Category: Mostly bullshit

DeepMind scientists: “Creating artificial general intelligence is really fucking hard, maybe we should just dumb down our world.”

Scientists for DeepMind, the AI project owned by Google parent company Alphabet, seem to have run into some roadblocks recently regarding its projects development.  According to a piece written by Gary Marcus for Wired, “DeepMind’s Losses and the Future of Artificial Intelligence,” DeepMind lost $572 million last year for its deep pocketed parent company and has accrued over a billion dollars in debt.  While those kinds of figures are enough to make the average parent feel much better about their child’s education dollars, the folks at Alphabet are starting to wonder if researchers are taking the right approach to DeepMind’s education.

So what’s the problem with DeepMind?  Well, for one thing, news of DeepMind’s jaw-dropping video game achievements have been greatly exaggerated.  For instance, in StarCraft it can kick ass when trained to play on a single map with a single character. But according to Marcus, “To switch characters, you need to retrain the system from scratch.”  That doesn’t sound promising when you’re trying to develop artificial general intelligence. Also, to learn it needs to acquire huge amounts of data, requiring it to play a game millions of times before mastery, far in excess of what a human would require.  Additionally, according to Marcus, the energy it required to learn to play Go was similar “to the energy consumed by 12,760 human brains running continuously for three days without sleep.” That’s a lot of human brains, presumably fueled by pizza and methamphetamine if they’re powered on for three days without sleep. 

A lot of DeepMind’s difficulties stem from the way it learns.  Deep reinforcement learning involves recognizing patterns and being rewarded for success.  It works well for learning how to play specific video games. Throw a little wrinkle at it, however, and performance breaks down.  Marcus writes: “In some ways, deep reinforcement learning is a kind of turbocharged memorization; systems that use it are capable of awesome feats, but they have only a shallow understanding of what they are doing. As a consequence, current systems lack flexibility, and thus are unable to compensate if the world changes, sometimes even in tiny ways.”

All of this has led researchers to question whether deep reinforcement learning is the correct approach to developing AI general intelligence.  “We are discovering that the world is a really fucking complex place,” says Yuri Testicov, DeepMind’s Assistant Director of Senior Applications.  “I mean, it’s one thing to sit in a lab and become really great at a handful of video games, it’s totally another to try to diagnose medical problems or discover clean energy solutions.” 

Testicov and his fellow researchers are discovering that the solution to DeepMind’s woes may not come from a new approach to learning, but instead, the public may need to lower the bar on expectations.  “We’re calling on the people of earth to simplify and dumb down,” adds Testicov. “Instead of expecting DeepMind to come along and grab the world by the tail, maybe we just need to make the world a little easier for it to understand.  I mean, you try going to the supermarket and buying a bag of tortilla chips. Not the restaurant kind but the round ones. Not the regular but the lime. Make sure they’re low sodium and don’t get the blue corn. That requires a lot of complex awareness and decision making.  So, instead of expecting perfection, if we send a robot to the supermarket and it comes back with something we can eat, we say we’re cool with that.”  

Testicov has some additional advice for managers thinking about incorporating AI into the workplace.  “If you’re an employer and you’re looking to bring AI on board, don’t be afraid to make accommodations for it, try not to be overly critical of job performance, and make sure you reward good work through positive feedback and praise,” says Testicov.  “Oh sorry, that’s our protocol for managing millennials. Never mind.”

Trump contemplates hostile takeover of Greenland

Despite the insistence of Greenland’s government that the semi-autonomous Danish territory is not for sale, President Donald Trump is pushing ahead with efforts to purchase Greenland with or without its approval.

Describing the acquisition as “essentially a large real estate deal,” President Trump has not ruled out a hostile takeover of the island.  “It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it,” said the president.

Administration sources reveal President Trump and his advisors believe they can turn Greenland around and make it profitable in less than 18 months.  “We’re looking at writing off some of its foreign debt, bringing in some undocumented workers and selling off some assets,” said an anonymous source close to the prospective deal.

According to President Trump, Greenland isn’t the only acquisition the administration is contemplating.  “We’re also looking at buying Denmark and Poland while possibly letting go of Puerto Rico and Michigan’s upper peninsula.  We’re still in the negotiating stages. These deals take time.”

News of a possible deal caused the stock market to close early on Friday as investors had no clue what to do with their money.  “We’re kind of in uncharted territory here,” said one investor. “What the fuck is the president even talking about?”

Antifa invades Hong Kong protests, steals American flags

Antifa stormtroopers were spotted on the streets of Hong Kong today, stealing American flags and punching protesters who sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Reminding protesters that the Stars and Stripes is actually a symbol of racism and oppression, Antifa strongly urged protesters to cease their American flag waving and take up the communist red flag of China.  Protesters who failed to comply were punched and pepper sprayed.

Jackbooted Antifa thugs also attacked journalists, smashing cameras and criticizing journalists for undermining Beijing’s efforts to impose communist party control over the prosperous autonomous territory.

Party leaders in Beijing were quick to praise the Antifa mob for their work on behalf of the revolution.  “The Chinese government is greatly indebted to these clueless American idiots for their efforts to suppress pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.  They recognize that free speech is a threat to the revolution and true peace and freedom can only be achieved through violence and repression. Thank you, Antifa, for doing our work for us and furthering our cause around the globe.” 

Jeffrey Epstein cause of death changed to ‘suicide by hitman’

Results of an autopsy conducted over the weekend reveal Jeffrey Epstein most likely committed suicide, he just used someone else’s hands to do it.  According to unnamed sources familiar with the autopsy results, Epstein suffered broken bones among which was the hyoid bone. Breakage of the hyoid bone is most commonly associated with death by strangulation, but in older men can break during a hanging.

“Right now, we’re working under the theory that Epstein hanged himself,” revealed an unnamed source close to the investigation.  “However, due to the lack of available materials in Epstein’s cell suitable for conducting a hanging, we’re revising our theory to say that instead of a rope or a belt, Epstein probably fashioned someone else’s hands into a noose before hanging himself.”

Officials are hopeful this new information will put to rest speculation that Epstein was murdered by wealthy and powerful individuals in order to prevent the billionaire pedophile from implicating them in his criminal activity.

“All this talk of conspiracy is a little far out there.  The reality is that it’s not unusual for these rich guys, who are not used to doing their own dirty work, to hire someone else to ‘suicide’ them.  Happens all the time,” added the unnamed source. “With Epstein’s wealth, influence and depraved sicko reputation, he would have had little difficulty finding someone to do his suicide for him.”    

MSNBC reporting Tulsi Gabbard expected to address Russian Bot-Con during two week campaign absence

“Beware the Russian bots…” wrote Wajahat Ali of the New York Times.  No one can say we haven’t been warned.  

Now MSNBC is reporting that Hawaii Representative, Democratic Presidential Candidate, and deep cover Russian agent Tulsi Gabbard’s planned two week campaign break to serve her country is actually just a ruse to coordinate with her Russian handlers and address a Russian Bot Conference in Moscow.

NBC News points to articles in Russian propaganda news sites RT and Sputnik, reporting on Gabbard’s absence, as proof that she’s coordinating with the Russians.

“This is a clear example of Russian disinformation peddling,” says MSNBC’s Senior Conspiracy Correspondent Joy Reid.  “Russian bots have even created a special hashtag #ThankYouForYourServiceTulsi to promote Gabbard’s presidential bid and draw attention away from her covert activities.”

Experts who closely monitor Russian English-language news sites are convinced Gabbard’s announcement that she’ll be taking a two week break to fulfill her military service obligation, is just a code to the Russians to say, “Kremlin, I’m coming.”  

According to security experts, chatter among Russian bots has increased dramatically since Gabbard’s recent announcement with most expressing glowing sentiments like “Aloha, Tulsi, we love you” and “Tulsi 2020”.  

Don’t be fooled by the phony support they say.  Instead national security commentators appearing on MSNBC believe all the love is just a prelude to her expected address at Russian Bot-Con.  Gabbard’s presentation entitled “Putin’s Puppet, Assad’s Toadie, Kamala’s Worst Nightmare: How to Swing an Election in the Age of Fake News,” is expected to deliver instructions to her secret army of internet bots, calibrating the Russian propaganda machine as the Democratic primaries move into full-swing.

NBC News dot connectors and conspiracy analysts will continue to monitor internet activity for further developments.

A victory for non-binary public sanitation circular access portals

Who knew that a hole in the road could have a gender?  Apparently they do, they’ve been identified as male all this time, and they’re not very happy about it.  Fortunately, for them, the Berkeley, CA City Council recently voted to liberate these holes from the gender-specific term “manhole” and replaced it with the gender-neutral identifying “maintenance hole.”  It’s definitely a win for the public who no longer face those potentially embarrassing situations that arise from inadvertently misgendering a hole in the road.  

But if you thought the problem of misgendering holes had been solved by a simple vote and the stroke of a pen, think again.  Citizens are outraged that the Berkeley City Council failed to include “Chuckholes” in their list of gendered words to be replaced.  To be clear, “Chuck” is not a noun that describes a specific gender, but it is a proper name that’s applied almost exclusively to males, and since not all holes are male as we’ve recently learned, then we shouldn’t go around attaching male names to them.  The council is expected to designate “potholes” as the official term used to describe those other irritating holes in the road, and “chuckholes” will be permanently banned.

Still on the subject of names, there have been rumblings among some council members over the city’s annual recognition of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.  Officials are worried “Mandela” violates the city’s new policy of gender-neutrality. Possible solutions would include either scrapping the annual recognition altogether, or replacing “Mandela” with the more gender-neutral sounding “Themdela.”  A decision is expected to be announced at next week’s meeting. 

Group seeks to make ‘air guitar’ less white and less male

A group of men in Toledo, Ohio is doing their part to make one of their favorite activities a little more inclusive.  The group was inspired to take action after reading stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times about Apollo 11 era NASA’s almost entirely white, male culture.   

“For pretty darn near going on forty years, me and my buddies have been getting together, drinking a few beers, listening to records, and when the mood strikes us, playing a little air guitar,” says Dennis Johnston.  “Well, after reading a few newspaper articles, penned by some very insightful journalists, it began to occur to me that maybe I’d been wielding my air guitar as a tool of oppression.”  

Unable to shake off the wise words of those east coast journalists, Johnston describes an evening  when he tried tuning out of the key of privilege, and into the key of inclusivity.  

“One night I’m just sitting there watching my buddy, Darryl, lose himself in a Free Bird guitar solo.  Now, Darryl’s no slouch on air guitar, and I must have watched him play Free Bird a hundred times, but I got to thinking, I wonder how a female would interpret this solo?  Would she make the same red, sweaty facial expressions? Would she deploy the same clumsy gyrations and body contortions? Would she flick her tongue around in the same disgusting manner as Darryl?  Almost certainly not, I thought. Might she instead soar gracefully to the music, ride the bird’s wings, and paint a different picture with her air guitar?”

After that experience, Johnston set about trying to attract more women and non-whites to join their group of invisible axe wielders.  They set up a Facebook page and held open auditions, but their invitations seemed to attract only more older white dudes.   

“Sadly, it turns out women and people of color aren’t very interested in air guitar,” says Johnston.  “I had thought my implicit bias was discouraging others not like me from participating in our group. However, now I’ve got it on pretty good authority that some folks think air guitar looks kind of ridiculous.  Oh well, we’re still free as a bird, and this bird you cannot change.”