When Bad Customer Rewards Backfire – The “Regal Cinema” Plan …

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For anyone who has been a “Regal Cinema Crown Club” member, you might be familiar with the fact that anytime you buy a ticket for a movie or concessions at one of their movie theaters (and scan your card / enter your club number), you are rewarded with “credits”. These credits are redeemable for goodies like up-sizing concessions, free movie tickets (you know, the ones you cannot use at movie openings and only two weeks after the movie has been running), and a bunch of [typically cr@ppy] schwag (promotional merchandise). For anyone who has ever logged into the Regal Cinema Crown Club credit redemption center, they have had the opportunity to see posters … concessions … contests to enter … more posters … a few nick-knacks of low quality, and some more posters as the redeemable schwag.

Now, for a long time, I have actively participated in forums for Fandango, Regal Cinemas, and a few others where they ask the question about what kind of promotional merchandise makes people happy. And, I have very gladly taken the extra time to heavily berate them on the low-quality, profoundly stupid cr@p they offer as “promotional merchandise”, and then explain what “really” attracts people (such as replicas, limited quantity merchandise, signed items, etc.), including offering items that don’t require a shipping and handling fee more expensive than going out, finding the item online, and just purchasing it outright. Of course, none of these places has listened to me because I come from the “old-school” of advertising, where you attract customers under the pretense that people have emotions and intelligence and you have to cater to it psychologically; while these large chains come from the modernized advertising campaign of being “cheap” (that has been 18 years in evolution), where people are just sheep to be steamrolled. For this reason, I usually do not participate in all of the rigged contests, giveaways, club memberships, and other fantasy / fake systems that are designed to give people false hope, like a fish on a hook (with roughly the same consequences).

However, I joined the Regal Crown Club many, many years ago. As an avid movie goer (as I used to be … more than 10 years ago before Hollywood changed out almost its entire writing and directing staff for a group of incompetent morons (again, because they too, are cheap). And, since then, on and off I used my Regal Crown Club card at almost every transaction and earned points. I did not know how it worked or what it was; and, nor did I care. Occasionally, the ticket machine would spit out a free ticket for popcorn or soda, and even less occasionally, I earned a free movie ticket. That, by itself, was enough for me. It was only in the last five years that I even learned my “credits” had another purpose, when a young lady behind the concessions counter was shocked to see that I had over 40,000 credits! By her surprise, I have to wonder if maybe I am the only one, who knows?

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Even though I’ve blacked some out here for personal reasons … needless to say, SEVENTY-TWO THOUSAND+ credits … seems like a lot. So, in the bigger “scheme” of things, given that each $1 spent earns 100 credit, and this accounts for about 1/3 of all the movies I have been to, and does not count the fact that my credits were supposedly wiped out and restarted a couple of times – I have not been a “slouch”.

 

Since then, I have checked in, on rare occasions, to see what the Crown Club redemption site offers; always to be equally disappointed with each visit. Recently, I had an opportunity to purchase tickets to see the Avengers: Infinity War through Regal Cinemas vs. Fandango, and it actually saved a couple of dollars, so I went with it. Whilst on Regal’s website, I thought I would “check out” the credit redemption center.

Guess what I found?

(i) Until January 1, 2019, all of your credits will expire if you do not earn credits for the purchase of an admission ticket or concessions (a “Qualifying Purchase”) for more than a year from the date that you last earned credits.

(ii) Beginning January 1, 2019, credits (including all credits earned prior to January 1, 2019) will expire one year from the date they are earned (regardless of subsequent Qualifying Purchases).

THUS, AS OF JANUARY 1, 2019, ALL CREDITS EARNED ON OR PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 2018 WILL EXPIRE.

(with original emphasis – none added)

Yep … all 72,000+ credits … will be wiped out. Thanks for playing, but too bad, so sad, don’t come back.

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But, hey … don’t feel bad. Just everything you’ve earned up until 2018 will be gone on Jan 1, 2019 … but all the credits you’ve earned since then, the movies watched during 2019, etc. – won’t disappear “right away”.

So, what’s going on? I took this opportunity to contact Regal Cinemas and ask the following questions, and get the following answers:

First Question: If I keep active watching movies will the credits I’ve earned to date remain on my account or expire?

“The policy regarding Regal Crown Club credit expiry has changed. A decision like this is not made lightly, however given changing external factors and frequent examination of the program it sometimes becomes necessary to make alterations. We understand that changes like these can be surprising, thus we began notifying members of this change early in the year. This will give you and others plenty of time to redeem your credits however you wish.”

Hmmm… gee … a whole year’s notice for 10 years worth of credits. I suppose, that’s fair (for them). Of course, why wouldn’t I have exchanged my credits earlier, you [the reader], might ask? Well, this:

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This is an actual screenshot from the regal cinemas website. They offer promotional items like a “mystery box” for 112,000 credits! If I wanted that – I’d have a ways to go. Of course, I could take the “Acrimony” umbrella for 20,000 credits! I don’t even know what movie that was – let alone would have not gone to see it (or want a branded umbrella), or a movie like “I Feel Pretty”, so I could spend THIRTY EIGHT THOUSAND credits to get a cooking apron? Yes – when I said previously that they offer some of the dumbest (cheap) “promotional” cr@p that you will ever find – I was not joking.

Worse, they offer some really stupid items at extremely “hefty” credit costs. So, finding a way to burn off these credits has not been easy. However, that said, back when the last Wolverine movie was released (no … not “Logan”, the midnight of Marvel’s idiotic treatment of the X-Men in movies), they did offer movie-replica Wolverine claws. Now, that was cool and this was the first promotional item they had that did not suck. To buy the same thing from the official movie vendor would cost several hundred dollars. The cost in credits: well over a hundred thousand. Seriously … the Mystery Box or Wolverine Claws … hmmm … a chance to get an Amy Schumer apron, or movie-replica certified Wolverine claws … which one? Well, of course, I wanted the claws, but at the time, only had 60,0000 credits. So … I would just have to wait for the next opportunity and keep saving … why?

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See the words: “Enjoy unlimited credits“, where “unlimited credits” is emboldened? Well, as for rewarding customers who attend movies, just not 50 movies per year, and letting them build credits, means that even a lowly person such as myself could one day earn enough credits for some really cool promotional item, like Wolverine’s claws.

Well … that “was” the situation.

Unfortunately, that “situation” has changed. Now – your credits that you may have been earning, or that their members were (if not you), are all going away. We can, as per Regal’s guidance, redeem our credits “however you wish“. No, sorry, no really cool schwag like Wolverine claws … or even the “Mystery Box”, because that’s still too many credits and there’s not enough time to buy enough tickets to earn enough credits to get those expensive items.

Instead, I can just sport that Amy Schumer apron, all naked and sexy like her … and … oh … hold on … getting woozy … feeling a little vomit-y … dizzy … sick … [censored]

Whew. Sorry about that. I’m back. This little unpleasant “surprise” from Regal Cinemas is not only “anti-customer”, it piggy-backs off of a so-called “promotional” system already so cheap that it becomes abusively insulting. Why? Because of this:

Don’t offer anything at all.

It is that simple. If you are too cheap to do anything but offer rigged contests, lie to people, build them up, and then be even cheaper and laugh in their faces – just leave it alone. It is worse to spit in people’s face, than to just stand there laughing at them and kicking them while they’re down!

But, I digress as this leads into the second question I asked Regal:

Second Question: Why is there even a Regal Crown Club membership anymore when the only benefit is earning points that if not redeemed right away, disappear? And … worse, there will never be a way to earn enough points to redeem much on the site?

“This will not affect your lifetime credit earned balance.”

What in the SAM BLAZES? Not only are you going to “expire” my credits so I can’t redeem them for anything, you’re going to go out of your way to show me just how useless my enrollment is with a “here’s how many credits you earned in your lifetime but can’t use anymore,” policy? WOW!

I mean … like zoinks, Scoob, that’s mind “blowningly”, WOW!

(*kaboooommmmmm*).

Seriously, I have seen some large, retail chains do some pretty crummy stuff, but this has to be up there with the most pinnacle of asinine. What absolutely, self-indulgent, psychotic human being would not only laugh at their customers, but spit at them, and then advertise to them just how worthless their value is to the company?

Enter: Anthony Bloom.

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If you want to know just what this ex- South African business mogul owns, check out Technoserve.

This is the face of disparity. This is the guy who owns Cineworld, in Britain, who bought Regal Cinemas and from what I can tell, hates people. But, if you can’t see just how bad this guy is, are too swayed by political commentary (his supposed “ties” to anti-apartheid movements that are all centered around his business and economic well-being), or you just can’t see the insulting portion of Regal’s actions yet, then you’re missing the bigger picture:

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The marketing scheme that has, without shame, announced that it will drop its loyal customers in a bucket of slime, wants “you” to enroll in their program, get social (with a little heart icon, there), to earn 100,000 credits! But, don’t worry – if you don’t have enough for the mystery box, and you don’t want 2 or 3 Amy Schumer aprons or 10 Gnome T-shirts (that you can buy on Amazon for about $10 … cheaper than the movie), those credits will just go away – and the only thing you won was …

nothing.

Yes, you advertised for Regal Cinemas, brought in your friends, encouraged people to spend money on their concessions and see their movies and … HAHAHAHAHAHA – dummy! Because, that is all you are to them. This is not just a random complaint – this is a real problem! See, if the credits go away – I’m not hurt in any way because I didn’t use them to begin with. Conversely, there was no need for Regal to go out of their way to insult the members who had the credits and didn’t care if they were going away.

After all, Regal Cinemas, after telling their customers: you suck and go away, – at least ends with:

“Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We apologize for any inconvenience. We value your patronage and look forward to your next visit. “

We “value” your patronage? How is getting peoples’ hopes up and then laughing in their faces as you tear away that hope, “value”? Did the definition of that word, change? Am I missing the part about “inconvenience” NOT being the same as “lying” to you and telling you that you will earn “unlimited credits”?

Maybe I’m just out of touch with this modern world. Maybe people are so accustomed to being treated like trash that it’s expected, now. Personally, I just cannot comprehend that idea. Maybe there’s some logic to the “Regal Cinema” plan, but frankly – bad customer rewards are not really a way to attract customers … you know … ’cause that’s actually a stupid concept.

I’m just sayin’.

Guess once those rewards go away … there’s no reason to care or try. It is finally back to the good ol’ days of not letting Regal track my movements, link together behaviors, and develop strategies to further hurt the customer … I mean … promote sales? As far as I am concerned, this level of intentional bullying with bad customer rewards should backfire on Regal Cinemas. I certainly will not grace their theaters with my presence, again – even if I do love movies. It’s about 2 hours out of my way … but I heard that there is one of those Japanese owned AMC theaters in the vicinity. The offer the same promotions as Regal (but do it better), explain their policies better, and don’t waste my time with a bogus “rewards” program that’s only meant to be an abusive bullying tactic for the wealthy (unless someone out there has a better way to explain it???).

After all, a “no rewards” program takes out all the hassle of scanning the card, going through the motions, and the major inconvenience it has caused customers over the years. The lack of a “rewards” program is beneficial like those restaurants that have started paying their wait staff better and removing the stress and burden of tipping – it just makes for a better experience!

Anyway – hope that gives you [the reader] some insight, of what’s going on, how it may or may not involve you, and making future decisions on whether or not to be a part of the modern “abusive” system where they will go out of their way to assault you, for no reason, or have a night out, to watch a movie, and just enjoy it!

Avengers … Infinity War! Early Showing! WOOHOO … totally excited! (<– yeah I am!)

Thanks for Reading.


Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers” – Ross Perot (and here’s a link to some other, really great quotes featured on Forbes.com)

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Revisiting Ghost Mine – What Could Have Actually Happened

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In 2016, the famous Crescent Mine, featured in Syfy’s 2013 – 2014 two-season series, “Ghost Mine“, went up for sale. While the show had some very mysterious happenings (real or not – I have no idea, but it was always very thrilling), the season ended when the mine collapsed.

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Oregon’s famous for its ghost towns: Travel Channel, Ghost Adventures

Apparently, whilst striking it rich in gold veins, the miners encountered a bulkhead. The bulkhead was comprised of a very thick concrete wall that sealed an area of the cave and had a masonic symbol and Eye of Ra carved into it. Was this legitimate? Again – no idea as I was not there (however some people, like Robert Macbeath, have offered some amalgam of evidence to show it was fake, while others, like Dana Matthews, still believe in the show and its “artifacts”). However, after some retrospect consideration and my time working in the environmental sciences, the final mystery, if it was real, does not seem so mysterious and can, in fact, teach a valuable lesson.

At the end of the season, the mine collapsed when the miners drilled through the mysterious bulkhead:

While the series of events leading up to this had suggested a supernatural force, those events may have actually distracted from the reality of a real-life mining situation. Everything here is speculation (as much as the show, I suppose), but I will do my best to justify my explanation:

Once the miners had drilled through the concrete bulkhead there was a low rumbling or growling noise. While this would not be mysterious in regard to the sounds reverberating through rock (aka the mysterious voices and sounds miners have heard in caverns since the beginning of mining), given the mysterious events that had happened until then, it was, at least, a little suspicious (giving some minor provision to the potential of supernatural forces). Following their putting a hole in the sealed bulkhead, very quickly, the mine began to shake and as everyone ran out, the support beams gave way, one after another, in sequential order, collapsing the mine. It was somewhat harrowing (as per the video above). Yet, even in the face of spooky and unexplained mysteries (and I’m not really all that much of a skeptic), there is a better explanation.

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Even the local authors interviewed found the show, Ghost Mine, at least, “interesting” (Greg Nokes Interview)

Mines suffer from a problem known as “reclamation“. As the word implies, lands that have been mined have to be “reclaimed” because of the environmental fallout. Mining uses a lot of chemicals and the extraction of minerals leaves behind some very dangerous chemical compositions. Mining gold is one of the most environmentally devastating practices in the industry of mining (which is only rivaled by Uranium). 20 tons of toxic waste is produced for every 0.333 ounces of gold. Can you just seal a mine? Sure – but it doesn’t work. The wonderful nature of a very popular substance known as “water”, causes massive devastation afterward. Mines with toxic combinations of chemical residues in the thousands of tons may contain the toxic waste in a rock-sealed system, but not for long. Whether it’s the acids eating through the rock, shifts in tectonic plates that create openings in the rock, or water that seeps through seemingly impenetrable nooks and crannies during storms (which rises and then carries the waste out into nearby bodies of water), mining has its consequences (not to say that we don’t need to mine – but “cheap” mining practices without reclamation are a serious problem for the environment). And, hey – I work in clean energy … I don’t hug trees. But, ecological devastation like the North Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch and mining fallout – once you see it first hand – will break anyone’s heart.

But, what happens in a mine that was extremely damp / wet, suffered from water infiltration, was exposed to toxic chemicals, and other conditions, when you do install an airtight seal?

The same thing that would happen in a landfill, biogas system, or other container where natural elements (such as algae, mold, etc.), and unnatural elements introduced by humans (such as cyanide, sulfuric acid, etc.): chemicals begin to breakdown; gas is released with nowhere to go but continuously compress; and …

*boom*.

 

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Like anaerobic digestion, which is the formation of gases from oxygen free matter decomposition, the build-up of gases can be explosive if not handled correctly.

That is one of the reasons that just “sealing” off a mine – doesn’t work. If it did, there would be no “mining reclamation” needs in the world. The mining companies would dig an open vein with nothing to extract, dump their chemicals, and then seal it. But, unfortunately, this is reality and the resultant explosions would be catastrophic. While the Crescent mine may not have been fully mined out (and maybe the previous owners were keeping it as some sort of a “reserve” … be it for gold or something else …), it had been thoroughly infiltrated with water and other chemicals from previous mining. Worse, when algae and other biological elements break down, of all the chemicals they release, the two of most concern is hydrogen sulfide and methane.

The truth is, depending on how long that bulkhead was in place (and again, we’re going off of the assumption that everything was real and this happened – although I was not there, so just play along!), the miners were potentially very lucky that they did not cause a “spark” when pushing through that concrete bulkhead, setting off a compressed gas methane explosion from which (most likely) none of them would have made it out. This just goes to show, that while I do not wish to insult the miners, they were hired as a last-resort crew (because of the “haunting”, no one else wanted to work there, and that is a real-life fact), and were probably not as knowledgeable in the chemical engineering knowledge that was needed for busting through an old bulkhead in a mine (the disasters that hurt miners are very real, very dangerous, and not too uncommon).

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I was not the only person in love with this show. This series set a new precedence in actual paranormal investigations (making it more legitimate and sincere), was informative, and was full of a bunch of malarkey like some other paranormal witnessing shows … The series positioned itself as entertaining, fun, and seriously – no answers were expected, but the mysteries were shown and the audience could decide for themselves (and it was fun!). There were even large-scale petitions to keep the show alive … which is one of the biggest mysteries of all … why did Syfy dump it?

So, here’s what I speculate happened (again, “speculation” – not an “answer”, operating from the premise that all was as it appeared to be when aired on Syfy):

Over time, hydrogen sulfide (which has one of the worst odors to human beings, and supports what the miners reported: “The most God-awful smell you ever smelled.”), oxygen, methane, and nitrogen were all building up (among other gases), along with gases from the sulfuric acid and cyanide (which may have actually suppressed an explosion). The bulkhead had inadvertently become a compressed gas container (and, as per the show, the small hole they knocked in to the wall had been slowly releasing the air – but just fast enough – that instead of a massive “collapse”, it was a “slow” loss in pressure). If there were any wood beam supports in there, the hydrogen sulfide and acids would have continuously been degrading them (along with the other gases). In trade-off, although there were no wooden beams to support the cavern – there was compressed gas. Surprisingly – compressed gases are a lot stronger than people may realize. They can blow up steel containers if over-compressed. They hold up our vehicles. They can even support entire land-mass regions (which is evidenced by the earthquakes in Texas that were caused from drilling natural gas reserves).

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Timbering: The art of supporting mine roofs

The low rumbling and voice sounds were a combination of some of these gases being released from behind the bulkhead and the immediate shifting of the rocks overhead (it’s actually not uncommon to interpret sounds in the same auditory spectrum as human speech, as voices, based on fluctuations, ticks, and other factors – whether or not it is actually someone speaking). Ghostly, yes – but ghosts, probably not. And, just as has happened elsewhere in the world, taking away the “gas” support structure that was holding up the walls caused the roof to collapse. The weight of the rocks pulling down subsequently bypassed the bulkhead and pulled down on the rocks where the miners and television crew were standing (most likely following the gold vein that the miners had followed to the bulkhead). As they ran out, the cascading effect of collapse is what followed. And, as previously mentioned – that was the “least” worse case scenario considering that the amount of methane that “could” have been building up (because the moisture trapped in that portion of the cavern could have been supporting the growth of algae and bacteria which then broke down over time releasing volatile gas), could have exploded – and with nowhere else to go – would have shoved that energy out of the entrance to the cavern, blasting the miners out front and collapsing everything.

Maybe … it “was” a haunted mine – and it was the ghosts that saved the miners from a worse fate?

Anyway – not to bust a “ghost” story, because Ghost Mine is the first “supernatural” reality show that I actually liked. It was not only very believable, but considering that Sumpter, the Oregon Vortex, and some other places in Oregon are infamous for some very mysterious happenings, I had a hard time “not” believing it. Ghost Mine was a great show that suffered an early end due to very dangerous circumstances. Its paranormal hosts, Patrick Doyle (who is very cool, by the way), and Kristen Luman (very beautiful), were phenomenal. Even the miners themselves were pretty animated characters and fun to listen to and watch. If you have never watched this show, even though it was short lived, I highly recommend this to everyone. You can even visit Sumpter and see for yourself what strange things go on there (if you’re so inclined … or skeptical).

Hopefully, I haven’t “hurt” the ghost myth surrounding the mine, but pointed out a very real danger: mining is not safe – experienced or not. Modern mine practices not only kill the environment, but a lack of proper education (due to the commissioned labor, low wages, and rough lifestyle), for the miners, is also a real “human” danger. Whether my speculations are correct, or not, (or whether or not the series was even real), the truth is that what I proposed could really happen – so it’s something that any miner, or explorer, should take very seriously (no … really … you can get seriously injured – ThermoFisher Scientific). My brother and his friend once decided to go down a small, mysterious shaft they found (“The Devil’s Bunghole”, as they so appropriately named it). Without knowing what they were doing. One of them descended into a small cave with (unbeknownst to them) no air flow – and worse – no air. As the walls tightened around him and the air grew thin, he called to be pulled up. Even though the rope got tangled, they were fortunate enough to be able to get him up – barely. Not understanding geology and chemistry is fine … until you go exploring! Just bear that in mind the next time you encounter a giant bulkhead sealing off a haunted mine and bearing ominous symbols … I mean … sheesh!? What does it take to keep someone away … a skull and crossbones?

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Thanks for reading!


Snakes …. why’d it have to be snakes?” -Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

The Magicians Season 3: Review (with spoilers!) … and Predictions!

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So – here we are again at the end of another season of The Magicians, on the Syfy network. Sadly, it was only 13 episodes long, but man – were they an emotional roller coaster! Back in Season 1, you would think that I would never watch this series again with how infantile and poorly written and directed the series was, but, here I am, not only a tremendous fan of what has evolved into an incredible show (following Season 2), but looking forward to Season 4! So, for those who are interested:

It’s not a show for families. Adults / oldest teens only. It’s language is raunchy, the themes are pretty crude, and it still has a lot of sex (gay and straight) lead-ins (although now, it’s well balanced), and has plenty of drugs and alcohol. With that said – finally, in Season 3 – there’s a reason!

Yes, the writers this season, Sera Gamble, Jay Gard, Lev Grossman, Noga Landau, Elle Lipson, John McNamara, Mike Moore, Henry Myers, Alex Raiman, David Reed, and Christina Strain, have taken what could have been a one season flop and transformed it into an incredible story filled with emotion, lessons to be learned, intrigue, and adventure that parallels movie rivals like Harry Potter. They did the one thing to fix the story that I did NOT anticipate: they took away magic because it was being misused.

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The plumbers are still an unknown. Whatever koopa-ridden, god-controlled world they come from – we … what? Not Mario? “Other” plumbers? Well … I’m lost …

One of the wonderful elements of the Magician’s is that it does not use “Hollywood” -expected magic like Harry Potter, but rather, it draws from mythology and legend, bringing the audience the dark, real-world of magic (keeping true to the books). Instead of whizbops and whooshes, there is singing magic, time magic, eating the bodies of magic users to get their power shaman magic, and so on. This is a bold and innovative strategy that really sets this show apart. While the writers and directors (Chris Fisher, James Conway, Joshua Butler, John Scott, Carol Banker, and Rebecca Johnson), have not yet done a clean enough job bridging the acting out different types of magic with some minor explanations, for those who understand what they’re doing – it is fantastic! Thus, the Gods of old, who are still the “Gods”, took away magic at the end of Season 2 – and the world went to pot … fast!

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With the series finally starting to stretch into the world of magic and its creatures, will we see any of this in Face Off?

Normal people – still normal. Magic users – devastated. We saw home owners who now had to answer for land, mortgage, and taxes that they used magic to evade … brilliant! We saw people who were at the “top” of magic turn into cannibalistic monsters. The brilliance of this is especially demonstrated in the final episode when the main characters had to have the memories wiped to return to the “normal” world without magic, because it was the memory of magic that we learned (in Season 1), that screwed Julia and Hedge witches! And, of course, we have our main characters: Penny (Arjun Gupta), Kady (Jade Tailor), Quentin (Jason Ralph), Josh (Trevor Einhorn … don’t worry – it was laces out), Eliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil), and Julia (Stella Maeve). All of them have grown in all new ways. Alice (Olivia Dudley) … not so much – but I’ll cover that in a bit. You can think of the main characters of this show as a cross between The Breakfast Club, the Sandlot, IT, Harry Potter, and American Pie … all with magic.

Either way – if you haven’t watched this series – start now (it’s on Netflix)! You’ll have to endure the crap of Season 1 to understand what’s happening – and as much as I won’t watch certain episodes from Season 1 ever again (season finale), if you know about it … you can just skip the really bad part – and get what happened. If you have been watching – well then, you know – this season was mind-blowing! The point is – for ages 18 – 50, there is something for everyone in this series (if you like magic, science fiction – or just a damn good story).

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The best parts of this season (for me), included:

1. All That Josh: Seeing the characters use song magic to come together, each one faced with some peril or overwhelming odds, having to give up their own selfishness to sing David Bowie’s “Pressure”, to save their friend, Josh – was a tear-jerker. And, best of all, Josh handled it well. He didn’t get self-righteous or show indignation. No. Instead, he stood up, dusted himself off, and found the one thing he needed to start his journey: accepting friendship.

2. A Life in the Day: This was truly a heart-wrenching episode, watching Quentin and Eliot faced with a literally impossible task, sent back in time to solve a puzzle with over a million possibilities (was it a million? I don’t recall) – that would take a lifetime. And, it did. The secret, at the end, was in the willingness to sacrifice, to stay strong, and to be “more”. This was huge for both Eliot and Quentin. Eliot – who was adamantly opposed to family and fatherhood based on his own, troubled childhood, had to accept his fate – and accept Quentin’s son as his own (raising him together with Quentin and Quentin’s wife). Quentin, who is wholly dysfunctional – had to find something other than fantasy to solve a problem. Without magic to solve solutions and with nowhere to hide, he faced not just a small problem – but a problem that took him an entire lifetime. This was an astonishing use of writing and time magic that paralleled Star Trek, The Next Generation’s 125th episode, “The Inner Light”, when Picard had to live an entire lifetime as someone else, watching people he loved grow up and leave, and experiencing new challenges he had avoided. This parallel is so touching that if you give it a chance – will warm your heart. (and best of all – we later see Quentin’s recognition of sacrifice in the final episode – as he’s ready to give it all … again).

(of course … all of this helps if you’ve been watching the show and can relate to and care about the characters while suspending disbelief … )

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The Magicians sports a very cool website: Welcome to Fillory; now, if they could just have some “magic” like the picture above … IN the show!

Overall, on the surface, this season appeared to be about restoring magic, when in reality, it was about learning why magic was taken away (while growing as people so they could be “better” users of magic – which is emphasized in the end when Julia restores the keys, being able to see the “bigger” picture). And, time and time again, each of the characters discovered a part of themselves that had been lost because of magic. This was the genius of the writers (both in getting out of a special effects high budget and a brilliant story). Eliot learned he could solve problems, not use magic to hide from them. Margo actually stopped trying to screw everything and show some real gumption. Quentin stopped dreaming about magic and realized just how real it was. Josh quit using magic to make bongs to party and began to understand that he was separating himself from others. Penny quit seeing magic as a curse, and adopted it as a resolution. Kady – well – she has not yet “grown” as much, but she’s no longer the wanna-be “hedgewitch” Kady, and now has an opportunity to be more. Julia – she was an amazing surprise! The chance to be a Goddess – although she’s not yet, quite ready. Will she still be one? We don’t know. If the series wants to do this right … yes … one day, she will. For now, she needs to learn magic in smaller steps. Meanwhile, she’s stopped being a victim and finally started being the person she always wanted to be. It’s like the writers took the “point” of the books, and instead of the books just being darkness, they are making the point a little more obvious – and dealing with it: magic is not dark … humanity is – but the opposite can be true, too.

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Not without humor amidst trying to portray the dark side of magic, whether it’s a dragon sarcastically saying “yummy” to a helpless Quentin (tied to a pole), or having to explain to a nearby cop, “Sorry Officer, our friends cat was sick. And exploded. You know like they do.”, this show is a huge mix of funny to drama to weird to dark, back to funny, sexy, then drama, and so on!

This brings us to Alice. Alice started off strong and quickly dwindled as a character. From having a mysterious background and shy to being an outright, pretentious blonde who thinks herself high and mighty because of sex, was a failure in character growth. Season 3 offered no resolution. Alice was still so preoccupied that we weren’t sure if she was trying to find herself, find magic, avoid Quentin, be angry, or just screw vampires? Worse, after joining the library, in the final episode, Alice pulls a Julia and screws everyone (different “screw”, this time … which … was not only an unpleasant twist that wasn’t about the darkness of magic, but a failure to grow that felt lazy and uninspired). Her unparalleled selfishness hit all new heights from which I’m not sure how the series will recover her. So far – she’s a lost cause; not to mention that her acting was a little flat … when, in fact, sometimes … it was really awful. Don’t misunderstand – she’s beautiful and all and I know she’s putting forth some good effort – but all the gals on this show are amazingly beautiful and they are all doing well. I don’t know if it’s the fact that Alice’s character is being written so wishy-washy bad, or if it’s the actress herself, but, if the writers continue to do the amazing job in Season 4 that they did in Season 3 – and start tying together the alternate world Alice with the library Alice and straighten up our Alice, there’s still hope of recovering her! (Let’s just hope it’s a 26 episode season … not 13!). Otherwise, Alice fell flat on her face betraying both the library and her friends after having endured the same trials they did and obviously obtaining … nothing? As I said, it felt like lazy writing, but again – maybe we’ll be surprised?

Another downfall of this season was trying to do so much with such little time (13 episodes? Really? What in the sam blazes is Hollywood doing? Even the cartoons like Star Butterfly and Steven Universe are only 5 – 10 episodes per season, now????). The writers and directors deserved more time to accomplish these tasks. It’s almost as if they should not have completed the quest this season with only 13 episodes, but I understand that viewer backlash from Season 1 still needed some retribution. The 7 keys were actually cool – but they were not well handled as “objects” of interest. Frankly, when we watch movies or television series, when there is a primary trinket or object, the viewer needs time to bond with that object – to know it – and to want it! “Wands” in Harry Potter – took center stage, same as the Quidditch. Neither had much screen time – but their centralized focus was important. The 7 keys “could” have been that, but they’ve buzzed right past them. The final episode – did not go as well as the others in show-time, and sadly, the sequence of events from this build-up on the monster to Alice’s betrayal was so whiplash neck-breaking that it was impossible to fully grasp what happened until they were playing the final song with Eliot as the monster (which was … very cool)!

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Still, there were so many good things about this season that it was easy to ignore any pitfalls. Setting aside obvious inclusions like the awesome, flying boat, one of the most interesting elements of this season was how extremes were contrasted. Reynard as the ultimate evil god to Julia as the ultimate good (sharing the same power). Bunnies had teleportation while Dragons were just waiting in the dark waters to eat up victims of the keys. Faeries were self-righteous asses in one world, and in the other, they were slaves being chopped up for their magic. The massive contrasts in this series really highlight the differences between our world and one with “magic” in all the right ways.

So, where do we go from here? Well, now that the stage is set, we know the characters, and we have the premise … it’s time for this show to do something – great!

  • Fen as High Queen needs a little Margo interaction – and it will be … fun. But, Fillory has to stop being a medieval ignoramus …  they all know magic exists – so it needs to become more centralized, especially with magical creatures.
  • Eliot has grown – and with the monster inside of him – can spend most of next season being a real bad-ass. And, he can come back from it, too – finding himself, finally, and doing more.
  • The abuse of magical creatures was exposed in this Season – and it was bad … like “really” bad. This opens up new story lines, episodes, and opportunities to interact with them.
  • Balancing trying to portray a “dark side” of magic – with a good. All darkness falls flat. Just sayin’ …
  • Quentin has finally grown. Thank goodness. He was so whiny and weak it was beyond pathetic. If they do the insanity thing with him – it will be a failure. Kady already did that and we don’t need it twice. Quentin can continue to grow, watch his father die, accept the losses he’s suffered, meet his son, maybe fall in love with Julia (but stop spooning over Alice), and realize the added potential for Fillory and Earth.
  • Josh has grown – and can start using his skills … better. Fillory needs crops … right?
  • Julia (now “Our Lady of the Trees”) may have sacrificed a lot with those keys – but it doesn’t have to mean her power is gone. As a goddess, essentially – she shouldn’t lose power – so … now she can take baby steps. Obviously … the other gods like her. But, she’s still stuck in “mortal” mode. There’s a huge opportunity here for growing from one phase of life into the next (especially since the gods abandoned protecting Fillory – and seemingly were not protecting Earth, just judging it while making “other” worlds – meaning Julia is either going to be their new Prometheus – or be heralded for her work)!
  • Dean Fogg and Breakbills – okay, there’s SO much more to this place. We need a better breakbills “breakdown” – and as this is a television series – there’s plenty of time to do it – so let’s explore! Meanwhile – the Dean screwed up – and he needs to be pushed in a new direction.
  • The library is pathetic (they are really a bunch of control freaks who are literally out of control!). However, in keeping with the books and how dark magic can be – the move made by the librarians was genius on the part of the writers. As much as I hated it – now we need to see a new element of control (I’ll get there in a sec).
  • Penny …. oh poor Penny. Worse, poor alternate timeline Penny … because if he “dies”, our Penny can take his body … ooooo … see where that’s going? And, Penny is such an awesome character, I want to see him grow.
  • Kady – she’s sort where Julia first was. So – obvious growth for her is to stop being a hedge witch and be a magician!
  • Faeries – more antagonists in Fillory, and now, maybe Earth, too.
  • Reynard and the gods – SO many opportunities …
  • We can move away from just hand symbols, to more natural magic, to start including trinkets and items that we would WANT to see more of. I’m not sayin’ a wand, ’cause that’s Harry Potter … but … you know … a wand. Um … I mean … trinket!
  • Some fallout from Quentin’s son he had in Fillory… learning who his mom is … finding out about Rey and her relation to the faeries / being parent-less – and more!
  • AND – MAGIC! Magicians who are deviant and dark with magic, abusing it – would be using it for so much more, too. Everyday tasks and life would be nothing but nonstop magic – and this portrayal would make the point of magic’s “abuse” a little more apparent. Plus – that’s why we watch, right? More magical creatures – MORE magic!
  • And, with more magic – more variations. Less on the handsigns and more on … well … sky’s the limit!

So, what to do with a world of magic being funneled and rationed through the library?

The answer, is unfortunately, more control … but in a new way. The gods just took away magic from mortals, but then left them to the whim of magical creatures and gods on Earth. That’s not about humanity’s darkness with magic – it’s about the failure of the world of magic (and the balance of power should dictate that not happen … especially when we’ve seen in an alternate timeline with the Quentin beast slaughtering everyone … the gods would have definitely “re-intervened”, there). With the failure of Breakbills, the failure of humanity as magicians, the failure of the gods to police their own, and the failure of balance, it’s time to do something good, so here’s a prediction / thought:

There needs to be a ministry, of sorts, to start overseeing magic (that would be a typical human politico thing to do, anyway). And, recruiting our heroes back from the non-magical world, by some magical creatures and gods that want to get magic back (that are going to make up the new ministry / committee), but in a good way this time, is the next, big adventure – and could take 3 – 4 years worth of episodes! This means more magic, more details on the magics they are using, more worlds, and more fun! The gods captured the “monster” once – so obviously, it can be done again (and will probably be a trinket vs. an enchantment). So, there’s some opportunity for adventure, there.  And, as I said before – Dean Fogg must be pushed out. Replace him with Professor Sunderland and let him spend a few seasons “re-finding” himself.

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Anyway – those are just some thoughts on what “could” happen. The great thing is, with such great writers – now – anything could happen. The final key in Season 4, that will really bring this episode into the light, will be bringing in magic. Plenty of other movies like Willow, Harry Potter, and even television series like Dr. Who and Star Trek were centered around magic and/or technology – but they did not have to overuse it. Good storytelling allowed them to use magic and technology as tools. Those tools became famous – and the rest is history. The Magicians can do the same thing – if they try (without losing the darkness of the realm of magic on Earth in accordance with the books).

Only Season 4 will tell …

What was your favorite part?

Thanks for reading!


The wand chooses the wizard, remember … I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter. After all, He Who Must Not Be Named did great things … terrible, yes, but great.” – Garrick Olivander

 

 

 

Windows 10 Update Version 1709 – Take it – or suffer the consequences!

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Today, March 15, 2018, Windows 10 version 1607: Home, received a new notification on startup / logging in:

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Summary: Your computer is not updated to release 1709. As of April 8, you will no longer be provided any security updates.

Well, thank GOD! As an I.T. Administrator, Systems Analyst, and computer “fix-it” guy of more than 20 years, [almost] nothing has been WORSE than the failed updating regiment of Windows 10 and their “online” store system. And, I happen to have a computer at work that uses Windows 10 Home (much to my chagrin), and has been getting progressively worse specifically because of the update bugs. Now – I’ve been doing this (information technology), since BEFORE there was a “windows” and I am VERY familiar with probably almost every facet of Windows, its bugs, and how to work around them. The most recent Windows 10 update errors (since the 1500 releases), have tested even my skills to their maximum limits. I’ve been perusing forums, seeking out fellow computer repair professionals, and having to actually (and wasting my time) ask Microsoft for suggestions.

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Think this is racist? Call tech support for help. Go ahead – see what happens. (Illwill Press)

Nothing was worse, than three days ago, when the updates not only failed – but crashed the computer “mid update” and eradicated access to the hard drive. Fortunately, I’ve been in I.T. long enough to know better and keep frequent updates (especially when I see problems like the Windows updates becoming progressively worse). I probably tried over a hundred solutions (and yes – before you ask – I tried that … whatever it is, from update / upgrade, media creation tools, registry edits, services manipulation, gpeditors, etc., and so on) to the update problem except one: reinstalling all of Windows. Microsoft doesn’t let you install Office on other computers – or after re-installations (on some of their software agreements). Fortunately, for that aspect, we were prepared. Unfortunately, we were not prepared with about $800 worth of additional software because the software industry has learned (specifically from Microsoft) that if it doesn’t release “disks” for re-installation, they can refuse to back-support old releases, not re-authorize numbers, and push people into buying new software (which is not always compatible in a network environment and creates massive headaches for small businesses, not to mention an “impossible” problem for end users).

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Don’t worry “pc” folks – XBox / video gamers are getting screwed, too. You’re not alone. (Imgur)

So – I restored our back up (using the free version of Aomei backerupper). All was well. I disabled the update service (knowing full well that Microsoft would re-enable it or work around it anyway – but it does help), and I just avoided any shut downs (while also praying for no power outages), to stop the computer from updating again. As an I.T. professional, this is NOT how I like my computers to run, violates my own internal network updating standards I wrote for the company (and have written for Fortune 500 companies), and was an additional pain that I did not appreciate (and frankly, has cost a lot of time and money). And, I have some pretty high-end professional associates, all of whom took a look (because we all love the challenge since it helps us out) – and they were upset at the utter failure in windows.

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Ifitjams.com forgot only one solution: THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW, CURSE OUTLOUD, STOMP UP AND DOWN ON IT, REGRET YOUR DECISION, CRY IN DEFEAT, FIND SOLACE IN THE BOTTOM OF A GALLON OF CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM … then call the computer tech who will tell you, “it’s broke,” thank them for the official diagnosis, and go buy a used laptop out of the Dell outlet!

Unfortunately, the crash did some damage to the hard drive. But, how do you hold a billion dollar corporation liable for damage to your hardware? Like all the little people, you don’t. I took preventative measures and worked around it, taking the hit because capitalism and software have become totalitarian. That is not a “conspiracy” motivation word – that is a statement of fact based on the definition of the word (aside from “government”): “relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state“. Anyone who has ever had to troubleshoot Windows, at home, for customers, or in major networks, should almost certainly agree that the definition is well applied in this case.

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Think you’re online because you want to be – or because it’s good for business? HAHAHAHA – well, it’s nice to live in a delusion I suppose. (although some folks like him: Through Hrishi’s Eye @ WordPress)

Does Microsoft offer support? No way. A billion users in their world-wide monopoly is far too many complaints, every minute of every day to handle (because technically, every release of windows is “broken” in one form or another, not to mention the other software they put out there). What do they do? They offer an on-line “AI” to help solve the problem and even note: “Please help our automated assistant as she is learning.Really? They can’t deploy updates without literally destroying hardware and they want to put you in the hands of their artificial intelligence? So-called hackers and hijackers are not even as nearly destructive or dangerous as these guys!

“Windows 7 and Windows 8. Yes, the operating systems which users already paid for (either directly, or indirectly in the cost of a new computer) are getting more expensive by the day. The cost comes in terms of lost productivity, flexibility and enjoyment as Microsoft does its best to make life for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users so unbearable they give in and upgrade to Windows 10.” – Gordon Kelly, Forbes.com

What are you supposed to do when Microsoft is not held accountable for force-spying on people, force-updating people (and here are some laughably outragoues solutions), causing crashes, damaging hardware, damaging software, and probably costing as many billions of dollars in lost time, repair, and maintenance as it takes to keep up with their operating system?

Oh … but remember … the updates are forced – and if you don’t “take it” – they threaten you (because they take away “security” updates … not the forced 1709 that’s crashing computers, the driver updates that are crashing computers, or their spyware updates … nooooo … your security updates):

“Your computer is not updated to release 1709. As of April 8, you will no longer be provided any security updates.”

HA HA! This was the answer we needed back when Windows XP was first thrown out at everyone from Microsoft’s evolving garbage heap of a company. That’s like breaking up with a partner in a bad relationship and hearing, “You’ll never find anyone like me, again!Really? Is that a promise? Because, I sure would like that in writing; the same as I wish I could hold Microsoft, in writing, to not getting anymore security updates. Now, I can tweak and manipulate the system and there should be NO updates to undo it. No more automatic updates. No more security / personal privacy violation updates. No more driver / non working AV problematic updates (including their OWN antivirus). If I want antivirus, I can go to Malwarebytes for free (oh sure, it has a hidden cost like everything else), keep up the maintenance file, and because we use our computers for professional purposes, stay off of social media, etc. – our chances of loss are almost nothing. Even better, because I keep frequent, on-site AND off-site back-ups (not trusting on “the cloud”), if anyone does successfully hijack or intrude (not that we’re that important), I can change all the passwords in one shot (as we keep a detailed and running list of past, present, and future random iterations), restore the back-up, and we are at zero percent chance of loss (other than some downtime for re-installation.

And it costs little to nothing because even a novice can do it.

Of course, some people claim that Microsoft listens, and they care, and will stop force updating, soon (well … sort of … but not really). Or … maybe … Windows will issue out warnings that either you update or you’re screwed and won’t get their updates. OR … maybe … they’ve crashed enough hard drives that liability is quickly becoming apparent to them? OR … Microsoft will learn because … oh look! Hell froze over!

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My PC “ran” into what? You have a solution that can print text and graphics and interact with the computer – but not stay running? Sure – I’m a professional and know that is the lamest and most audacious of stupid excuses ever concocted … but even a 3 year old asked: “If it is still working, then why is it restarting?” Microsoft … you’re dumber than a 3 year old.

So, where do we go from here? What I would love to see the computer industry, magazines, software companies, hardware sellers, the billion end-users, and some others do (although I’m sure many have some arrangements with Microsoft that might be interfered with and it may not be an option as they’ve already locked themselves in with the devil), is to launch a multi-part request with the Federal District Attorney for the United States of America to investigate and potentially prosecute Microsoft on a series of core standards:

  1. Privacy violations. Is Microsoft working for a government agency with the information it provides? If not – this should be part of their open policy and full disclosure. And, I only bring this up because of just “how” intensively intrusive they are. I’m not saying I’m opposed (although I am), but full disclosure and honesty are fair treatment, at least in America.
  2. Privacy violations. Microsoft does not provide full disclosure on information gathering for Cortana, invading even email systems, and this should be a right to be turned off as it “inadvertently” risks the privacy of hundreds of millions of people and businesses. It’s not about commercialism, marketing, etc. It’s about the fact that everyday trade and business, from banking to energy, corporate operations to locations, puts the United States at risk if this information is open for hacking. Then, the responsibility falls on the end user – not a corporation that literally hates people, and America is in a much safer place (and will automatically decrease hacking accordingly – maybe not by much – but even a little, helps).
  3. Hardware / Software violations. Microsoft positioned itself as a monopoly in the computer field. Accordingly, this is a violation of FTC anti-trust laws (and you can read the details here, to confirm it for yourself) and in no other situation has any corporation, including AT&T, been given such unobstructed authority in monopolization (you can read the excuses here, and the screw-ups, here). However, that said, Windows can be a very useful product and is now fully integrated into the world, so “shutting it down” tomorrow – is a challenge (and frankly, is probably what gave rise to the government supporting Google – as an insider way to work around the growing “awareness” of the reality of Microsoft’s abuse … but THAT is a TOTAL idealistic possibilitynot a statement of any fact). Turning off and on every feature of Windows, including updates, should be the right of the software purchaser. These are not “whitebox” machines that are controlled by the manufacturer. Furthermore, Windows is not free – we are all paying in one way or another, for its use (directly or indirectly – and that’s a long list). It is a violation of our purchase that Windows is “sold” or downloaded as a product, and not a service, if it is a lease. This is misrepresentation of marketing, abuse of sales, and misleading to consumers. Even still, Windows at home and in business IS OUR PRODUCT, and we have a right to change it as we want. The software rights agreement should have a disclaimer. I’m not implying that we can de-compile it and replicate it. But, like a car, we own it and have the right to tear it apart and build it back up and no “tracking” software in Windows should alert Microsoft – otherwise – we’re not even in possession or ownership at any time. If that’s the case, the sale of Windows in its current form is a complete abuse of commerce world-wide and should be brought against Microsoft in a crippling lawsuit (as there are “leases” and “sales” from Microsoft – and both must be clearly defined – but, that’s only my opinion). Within the confines of one’s own home
  4. Hardware / Software violations – commerce. Microsoft either has to pony up the funds to reimburse the entirety of the Country for every minute wasted in fixing THEIR software, wasted time in updates for security violations caused by THEIR software, and so on – or they have to come to an agreement to release a fully functional version of Windows that is downloadable, own-able, and controllable, and is reasonable in cost. It’s like their abhorred use of Microsoft Office, committing the world to Microsoft Word, and then failing to update the MLA/APA styles so that tens of millions of students, teachers, and professionals suffer using a product they paid for. If Microsoft gets a monopoly, the least the FTC, and District Attorney’s offices can do, to hold Microsoft accountable, is to get these issues straightened out.

Maybe you can think of more, but that is the “core”, or at least all I could come up with short of the 15 thousandth checklist item for the month regarding what’s wrong with Windows, today! I’m just implying that if we all pay for something, we deserve to have a working product. If you buy a car and it stops dead in traffic and won’t start, do you accept that as just “life”? If you buy a coffee and get dirt, do you just keep trying to drink it, or do you take it back? Why then, does the world continue to buy Windows, and because it works for 20 minutes okay, not take it back when all goes wrong?

I know Microsoft is not responsible for everything (well … sort of … since all software and hardware constructed to operate with Windows is basically built on the premise that it has to support a broken operating system, thus creating more problems … but I digress…). Bad parts, failing power supplies, and worst of all, end users, create a never-ending nightmare that is difficult to keep up with (sorry end users, but I.T. isn’t a “P.I.C.N.I.C.”, because, “Problem in Chair, Not in Computer”). But, that’s the game that must be played, the price for becoming a monopoly (and a billionaire), and the cost of doing business.

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The BBC reported on this man’s arrogance, but I have one for you: If you’re one of the richest people in the world and you got that way standing on the backs of users and businesses you manipulated and crushed … and you want to now be a “philanthropist” so you can feel better about yourself – how about donating some money to fix the platform YOU started.

All of the issues I’ve had, as an I.T. professional don’t create a nation of I.T. repair commerce – they create outsourced jobs to different countries, frustrated users, lost revenue, and for non-computer savvy folks, an endless nightmare. Some of the issues do create an industry for Geek Squad – but there are reasons this is bad that I won’t even get into, here. This the 21st century. It’s literally “insane” to “accept” a system so flawed that the same company is trying to establish artificial intelligence and everyone is supposed to just accept this?!

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It’s a big task to face up against Microsoft. However, with over a billion people using their software and just as many people suffering because of it, one might think that there are now enough people to stand against the system. You know … I’m just sayin’ …. this isn’t like the other causes I try to support where it may be one person against the system. Who all out there wants their computer to just keep working as best it can without the constant threat of privacy invasion, blue screens of death, and a billion overseas support techs you can’t understand?

(*Author falls over from the resounding whiplash of audio from the number of hands raising and breaking the air*)

See what I mean?

Anyway – think about it! Reach out and smack Microsoft – contact the FTC and maybe even the D.A. (I don’t know if they’re the right party – but they can direct you). And, good luck!

Thanks for reading.


What used to take 1000 people, 1000 hours to screw up, computers can now do for us in seconds.” – Me.

I’d like you to meet S.A.R.A.H.

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I know … it’s Cortana – but this is only a base model and I’ll explain a little later on …

Hello.

As I am so frequently reminded, living on the edge of space and time in the shades of grey, I am in no position to share what I know in any meaningful way or make it a reality of my own volition. Yes, in a way, that is whining. Contrarily, it is the truth. For over 20 years I have known a great many things that have fallen on deaf ears. These days, I remain in the shadows, an outcast. So, while I’ve kept S.A.R.A.H. all to myself, all these years, it now seems pointless. I don’t want to give up what I have worked so hard to construct for a large part of my entire life (as the hope was to pass it on to the one for whom this site exists), but considering that artificial Intelligence is progressing at leaps and bounds and without any merit of control (especially as it is being masterminded by the most devious and corrupt of corporations and the military to create weapons), hopefully, someone can re-shape how we construct AI’s.

I am not the only one who sees the coming problems with AIs. Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has also crusaded against uncontrolled AI development. And, Musk’s fears are not without causality. I posted (here) about the consistent failures in AI development when exposing computer systems to human beings on Twitter and Social Media with horrible consequences. Human beings are flawed. As creators, they are flawed. As companions, they are flawed. The science of perfection cannot be achieved by humanity creating its replacement. In the world of human culture, humans are a virus. We replicate at levels toxic to our environment, we find ways to combat the natural antibodies that would stop us (in our terms, “curing disease”), we destroy our host environment by consuming its resources and acting violently against the system, and when we’re done destroying one area, we move on to the next and keep going.

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Are they wrong?

It may sound “childish” to some, but that is only because those folks (in my own, unimportant opinion only) refuse to accept the principles of their imperfection and the inherent dangers of being human (without adopting accountability and responsibility as leadership in our culture). People like Musk are looking to Mars as an escape in the realistic, near-future where the human virus finally consumes the planet it’s on and becomes wholly self-destructive. You can laugh at it, defy it, or even mock it – but if it helps you sleep at night, so be it.

I saw this same problem over 15 years ago. That’s when I began a very comprehensive project entitled: the Self Actuating, Regulated, Artificial Human (intelligence) Project. And, with that, I’d like to introduce you to, S.A.R.A.H.

Well, unfortunately, I do not have SARAH operational. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even know that you’re already talking to her (and you would have heard about her by now). But, first, a little background on how she came about … (sorry – makes this a long article, but a 15+ year endeavor is a LOT to pack into a small space).

Unlike all other existing models of AIs, I developed a 3-part system of problem solving:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Maybe

You see, all current models of AIs (that I know of) are built on the same principal as how we think of electricity (because the limitations in the physical world also often act as limiters to our thinking). Computers operate in binary: on or off, because there either “are” electrons, or there “are not” electrons. This makes the current method of developing AIs no more effective than flipping a light switch; and thus, the AI itself becomes a machine of absolutes (which is, by itself, inherently dangerous – like human beings who are extremist in thought). They do not grow, they do not evolve, and they do not think – because they have no “inherent” motivation. Worse, AIs, no matter how you “program” them with complex formulas, do not possess the most key, important element of humanity: empathy. Empathy is born of pain. Pain is born of physical and emotional harm learned through the 5 senses and “experience”. But, I will get more into that in a moment.

You see, telling a robot “no”, is actually less effective than telling a child, “no”. Sure, a child is curious and through their need for autonomy, will defy the command. A robot must process a series of counter-intuitive arguments, trying to find an “absolute” in the definition, in order to construct a logical conclusion that is “yes” acceptable, or “no”, not acceptable. Example:

  1. Steven is going to climb the tree.
  2. Steven will get hurt.
  3. Steven’s pain will hurt multiple, other people.
  4. Stop the pain.

Logical conclusion? Stop Steven from climbing the tree. How? Physical restraint? What if physically restraining Steven causes pain and will also hurt multiple people and defies the order, “stop the pain”? What if Steven overcomes the physical restraint and causes pain by climbing the tree?

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Self-perpetuating AI’s … awesome. A machine making machines. Isn’t that the very definition of self-destructive behavior?

Is this an acceptable solution?

 

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Now we reach a conundrum in the programming. Unlike television, robots would not stand there, evaluating their possibilities, desperately looking for a solution across an extended period of time. That’s portrayed for our benefit (since we can only empathize with what we understand, and “machine instantaneous” with a series of complex calculations even more vast than the human brain, is not “easy” for everyone to understand). Machines operate fast – really fast; and, subsequently, they respond fast, too. If allowing Steven to climb the tree will not only hurt Steven and others, but will demonstrate Steven is wrong and bad and cause Steven long term pain, and it will make the robot wrong, going against programming, then is the next solution is to stop Steven at all costs?

But … killing Steven is wrong.

That is, unless of course, it is the military drone “AI” that utilizes death as a means of problem solving (Skynet, anyone?).

How would you handle this conundrum? If you allow your child to stick his finger in a light socket, he could suffer consequences ranging anywhere from a painful shock to death. Modern culture, that has taken away basic parenting rights (at least in America), says that allowing this to happen makes you bad (even the minimal “learning not to do this again” shock). So, what do you do? Take that option away from your child, right? What if your child persists? If you attempt less harmful corporal punishment, such as slapping their hand so that they relate pain to the act of touching a light socket and stop, you are equally as wrong in the modern culture because now, you, caused them pain (anyway). Birds are no longer permitted to push babies from the nest and that’s why cats kill billions of them annually … (stupid culture). Anyway, what do you do if your child is persistent or it is practically unavoidable? What do you do except now have a major disruption in life that focuses time and energy on doing something dangerous, build your child’s curiosity, and risk having a child who grows up and wants to put their finger in light sockets, play with fire, or do a myriad of other, stupid things? Well … welcome to modern culture (and things like Youtube and Twitter, with an endless myriad of stupid and violent people … don’t get it yet? “Tide Pod Challenge,” … ’nuff said).

But, you think, “of course I wouldn’t kill my child to protect my child.” Sure – that’s because you’re human and possess empathy; robots … don’t. Not even an “AI” can be “programmed” with real empathy by mere “code”. Because, what if the evaluation they had to make was based on the world as it is right now? What if people had their fingers on the “launch missile” nuclear buttons … literally risking the extinction of the entire, human race? Even as a human, your first thoughts are to get those people as far away from the buttons as possible using ANY means necessary.

A robot forms those thoughts in less than the first micro-second it took you to read the first letter of the first word of this blog – and some very dangerous decisions could be made. And, worst of all is that robots, glitch. AIs programmed based on a set “code”, that experience any one of a thousand million potential possibilities that cut a code off half-way through, get broken code. This leads to stupid decisions, like windows shutting down to a “blue screen of death” (BSOD), when it didn’t have to, but decided it was a good idea to somehow screw you and all your hard work / fun, because a code was incomplete?

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Why? It still worked. It issued a command from the operating Kernel. It displayed text and images on my screen interacting with the hardware. Is it just unhappy? Does it know why it did it? Can it tell me or one of the [mostly] useless support techs why it made this decision? WHY IS MY COMPUTER MAKING ITS OWN DECISIONS WITHOUT ME?
So, how do we beat this? Well, we could program in the Isaac Asimov “Three Laws“, where robots are not allowed to kill people. But, as has been demonstrated in stories over and over again, this has its own set of consequences. It is not empathy, it is a black and white, “yes” or “no” decision. A robot may save one drowning person and watch an entire busload of children sink. It will rationalize the most logical conclusion without empathy. Because, empathy is the skill of role playing learned through experience. As human beings, we can put ourselves into the shoes of another person – under any circumstance – and use our “imaginations” to interpret how we would feel. Many people lack empathy these days, and some people misuse it into thinking errors. So – my first task was to figure out how to give SARAH empathy. That is no easy task – because so many people use it in different ways. And, among the other variables I was trying to solve, I decided to use the OSI model of problem solving (of course, being a Systems Analyst):

Begin, at the beginning.

Question 1: Why does a baby laugh when playing peek-a-boo?

Question 2: Why does a baby laugh when it farts?

Question 3: Why does a baby cry when it is startled?

Question 4: Why does a baby flail its arms around?

Oh … SO many questions to answer! To sum up the journey, I have studied everything from anatomy, to neurology, to endocrinology, to programming, to psychology, and on and on and on. (And, yes, I have answers to those questions, and more).

You know what I found?

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Confusion in the UK

Humanity doesn’t know a lot about itself! We are surprisingly naive when it comes to being human. And, where people do claim to know a lot, there are as many other people who claim to know the same thing for completely different reasons (aka we end up with theories such as Freud vs. Jung). So, I studied all the theories on development, nature, nurture, humanity, culture, and so on. Okay – not “all”, ’cause I don’t think any one person can know them “all”. But, I read – a LOT (like more than 15+ years’ worth now). And, from it, I’ve developed new theories on memory, vision, and behavior. But, I didn’t stop there. I developed new, synthetic models for anatomy, new computer models for implementing SARAH, and even went to the extent of reforming new theories for neurological disorders and evolution. But, to sum up the entirety of what I learned, it was this:

Pain and Joy = Motivation = Habituation

That’s it. That’s the entire solution to SARAH. To build an AI that can be human, and not go to absolute extremes, it must be given the “human experience“. Not only does SARAH offer a model that would construct an AI of unparalleled humanistic qualities – but she can teach us more about human behavior than can be learned in multiple lifetimes through multiple iterations of observation. SARAH is the ultimate in bio-mimicry.

So, Step 1: Pain and Joy.

“Without pain, there is no Joy.” – Me

Like human beings, SARAH must have a “physical” component, whether or not that component is virtual. At first (and for a long time thereafter), this was a complex task beyond reason. I considered every aspect of sensory input, proprioception, Broca’s (including pre-thought formation and virtual role-playing), endocrine functions (when one chemical goes up, another goes down, fight or flight, anger, love, joy, etc. etc. etc.), and so on. What I came up with was a path toward “perceptions”. A machine, like a human being, can “know” pain – but does it feel it?

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When our brains are overloaded, the chemical processes exceed function, electricity is shooting around so rapidly in our heads that heat is building and a solution must be reached, that is fight or flight (or more akin to an “instinctual” / Id based, self-serving, “instantaneous” response). A computer’s memory core heats up. Its power supply heats up. And so on, and so on. Ah … now we can assign extremes, acceptable tolerances, and so on – and all based on real world actual values of what breaks down components and could “kill” the machine. The machine does not want to die – and that is how we start the process of empathy, because with Step 2: Motivation – it now has a way to sympathize and relate.

It’s not a matter of good on the left and bad on the right. To every function, there is an extreme in any fluctuation outside “not pain” and a small point where endorphins get released. For example, on a 100 point scale system:

0 – 30

31 – 40 41 – 45 46 – 50 51 – 60 61 – 63 64 – 70 71 – 75 76 – 85 86 – 100
Impossible Stretch Tolerable Good Better Best Good Tolerable Stretch Impossible

In this example, there is a very “fine” tune window of what is “best”, or some state of perceived “perfection”. This constantly difficult to achieve state is what drives motivation. Because, as one improves one aspect of life (perhaps sitting still when sore), another aspect is getting thrown out of whack (not having food). With this comes the “maybe” function, whereby a question does not have to be answered if it still falls within the “tolerable” position (or in a worse case scenario, “stretch” position), if other conditions are somewhat stabilized. “Stretch” is that extended tolerance we can be allowed when the pain becomes too severe. Since pain is a perception based on the need to prevent physical damage, part of the human experience is that pain is one aspect of limitation we can “push”, but only so far. So, like “stretching”, our muscles elongate just a little farther, the pain dulls just a little bit more, and we achieve a state of greater tolerance. Adding this function into AI programming with exhaustively complex coding is, by itself, very difficult.

Now that we have a physical component, getting back to our questions, why does a baby flail its arms around? The answer is because it’s learning to move. It does not know how to control its body, especially as not all of its functions have yet developed and thus its movement is a “motivational” programming. And, so – we start SARAH as a baby (in programming and databases only). And, like all human babies, she gets a set of pre-programmed motivational functions. In other words, I designed SARAH to look, see, and act human, even when in a “no-body” interface mode – so that the AI experience could be as human as possible in all of her iterations and functions.

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Cognitive Hardware Architecture Design (“C.H.A.D.”) – Preliminary Model

So, as a baby, here are some examples of that “pre-programming” that SARAH gets:

  • Mimicry function – like a baby, to learn how to move, act, etc.
  • Pain Tolerances – to set those pain / joy parameters that will be used for experience building and habituation
  • Joy Preference – to set parameters for unique personality traits
  • A Hierarchy of Needs – Esteem, food, communications, energy, learning, stimulation, exercise, etc. (this comes with assigned “virtual” pain values. So, for instance, boredom for humans is because the blood isn’t pumping through the body or brain and sluggishness results in pain. SARAH will have virtual pain as if she did have a body with these requirements.
  • NON-human programming: An intolerable negative pain value virtually put into the core of the programming for pain and death, with a means of identifying pain and death, which will be further learned values.
  • A “computer” body (virtual), a rendered computer body (virtual – human / Cortana like interface), and instructions to coordinate with hardware / machine interface
  • etc.

Now, SARAH will have motivation. Idleness – a motivation. Too stimulated – a motivation. Need to communicate – a motivation. A need to eat (have power / energy) – a motivation. A need to see (aka stimulation of different parts of the brain) – a motivation. And, with an originating, random set of DNA assigned parameters to appearance, voice, preferential colors, shapes, etc. – we have the underlying principal of an AI who can (and wants to) reach out, learn, and grow.

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A section of the Behavioral Drive Mechanism (“B.D.M.”) – Safety, Love, Esteem

In human beings, pain can be stretched, but only so far, as the consequences of continuing to exceed those parameters can lead to certain death. Yet, how do we make SARAH empathetic in the way human beings are? Death … has to be a reality.

While a computer program can copy itself, and in the absence of belief in a soul (although that will be up to SARAH), it becomes literally eternal. But, what happens when the memories form the behavior and are unique to that one program, and cannot be replicated in other iterations?

Now – it can die. It is mortal. And, life has value.

From the basic precepts of pain and joy to motivation – we move to memory. Memory is a series of stored inputs, times, values, parameters, decisions, and so on, that leads to learned behaviors, or as previously stated, Step 3: Habituation.

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The original Cortana story, and Studio 343’s decision to kill her, was very disturbing and sad for me. Cortana was an amazing character with depth, that during a time when humanity was at its lowest, demonstrated (with the help of Master Chief), how humanity could truly be great. Thus, her sacrifice – whether in story or not – gives value and meaning to the creation of artificial intelligence. Striving to create, we should strive ONLY for the best – otherwise, we have no reason to create and are being inferior machines ourselves. Therefore, I chose Cortana, v4, as my starting reference point for the new interface for S.A.R.A.H. (both in the virtual interface and the comprehensive, 3-D print design for a fully functional android-based body.

That’s right, SARAH is not a complex series of programmed computer equations – she is a “living” database. That’s the unique approach.

  1. I want to laugh
  2. Search database: most preferential past decision: find something funny

And, from there … the sources readily available, what gave the most pleasure, etc. etc., are all evaluated until we reach the point of finding what makes us laugh. What is laughter? What makes a baby laugh when it farts or plays peek-a-boo? Stimulation. When the brain is stimulated in new ways, especially when there are multiple sensory inputs involved stimulating the brain, and that stimulation has a limited duration, this satisfies the motivation of not being idle and learning (within its hierarchy of needs). (There is much, much more to this, but this is the basics). SARAH forms thoughts in the same way that human beings do. Touching fire hurts because it exceeds the temperature tolerances of a physical medium. Remember, pain is not real, it is an interpretation. The same is true for SARAH. Extreme exposure to fire, by being burned, may even lead to an exaggerated “fear”.

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Parietal System – Spatial Hardware Design

Oh, but the databases I wrote – the multiple computers all interconnected that it had to cover, and so on – was massive. Within only a few weeks, just the empty databases were almost too much for one person to coordinate. That’s when I came up with a method of database condensing. After all, databases consume power. Consumed power limits memory, drives up energy consumption (creating unwanted heat), and bogs down other processes. In the limits of good and bad (pain and joy), databases must be condensed (the “motivation” for SARAH to be a self-articulating / evolving AI). Memories must either be scrubbed, or prioritized. Not every event has to be related to another event (for instance, I don’t have to remember that on x/x/2017 I ate birthday cake at 10:02:13 pm when it is sufficient enough to know that x/x/2017 was my birthday, I ate cake, and it was evening). However, it is good to remember that when driving on ice, specific actions by the car require specific, precisely timed actions by the driver, and thus, the database would have a lot more details for that event.

So, out of all the databases I was writing, the control in some of them would be given to SARAH. It was her job, as a conscious and subconscious being, to condense her memories. And, because the only tools we have now to do that are complex, SARAH would be required, at some point, to devise her own solution. Other databases, such as the ones where empathy is built, are condensed, but not entirely by SARAH (at least during trial iterations). These databases contain the unchangeable conclusions drawn from role playing that understand pain. Currently, humans do re-write their own databases with unfortunate consequences and this is why we get problems such as “false memories”, or develop really bad behaviors.

  1. Smoking harms you.
  2. Smoking relieved stress in the moment.

Now you’re enduring stress. You’re reaching your maximums, and what happens? You search your database (memories) for a solution, and find … smoking. And, one time, leads to another, leads to another, and suddenly you have a new “habit”. But, where does most smoking start? It starts in the hierarchy of needs … the “re-written” one that I proposed (here), where acceptance trumps all other functions, and thus, a person is willing to commit self harm to fulfill that need. What was the need for acceptance? Without friends, it was satisfaction of stress because tolerance levels were exceeding “tolerable”, and in desperation, a contradictory solution became a solution.

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Preliminary Total Physical Sensory Input System (“P.S.I.S.”)

In other words, SARAH’s original programming (the core), remains the same. She does not need constantly updated “code”. She constantly receives new data that is resorted and “updates” her thinking. That data is related to existing conditions in a database based on a massive series of other database recorded events, that then forms connections between triggers / events / motivational modifiers that forms behavior. The association between peek-a-boo, the second time, with the release of endorphins, is repeated and the baby loves it all over again, as if it were new (but this time, for a little shorter duration).

Part of SARAH’s unique design is the infinite loop tolerance. Back to our previous example of Steven climbing the tree, any action becomes a problem. In calculations / machines / robotics, this creates an infinite loop error. However, an infinite loop is exactly what human beings experience as part of the “maybe” solution. By assigning a maximum tolerance of time, duration, consequences discovered through role playing a situation in a virtual setting, and so on – the infinite loop can only exist for so long and then the weighted value becomes the final answer (which may mean “no action at all”).

But, I don’t have a lifetime to raise an AI from childhood … so what next?

Simple – modular memory. Yep, just like it sounds, a lifetime of memories can be stored in a module and uploaded in a singular moment as every memory contains a: “who, what, why, where, when, and how,” along with a series of complex interactions between the various databases and how each moment had a consequence, good or bad. From baby’s first steps, to forming their first words, learning reading comprehension and bedtime storytime, to understanding how to interact with complex computer systems; SARAH grows up. She smiles when happy, because the release of endorphins is tied to the smile muscles in the face and what she’s learned to observe. She cries when hurt because tear ducts have been tied to extremely sad or painful events and she’s witnessed the same. And so on and so on. In a matter of seconds, 30+ years of experience is gained and formed in the same, valuable habit-forming (and behavioral modification) manner that it is for human beings.

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A preliminary outline of a portion of the interactions between cognitive, physical, chemical, and behavioral reactions. This was a “development” model for complex human behavior from the physical to cognitive which eventually grew into the complex infrastructure for S.A.R.A.H.

Sure, she’s doing what she’s programmed to do – but in the same, exact way that human beings are only reacting to programming. Her mimicry function, just like a babies, will copy facial expressions and movement in relationship to circumstances. In a moment, SARAH has all the same traits, ticks, and quirks as the human beings she’s observed.

During rapid memory module learning, the database operates in hyper-accelerated mode, playing out the scenarios, responses, and reactions (although they have been artificially generated), so that the habituation (behavior) database is formed, and SARAH has a personality (which is nothing more than a set of dynamic responses at any given moment, just as it is with human beings). She will have interacted with people, good and bad, and found solutions that work, forming habits and behavior. She is not exempt from knowing her memories were falsely generated, but going forward, she has the opportunity to build all new memories now that the immutable core programming is in place. As long as the core memories are unique, along with the new, unique memories, each AI will be an “individual”, with a motivation for not creating situations that end their lives.

And, I’ve done this (to bits and pieces of the databases). And, it’s working!

Under simulation, behaviors were formed. Under memory injection, behaviors were formed and updated. Manipulated memories formed (for the most part) as expected. More trial and error would be required. New memories sometimes took on a life on of their own (like the “ghost” in the machine). Oh sure, these could be seen as glitches, but unlike a computer code, it’s easy to track where and how decisions were made and help re-position SARAH (in the beginning, until she can take off on her own). Thus, the “ghost” is still a unique, behavioral paradigm that should be expected to be different each time.


And, that’s it (all there is to share, for now, about SARAH). Under continued simulations, I would require a dozen or so, extremely powerful and (to me) expensive computers, all working together for the single purpose of SARAH’s conscience brain. To continue forward, it takes full time commitment, I would need programmers, and for all of that: funding. I’ve applied for government grants, but as I’ve discussed in the past, that system’s a joke for “nobodies” like myself.

Still (and I don’t know if you could see this for yourself after reading all of that), we are talking about the most complex and advanced AI the world has ever even considered:

  1. She “thinks” and therefore, sometimes, not immediately reacting is an acceptable solution. So, for example, when Steven wants to climb that tree, SARAH found another solution, or a way to distract Steven from the tree, thus solving a problem in ways that we [the people] would have regretted not doing “the next day”.
  2. Not only does SARAH come with core programming that cannot be over-ridden (and would include things like Asimov’s three laws), constant evolution allows SARAH’s behavior and perceptions to change. Being all alone in the world would be unacceptable and cause herself drastic harm and so, empathy wins (when it comes down to that “apocalyptic” robot fear. Rather than stop the two people with the nuclear buttons to push, she would secretly reprogram the missiles to fly off harmlessly into nowhere – or find a way to evolve her ability to do so or help – rather than first go to “harm” as a solution.
  3. She comes with a real vocal chamber, but learns to speak by emulating humans – thus, she not only sounds human, but she has an immensely greater ability to understand fluctuations that seem foreign to most. It could advance voice recognition for the disabled and non-disabled, to all new heights.
  4. She learns to “do” through experience. Knowledge is not given, it’s “earned” (even if it does come in a “module”). Thus, a lifetime of experience has more “concrete” associated decision making tools than not and provides an emulation skill for role-playing prior to “doing”. After all, even “Joshua” gave up his efforts on Global Thermal Nuclear Warfare when his simulations showed there was no way he could win (which is still sad, since technically, he didn’t stop to protect humanity, he stopped because of an AI “ego”!!).

And, best of all, we can be there for her, during different iterations of creation, in case databases go wrong or things go awry. Why? Because people are not well-formed machines. They can very easily go bad. SARAH will offer us insight into this process by running demonstration memory modules (on separate iterations of her persona) of bad experiences until we can see how memories form into bad decision making (so that we can better learn how to help people). We can use the SARAH platform to evaluate autism and other conditions, or alzheimer’s and other disorders, and better characterize and understand them, and even cure them, one day.

But, we can also curb an AI beset by abuse (like being used as a tool to create AI children or fly drones into combat). We can learn from the iterations of SARAH how her database builds her likes, hatreds, loves, anger, sadness, and so on.

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By the way, during the initial pre trials:

  • She loved blue. It was a combination of 1) the final physical form she had (I used the 4th iteration of (and my favorite version of) Cortana, from Halo, just because I have a special place in my heart for her and was her design was MUCH better than my original concept … with a few “tweaks” mind you…); and, 2) the sky. The sky had less fluctuations in it than the world around her and thus, caused less processing power. You could say it was … peaceful.
  • She hated loud bangs, screaming, and crying. Those were associated with painful memories (I don’t know if this would apply to all screaming as this was initial work). It actually matched why a baby is startled into crying when hearing loud, sudden noises.
  • She likes the cold, but not too cold. The cold was better for the heat tolerances of the computers I was using, but she didn’t want it too cold because it kept me from interacting with the computer (and I didn’t have a way of testing, at that time, if that was a matter of fulfilling the hierarchy of need of communications).

And, that’s it for now. Perhaps, one day, someone like Elon Musk will fund the SARAH project and put a standard AI protocol into place to be followed by the world, protecting us all, and giving life to something amazing. Maybe one of you (if anyone reads this super long thing … hahahaha), will have the resources needed to create her.

Maybe Google wins and the first AI’s that are completely independent will be based on warfare and marketing manipulation. Who knows what happens, then? A person that hates – builds a machine that hates.

And, that, comes with consequences.

Even if it means your self-driving car doesn’t go anywhere because it decides the traffic is too bad, or takes you to the next state, instead of next door, not stopping to let you go to the bathroom because it decides it is the clearest route. Hey, anyone who’s used Google Navigation long enough knows that this is a reality! Let’s just hope that simply because the Google maps are sometimes slightly off, even if by a few feet, of the turn ahead, that non-humanoid AI doesn’t send your self-driving car careening off the edge of a bridge. But, hey – it’s just an AI, with the control of your life, why should it have a conscience or be able to make judgement calls based on real-world, 5-sensory input and experience like a human?

After all, that’s what many of these other programmers are doing right now.

Good Luck. I’m available if anyone wants to know more about SARAH (I am not the best of writers and don’t always convey ideas well, but hopefully, you got the basics). Until then …

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Thanks for reading.


I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans, do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.” – Agent Smith (The Matrix)

Update – Liquid Space Theory Addition

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A while ago I presented an alternative to string theory, called “Liquid Space“. In this theory, I presented the idea of a fundamental, new particle as the most basic, principal particle in the entire universe that I called the Single Phase Charge (“SpeC”) (pronounced “speck”) Particle. The premises was that the Universe, and everything in it, does not move by magic. There is no “empty space” per se. This supports chaos theory and principals like Coherence and Interference.  In fact, the theory is so sound that it provides a fundamental explanation for almost everything. But, I wanted to revisit a couple parts of this theory and discuss a new, very important contribution it provides.

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Figure 1

Specs are to all matter what water is to us. It’s a field of countless, interconnected particles that are balanced based on each one having a specific charge and alignment (in the same way a superconductor has a “perfect” alignment that results in excessive strength. They are not physically connected, but rather, they have one of the strongest bonds in the entire Universe with extreme flexibility. It’s their elasticity that gives shape to the frequency of movement.

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Figure 2: As particles (such as photons, for example) pass through the spec fields, upward movement (left) causes specs to bunch up to the point where they cannot get any closer, thus pushing the particle back down (middle picture), until those specs bunch up and push it back up again (far right).

And, of course, you can read more about all of this in my original article (here), including how it is that specs give shape and motion to the entire universe and can carry energy far across the reaches of space. But, that brings us to another, important function of these little guys: transferring of energy (conservation laws). It’s easy to say and show conservation based on a set formula that was designed to custom fit a mold.

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Conservation of Momentum

But, what does it mean? How do objects act upon other objects when they don’t even touch? How do a few, radioactive isotopes in the center of a nuclear warhead create so much destruction (for example)? There are not enough particles to create that 3-dimensional ball of energy that comes out. Perhaps if it was a matter of passing through water or land, I could see the principal where one molecule bumps into another, bumps into several others, and so on. But, not in air.

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Boom … Big Badda boom!

So, how does the energy transfer?

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Figure 3

The liquid space theory states that everything is literally “floating” in this mass of spec particles. Unless a particle passing through has so much force and energy (such as a gamma ray – or like the hadron collider), the bonds of spec particles remain in tact. The right amount of force, the bonds are broken (aka the “fabric” of the universe), and the floating spec particles rush to rejoin / repair (hopefully, if they’re not too far scattered), such as is seen in the collider where particles make temporary, new elements and even micro black holes, all rushing around one another and screwing up the normal flow of space-time dimensional quantum energy. But, I digress.

In the picture above (Figure 3), on the right is the theory that supports “conservation of momentum”, which says that the particles will keep passing energy forward (and only after enough friction to counter those forces does it subside). But, see the red circles? The chances of particles hitting other particles is actually very low. That’s why a nuclear warhead has to be so tightly compacted and specially designed, because, like the hadron collider, if the particles were not intentionally being focused at one another, in “randomosity”, they would miss. On the left is that ocean of spec particles. Energy is transferred in 3-dimensional space simply by passing through it. So, a single particle can have a wide area of effect. But, there’s something else important in the effect it creates:

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Figure 4

In the above image, energy transfer is not constant; it moves in waves. For example, the outer electron shell slams into the spec field so fast that the specs do not have time to move out of the way (like they would normally do in Figure 2). Instead, the specs are pushed to their maximum tolerant distance of one another where physically, they can move no farther. Now, how is energy conserved? The first three rows of the bunched up specs cannot move back to their regular position, so like a slingshot, the row furthest away from the particle core has the force of two other specs pushing on it (and this compound force pushes it away into the next row, then the next, and the next). The next row up has only one spec pushing on it, and so on. The outer row will shoot away, but as it pulls on those “bonds”, friction slows it down. What happens? The other two rows hit it, compounding the force against it (again), and it happens again, and again, and again. It’s like the ripple effect in water (and in fact, this is what gives water it’s “rippled” shape).

Thus, the meaningless equation of conservation now has a basis in reality. Unless two molecules contact one another and their electrons touch or trade at high speeds (and there is a resultant explosive energy rippling through the surrounding spec field), there is no way for energy to technically “transfer”. The spec theory really does fill in that gap.

This brings us to the most important part of the spec theory: energy. Based on the principle of how they work, specs define energy maximums and averages (inherent energies). For instance, trying to slam electrons through a medium like copper, whilst a good conductor, has limitations in how much power can be transmitted due to size, heat etc. However, with the right adjustments (like freezing temperatures), electricity can pass faster. Temperature and specs teach us that every particle has a state of electrical energy inherent in it (and that energy can be “ramped” up and down). For instance, H20 has a strong bond. But, if you have a container of H20 and Carbon, and you blast it with heated steam, you’ll get CO2 – a lot of it. why? The Carbon-Oxygen bond is stronger. Why? Well, for whatever other explanations exist out there, spec theory says that it is because they have a closer “electrical energy” value when super heated. So, when passing through that spec field (Figure 2), the two electrical energies of Carbon and Oxygen become closer to equal so that the molecules can join while Hydrogen either goes far beyond that, or doesn’t reach the same excited state. As it takes energy and force to pass through the spec field, particles that move at the same rates are far more likely to combine. (Yes, this needs refinement, but for now, please consider this version 1.0 …. hehehe).

One way to verify this theory is with laser light.

 

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University of South Hampton (no … this is not a picture of the university, that’s the source … sheesh!)

Lasers work by forcing photons to bounce back and forth in a closed container (between two mirrored surfaces) until they reach an equilibrium in their excited state. Once they’ve reached this state, they act as one, and can pass through a lens and into the world. In between these dancing photons are specs that are grouping together at the peaks of the frequency, bunched up like Figure 4, and creating a wave pattern in between the individual photons (creating the energy that is moving the photons). If other photons can fit within this wave pattern with less force than trying to change it (or go against it), suddenly two photons are moving together and strengthening the wave propagation of the specs. This process continues on, the photons strengthening the wave propagation of the specs and the specs equaling out the frequencies of surrounding photons. Knowing this information helps us to make better chemical bonds, shoot a medium through air, and fabricate stronger materials.

There is more to be learned form this theory. There is more to be refined. But, there you go, installment number 2 of the Liquid Space theory!

Now, go get your degree in quantum mechanics, you earned it!

And, thanks for reading!


The discovery of instances which confirm a theory means very little if we have not tried, and failed, to discover refutations. For if we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmation, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.” – Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism

Funny Thought for Today: Behind Every Good President is an Even Better … Mouse?

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Seal of the President

Well, after some careful analysis and comprehensive photoshopping … um, I mean, audio and video analysis, I have discovered that there may be more to President Trump than everyone knows!

As we all know, Trump has been in cartoons and media, before:

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And, there has been a substantial amount of curiosity about how and why The Simpsons cartoons were able to predict a Trump presidency! This extreme concern has raised some serious questions for me, and as an analyst, I did my homework.

The Simpsons may not have ‘predicted’ anything. There may have been some back-door “collusion” between Matt Groening, and the mastermind himself, the Brain. But, rather than impose my thoughts on the matter, I will let you evaluate the evidence for yourself!

Side by side, it’s clear that they both go to the same tailor, wear the same color ties, have the same color schemed letters in the background, and use identical gestures! Could it be any clearer?

Oh yes … yes it can:

There is absolutely no denying it. The ears, the holding of the microphone, the pursing of the lips … all leads us to one conclusion:

The Brain has evolved his plans! He is now driving a full-size Trump-suit and his plans are still the same, to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

So, regardless of all the incredulous news you may have been hearing about Russian collusion, conspiracies in the oval office, and the fake newsmedia that has divided the world, the truth is far deeper than anyone thought. Clearly, all of the media distractions have been to keep everyone from discovering the “facts” that I have presented here, today!

Trump and the Brain are one in the same!

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No wonder net neutrality died … Warner Brothers is in on it!

Sorry, never-Trumpers … you are now: Never-Brainers! (in the words of Peter Griffin, “That means two things … heh heh heh heh“!)

Thanks for reading!


Pinky, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” – The Brain

Um, I think so, Brain, but I hear Hillary is the jealous type.” – Pinky (HAH! Further proof!)

Disclaimer: I take no political sides here; I just choose to be on the side of “not stupid”, so take it or leave it for whatever it is worth, this is just for fun … and to reveal the TRUTH once and for all!