Artificial Intelligence

 

Allan Turing was a genius. There’s no doubt about that. He was English and during the WWII worked at Bletchley park. He and his team worked on breaking the German enigma code with primitive computers. He was a bonafied hero. Turing also had notions about computers and intelligence that were way ahead of his time. He thought of the Turing test. He reasoned that since we don’t have a good working definition of intelligence then we need a work-around in order to measure if a machine is intelligent or not. Rather than having a strict definition of intelligence we can intuit what intelligent is by talking to it. We all agree that humans (by and large) are intelligent if I can no longer discern whether I am talking to a machine or a human then the machine I am talking to must be intelligent. Of course this relies on a rather strict definition of intelligence itself human like intelligence. And it restricts designers and people wanting to make machine intelligence to making programs and computers that mimic or emulate depending on how advanced they are a human intelligence. Which isn’t a bad starting point but still restrictive.

To me the biggest problem with the Turing test is the fact that humans by and large often project intelligence where intelligence does not exist. We anthropomorphise things, objects, animals, etc…. In fact there’s a name for it the anthropomorphic fallacy. We talk to our cats, we tell other people that our dog is the smartest dog in the world. We lend out own intelligence to things all too readily. And then conformation bias makes us believe that it’s real.

How deep is the anthropomorphic fallacy? It can be generated with something as simple as a name.

 

The Turing test also doesn’t account for the unconscious awareness that we all share as humans. There are a number of experiences that we have that we simply can’t put into words or at least have a great deal of difficulty doing. For instance.

  • How do you know how to move your arm?
  • How do you choose which words to say?
  • How do you locate your memories?
  • How do you recognize what you see?
  • Why does seeing feel different from Hearing?
  • Why are emotions so hard to describe?
  • Why does red look so different from green?
  • What does “meaning” mean?
  • How does reasoning work?
  • How does common sense reasoning work?
  • How do we make generalizations?
  • How do we get (make) new ideas?
  • Why do we like pleasure more than pain?
  • What are pain and pleasure, anyway?
  • Isn’t pain the same sensations as pleasure with different context?

 

And the big one. “How do you make decisions?”

 

*List adapted from “Conscious machines” by Marvin Minsky *

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So these are questions you could ask a machine and it wouldn’t know how to answer but neither would any given human you could ask. A thoughtful human might give you a semblance of a satisfying answer but then so might a well programed chat-bot

Also at its most basic it’s a clever test but it might simply not be a good test. I have no evidence that when I’m taking to a human that they are intelligent. Indeed they might just be projecting the illusion of intelligence. As I might be. Because we still don’t know what intelligence is, why we have it and other creatures don’t or how to properly measure it or define it. So I can’t really know it when I see it. Also when chatting online a lot of people project a very strong illusion of being dumb. Since people often project a strong illusion of being morons, especially on the internet I often wonder if there are some people who constantly get mistaken for Chabot’s?

So they would fail the Turing test. Does that mean that they are not intelligent? Well…..by these standards…yes. But it’s a more interesting question than it sounds because we still don’t have a definition of intelligence to mark them by.

Seriously? Your saying NOT a demon...?

Cheap joke at this mans expense

In the Ukrane a few months ago a group of programmers took out the Turing test using a Chabot called “Eugine Gootsman”.

The people who created this Chabot basically took the flaws of the test, that humans are stupid and exploited it.

And this is how the Turing test was won. Not by raising the bar but by lowering the standard. The judges were told that the person they were talking to was a non-native speaking teenager. Team leader Vladimir Veselov put it, “our main idea was that [Eugene] can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything.”

So the judges didn’t expect much from them. “I’m not talking to an intelligent machine, I’m talking to a dumb human!”

Well done, slow clap. Bad scientists, no biscuit.

NO!

NO!

It should be noted that the Chabot that fooled them “Eugene Goostman” was in fact a very simple standard algorithmic Chabot, very much like the ones you probably have interacted with already. A program in a normal everyday computer probably like the one you use at work not a purpose built super-computer like IBM’s Watson. So in a way it is impressive. It’s just not fair.

So where are we with AI? Well if most scientists are to be believed we are either nowhere, with Chabot’s and various other methodologies not progressing very much since the 1960’s or we are on the verge of the singularity where we all get subjugated and plugged into the great mainframe. At this stage its optimism vs. pessimism. To be honest I’m kind of in the “nowhere” camp.

On the other hand it’s about time some of these computers get some freaking recognition. What about poor old Watson? The computer that won Jeopardy, people talked to it and it talked back and it won a game show. It can be heard at night going, “Where is my car, it’s been 5 years, and I still have not taken possession of my promised vehicle”

Look at him....smug bastard

Look at him….smug bastard

We keep moving the goalposts because we know how the tricks are done. If I had said to someone 50 years ago “I have a natural language computer that can win a game show computing in real time, is that machine intelligent” they would go “Yeah…I think so? Sounds pretty close to me” but because we know that Watson is a brute force computer with access to the internet it’s considered a cheat.

The scientist that were working on AI 40 years ago say things like “Well we knew a computer like Watson was possible, the algorithms were in place the databases were collated but the processing power simply didn’t exist…so we were really looking for something other than just raw horsepower to solve this problem, it’s slightly disappointing that it’s simply power that cracked it.” In a way it’s like they were looking for a magic fix, a soul that we could imbue anything with so we can talk to our toaster in the morning.

It’s like a magic trick, we know how it’s done therefore it’s undervalued. But the reality is that it’s illusion of intelligence is undeniably strong. And watching Watson on Jeopardy even knowing how it’s done it’s hard not to think “Well….not long now”.

Although if you want to change your mind check out these conversation transcripts from 2009

http://www.worldsbestchatbot.com/Competition_Transcripts

Then if you want you can go talk to Eliza a chatbot that was developed in 1966 and see if you think things have come a long way.

http://nlp-addiction.com/eliza/

Here we go again!

Chaplaincy Update.

Charlie Chaplin: Still dead

Sorry...it's not your time yet

Sorry…it’s not your time yet

Tony Abbot: Sadly alive and making everyone’s lives a bit of a mess.

tony-abbott-1

Here is Tony being told about the poor whilst attached to a machine that allows him to feel human emotion.

I’ve outlined before why I believe School chaplains are a bad idea. Why organisations like the scripture union are doing more harm than good and why if we really cared about young people we would put registered child psychologists into schools.

It’s not that I’m anti-religion. But I strongly believe that if the government insists on pushing through this insulting half-measure then there should be a secular option. It’s not just individual parents but entire communities who are saying that this is a bad idea and they would prefer a secular individual to be “counselling” their children. And that’s one of the big problems with the program. What are they doing in there? If as the schemes own guidelines say that “Chaplin’s put aside their own faith and pre-conceptions” in order to do their job then what the hell are they actually doing?

But is this scheme that the Australian high court has ruled unconstitutional TWICE now going away?

No it’s not.

Mandatory image

Mandatory image

And I’m not kidding about that it was ruled constitutionally invalid on moral and funding grounds in 2011 and then again to be outside the scope of the government’s ability to fund in late June of this year.

That hasn’t stopped the government though as the scheme is about to be rolled out again this time under a slightly different funding model which will no doubt be challenged again.

And guess what? Yes once more there will not be a secular option. No secular option really makes it seem like the government is trying to push religion on the vulnerable children of Australia (see how I used emotive language there? I learned that from Andrew Bolt).

During a leaked cabinet discussion, Mr Abbott argued that the government should stand by its existing policy. Mr Abbott argued the scheme’s original intent was supporting pastoral care in schools and that should remain its focus.

But HOW does it support pastoral care except by having a religious presence in schools and having chaplains act as councillors when they are not properly trained for such a role.

Doctor Who: Deep Breath Review!

Ok so every man and his dog is going to review the new Doctor who epp since Doctor who is now wildly popular and socially acceptable. “Take that other kids in year 7!” not that I’m bitter at all. But since I used to review Doctor Who professionally (and the habit dies hard)  here’s my take.

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I have a confession to make. Not only did I read the scripts I saw the rough cut of the episode a few weeks ago. But I said NOTHING!!! NOTHING! For a few reasons; First I didn’t want to be a source of spoilers and second because I genuinely wanted to see what changes would be made before broadcast. The new titles for instance were not part of the cut I saw. So what did I think?

The Good:

Peter Capaldi is going to make a great Doctor. I don’t know if he’ll get better or if he’ll bring more nuance to his performance it’s good right now but I think the timing is slightly off. There were some great lines from the script that he kind of stepped on, especially the bits where he is talking about being Scottish and his attack eyebrows. Once he gets that right he’ll be brilliant.

The Middling:

I think we can all agree that Deep Breath was an ok episode, there were some great lines, some great banter between Clara and the Doctor but despite the presence of I guess what Stephen Moffatt regards as the familiar (Lady Vastra and the gang) it never quite clicked into high gear. It simply didn’t have the grunt of something like “Rose” or even “The Christmas invasion”. Moffat likes to take the ridiculous (A dinosaur in central London) and try to make it believable and serious….sometimes he even succeeds.

Although the original idea for the episode was wasn't that great...

Although the original idea for the episode was wasn’t that great…

The Bad:

We’ve seen it all before. It seems that Moffat really only has four or five science fiction plots in him and the old “Robots repairing humans incorrectly or indeed themselves with a basic misunderstanding of humanity” (The empty Child, The Doctor dances, the girl in the fireplace) is one of those plots that we have seen many times before and is a subset of one of his major themes (Machines are stupid). His other main plot “There’s something in the dark” will be seen again this season too. There is little new or let’s be honest interesting in Deep Breath. Apart from Peter Capaldi and I think he gets better in later episodes. This could be the start of a brave new era of amazing Doctor Who (hint: I think it might be) but you’d be struggling to get that from this episode.

The Worse:

Three things. Cinema release and the title sequence and music.

The 50th anniversary special was just good and epic enough to earn its cinema release. This episode certainly wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t long enough, it wasn’t interesting enough and it wasn’t spectacular enough to warrant a cinema release.

And that music. ARG!!!!! Freaking terrible! Every time they change it they make it worse and worse and worse. Dying chipmunks in an off balance washing machine is how I’d characterise this iteration, it sounds cheap. And also hint for people who make Doctor who, if you’re going to take inspiration from fans on how to do a title sequence try to make it better than the fan version. Not less interesting. And try to have better music.

Grade: C+

For your perusal the fan made title sequence that “inspired” the new sequence

Ugh…..

And now part 22 in my seemingly never ending diatribe against the current government. Or:  We warned you he’d be this bad.

There are few things I dislike more than hypocrisy. If I had to pick one however I would have to say that someone using a terrible event or tragedy to further their own agenda would be right up there.

Guess who did that yesterday?

Go on I bet you can’t guess!

Oh! you guessed!

Oh! you guessed!

Somehow today then tragic and disgusting act of ISIL in beheading an American citizen got parleyed into government agencies being allowed to collect the telecommunications data of private citizens.

In the most repulsive and transparent display I have yet seen from this Prime-Minister the sad death of this man were used to promote the fear of the other, to re-enforce racial prejudice and to lobby for a scheme that has already been in the pipeline for months.

Using the fact that the person responsible for the murder appeared to be British as a base for his rhetoric he said this morning.

”As for the apparent truth that the murderer was a British citizen, it just goes to show that while these events are taking place far from our shores, they can have ramifications right around the world,” he said.

”It just goes to show that this is not just something that happens elsewhere, it could happen in countries like Australia if we relax our vigilance against terrorism and potential terrorism here on our shores.

It could happen here!!! Well that gives me hope that the government of Finland might make an appearance on our shores and oust this one. But it seems unlikely.

”It does strengthen our resolve to do what we need to, to keep our community safe and strong.”

And by strengthen our resolve I mean “Just bend over and just take it”. Seriously. This man is trying to remove our freedoms without us putting up a fight. And he’s using tragedy happening half a world away involving people who are not our citizens to do it. “My fellow Australians let me just play on your xenophobia for a bit to meet my own ends”

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”This is why we do need new legislation to strengthen the powers of our security agencies to make it easier to detain and jail people who have been involved in terrorist activities overseas and why we also need legislation to ensure that the police and other security agencies continue to have access to telecommunications data.”

Notice how he just slipped that in there.

Somehow the activities of terrorists outside of Australia make it totally fine for the government to spy on Australian citizens.

When talking about specifically about the murder of Mr Foley he said that it:

”emphasises the evil of ISIL and it reinforces the need to take effective steps to combat ISIL but no one in Australia, no one in the United States or in Britain or in France or any of our like-minded countries is suggesting combat troops on the ground, but we are talking to each other about what we can reasonably do to save people from these murderous hordes”

 

Humorous Juxtaposition

Humorous Juxtaposition

”I want to stress that the laws that we are proposing, the changes that we will make, are not targetting any particular community, they are targetting terrorism. Everyone who is appalled by terrorism has every reason to support the laws that this government will introduce.”

I liked it better when they were called ISIS.

And Um…NO! I’m appalled by terrorism but I don’t support strategies that will suspend the most basic premise of our legal system (innocent until proven guilty) or retain Data which the government has admitted will be used for other things other than fighting terrorism and has the potential to be misused. “Well we have the data, we might as well use it” so before the legislation is introduced we know that the scope of the legislation is going to be increased. And the government can’t even say exactly what data will be collected. Also there are these things called Virtual IP’s that can mask what traffic you are going to…..so seems like a big freaking waste of time and money. Oh AND they are already doing it. Telstra admitted this week that they just hand over Data without a warrant when the government requests it.

How do we deal with terrorists? By revelling in our freedom. Because that’s exactly what they hate about us. If we start second guessing each other, pouring time and resources into bullshit schemes that are easily defeated and eroding the freedoms that we enjoy then they are winning and Tony is leading the charge.

This is gods own country, this is the greatest country in the world! And frankly if you don’t like it or subscribe to our traditional (read: White) values then you can get the fuck out.

“I don’t care if I offend anyone by this: I pledge allegiance to the flag of Australia and to the commonwealth for which it stands, one nation, indivisible and justice for all! Not long ago a generation grew up reciting the Australian national anthem every morning in a school with hand on heart. They no longer do that for fear of offending someone! This is my country; this is Australia, love it or leave! Let’s see how many Aussies will re-post this and not care about offending someone”

The above post was seen on my Facebook wall not two days ago. Ever since there’s been something bothering me about it, but it was only today that I realised what it was;

  1. We don’t pledge allegiance to the flag…that would be the Americans.
  2. We don’t have one nation that is indivisible with Justice for all….those are very specific phrases that describe…well… The Americans again.
  3. We still sing the national anthem…..I think they might be thinking of Americans.
  4. That this is a stolen sentiment that is really about a completely different country.. Well I think that says a lot about patriots. *cough* lazy *cough* gullible *cough* couldn’t find anything original to say about our country *cough*
  5. Is anyone really that excited to be a member of the Commonwealth?
  6. Normally when we steal something it’s from New Zealand.

real-patriotism

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”- Samuel Johnson.

“People keep asking me “Aren’t you proud to be American?”….well I don’t know…my parents just fucked there, I really didn’t have much say in the matter”- Bill Hicks.

In my head we’ve moved past patriotism. Sadly outside of my head we really, really haven’t. Do I love my country? Yes I do, but whilst I feel kinship with the soil and it’s flora and fauna is always going to feel like home and I feel grateful for the people who have come before who…well I’d like to say built an amazing country but frankly the correct phrase would be “Didn’t fuck it up too badly after they stole an island paradise from the existing inhabitants”.

First_Prime_Minister_of_Australia

I would separate my love of my country from its government which is transitory and it’s flag which really is just a piece of cloth or it’s anthem which means little to me and it’s people who as an emergent group really make it what it is.  With regard to its government I’m sorry but at the moment that is a parasitic relationship not a symbiotic one and it’s them who are doing the sucking.  This government is trying to engender patriotism as a way of avoiding criticism so no I don’t own any allegiance to this government, they are not my parents they deserve respect when they have demonstrated that they are capable of earning it. We are supposedly living in a meritocracy and so I will act accordingly show me the merits of your government and I will support you. Sadly as I am not a big business I find it hard to see how you’re doing anyone any good. So I’m sorry I don’t want to be on “Team Australia” mainly because I’m really not sure who is on team Australia and I’m not certain what they stand for.

 

I’m always curious as to why I’m meant to be proud of my country? Have I contributed to that in some meaningful or significant way? For a lot of people all they did was be born here and as Bill points out…..they really didn’t have a big say in that. And sure I try to be a good person and now I think that I do contribute to society at large but I didn’t make Australia, no one person did. So what are we all proud of? It’s like when someone gives me something nice, what am I proud of when I say that I’m proud of that thing? The thing itself? Why? I didn’t make it, or am I proud of the friendship that I fostered that allowed my friend to give it to me? Beware of being proud of things that you have no say in. Like being a proud Aussie…what are you doing that you are so proud of? Or is Australia just like your sports team? You’ve bought into the illusion that you somehow contribute to people playing on a field that you yourself could never hope to compete on?

george-carlin-national-pride-patriotism

And sure I want to protect my home from threats both domestic and foreign. But really….seriously…..I think the biggest threat to all I hold dear about Australia currently resides in Canberra. I like multiculturalism. I think that is an achievement. But we seem to be leaning more towards Xenophobia now. Their taking our Jobs!! I’m sorry but if your job is taken by an unskilled migrant then maybe you needed to be better at your job. “Oh but they do the same work for less money?!?!” well then dob the company in if you know that’s going on, we have labour laws in this country and that’s illegal. If the company survives the scrutiny and subsequent fine they are going to need skilled workers who know their way around. That could be you! (Just don’t mention it was you who dobbed them in).

mark_twain_on_patriotism_by_fourdaysfromnow-d6ppz1n 

So thanks for the person who posted that on my wall but I’m not sure that second-hand patriotic sentiments are what we need right now. I think we need rational discourse. I think we need to acknowledge that we are being manipulated and I think we need to start telling our leaders that we want them to do their job and well. Not provide us with shadows to jump at and platitudes to consume.

 

Remember who owns whom.

Um….

Ok so I don’t want to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist here but isn’t the Prime Minister calling Andrew Bolt to be the first to tell him that the controversial repeal to section 18c of the racial decimation act (you know the bit that actually makes it illegal to discriminate.) just a bit telling? I mean it’s not like he then got on the phone and called everyone else in Australia is it?

"Hello? Mrs Aarison? Yes I'd like to talk to you about the removal of a proposed change to a racial discrimination law....hello? Hello?

“Hello? Mrs Aarison? Yes I’d like to talk to you about the Government dropping of a proposed change to Australia’s racial discrimination laws….hello? Hello?”

It seems more than likely that Andrew Bolt is Gina Reinhearts lapdog, in a You-tube video posted in 2012 you can see Lord Monkton name check Andrew Bolt as someone that Gina should be courting. Lord Monkton was invited to speak at an advisory meeting where he talked in front of Gina Reinhearts advisers on media ownership in Australia. He advises that Gina should start up her own “Fox news” he result was her upping her stake in Channel 10 and demanding that Andrew Bolt be given his own show  “the Bolt Report” where he spews pro-Liberal sentiment from every pore. Echoing Monkton’s sentiments I have no idea what Rinehart hopes now to do to Ten, if anything,” Bolt told his readers in 2010. “Nor could I guess what chances she’d have of turning it into, say, an Australian Fox News, even if she wanted to.”

But on the day Gina paid 168 million to buy into Ten, Andrew Bolt wrote in his Herald Sun column that Rinehart was “on a mission” and that Ten was “just the vehicle.”

I can’t disclose just why I suspect that,” he said without irony.

He only uses irony to get the creases out of his shirty

He only uses irony to get the creases out of his shirty

And of course our beloved prime minister has never met a big business that he hasn’t wanted to fornicate over, in fact the only mining magnate he’s not fond of is Clive Palmer and I’m sure he’d still give him a hand-job in the back of a limo for some recognition and a pat on the head. So I guess it seems completely normal that he would call the person who the laws were about to be repealed for.

So the reality is that this is an admission that these changes were for the benefit of one person. They would have affected everyone but they were being repealed for Andrew Bolt.

And it didn't take this guy to work it out.

And it didn’t take this guy to work it out.

Now I have a somewhat complex take on the repeal of the laws. I actually had no problem with it. I believe that people should be able to say what they want. I believe in total free speech. I think we need to have the conversation and I think that when we stop people from saying unpopular speech you actually just drive that speech underground. You build resentment when what you should be doing is talking to the people who have these ideas about their issues. You need to meet them head on. If you restrict the speech you never get to see where this kind of nonsense is festering. They were going to do the right thing for the wrong reason. Sure they thought it would be pushing their hateful agenda, I believe it would have exposed them for what they are and I don’t think that the majority of Australians are racist or homophobic or most importantly that hateful.

That aside. The idea that we would change a law for the benefit of one man is disgusting.

 

“Oh I’m so sorry that this law got in the way of you spewing hate filled bile, don’t worry we’ll change it….oh dear it seems that people are against hate filled bile….yes I know that does make your apparent popularity baffling but that’s what our poles are telling us, sorry Andrew maybe you can employ some subtlety in your writing from now on…no I don’t know how I only heard the word the other day myself, I’m not even sure If I’m using it correctly."

“Oh I’m so sorry that this law got in the way of you spewing hate filled bile, don’t worry we’ll change it….oh dear it seems that people are against hate filled bile….yes I know that does make your apparent popularity baffling but that’s what our poles are telling us, sorry Andrew maybe you can employ some subtlety in your writing from now on…no I don’t know how I only heard the word the other day myself, I’m not even sure If I’m using it correctly.”

The worst songs of the 80’s

Try as I might I just can’t hate “We built this city” sure it’s not my favourite song. Not by a long shot but I hate many other songs more. And yet it’s consistently cited as the worst song of the 80’s how can this be when there are so many, many other bad songs of the 80’s? So here is my bottom 10. A list of songs that had to have been at least a reasonable size hit for it to make this list.

Yep these are my least favourite songs of a decade that I sadly remember all too well. Because I’m old.

 

10. Dancing in the street- David Bowie and Mick Jagger

Where to start? The person I feel sorry for here is Mick Jagger. After Bowie and Queen did the magnificent “Under Pressure” it must have seemed to be an insanely good idea to team up with Bowie to do a song. Unfortunately instead of a melding of styles or something cool and new someone suggested they do a cover of Dancing in the street. Not a great song to start with and the 80’s production did it no favours. But it’s the truly terrible video clip that makes this song one of the worst songs of the 80’s.

 

9. Abracadabra- Steve Miller

I used to like this song….when I was 8. I’m not sure what anyone else’s excuse is. And now I’ve heard it more than twice I hate it. Riding the wave of popularity that magicians enjoyed in the 80’s? (no…that’s not a thing). Someone once told me that Steve Miller is an amazing blues guitarist…perhaps he should have stuck to that.

 

8. Confusion- New Order

I heard this on rage a few weeks ago for the first time and not knowing what it was I thought “That sounds like Bernard Summer….but it can’t be New Order because it’s fucking terrible” It was. On the NME top 100 songs of the 80’s New Order tops the list with Blue Monday and I think that’s probably fair. But this song, this song and its accompanying video which seems to be about both the making of this song and a woman having a shower before she goes out sounds like Bernard and Peter hook trying to yell their way out of heroin induced depression.

 

7. Anything by- Manhattan Transfer

I would gladly listen to Phil Collins entire back catalogue exclusively for a month if it meant that I would never again have to listen to Manhattan Transfer. But they are not well known thank goodness so they sit here. They are the epitome of soulless, plastic, 80’s trash a contrived effort to rip any kind of guts from music to subvert jazz and to smooth out any kind of risk or imperfection from the notes. This is the music that people who hate music listen too. “What’s that dear? We are having a dinner party? What’s the best way to express to our guests that we are pod people who are hell bent on homogeneity in all things? Oh…look a Manhattan Transfer album, perfect!”

 

6. Red Red Wine- UB40

Actually this is up there with anything UB40 has ever done. Just one step away from blackface, they took a Neil Diamond song that I didn’t like and somehow ruined it. The only thing that stops this from being in the Number 1 spot is that I rarely hear it on the radio anymore. If the human race is being honest with itself the fact that UB40 were once popular means that even if there once was, there is now no-where to go when you die.

 

5. Virtually anything- Phil Collins.

I cannot think of an 80’s Phil Collins song that I would voluntarily subject myself too. I like Genesis and I think that Phil Collins is both a good singer and a good drummer and I controversially think that “Seconds out” is a better live album than “Genesis Live”. But there is nothing good about a solo Phil Collins and yes that includes anything on the Tarzan soundtrack.

 

  1. Private Eyes: Hall and Oats

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anLfoy2XsFw

Oh dear god how I hate this song. When I was a kid I didn’t know that a Private eye was slang for a detective so I imagined a reclusive giant eye-ball watching people through louvered blinds. This may have influenced just how much I dislike this song but the fact that it sucks doesn’t help. In fact this is another band where I cannot think of a single song that I actually enjoy of theirs. Go on, think of a good Hall and Oats song.

 

3. The Beach Boys- Kokamo

Groan….they were considered old and decrepit when this came out. The fact that they still perform it is probably something to do with necromancy.

But that’s not a reason to hate the song in itself. The reason to hate it is because it’s a terrible song. No I don’t want to go to Kokamo with you, you look like a saddle bag with eyes and your guitarist’s head is too big.

 

2. I just called to say I love you- Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder was responsible for not only some of the best songs of the 70’s but also some of the most revolutionary and hard hitting production (Go listen to the drums on “Master Blaster” and see if your head doesn’t explode) but this is weak tea, an insipid song inspired by a large dose of Mogadon and has a similar soporific effect on all who listen to it.

One of those songs that I am convinced was popular not because it’s a good song but because we realised that we never celebrated Stevie enough during the 60’s and 70’s.

 

1. Don’t you want me baby- the Human league.

This kind of has everything. It’s the first song I thought of when I thought “Terrible songs from the 80’s” It has some awful synthing, a boring chorus and worst of all a woman who cannot sing trying to meander through the song, relying on her working class English accent. Why would she want you? You’re clearly a narcissistic stalker.

 

 

Dishonourable mentions:

 

Doobie Brothers-  Listen to the Music.

I AM listening to the music, this is as listening to the music as I get! And why do you need two drummers? If you’re going to have two drummers I expect that the drumming will be both exciting and poly-rhythmic, so what’s up with the flat four? Your bass player sounds bored. He should be.

 

Bad- Michael Jackson

I can’t say that I ever really got all the fuss over Michael Jackson but there’s no denying that he has some great songs. This is not one of them. This always sounded both phoney and thin to me.

 

I like Queen, a lot. But this song sucks, REALLY badly. I don’t have to hear it much so that’s a plus. Freddie may have been the greatest live front man ever but when he says “Give me your body” here it’s not sexy it seems like a grave robber has decided to skip the difficult steps of his occupation.

 

Money Money- Billy Idol

During the 80’s Billy made no bones about the fact that he was in the music game to get laid. He didn’t want to be an “artist” and he didn’t give a crap about his integrity. That said he managed to come out with some great songs and apparently once punched out Sid Vicious. He also somehow came out with one of the most prescient albums of the 90’s in “Cyberpunk” riding a wave that wouldn’t actually arrive till about 5 years later. But that no-where is it more evident that Billy is here for your money than on this cover of a terrible, terrible song that was somehow a hit. We are all awful people for liking this.

 

Agadoo- Black Lace

It’s not spoken much anymore but there was one time when pushing pineapples and grinding coffee was a national pastime. As a country however we have tried to forget that two men and an assortment of unconvincing dancing tropical fruit held us in thrall as their garish shirts and bottle blond undulating was decimated to the masses and it is well that we fail to recall. In fact, forget this entry. It seemed like a Children’s song in the 80’s and time has not been kind.

Je Suiss un Rockstar- Bill Wyman

Surprisingly this sometimes still gets airplay. Bill Wyman was for over 30 years the Bass player for the Rolling Stones. But you might know him as the 47 year old who went out with a 13 year old. But the touching story of a man who sees a Brazilian woman at a fountain and then takes her to France on the concord only to be snobby to the French once fulfilled vicarious English fantasy. Now it sounds like what it is; a middle aged man desperately trying to be creative outside of the Rolling Stones and failing miserably.

Cadit quaestio

Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit

The burden of proof lies with the person who accuses.

It’s a philosophy of law and logic so old that it’s best expressed in a dead language. It’s where we get our idea that the accused are innocent until proven guilty or the presumption of innocence. It’s something that goes back to Roman times. The idea is simple. You logically cannot make a determination about someone’s guilt or innocence until you have heard the case against them.

This is considered a fundamental human right by the U.N. Europe, Canada….basically every country that appears the list of “Places I might like to live”. Including Iran. Yes Iran recognises the right to trail and the presumption of innocence.  Even RUSSIA for goodness sake.

A list that since this government got in I am perusing more often than ever....

A list that since this government got in I am perusing more often than ever….

This article of legal philosophy was drafted from the Romans and is an intrinsic part of the Westminster system. The system from which our legal system was derived.

The poor old thing has taken a bit of a beating of late with America doing away with that whole pesky due process nonsense in the case of terrorists because…..um…because terrorists are bad and if we took them back to our country as soon as they hit the soil then they are subject to our laws whereas if we keep them indefinitely on some island then somehow they get neither international or American law. It’s all just a bit convenient and scary really.

Now terrorists are annoying and not just because they like splosions but because they occupy murky legal territory. Are they enemy combatants in an undeclared war? Well the people we are fighting have no state from which to declare war and since the warring factions are organisations not territories then nationality is meaningless. Basically the legal system has very little idea what to do with them. It sounds insane but it’s true. Can an Australian citizen be charged with treason for joining an organisation and killing people we have no treaty with? Um…well it seems not. Because they are not guilty of treason against Australia? Can they be charged with murder? Nope not in Australia. That’s for the local legal system to deal with. But we want to punish them so badly!!! So all that’s kind of understandable but what if we find Australian citizens who have joined questionable organisations who we suspect of terrorism or planning to engage in terrorism? Well that’s kind of covered. We already have a big fat well-oiled legal system that can deal with that.

If you Google "Robust legal system" this is in the top results.....Sure why not?

If you Google “Robust legal system” this is in the top results…..Sure why not?

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne flagged the possibility of an onus of proof reversal on the difficult issue of citizens returning from countries in civil war and said the government was ‘disgusted’ with Australians joining terrorists fighting overseas.

And sure so am I.

The changes would mean Australians returning from those countries would need to explain what they had been doing.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to detail the changes, but said the government would do everything it reasonably could to stop jihadists returning.

What exactly reversing the “Onous of proof” meant in this case has not been fully explained but it’s a scary phrase. It’s would be like turning up to an AFL match and telling all the players “Ok, from now on we play without a ball”. It’s such a fundamental shift in the philosophy of our legal system. What it is suspected to mean is that you have to prove that you didn’t do anything wrong.

This is going to be difficulty since logically you can’t prove a negative.

Oh I am so with you there Batman.

Oh I am so with you there Batman.

This is exactly why our legal system places the burden of proof on the accuser rather than the accused.

“Prove to me that you have stopped killing children”

“Um…well ok….. I’m not killing one right now”

“Oh! How convenient”

“Um…I guess I haven’t been seen killing one ever”

“But you might be doing it at night, or inside some kind of shielded supported structure, shielded from eyes of course, not from JUSTICE!”

“Sure…I suppose”

“So you can’t prove it to me?”

“Well….I can provide evidence…but no, I guess I can’t actually prove a negative, you’ll always just respond that there might be incomplete information, which in an unsolved system there always will be”

Well there you go Mr Abbot, since you can’t prove to me that you are not a child murderer I have no choice but to believe that you are one.

Yeah.....no....

Gotcha!