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“Harassment of marine observers aboard fishing vessels is one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets. In a survey of observers in the United States alone, about half said that they had been harassed on the job. Anecdotally, Liz Mitchell, president of the Association for Professional Observers (APO) and herself a former observer, says the APO routinely logs stories of such incidents. The APO’s website describes them in detail: observers locked in their rooms, threatened at knifepoint, chased around docks, forced to accept bribes, raped, starved, pressured to sign off on sustainability criteria. Conditions in the South Pacific are among the worst.

This is the true price of a can of tuna, that lucrative shelf-stable fare that whips from the Pacific Ocean onto grocery shelves like millions of widgets flung from a slingshot. Amid rising numbers of marine observers allegedly murdered and disappeared at sea, Cagilaba’s story underscores how little words like “sustainably caught” and “certified” may mean when it comes to protecting the humans in the supply chain. And how much grocery and retail brands profit anyway.”

Candidly had never really thought about this, but it makes sense – how do rules get enforced, apart from observation or all-powerful satellites? Ethics are hard to enforce uniformly if at all in super complex supply chains.

“Trible and Kronauer’s new findings turn the previous assumptions on their head. Their alternative scenario focused on the pair of mismatched supergenes in the clonal raider ants. Sometime in history, one of those ants had experienced a mutation that replaced the supergene on one chromosome with a copy of the supergene from the other chromosome. The resulting mutant ant with two copies of the “parasitic” version of the supergene could have suddenly developed into a miniature queen that looked a lot like an inquiline.

The work showed that a single mutation in a supergene was sufficient to produce the full suite of changes observed in the obligate parasites, even before the ants were split by speciation.”

The more we learn about evolution, the more it is clear that mutations and Lamarckian leaps can happen much faster than may be suspected, it seems.

“But this paradigm ignores the fact that not all identity categories are interchangeable or operate with the same currency, and some identities are much more powerful, and dangerous than others. Race and ethnicity in particular have the potential to ignite conflicts within societies in a manner without parallel. Any conflict rooted around fixed identities can only end in zero-sum games. Someone wins. Someone loses. Always.”

A carefully couched essay but one with an undeniably powerful point – most wars are spawned by greed, but the absolute worst are those forged by identity, e.g., Thirty Years’ War, Balkan internecine conflicts, Reconquista, Civil War, etc.

“Late in the podcast, producer Dana Chivvis reflects that if Adnan really is innocent, he must be among the unluckiest people alive given the convergence of incriminating evidence. “To make [Adnan] completely innocent of this,” she concludes dubiously, “you just have to think ‘God … you had so many terrible coincidences that day … you had such bad luck that day, Adnan.’” Consciously or not, Chivvis is reverse-engineering how circumstantial evidence can be used to prove guilt.”

Pretty sobering that in the Internet era someone who is so obviously guilty can be freed even briefly – then again thanks to dying legacy media TV’s desperation, Twitter and other social media even a nincompoop like Donald Trump can get elected, so perhaps we deserve the world we are creating.

“Confronting a possible 90% increase in electricity usage would require a large build-out of additional generating capacity, especially if we don’t want to overload the grid. Many will be surprised to learn, however, that there are already over two terawatts of proposed new power generation waiting to come online in interconnection queues. This delay is the result of proposed power generators needing to hear back from regulators and other stakeholders about how and when their generators could be connected to the grid, how much it would cost, and who would be able to pay.

So the only thing standing in the way of the United States producing three times as much power in the next couple of years is not the scarcity of renewable power generation, but rather the regulatory and logistical bottleneck of connecting this new power to the grid.”

It seems increasingly likely that we won’t really enter a phase shift of seriously committing to upgrading our grid unless the first big calamity really happens, or perhaps, we do end up having a grindingly slow period of upgrading. But rolling blackouts in California for years now don’t seem to be doing much as of yet.

He continued: “This is a realm where we have no experience and no understanding of the possibilities, but they’re going to be very good at manipulation. And if they’ve got any sense, they won’t let us know that they’re much smarter than us. I’m not confident about any of these conclusions. But I’m confident that there’s not nothing to worry about.”  

I suggested to Hinton that he was imputing to AI models motives we do not know they have. He anthropomorphised large language models throughout our conversation. He agreed that the motives of existing AIs are unknown, in so far as they have motives at all, but he thinks they will look to acquire more control so as to achieve the goals we set them. This is an open-ended risk. Hinton is trusting his intuition, having learned to do so over the decades in which his ideas were long ignored. His rise to pre-eminence as the first “god-father of AI” is recent. “My intuition is: we’re toast. This is the actual end of history.”

There are plenty of valid concerns around AI but I think we haven’t yet really defined terms, even. Everyone who believes AI will get more intelligent overall seems to vaguely speak of intelligence in various different ways, but mostly how an idiot-savant is technically more intelligent than I… at a couple distinct things, normally. I think the bigger concern is that AI borrows agency from existing, documented maladies online in medical literature, based on faulty instructions, but ultimately, it won’t ever gain its own agency. That’s because we can’t create agency, at all – we are human, not divine. Our procreation accidentally creates agency, after all.

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