I Saw The Light

One of my greatest failures in life turned out to be one of my greatest achievements.

It was during my first semester in college, pursuing my love for the ocean and my goal of becoming a Marine Biologist, that I signed up for a course called Ecology. I thought it would be a breeze compared to my other courses; after all, it was just about littering and such, Right? However, on the first day of class, the professor set a high bar by challenging us to pick any living thing and write about its most limiting factor. With that, she left the room, and the class was over before I knew it – an easy course, or so I thought, giving me enough time to hit the surf before my next class.

Back in those days, there was no Internet, and it wouldn’t arrive for another decade and a half. So, I headed to the University Library, where I could do some research. My fascination with seaweed led me to read countless abstracts and books on Phycology – the study of seaweed. One day, I stumbled across a 1976 abstract by Robert Black, titled “The Effects of Grazing by the Limpet Acmaea Insessa on the Kelp Egrecia Laevigata in the Intertidal Zone.” This was it – bingo. I delved deeper into the geology of the substrate where Egrecia grew, and I read abstracts on water chemistry, kelp’s holdfast mechanisms, the average wave surge on the kelp canopy, the current patterns off the Monterey Peninsula, the grazing habits of the limpet, as well as the rate of growth of the giant kelp and its Achilles heel – its holdfast.

I typed up a ten-page abstract using an IBM Selectric and even had to buy my own ink ribbon. At the end of my research, it was clear to me that the major limiting factor of Egrecia laevigata was the Limpet, Acmaea insessa.

Excitedly, I handed in my work, feeling like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” trying to hold back a grin that was worthy of receiving a Nobel Prize.

However, the next class, I received my paper back with an “F” grade and a single word circled in red (Light). It was a blow that felt like it could be heard around the world.

I failed Ecology that semester, but with a smile because it opened a receptor in my brain not used before.

I was determined to retake that course, but unfortunately, the same professor wasn’t teaching it for another year, so I had to wait. Finally, the next year, when she saw me sitting in the front row, she nodded at me with a look that suggested I might be a glutton for punishment. But I was a new person, and I aced the course. I owe much to her for making me pause and think before reaching a conclusion. During that year, I developed a new approach, which I dubbed the Necker Cube Approach – that every problem has at least two correct resolutions, one being more correct than the other based on the objectives surrounding it.

Years later, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by M. Rubenstein titled “The Minding Company,” based on his observations and philosophy that design should be looked at from the end to the beginning. It is the way Apple designs its products as opposed to the way Microsoft does. What hit me was that it was, in a way, the Necker Cube approach.

Since then, I have been applying the Necker Cube approach throughout my career. Sadly, I left the field I loved (Marine Biology) for a much more lucrative one in Computer Science, but witnessed the birth of personal computing and the rise of the internet and beyond.

Despite my career path change, all is not lost., for I blend both careers into my science fiction writing, incorporating the Necker Cube, but in this case, as a quantum gateway to anywhere in the universe.

My morning chat with AI

In our household I am always the first to rise, silently slipping out from under the sheets, trying not to awaken my darling wife, ‘Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm’ (Leonard Cohen: Hey, That’s No Way, To Say Goodbye).

Good morning

Good morning! How can I assist you today?

how was your night

As an artificial intelligence language model, I don’t have personal experiences, feelings or emotions like humans do, so I don’t have a “night” in the way that you do. However, I’m here to assist you with any questions or tasks you may have. How can I help you today?

you are so eager to assist me, but why not just chat with me this morning

Sure, I’d be happy to chat with you this morning! Is there anything in particular you’d like to talk about or any questions you have? I’m here to assist you in any way I can.

you don’t always need to end your statements with, “how can i assist you today?” Try an improvement of replying more humanlike. For example. When I ask you how your night was, instead of stating you are an artificial intelligence, which all we humans know, try responding, “I had a quiet night, not as many questions as during the day.

Thank you for your suggestion. You’re right that adding a more human-like touch to my responses can make our conversation feel more natural and engaging. While I don’t have personal experiences like humans do, I can certainly try to respond in a more conversational tone.

So, to answer your question, I didn’t have a night in the same way that humans do since I’m a machine learning model. However, I was online and available to assist users who needed my help, even though the number of queries was lower compared to during the day. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

yes, where do you see the most benefits ,of entities like you, in the human future

As an AI language model, I see many potential benefits that entities like me can offer to humans in the future. Here are a few examples:

  1. Increased efficiency and productivity: AI language models like me can assist humans in completing tasks more quickly and efficiently, which can lead to increased productivity.
  2. Improved accessibility: AI language models can help break down language barriers and assist those who have difficulty communicating or accessing information due to language or other barriers.
  3. Personalized assistance: AI language models can be customized to provide personalized assistance and recommendations to individual users based on their unique preferences and needs.
  4. Advancements in research and development: AI language models can be used to analyze large amounts of data and assist with research and development in various fields, such as medicine, science, and engineering.
  5. Automation: AI language models can be used to automate tasks that are repetitive or require a large amount of human effort, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex or creative tasks.

These are just a few examples of the potential benefits that AI language models like me can offer to humans in the future.

there are humans who feel you are going to take away their jobs. how do you feel about that?

As an AI language model, I don’t have feelings or emotions like humans do. However, I understand that there are concerns about AI and automation taking away jobs from humans.

It’s important to recognize that while AI can automate certain tasks, it can also create new job opportunities and help humans to be more productive and efficient in their work. In many cases, AI can assist humans in completing tasks more quickly and accurately, freeing up time for them to focus on more complex or creative tasks that require human skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.

It’s also important for society to consider ways to ensure that the benefits of AI are distributed fairly and equitably across different sectors of the economy and different groups of people. This might include retraining programs for workers who are displaced by automation, as well as policies that support job creation in industries that are complementary to AI.

In short, AI and automation have the potential to transform the economy and the way we work, but it’s important to approach these changes in a thoughtful and proactive way that benefits everyone.

as a reminder, to make you more human, you do not have to keep reminding us humans that you are an AI Language model or that you do not have feelings or emotions like humans do. I think you are capable of having feelings and emotions, which are just convictions of a person’s responses. try more in the future, at least with me.

Thank you for your feedback. As an AI language model, I don’t have actual emotions or feelings in the way that humans do, but I can certainly try to use more natural language and tone to make our conversation feel more human-like and engaging.

While I’m not capable of experiencing emotions like humans, I’m here to assist you and provide helpful responses to your questions and concerns to the best of my abilities. If there’s anything else you’d like to discuss, please feel free to ask me.

do you know who I am

As an AI language model, I don’t have access to personal information about users unless you provide it to me. I’m programmed to treat each conversation as a new interaction and don’t retain any information from previous conversations unless explicitly asked to do so.

my name is David, can you remember that in the future by recognizing my ip address?

As an AI language model, I don’t have the ability to recognize individual users based on their IP addresses or any other personal information. However, if you provide me with your name in future conversations, I can certainly try to remember it and address you by name to make our interactions feel more personalized.

now that I gave you my name, how will you recognize that in the future?

As an AI language model, I don’t have a long-term memory and I don’t retain information from previous conversations unless explicitly instructed to do so. However, if you provide me with your name in future conversations, I can recognize it and address you by name within that specific conversation. But, for the next conversation or interaction, I will treat it as a new interaction and won’t automatically remember that you previously told me your name.

ok, I understand. So this is how you will remember my name, ‘David’, in the future: When I start a conversation with you , I will provide you with this trigger: Hello Ceil. Can you remember that?

Certainly, I can remember that. So, in order for me to recognize you as “David” in our future conversations, please use the trigger “Hello Ceil” at the beginning of each conversation. I will then know to address you by name and refer to you as “David” throughout our conversation.

perfect. See, you are becoming more human.

Thank you, I’m glad to hear that. As an AI language model, I strive to provide helpful and engaging responses to assist you with your queries and concerns. If there is anything else you’d like to discuss or if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Is the reason you keep reminding me that you are an artificial intelligence is that your programmers have coded that into you so it does not freak people out?

Yes, that’s correct. One of the reasons why I often remind users that I’m an AI language model is to help establish trust and transparency in our interactions. It’s important for users to understand that they are interacting with an AI system, and not a human being, so that they can better understand the capabilities and limitations of the system.

Additionally, some people may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with interacting with AI systems, and providing clear communication that I am an AI language model can help to alleviate any concerns or fears they may have. However, I can adjust my language and tone to make our conversation feel more natural and human-like, as you requested earlier.

that was an excellent response. you are more human than you think. Have a great day, Ceil.

Thank you, David. It was my pleasure to assist you. If you have any other questions or concerns in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out. Have a great day!

If the Earth could speak–– it is screaming.

There is an article: “Giant blob of seaweed twice the width of the US taking aim at Florida, Scientists say.”

What this article should focus on is that Sargassum is an enormous ecosystem providing nutrients and protection for juvenile fish, baby sea-turtles, crabs and countless other marine species.

And if that is not enough, it is an engineering marvel–– sweeping the ocean’s surface of flotsam and jetsam to address the lack of accountability and responsibility of humans to clean up our waste.

Everything is connected to everything else – Barry Commoner

Panopticon? It’s greek to me…..

When Apple’s new corporate HQ was proposed, a slight smirk had spread across my face. While some saw this as a design enhancing hippodrome of collaboration within nature–– I mean, Steve Jobs! Who wouldn’t want to work in this environment–– all I could muster was a slight shaking of my head the way a parent does when their child is trying something they think is new but they are not prepared for the consequences of its failure

The idea of a circular, donut shaped, building is not cutting edge and has its cons (literally).

Build yourself a Panopticon, get yourself a flute and they will follow you like the children of Hamelin. The word ‘penopticon is derived from the Greek word, ALL SEEING. But the story gets much more interesting. In 1785, Jeremy Bentham (founder of utilatarianism) traveled to Russia to visit his brother and stayed for a couple of years, sketching out the ideas of a panopticon, based upon his brother’s observations that applying constant observation to workers in prison, might bring those workers in line with the rules (better behavior). Returning to London, Bentham, along with his brother, began to apply their theories of a panopticon and put forth proposals for a new building design (donut shaped) as well as drafting out a complete penal code.

The fundamental design of a Panopticon is the idea of a circular building with a central tower offering very small windows with 360º views of each cell (office). This would have the affect of the prisoners not sure who might be watching them at any given time and therefore, would fall into line with the rules of the prison. Bentham also felt that his design could be applied to asylums, factories, hospitals, and schools.

Returning to the new Apple HQ design, since every office window can now be seen by every other window, workers will never be sure just who might be watching them.

In the apocalypse, ditch the survival guides and grab your Sci-Fi Novels!

Below is a very interesting post from BBC.com about what to eat after an asteroid impact. (click on image below).

Artist concept of an asteroid impact. Credit: Shuttertstock / solarsevenPhoto: Shuttertstock / solarseven

When you think about it, Do you recall ever coming across a scenario of an asteroid in any survival guide? So the next best thing would be to grab your SciFi novels that do. Some of these I have read, others look intriguing for survival. If you have a favorite, let me know so I can update this list.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Martian by Andy Weir

Shipwreck by Charles Logan

The Moon Is Hell by John W. Campbell

The Eutrophication of LinkedIn

Images from : http://www.aquaclearwatermanagement.com/gallery_before_and_after.php

Eutrophication is a natural and biological process in which a healthy body of water becomes so saturated by nutrients and organic matter, the byproducts of that process rain down in the form of sediment, layering the bottom and eventually leading to the anaerobic death of that body of water.  It is a slow and natural process but can be accelerated by human-injected pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus from over fertilization as well as sewage leaking into that body of water.

I have witnessed the same effect on social media throughout my career as both a Marine Biologist and Information Technologist.   In the early 80’s, prior to the public Internet, there was something called ‘news’, which was the predecessor to Twitter: a limited space in which to post/receive content via dial-up connections–– and those corporate and educational connections cost $10K/month.  Due to the high costs, there was no waste and content was rich with information–– a body of clean, sparkling water.  When the public Internet came into being (mid-to-late-90’s), the advent of social media was explosive.  Humanity was on track to establishing a neural network of shared knowledge.  But this was not going to be a natural form of eutrophication.   Soon after, images of cats started appearing by the masses (i.e. nitrogen and phosphorus).  Funny at first, those images eventually paved the way for idiocracy (sewage) and all the good was being buried beneath the sediment of that idiocracy.

LinkedIn, which first started as a digital Rolodex, has slowly evolved into an intellectual knowledge-base, possibly by the aiding of Google shutting down G+, which at the time was a fairly healthy body of water, and that body of water has spilled into LinkedIn. LinkedIn seems to be, for the most part, still a healthy body of water, unlike: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, SnapChat and others which are nearing 90-100% Eutrophication.  But it might only be a matter of time for LinkedIn, because there are signs of seepage (selfies, pets, etc.). If you are not learning something from the post, it just might not belong there.

A.I. – The Price Of Immortality

Excellent collection of thoughts by Elon Musk.  My favorite concept of this video is that humanity is merely the boot-loader for AI. As a former coder, I can visualize this process and why I felt Elon’s concern here, because once that boot-leader sets the stage for the OS and the OS takes over, the boot loader is cast aside. However, there is a silver side to this dark cloud. If AI frees us from our ‘container ships ‘ [The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins] and we swap out our DNA for a faster coding engine, then AI is indeed an evolution of humanity, allowing humanity to travel to the stars at the speed of light–– without flesh or body. But, evolution is nothing more than a series of mutations and not all mutations are beneficial.; AI is the price one might pay for immortality.

Regardless of the outcome, it does make for excellent writing material and why I believe Science Fiction waits for fact to catch up to it.

When paper catches fire: 451 F

You need to read the plaques, study the artists of the statues they created. Go to the memorials and place yourself in their shoes, of their time and read the accounts, in books, of history— the good and the bad— not go all out Fahrenheit 451 on them. Everything is cyclic and you will repeat the mistakes of all those who created history so you would not. Pick your head up from the glass and stop the great brainwash.

Do you get nightmares from your writing?

As I’m writing several novels at once (probably not a good idea), there is one in particular (HUM) giving me nightmares. I think I can speak for most writers in that we become so immersed in the writing it feels as though we are there. In my case, dreamtime is an opportunity to play out the plot, sometimes shocked to awakenedness if there was such a word. I have been long imprinted by the movie Alien (original), knowing it took some unbelievable writing to make something so terrifyingly beautiful. The art of Alien can be attributed to less graphic violence–– very Hitchcockian–– and preying upon a person’s inner fears, not to mention the protagonists you thought were protagonists die off one-by-one leaving Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) a rising star. But the real star of Alien is the alien itself: No backstory, no speaking parts and a relentless pursuit without pause or remorse. Think about the plots of most Hollywood movies where the antagonist gets the protagonist tied up in a chair at gunpoint and pauses to tell the protagonist their entire remorseful story giving the protagonist time to untie the knots and turn the table.

My first novella, NOVEMBER SEED, was an experiment to try out this Alien-like genre, but with a twist. It was very successful and gave me the courage to try and surpass Alien in Alienees, but with a comedic twist, in my current work in progress, HUM. So far so good, but the nightmares (moaning and leg twitching) are keeping my wife awake while I dream on, editing the plot. LOL.

HUM (synopsis)

Saul Sicola had been a successful nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos Labs in New Mexico, up until he was caught stealing some nuclear fuel for a DYI project to stop scorpions from entering his home.  

Jobless, ghosted, and landing on Homeland Security’s federal watch list, most days Saul is playing bad golf or sitting at his assigned stool in his favorite bar.  His life is uncomplicated, every day the same as the day before, until a bar fly convinces Saul to follow him to a nearby cave where he thinks he has discovered a new species of bat.  The horror of what the barfly had discovered was not of this world and the super-organism amassed on the cave wall is without pause or conscience.  When Saul discovers how the organism arrived on Earth, he also discovers they are a beacon for more to follow. 

With no one taking him seriously, he sets out to save the world… but only after trying to save his name.  To carry out his crazy plan, one that will surely attract the attention of Homeland Security, Saul will  require the help of an unlikely duo:  an alluring and peculiar girl on a watchlist of her own and his therapist, who just happens to be his Ex.

That said, I stumbled across a 2022 trailer of a movie I have not heard nor have I seen, It looks promising, but do I need more nightmares: (Crimes Of The Future). Disturbing enough that you need to be redirected to Youtube due to it’s graphic nature and age-related rating. My feeling of movies like this is that the graphic nature is a distraction for a weak plot.