Monday, November 11, 2019

Random Thought Monday

Some random thoughts. Let us begin.

(o) Does it seem that "AI" has become a buzzword and nothing more? There are several ads out there right now touting how AI is doing things we couldn't otherwise do... all praise the great machine. But none of them really deal with anything that needs what I would consider AI. For example, one involves an "AI" that turns on a camera every time a mountain lion comes near.... all praise the great machine. Oddly, my neighbor's garage does the same thing without an "AI." It just has a motion sensor. So are they really talking about AI or are they just using the term? There are articles being written too about how "AI" is going to kill us all.... all praise the great machine. But they seem awfully short on specifics. Again, I don't think they have any idea what "AI" they are talking about.

Frankly, I'm thinking it's just become a buzzword, a way to say "our stuff does cool things." I don't see anything that leaves the realm of programming and goes to actual intelligence.

(o) Yahoo are such leftist aholes. Trump attended the Alabama/LSU game. They wrote articles calling this a "bipartisan headache" -- something they never did when Obama went to sports events. Then he was greeted with huge cheers. Now they can't mention the positive greeting it without dismissing it as "unsurprising." I never heard anyone in the media dismiss positive greetings Obama got that way.

(o) Interesting article today at Politico asking why so many people don't seem to see that Trump has a sense of humor and that many of his tweets are quite funny and poke fun at himself. The answer is that obsessive people view everything their target does as evil. It's that simple.

(o) Did you know that most of the chocolate you buy isn't chocolate? It's chocolate flavored sugar. I didn't realize that until I started eating actual dark chocolate for health reasons. It's kind of shocking actually to discover that some "chocolate" candy bars are only around 3% chocolate... if that.

(o) Do you remember me telling you about a series of commercials for Northwestern Mutual that reeked either of angry feminism or angry misogynism? There was an architect who was oppressed by her male boss, a little girl holding her parents hostage with anger for taking her on vacation, and an angry narcissist monster who was raging at her dad. I pointed out that each of these had such a twisted display of women that it either had to be out of control feminists who approved this or total woman-haters. I also pointed out that they quickly changed the narcissist's behavior (because the ad was intolerable and probably received harsh feedback), making her an airhead... not an improvement. They have since dropped the other two. Maybe they should have run those by someone who doesn't grievance with their genitals before signing off?

Anyways, there's a new ad that makes me shake my head. It's an ad for "Haven Life", some form of insurance. The problem with this ad is they are clearly selling to women and the caricature of women they use is awful. In the name of sympathizing, they begin with the "It's time you did something for yourself" victimology that is so prevalent in chick-power-pop, i.e. Taylor Swift. Ok, lots of ads do that. I get it. But then this: in a voice quivering with simultaneous relief and desperation, the female narrator tells you that this life insurance is something you can finally do for your family... you can protect your daughter from vague forces... it will make the world less horrible... it's so simple even you can get it... gosh, it's a reason to finally smile... and about life insurance of all things! wipes away tear. So let me get this straight. Finally, someone has come up with life insurance that even a dumb little girl like you can understand, and it will make the big bad world better and it can even protect your daughter before she's victimized just like you. Best of all, it's the first thing in your miserable life you can smile about. Yay!

Seriously, who wrote this sh*t. If I was a woman, I would go nad punch the bastard. I get what they are doing. They are playing on women's fears, but the fears they list speak volumes to how they see women. I wouldn't be too flattered if that was me they were trying to sell. And do you know what? I don't know any women who buy this caricature.

(o) I've been watching old Doctor Who lately and it just blows me away how clever and well-written that stuff was. It puts all the modern shows to shame.

How are you?


drjim said...

I first started watching Doctor Who around 1980. WTTW, the Chicago PBS station, aired it on Sunday nights. I saw every episode with Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, and though it was well written, and well played even though it could look a bit cheesy.

My all-time favorite "companion" was Sara Jane Smith.

ambisinistral said...

AI has always been something like hover cars -- a promise of a future wonder that never quite materializes.

tryanmax said...

► It's not that the marketing gurus who push artificial intelligence are lacking in natural intelligence, it's that they perceive their customers to be.

◄ It's bad for morale when the team loses its sense of humor. Politico ran another story earlier this year about how Trump turned liberal comics conservative. In sum, left-leaning late-night hosts have traded in their laugh lines for applause lines and their satire for straight commentary.

Conversely, Trump is a genuinely funny guy. His riffs may be borrowed and worn—let's be honest, he's an old-fashioned insult comic—but he delivers with an aplomb that makes it impossible to tell whether he knows the jokes themselves aren't that good. And that's funny. As anyone knows, comedy is all in the delivery.

As for the dour, old-guard conservatives who want a stand up guy in the oval office: they didn't specify that they didn't mean stand up comic.

▼ I've been told for years that Hershey's can't legally be labeled "chocolate" in Europe. I don't know if that's true, but I've always preferred the dark stuff. If you can find dark chocolate infused with chili, I recommend it.

▲ At this point, it's really just a matter of principle, but I intend to go to my grave without watching a single episode of Doctor Who.

Thomas Anderson said...

A Doctor Who comment to rouse me from my slumber!

It occurred to me awhile back that the last episode I enjoyed without qualification was The Husbands of River Song. That aired nearly four years ago. I was a big fan of Capaldi's first two seasons, but his third didn't impress me, and of course the new Doctor is so lame even most left-wing fans admit her episodes are badly-written. It's a sad state of affairs.

I like the classic series a lot, but I do have trouble getting past some of its foibles. Not the cheap sets and effects (in fact, I love them)--what bothers me is how much slow-moving padding there often is (The Doctor's been captured! The Doctor's escaped! The Doctor's been captured! The Doctor's escaped! What could happen next?!) and the lack of character development for many of the companions. To be fair, the show was more focused on sci-fi than drama...but Star Trek, in a similar era of TV, managed to find a better balance of both, I think.

P.S. Since someone mentioned Sarah Jane--I've recently discovered The Sarah Jane Adventures, which aired from 2007 to 2011. In a lot of ways, despite being a cheesy kid's show, it's a better spinoff than Torchwood, and captures the tone of the classic series better than the 2005 revival usually does. The Brigadier even guest-starred!

P.P.S. That was a very insightful take down of that ad, and it brings to mind a thought I've seen floating around. It's easy to lambast the Victorians for their moralistic fear-mongering and funny views on gender, but now we seem to have an equal (if not worse) and opposite left-wing equivalent, which manifests itself in things like that ad.

Anthony said...

1) I think its easy to overstate AI's importance to normal people but I also think AI is a real thing. I think right now it is most important in narrow contexts. For example, recognizing/detecting and maybe reacting to specific things (like mountain lions) or patterns.

I recently picked up one of those Alexa enabled devices (Amazon was selling it for a buck) and my youngest has really taken to it, training it among other things to be her personal DJ (it plays music it guesses she would like and she says yeah or nay when asked if it is to her liking).

On a related note companies and governments have vast amounts of data (more than humans have time to process) and algorithms/AI help them sift through that data. That is certainly a good thing for the data collectors. Whether it is good or bad for the rest of us is debatable.

2) I suspect the reaction the president gets depends on where he goes. Don't see much point in drawing broad conclusions from such things.

3) Recent events and comments from current and ex-staffers have made it clear Trump has no one in his cabinet he trusts or respects (and vice versa) so rather than consult privately with select people the way presidents always have, Trump tends to just throw things out there and then whine that he wasn't being serious if the reaction is too adverse.

4) Interesting. I'm more of a gourmet jelly bean guy myself though after this year's quiet Halloween (in my aging neighborhood at least) I find myself with a surfeit of chocolate candy.

5) You got a lot more out of that Haven Life commercial than I did. It just struck me as a bland ad with kids.

6) I think I watched an episode or two of a specific Doctor Who back when I was searching for an X-Files replacement. The one I saw didn't work for me but I get that are dozens of Doctor Whos out there.

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