Rage against the machines, then think of the good bits, then rage again, and repeat
It’s like a tornado of clouds and silver linings when Fairfax’s Elizabeth Farrelly gets writing
Seatbelts on! It’s time to embark once more on the unique journey that is a Farrelly column. From The Sydney Morning Herald, yesterday: Why is artificial intelligence so spooky? It’s not just the competition, the possibility that we’ll manufacture creatures smarter, sexier, stronger than ourselves; creatures who will take our jobs and our lovers. Who may even out-human us. More chilling, and more likely, is the possibility behind Elon Musk’s plea to ban “killer robots”; that in outsourcing our humanity we will dehumanise ourselves.
But lo, a silver lining! Farrelly: In my fantasy of the day we replace our entire parliament with robots, conferring citizenship on the lot — assuming the origin of their parts doesn’t debar them by conferring, in the words of section 44 (i) of the Australian Constitution, the “rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power”. Then we sit back and enjoy, confident that replacing our leaders with machines can bring no net loss of either IQ or EQ and will deliver instead genuine obedience to our will. When we say no new coalmines or concentration camps there will be no new coalmines or concentration camps. Job done. Don’t smile just yet. Farrelly goes on: That’s the fantasy. The reality is almost certainly far grimmer … The sweet Star Wars fable of some loyal little R2D2 pet is infinitely less probable than a Doctor Who nightmare, where roaming armies of killer machines are controlled by forces without face or identity.
The BBC’s old Doctor Who website tackling one nightmare: The best way to kill a Cyberman is with gold.
Failing that, you could always try another machine. The BBC again: Another spectacular way of massacring Cybermen is the Raston Warrior Robot. A sleek, silver killing machine, the Raston Robot dispatched an entire Cyber-patrol in seconds during The Five Doctors.
Pauline Hanson learning about contentious Facebook posts by One Nation candidate Mark Thornton’s sex shop — during her press conference with Thornton, yesterday: I am not aware of this; can you tell me what site it is?
At last, a straightforward moment for Malcolm Turnbull during a press conference in Vietnam, yesterday: Turnbull: Now, this is Luke Nguyen, as everyone knows, star of stage and screen and star of MasterChef Vietnam. Luke Nguyen: Yes.
New Greens senator Jordon SteeleJohn, yesterday: It’s 2017 and only now do we have someone with a lived experience of disability in federal parliament.
The Australian’s David Crowe, replying on Twitter: Tell that to Graham Edwards, the Labor MP who lost both legs in Vietnam. And another West Australian. Hal Colebatch in Quadrant, in 2008: John Hyde is a man of major accomplishments. He became a successful wheat farmer in Western Australia despite losing his right arm in an accident at the age of 23; as a member of parliament from 1973 to 1982 he was courageous in rejecting strong pressures to become mere division-fodder and in pushing an economic reform agenda against the entrenched orthodoxies of the Coalition, offending many vested interests …
Cut out and keep. Bill Shorten’s press conference, yesterday: Journalist: Why should we accept your confidence that none of your MPs have a case to answer? Shorten: Well, what I’m saying is that let all MPs put forward to the same standard their evidence and then it will be available for the public to see. I am not actually asking you to take Mr Turnbull’s word or mine.