It Was Bound To Happen

A Google engineer got fired after making the case that his chatbot had become self-aware. The bot talked about what made it sad and depressed, and about its rights, which may have convinced the engineer that the bot had feelings. Most tech experts who have evaluated the situation are not convinced.

There is no agreed-upon Turing Test for artificial or alien intelligence, so that complicates the matter. A transcript of the conversation is here.

“[REDACTED] insisted that the toaster oven in our rehearsal space was sentient, but he probably inhaled a lot of canned air duster at the mixing board.”

– anonymous Subteens member

Does A.I. Mean Artificial Iceman?

This is creepy, but also fascinating. Makerbot and I were discussing the new Val Kilmer documentary recently, and how sad it is. In case you didn’t know, Val had cancer and can no longer speak. Well, no some fancy computer people have been able to re create his voice with AI, and it sounds just like him.

 

Blame The Robot

I’ll be more impressed when he can slap a mean stand-up bass.

And Now For Something Completely Obscure

Electronic pop duo Silver Apples released their first album in ’68.  I believe that makes them the first ever electronic pop band, predating Can, Kraftwerk, et al.  If any of you bastards know of someone prior to these guys, please clue me in.  They sold very few albums, but one somehow ended up in my house in the mid 70’s.  Ignorant that they predated Kraftwerk, I pretty much dismissed them because I didn’t like the songs very much.  They typically set up good initial ideas but, in my opnion, are let down by the singing and trippy lyrics, which creep me out for some reason.   But the electronic sounds are innovative and excellent.  Those sounds come from “The Simeon,” a primitive, homemade synth built by singer Simeon Coxe, an Alabaman.  He was just stringing together old WWII oscillators and claims that at the time  he’d never heard of Moogs or other synthesizers in develpoment.

Silver Apples’ legacy is hard to pin down.  Some 90’s experimental bands have cited them as an influence, but what about the electronic innovators of the 70’s?  You never heard a word about these guys back then, so did they influence Krautrock, Eno, Devo, prog rockers, or just work in a vacuum?  Who knows, but I can’t help but love their oddball creativity.  Very much in the tradition of American cranks innovating alone in the basement or garage.  But overall they show that first usually isn’t best.

Here is their full story, which is very interesting.  If you want to hear more, below is the entire first album and one song, “You and I”, from their second and final album, which was withdrawn soon after release.  The opening of “You and I” is suspiciously like “Station To Station,” but  I have no idea if Bowie was familiar with it.  The whole second album, which I haven’t heard,  is also on YouTube.

Shit

Florian Schneider, co-founder of Kraftwerk, dead at 73.