Sunday, 25 October 2009

It's getting cold outside

Wow, I've been neglecting this place a bit lately it seems (two weeks since last post). It's not like that many huge things have happened anyway. I'm tired almost every day, and I don't get a lot done other than school related stuff. There's still tons of working on reports and trying to catch up with the reading to be done.

My dream log helped me finally get less vivid dreams, so I'm a bit less drained when waking up. I've had a few dreams since my last entry, but I haven't really had the energy or time to write it all down, since the dreams are usually complex and long. I remember the one from this night, for example, but it was in two "chapters" and would be way too long to write down.

I got some really, really huge bills this month (let's just say that if I had no income at all this month I would have to pay my total savings simply in bills), so I'm getting a loan. It's not really that I can't afford to pay the bills (since I DO have an income) but it's a way of saving up for my (hopeful) half-year trip to Australia next autumn. A good things with bills is that I have now learned to keep my electricity usage down (advice: do NOT use electric floor heating unless you're prepared to quadruple your energy bill).

Of noteworthy events these past weeks are:
  • Going to the theatre to watch a kind of "theatre concert", which was really cool. 
  • Learning that some of the things we study are governed by quantum mechanic laws meaning we can only change something "with a certain probability". For example a certain membrane gate that only opens when certain conditions are met, might suddenly open anyway, just for the heck of it - I like the idea that the probability of seemingly impossible things are more than 0.
  • Watching Inglorious Basterds in the cinema with two friends.
  • Writing a secret coded email that could result in a cake or three beers.
  • Biking to Japanese class with a huge chocolate cake (I really, really love those Japanese classes).
  • Reconsidering some people from university.
  • Getting addicted to this ridiculous song: LINK HERE
  • Had a meeting with my employers where I got a new task, I will be doing for some time now. It's not the most interesting of tasks, but it's easy, and I won't have to think about what I'm doing, so it's alright. And the pay is the same, so I won't complain :P. The meeting took over 3 hours, of which about 2,5 were spent just talking about random stuff and hearing stories of their time working at hospitals. It was really nice. Some of the stories were really unbelievable :P.
 I've become a bit tired of all the work lately, and it's become harder and harder for me to pull myself together and read in our huge cell biology book. I've also put in a lot of effort in the report writing. Perhaps more than I should have. Although I let the others in their group do their part, I always end up reading through their part so thoroughly that I understand everything better than the ones who do the part. It's hard work, but rewarding in the end I guess, because it's really good preparation for the exams. This way I also can help them point out where they make mistakes and explaining to others is the best way to learn things for yourself.

Now for something else. Have you ever wondered if people really think like you? Perhaps they're just there for you, and you're the only person in the world that really thinks. They would be kind of like robots, and would be nothing but an outside shell reacting like machines. Insanely complicated machines maybe, but still just following a strict program. Would that then mean, that since there were no thoughts behind people, that your actions would have no true consequences?

No, of course not. It wouldn't make a difference if everyone actually were robots. We have no way to tell if people actually think like we do. But just the idea that people are actually robots is enough to make us feel like what we do wouldn't matter. It frees our conscience to imagine that other people just react to our actions by instinct, and not by conscious thought like our own. Isn't that kind of weird..


  1. 1. Our house is freezing. I surely hope that'll be reflected in our electricity bill!
    2. "Inglourious Basterds" is one of the original films I have ever seen! It's so liberating, watching a WW2 film and be able to just sit back and laugh.
    3. If you ever get too tired of all the molecular biomedecine, I'll send you some vector analysis that you can use as relaxation between all the work and reading.
    4. If robots ever become able to mimic perfectly the behaviour of humans, should the two have the same rights?

  2. Nah, no thanks to the vector analysis :P. But if something interesting in quantum mechanics comes up, I'd really like to take a look!

    There's actually a film about your last question. I can't remember it's name. It has to do with a robot that goes through all these things to become a human. He ends up having modified himself so much he is perfectly indistinguishable from humans. But he still possesses the ability to live forever, since his brain doesn't degenerate like ours. First when he modifies that to degenerate over time, just like ours, is he accepted as a human.

    The question is then just: What happens once we ourselves become more like robots (eg. enable our brains to not degenerate)? Perhaps then we'll have a difficult outlook on life. Because we aren't actually that different from any other things that move around in this world. Why can't a robot be a form of life as well? If you look closely enough, there won't be a difference.

    In the novels by my favourite author Iain M. Banks (writer of the Algebraist), we see a society where robots have completely the same rights as humans, and are viewed by the humans almost like they're the same species. They just think a little more quickly than us :P, but they have "routines to keep themselves not bored while speaking with humans, since they could have calculated loads of stuff in the time it takes to say just a single sentence for a human".

    So yeah, I think robots should have exactly the same rights as us.