Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Remembering the Veterans

Civil War Veteran Aaron Beck 

    We entrust those we elect to bear the responsibility of careful consideration before sending men and women into war.  Before the decision was made to turn Memorial Day into a three day holiday, I remember how people dressed in their Sunday best and filled the cemetery to honor those who had served the nation and remember those we loved who were burried there.  The band marched, and flowers covered generations of graves.

    Local communities continue to honor those buried in our local cemeteries, but the crowds are smaller.  Many of the people buried in these local cemeteries no longer have family living near.  With the opportunity to have a 3-day weekend, many people travel.  School is out for the summer, and the band no longer marches.  I miss how special Memorial Day once was, but for many years I was among those who lived too far away to attend the services and decorate the graves.  I understand that times change.

    This year I want to honor my Great Grandfather, who served the nation as a Union Soldier, and the many other soldiers buried in the Farmington Macksville Cemetery.  He served during 4 years of that tragic war and kept a daily diary that he carried in his knapsack.  On September 19, 1863 during the battle of Lookout Mountain, he wrote:  "It was an awful slaughtering...Col. Balding commanding the brigade fell.  Col. Strong is feared wounded.  ,,,About sundown they attacked us all along the line.  We was holding our position finely but the enemy got in our rear and McCooks corps was cut off from the rest and entirely surrounded.  There was but one thing for us to do {and} that was to cut our way through, so we made a dash for the hills in our rear.  ,,,It was a sight I never want to see again.  We ran right over the dead and wounded in many places, the enemy and our men lay side by side."

    May those we elect have the wisdom to understand the responsibility they have been given to act with respect and consideration for our constitution and for all Americans, never again failing in their duty so tragically that our nation becomes divided and those we elect fail in their duty to all of us.


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Is AI a tool or a threat?

Is Artificial Intelligence a positive tool or a threat to humanity?

Medical Challenges of Covid,   Art by Lyn Fenwick

The pandemic was what awakened us to the potential of AI.  If you are curious, I recommend that you visit to learn more.  That article explains how AI can "spot anomalies early enough to give them time to dynamically respond to the threats."  Having recognized the threats, AI can move more quickly to create simulation modeling, workforce planning, and demand projection.  

Using AI to confront covid showed us the importance of quick responses and constant oversight, and having seen the value of AI, its development and use has advanced rapidly.  The question is, while we are smart enough to have made rapid advancements in AI technology, are we wise enough to establish ethical guardrails to avoid the abuses AI can accomplish?

Challenges on our Planet & in Deep Space

Google has announced a new computing device capable of doing in 3 minutes and 20 seconds what current supercomputers could not complete in under 10,000 years.  I cannot even wrap my mind around that capability.  

I struggle with blocking robocalls on my phone, and I am struggling with learning how to do the same things I did efficiently on my old computer on my new computer which has, so far, intimidated me.  I respect the fact that younger minds can deal more easily with the current computer world than I can, but are they wise enough to remain smarter than the computers they create?

We already know about the threat of spying on us through face book and the websites we visit, the ability to deceive us with altered images, the use of computers to draft essays assigned by teachers rather than doing the research and writing yourself, and the loss of personal skills once valued, like creating art, poetry, music, and cursive penmanship, relegating those skills to computers.   Are we willing to abandon too many of the things that define humanity, the ethical judgements, the wisdom of generations, the refinement of beauty in art and music, the very exercise of intelligence that allowed us to create these computers?  

Or, is this just a generational thing that parents and grandparents for centuries have viewed with skepticism and worry about the natural evolution of new thinking and the opportunities of technology?  I don't know.  But, I do know that the younger generation must be smarter than our generation has been because they are going to be responsible for far more dangerous decisions than past generations faced.