I think therefore I am what I am and thats all what I am.
Damn, that could be an excellent mantra.
Sorry, anyway, I Robot is oot n aboot, the hollywood interpretation of Isaac Asimovs classic bit of sci-fi history. Now, aside from hoping and praying that Will Smith doesn't save the planet by uploading an alien virus into one of the robots with a floppy disk from an ancient Mac, I would imagine geeks'n'freaks across the planet will be taking advantage of the publics attention to start discussing the potential ramifications of smarter than human minds. (and no, I don't mean cockroaches)
Some of them have been so worried about the situation that they have put together something called the Singularity Institute. On their web-page they mention loads of heavy stuff like rational philanthropy and AI morality. It's an interesting read, but I really have to wonder what is more dangerous, amoral substandard intelligence right now, the threat of amoral superhuman intelligence at some undisclosed point in the future or really shitty acting ...
The spam filter seems to be eating everything, your account limit seems to have shrunk, important files have mysteriously disappeared, and your dog pissed on your printer and ate the last printout?
Maybe there was more to it than just fate or some really bad karma.
When's the last time you were nice to your sys-admin? Do you even know who he (or she) is? Or are you the type to only call in a state of hysterics damning the admin and every other geek before him?
Read these stories. Fans of The Register will recognize it, but the rest of you might not know it. As a matter of fact, if you have ever made that call to the help desk only to end up plugging your computer in, read all of these, know that you are the user this admin had in mind and hang your head in shame. If not, read em and laugh.
was a folk singer. Not just any folk-singer, he was THE folk-singer. The man who defined American Folk like no other before or since. The man who combined a love for music with compassion for the downtrodden and a hunger for social justice. He also wrote the odd hit or two.
One of those hits was "This Land is Your Land". A song Woody originally started sometime just before the second world war, with a little more than a hint of irony and one or two downright obvious verses attacking the idea of private property. Woody was an activist, and used his music to get complex ideas and emotions across in the most direct way possible.
Which is why the hubbub around a new version of this song is so interesting. Jib-Jab productions have gone and made an updated version featuring Kerry and Bush. The text has been reworked, some amazing vocal impressions provided and an animation made. It is very well done, and very political. I sort of suspect Woody would have liked it. Actually, if Woody were alive today, he probably would have made it. Especially considering the illustration adorning the start page of the woody guthrie foundations site.
The current copyright holder is threatening legal action against the most recent work. A funny thing considering the Copyright notice Woody actually used:
"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."
It almost makes me want to start a little civil disobedience. Imagine if a bunch of us all walked into the offices of Ludlow Music (the copyright holders) and sang a verse of the song, only we changed it to "This Song is My Song".
If only one of us did it, well they would probably just throw my ass out.
If a couple of us did it, they might think we were queer and sick a republican or religious official after us, tell us to not even think about getting married and then wish us a merry christmas.
If a handful of of us did it, they might think we were a band and try to offer us a record contract, give us an advance and then charge us outrageous rates to record a record at some cheesy studio, offering to pay us a couple of cents on the dollar of every record sold after we had paid for marketing, legal assistance, tour support, a video and somebody's cousin named Bubba who seemed to always be somewhere else.
If 20 of us do it, they might think it was a terrorist plot and sick homeland security on us, arresting our mothers and investigating every bar in Vienna we ever got kicked out of. The masks would be free, but who knows when we would ever get to take them off.
If 100 of us do it, they might think it was a meme, write about it in their blog, send sms's to their friends friends telling them to show up in front of starbucks singing it and then forget about it 3 days later.
If 300 of us do it, they might suspect it was a trend, alert their marketing department who would immediately find a focus group, alert trend scouts across the media spectrum and try to pitch a show to MTV networks.