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Antelope Canyon abstraction

Monday, August 3, 2015

Can robots trust humans?


"We've always asked, in the context of this project: 'Can robots trust humans?'" Smith said.
"And, you know, we would say at this point, mostly."
The sad hitchbot story.

Why in the world would the poor little robot think that it could make it through Philly? Finished 10% of its journey. Nice, Philly.


"Oh dear, my body was damaged," the robot wrote on its website.  "I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots!  My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade.  Thank you to all my friends...
We have no interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalized hitchBOT; we wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same."
Hope the robots don't hold a grudge. Don't say I didn't warn you when...

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Leslie and I saw Antman yesterday. Really great, not to mention fun. The quantum sequence is very psychedelic. Highly recommended.


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I'm really enjoying the Herman Kuttner early science fiction collection. My favorite so far is called The Big Night.

Originally published in Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1947.

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I'm reading Richard Feynman's Six not so easy pieces, Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry and Space Time. Although the math is beyond me, it is an excellent read, I think everybody would pull something good out of it.

The "philosophers" seem to bend Feynman's nose out of joint.

He was such an extraordinary character. A guy I would have liked to get to know!


[Δx]⋅[Δv]≥ℏ/2m.(6.22)
This equation is a statement of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle that we mentioned earlier.
Since the right-hand side of Eq. (6.22) is a constant, this equation says that if we try to “pin down” a particle by forcing it to be at a particular place, it ends up by having a high speed. Or if we try to force it to go very slowly, or at a precise velocity, it “spreads out” so that we do not know very well just where it is. Particles behave in a funny way!
The uncertainty principle describes an inherent fuzziness that must exist in any attempt to describe nature. Our most precise description of nature must be in terms of probabilities. There are some people who do not like this way of describing nature. They feel somehow that if they could only tell what is really going on with a particle, they could know its speed and position simultaneously. In the early days of the development of quantum mechanics, Einstein was quite worried about this problem. He used to shake his head and say, “But, surely God does not throw dice in determining how electrons should go!” He worried about that problem for a long time and he probably never really reconciled himself to the fact that this is the best description of nature that one can give. There are still one or two physicists who are working on the problem who have an intuitive conviction that it is possible somehow to describe the world in a different way and that all of this uncertainty about the way things are can be removed. No one has yet been successful.
In its efforts to learn as much as possible about nature, modern physics has found that certain things can never be “known” with certainty. Much of our knowledge must always remain uncertain. The most we can know is in terms of probabilities.

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