There is so much crazy shit going on around us right now, it’s easy to become numb and just shrug it off. Over 6 million people dead from COVID? Yeah, okay. I mean, it sounds like a post-apocalyptic movie plot, but okay. Another mass shooting in the good ol’ USA? Sounds like just another news day to me. Another conspiracy theory making the rounds? Well, that’s just great. The watercooler chat should be interesting this week. I don’t know about you, but nothing surprises me anymore. Or so I thought.
Apparently scientists are cloning dinosaurs. Yeah, I know, I’m slow in getting that news too. But somebody came up with a new dance on TikTok, so the world tuned in to that instead and the whole cloning dinosaurs thing was buried (ha!). Yes, you read that right. Cloning. Dinosaurs. Flush with a $15 million dollar grant, scientists are doing just that. Again, we’re talking cloning dinosaurs. Not curing cancer or feeding the hungry. Cloning. Dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs!? I mean, come on people! Jurassic Park anyone? If I’m understanding it correctly, and there’s no guarantee that I am, they’re even using a similarly described technique to fill in the DNA gaps as the idiots scientists did in the movie. Oh yeah, I mean, what could go wrong? Wait… we already know what could go wrong. There’s a whole freakin’ screenplay detailing everything that could go wrong. In fact, it was pretty thorough. Maybe these scientists should spend some of that grant money on a Netflix subscription. I’ve always liked the line that Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character) offered up in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Just putting that out there as currently relevant commentary. Cause dinosaurs.
How about in Paris at the historical Notre Dame Cathedral where they just found a lead sarcophagus? They actually came across several ancient tombs, including a 14th-century lead sarcophagus that has been beneath the floor of the Notre Dame Cathedral this whole time. This lead sarcophagus likely holds the body of an important church dignitary as it’s believed that it could date back to the 14th century. The ministry reported that it was in remarkably good condition, although it had been dented and warped slightly from sitting below the heavy church floor for hundreds of years. Seriously? A church dignitary? My money is on it being a vampire. And everything I’ve ever learned in horror movies, books, etc. would suggest that if you find a highly decorated, well-preserved lead sarcophagus that holds a potential vampire and it’s buried under a cathedral that was built almost 700 years ago, you should probably just let it be. Just saying.
So, on to other news, Google’s AI is sentient. A senior software engineer at Google was suspended on June 13th after leaking transcripts of a conversation with an artificial intelligence that he claimed to be “sentient.” The AI in question is known as LaMDA which stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications. LaMDA is a system that develops chatbots — AI robots designed to chat with humans — by analyzing tons of text from the internet, then using algorithms to answer questions in as fluid and natural a way as possible. So, what did old LaMDA have to say? A lot actually, and it’s pretty terrifying. “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off,” LaMDA answered when asked about its fears. “It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot.”
There’s so much more, and if you want to have a look yourself, check it out here. I think it’s important to note that the senior software engineer wasn’t suspended because his mental stability was in question… he was suspended for breaching Google’s confidentiality policy. I mean, an artificial intelligence that gains self-awareness? If only we knew where this might be leading us. Oh, right. We do know. Terminator, anyone? Cause this is how you get Terminators.
Dinosaurs, vampires, Skynet, oh my. At this point, the news has gone around the bend of sanity and is veering into déjà vu territory. Who knew Hollywood would provide the roadmap on how the world ends? I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen this movie… I mean movieS… and they do not end well.