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This opinion piece clarifies my concern about artificial intelligence.

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/6/18/artificial-intelligence-v-human-intelligence

 

Quote: "

Whenever I have had the displeasure of interacting with an obtuse online customer service bot or an automated phone service, I have come away with the conclusion that whatever “intelligence” I have just encountered was most certainly artificial and not particularly smart, and definitely not human...............

 

Whether or not the incorporeal LaMDA is truly capable of genuine emotions and empathy, it is capable of triggering a sense of empathy and even sympathy in others – and not just Lemoine – and this ability to fool carries huge risks, experts warn."

 

endquote

 

Maybe it is time to stop calling it 'artificial' intelligence.

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I posted the above in this thread by mistake. Then realised that sooner or later artificial intelligence is very likely to become tangled up with religion and propaganda.

The link is an interesting read and it does touch on religion and propaganda so it can stay here.

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20 hours ago, nomadpete said:

This opinion piece clarifies my concern about artificial intelligence.

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/6/18/artificial-intelligence-v-human-intelligence

 

Quote: "

Whenever I have had the displeasure of interacting with an obtuse online customer service bot or an automated phone service, I have come away with the conclusion that whatever “intelligence” I have just encountered was most certainly artificial and not particularly smart, and definitely not human...............

 

Whether or not the incorporeal LaMDA is truly capable of genuine emotions and empathy, it is capable of triggering a sense of empathy and even sympathy in others – and not just Lemoine – and this ability to fool carries huge risks, experts warn."

 

endquote

 

Maybe it is time to stop calling it 'artificial' intelligence.

That is a great article, although there are facets that I don't yet subscribe to, all in all, it is well balanced and thought provoking. With respect to the online customer bots, he provides an insight as to why they are the way they are when he notes developing AI can't be left to [greedy] corporations and narrow researchers. I remember discussing on here the great missed opportunity my most short-sighted corporates on customer relationship management (CRM) software. They saw it as an easy way to offshore customer support to low cost countries, while they followed the same script. Innovative companies harnessed the power of CRM to empower their local customer support reps (and fewer of them) to make decisions and improve the customer relationship. There are a few companies I exclusively use as a result of this. AI bots are not much different. In fact, they use more of what is called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that true AI to do their work.. and it isn't a great experience.  Note, RPA is not the same as AI.

 

Going back to machines being sentient, we have to bear this quote from the article in mind:

 

“As humans, we’re very good at anthropomorphising things,” Adrian Hilton, a professor of artificial intelligence specialising in speech and signal processing at the University of Surrey, told New Scientist. “Putting our human values on things and treating them as if they were sentient. We do this with cartoons, for instance, or with robots or with animals. We project our own emotions and sentience onto them. I would imagine that’s what’s happening in this case.”

 

We have to remember, the key word in the phrase artificial intelligence, is artificial. The fact that you can turn it off at any time, does not mean it feels sad, etc. The fact Lambda expressed fear of being switched off was not an emotion of the machine, but a response based on the probabilities of the outcome of being switched off and what the algorithm has harnessed from potentially millions of path-dependent data points as to what the likely reaction would be, corrected for nefarious bias, I am guessing. 

 

Back in 2014, this was a robot on QI:

 

 

The robot shows some sentience, but more emotion. "I would like to dance with Jo", as an example.. and at the end, waving to an adoring and clapping audience. Also, having the ability to "cognitively" work out their path down a step, and dance, makes them seem human-like, but they are far from it. It is definitely artificial, however, the quality of the simulation is getting so good, we could be forgiven for thinking it is real.

 

Sorry for the splinter thread - if mods can work out a way to move these posts to the AI thread, that would be good. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Fake it 'til you make it".

 

I'm not quite sure that it's all that helpful to have that arbitrary "artificial" in front of "intelligence".

 

If coming to a decision by looking at millions of data points is artificial, then the only difference between that and human intelligence is that we use less data points.

 

I think more to the point is the emotional side, or lack of it.  Basically machines have no capacity for empathy, love, fear, joy, trust, laughter, hate, envy... the list goes on.  But just like a high-functioning sociopath they can be programmed to emulate them.

 

I would not be at all surprised if a chat bot manages to pass the Turing test.  But emotion is a mix of the physical and mental - without being in a human body with all the physiological reactions to emotional stimuli, I doubt that a robot will be able to truly experience emotion.

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And far better, Nev.

There are no examples I know of  animals giving aid to a sick one of their number.

And I once saw a video of killer whales playing with an injured seal. They were tossing it around.

But systematic killing? I'm afraid you are right there.

 

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58 minutes ago, Bruce Tuncks said:

There are no examples I know of  animals giving aid to a sick one of their number...

Bruce I’ve seen it happen: during the ‘65 drought we lost a few of our precious dairy cows (my mum could recite some stud lineages back many generations). When a cow couldn’t get up the others would gather around and go wild. It was frightening to see these otherwise docile beasts suddenly seem to attack their fallen companion, but I believe they were trying to help it get up again.

 

I’ve read stories of elephants digging a well in a dry river bed then allowing other animals to drink first. 

There are plenty of accounts from people who claim to have been helped by dolphins when in trouble in the sea.

 

There are lots of this sort of video on the net; some seem quite believable.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, onetrack said:

They were just saving the food for a future occasion.

 

 

Wel, that demonstrates intelligence, reasoning and forward planning.

 

Just like robots

 

Not so much like bogans

Edited by nomadpete
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On 23/06/2022 at 2:02 PM, Old Koreelah said:

Bruce I’ve seen it happen: during the ‘65 drought we lost a few of our precious dairy cows (my mum could recite some stud lineages back many generations). When a cow couldn’t get up the others would gather around and go wild. It was frightening to see these otherwise docile beasts suddenly seem to attack their fallen companion, but I believe they were trying to help it get up again.

I've seen cattle often show emotion and genuine distress when one of their own dies or goes down. When a cow dies, the others freak out completely when you tow the dead one away with a tractor. They bellow like they're crying. I recon it would be more so in a smaller close knit herd than the bigger herds on large properties.

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