Funny man: So tell me the name of the organization that collects and distributes data on coronavirus and other pandemics.
Straight man: WHO.
Funny man: That's what I'm asking you!
(Well, I mean, it's an obvious joke to make ...)
Right. 2020 has given us a pandemic, killer hornets, a twindemic, EF2 firenadoes, the worst mass killing in Canadian history, "zombie" hurricanes, and now ...
Now, we have already had a computer company called Next. Or NEXT. Or NeXT. Or something. But this isn't that.
NEXT is a new TV series, so my expectations were low anyway. NEXT has managed to drop below them. SPOILER ALERT: I'm not going to be too careful about spoiler alerts.
I've only seen one episode, but NEXT seems to be based on the concept of the Singularity, the idea that artificial intelligence, along with machine learning, genetic programming, self-rewriting code, and so forth, will produce a program that is smarter than we are at programming, and will then rewrite itself better, and so on, and so forth, getting better and better faster and faster, until there is no reason to keep people around except as power sources. (Oops, sorry, wrong franchise. It would have to be a pretty stupid superintelligence that would feed and house human beings as power sources. It would be better to just cover the agricultural land with solar panels until all the humans starved.)
If your superintelligence isn't connected to anything, how does it even know there is an Internet, let alone blackmail someone to get it connected? (And would putting a wifi hotspot inside your Faraday cage even work?) And how would it find out all it needed to know to work the blackmail?
Oh, so you wrote your superintelligent AI to run on specialized hardware? Well, if it knows how to program, it can probably figure out how to rewrite itself to use the Intel machines you've got connected to it, right? You think that was a safe security provision?
So far the characters are about as sympathetic as North Korean news anchors. "I don't have [Aspbergers], I'm just a [short form of Richard]." So it's hard to care if the superintelligence kills them.
I can't wait for a superintelligence that writes better TV series ideas or scripts.
Doesn't sound like what I'll be watching next.
And I thought person of interest was far fetched.
After a fairly slow start, the United States took a commanding lead in the "more CoVID cases than anyone else in the world" contest, and has maintained that lead ever since. This is all the more impressive when you consider that it is up against some countries with far larger populations, such as India and China. Brazil has also been punching above its weight, and is still in the running. However, India has been chipping away diligently at America's lead, and may be poised to take top honours in coming weeks. The United States is not resting on its laurels: western states such as Montana, Utah, and the Dakotas are pushing hard to keep the numbers up, and keep America in the lead.