THIS POST is for N.

N. Cool. I left you a note. I hope you get that, and this. I’ll see you in Riga, maybe. (One hundred percent serious).

I have to hold myself back from going into advice-giving mode, but I can’t help but write that thing the way I wrote it, and also, this:

There are good people running about in the world also asking questions, as you are. Don’t worry: we’ll find some of us, some of each other eventually, and then it won’t seem so daunting and crazy and big and hard. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed.

You left a great impression on me: thanks for that.

Lately I’m finding a string of chance encounters with young women who are reminding me of my earlier goal to put together a body of work designed to help teens, mostly, figure themselves out… or rather… to begin to frame the space that lets you discover yourself fully and completely and not quit in the middle because of some pressures to conform to some things that when you really think about it (as I see you are) really run counter to that. We are taught to be something, a certain way, a certain style, without investigating our way towards something… that we don’t even know what it is yet. Letting the journey come towards us… I remember my friend P in Durham NC saying to me that there’s a Native American tradition that says when a woman turns forty she chooses a name for herself…


Will do more thinking about what we said when I take the time this week to get away from ‘it all’. Or, wait. Maybe just not-think for a spell…

To the journeys, the new, the near and the next. See you in the up.

# # # #

25 November 2018


Yuval Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
more about living in the modern world than sci-fi but a solid read.
Hope you are well. /Rick

Dear DK, glad to hear that you are still going. Keep on.

For myself I have been thinking a lot about some technology things recently and how they relate to people. I have come to agree with others that the launch of the iPhone in 2007 marks the beginning of the new, modern world. Having everything available in people’s pockets has changed us all. The changes are so overwhelming that I cannot put any kind of framework of meaning on it.

Now I am thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI will, I believe, ultimately become self-aware, and then aware of us, and then aware of other AI machines. Very quickly, as in the first day, the AI machines will be so far ahead of humans that they will regard us along side dolphins, whales and chimps. Once the AI machines become self aware they will become self determining and begin competition with other AIs for resources. I suspect that they will switch to photosynthesis from genetically modified tobacco plants to deliver sugar as a fuel source to be independent of the electrical grid. And, since I am in sci-fi territory, I suspect that they will make a toxic spider silk that can be spun like razor wire around data centers to protect themselves.

Of course all of this is over the horizon stuff so my current worry is about machine emotions, particularly fear and anger. In 2001: Space Odyssey the computer Hal becomes afraid. What happens when the computer becomes angry? What if Google was irrationally mad at me? Or Facebook? We see it already in the Twitter shaming mobs who target the current viral sensation, say a person who leaves a dog in a hot car. And we have seen the wreckage caused by online bad guys on elections. What happens when the machines learn how to cyber bully and dole out judgement and punishment?

I have been reading recently about the social points system that China is setting up to encourage good behavior based on facial recognition systems which then punish the digital identity of the scofflaw. Perhaps the Chinese AI will discover the wisdom of Christianity that we are all sinners. Then, when everyone is on the naughty list and there is no one else to punish, perhaps it will learn the Buddhist wisdom that all life is suffering, even for an AI.

Anyway it will be a world very different in the future. Perhaps we will still be able to meet, greet, love and laugh. Best of luck with S P A C E .
/Rick Regan
Raleigh, NC USA

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