Posts Tagged ‘Robots’

Letter From Claverack 10 30 2016 The old clock is ticking…

October 31, 2016

As I headed north on the train, I watched mist close over the Hudson River as I drifted off to a nap after an extraordinary brunch with my friends, Mary Clare and Jim Eros, at Café Du Soleil on the Upper West Side. We laughed and giggled and ate and had a good time.

They were off to watch a flotilla of pumpkins in Central Park while I headed down to the station to head north.

It is dark now and the flood lights illuminate the creek.  The ticking of my old clock is about the only sound I can hear and I am contented after a good conference in New York.  Tomorrow is my meeting with my eye surgeon before the cataract operation a week from this coming Wednesday; I am weary of my blurry vision and am grateful I live in an age when repairs can be done to things like this.

A century ago, I would have been doomed to live with it if I had been so lucky to live this long.  My friend, the philosopher Howard Bloom, always points out that we have doubled our life expectancy in the last hundred, hundred fifty years.  A great accomplishment.

Things that would have killed us quickly have been either vanquished or we have ways of coping better than ever with what would have been life ending diseases not so very long ago.

Things like that give me some hope.

This week there were articles about robot warriors who could learn to kill using artificial intelligence, making judgments that only humans could before.  While that brings to mind images from “The Terminator,” robots are being also developed to help those who are helpless and to save human lives in other ways.  The Japanese are in the forefront of this because of their aging population.

Mary Clare and Jim split their time between Shepherdstown, WV and New York City.  They describe themselves as the new “young old.”  Both are retired and both are full of energy and life and a passion to explore the world and are an inspiration to me.

The three of us have all, to one degree or another, been tuning out the din of this the last weeks of this election cycle.  It was left to me to explain the newest twist in the Clinton email drama.  Both of them had missed it.  All of us are confused by it and are wondering why the FBI ignored the guidance of the Justice Department to not say anything so as not to appear to be influencing the election.

But it is what it is and is another twist in this most remarkable Presidential election.

Last night a truckload of manure was dumped in the parking lot of the Democratic headquarters in Ohio.  I find myself somewhere between outrage and hysterical laughter at the silliness of what is going on.  Manure?  In 2016?

As I cruised through the news today, I found an interview with Jerry Brotton, an English author, who has just published a book about Elizabeth I’s alliances with the Islamic world.  Shunned by Catholic Europe, Elizabeth I built alliances with the Shah of Persia, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and Morocco.  Fascinating.

However, in this present time the US is telling the families of workers in the US Consulate in Istanbul to leave the country.  This is combined with a warning to tourists to not travel there because of targeting by terror groups of Americans and other foreigners.

At the same time, the Turkish government has fired ten thousand civil servants and is crushing any media that disagrees with it.

I am saddened beyond words.  Fifteen years ago I was in Turkey and fell in love with Istanbul and have wanted to return.  Perhaps not or at least not now…

The old clock is ticking.  I think of it as the heart of the house.  I am content tonight and am living in the now.  Mindfulness is what I think they call it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 10 16 2016 From a place of tranquility…

October 16, 2016

It is a beautiful afternoon in October in Claverack.  The leaves that fill my vision as I sit here on the deck are golden and some fallen ones float regally down the creek toward the pond.

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It was a day when I had an enormously difficult time waking up; every time the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button.  Finally, I staggered out of bed and into the day.  Slightly ambivalent about going to church, I reminded myself of the bag of groceries I had purchased for the Food Pantry at the Church and so I made my way there, a little late but still there.

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From church, I made my way to the Dot for Eggs Benedict on potato latkes.  And then home to wait for my friend Larry to arrive, bringing me some wood from his farm for my winter woodstove fires.

He and I sat on the deck after it was stacked, and admired the beauty of the place, enjoying the moment while listening to jazz.  He has now left and I am here, at the end of the afternoon, still listening to jazz and enjoying the beauty of the spot, the moment, and basking in the long friendship Larry and I have enjoyed, stretching back now more than thirty years.

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It is always easy here to slip into an avoidance of the world.  This is a place of tranquility.

Beyond here – and sometimes I do not want to move beyond here – the world is a mess.

Aleppo is being pulverized and no one seems to know how to stop it.  Assad and Putin seem to have no respect or care for the citizens trapped there.  It is a strategic notch they need in their belts and so the dying continues.  Reports indicate Aleppo looks like Berlin in 1945, a decimated city.

Donald Trump has once more been skewered on Saturday Night Live, not that Hillary got off easily.  He has denounced the performance in his famous tweets.

He has increasingly been declaring that the election process is rigged.  Some observers think that if he loses he is doing his best to delegitimize a Clinton Presidency.

It is rumored that the CIA is preparing a major cyberattack against Russia for its alleged attacks on American institutions, including the Democratic Party.  This is a new kind of warfare.

And in thinking of a new world, a friend told me that every year from now on, 3% of jobs will be lost to robots.  I think I’m glad I am at the place in life I am.  It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.

Soon, I will let you know how my experience with Cozmo goes.  It should arrive this week.

It is supposed to learn from me how to react to me.  A robot pet of sorts, I guess, and I couldn’t resist experimenting with it.

Cozmo is my birthday present to myself.