20 Sep

The John Lennon Artificial Intelligence Project recreates John Lennon’s personality in an AI engine. Type your questions and comments to John, and he will respond.

I asked if he had a web site, and the John-bot answered “Doesn’t everyone have a web site? Even better, I have a plan for world peace or domination. I’m never quite sure which it is?”

Like most AI bots, some of his responses were nonsensical. But quite a few were very real and sounded a lot like John. It’s an interesting project.

The same folks also have a Jack the Ripper bot.

18 Sep

FBI Detains 75 in Terrorism Case — which is interesting, to be sure, but this is the part that caught my attention:

Retired CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite called for the immediate appointment of a censorship board to monitor the strict secrecy that Ashcroft has announced. Cronkite said that secrecy is necessary in the war against terrorism, but that the government should immediately appoint a board of journalists and historians that will be aware of all the government’s plans and actions. Secrecy must not be used to protect political decisions or government failures, but only for military purposes, Cronkite said.

I understand “loose lips sink ships” and all, but this still saddens me greatly.

15 Sep

Neil Howe and William Strauss have written a series of books (really, the same book rehashed three times, but who’s counting?) on generational cycles — Generations, 13th Gen, and The Fourth Turning. In the first and third of these books, they discuss at length their theory that we are due for a “fourth turning” in the first part of the 21st century: a catalyst event that causes an extreme change in public mood, causing us to go through a decade or two of crisis. For example, the 1929 stock market crash was a catalyst, and the Depression and WWII were the crisis time.


Whether you agree with them or not, it’s interesting to read that Strauss and Howe have posted their thoughts on whether this is the fourth turning they predicted on their web site forum. What do you think?

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