When the Robots Rule

This week, we’ve got Powerline’s John Hinderaker in the Long Chair®, John Yoo protecting us from sentient robots (read his new book Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War  ), and the Hoover Institution’s Kori Schake with some thoughts on how to take down Rocket Man. Also, Minnesota statues and other assorted ephemera.

Music from this week’s podcast: Rocket Man (feat. Iron Horse) by Pickin’ On Series from The Bluegrass Tribute to Classic Rock Hits.

I’m afraid I can’t do that, @ejhill.

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There are 26 comments.

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  1. Henry Castaigne Member

    I think we need to start genetic engineering to keep up with the machines.

    Also, humans are made poorly and we can do better.

    • #1
    • September 22, 2017, at 11:01 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    You call that a Rocket man cover? This is a Rocket man cover:

    • #2
    • September 23, 2017, at 12:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Blue Yeti Admin

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):
    You call that a Rocket man cover? This is a Rocket man cover:

    Considered it. Too on the nose.

    • #3
    • September 23, 2017, at 12:48 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Adriana Harris Member

    I really enjoyed this weeks podcast. John Hinderaker is a great guest host. I adore Larry Kudlow, but he doesn’t play well with others. The guests, John Yoo and Kori Schake, were both entertaining and informative. The Rocket Man cover was fantastic. I normally don’t listen to all the closing bumper music, but as soon as that banjo started I was compelled to hear it to the end. Keep up the great work!

    • #4
    • September 23, 2017, at 5:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Still hasn’t shown up on the dedicated feed.

    Please don’t suggest I subscribe to the super feed. I know about the super feed. I don’t want to subscribe to the super feed.

    • #5
    • September 23, 2017, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    Dog? James has acquired a new dog ? Well I hope that helps the healing. I guess it’ll be in Monday’s Bleat.

    • #6
    • September 23, 2017, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Egg Man Member

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):
    You call that a Rocket man cover? This is a Rocket man cover:

    Brilliant! I just came here to put the same link. I like how YouTube’s first suggestion when typing in “Shatn” is “Shatner Rocket Man.”

    “All this SCIENCE, I don’t … UNDERSTAND!”

    • #7
    • September 23, 2017, at 7:19 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Blue Yeti Admin

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    Still hasn’t shown up on the dedicated feed.

    Please don’t suggest I subscribe to the super feed. I know about the super feed. I don’t want to subscribe to the super feed.

    @miffedwhitemale

    It should be there now. What Podcast app are you using?

    • #8
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. J Ro Member

    “Sartorial malfunction” in the AIML future:

    Dave: Put on this cosplay outfit, Hal-en.

    Hal-en the Sexbot: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

    • #9
    • September 23, 2017, at 8:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    Still hasn’t shown up on the dedicated feed.

    Please don’t suggest I subscribe to the super feed. I know about the super feed. I don’t want to subscribe to the super feed.

    @miffedwhitemale

    It should be there now. What Podcast app are you using?

    itunes. Still not there.

    • #10
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I just pulled it down from the store.

    It didn’t come down on it’s own, even when I repeatedly refreshed the podcast in my library.

    I’m guessing more an itunes problem than a ricochet problem.

    • #11
    • September 23, 2017, at 9:26 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):
    You call that a Rocket man cover? This is a Rocket man cover:

    Considered it. Too on the nose.

    The best(?) part of the video is the description “Best Quality.” Now that’s irony.

    • #12
    • September 23, 2017, at 1:46 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Henry Racette Contributor

    Great show — I particularly enjoyed John Yoo’s no-doubt warranted abuse of Peter’s sartorial choices.

    One comment and one very serious objection, both directed at @jameslileks.

    First, James, you ended the show speculating on a future in which computers master not the highly structured game of chess, but the much more “human” endeavor of poker. We’re about there:

    https://www.cs.cmu.edu/news/cmu-ai-tough-poker-player

    So it won’t be long before we hear this around the poker table:

    Colossus: “I call.”

    Dealer: “Skynet, it’s North America and Finland to you. You in or out?”

    Skynet: “I’ll see the bet, and raise it Bermuda.”

    Secondly, and far more seriously: James, Star Trek references are always good, but, to a fan of my generation, mentioning “Riker” doesn’t cut it. It’s like expecting a 45 year old Glenlivet and being handed a Coors Lite. For purists like me, Star Trek ended in the 1960s.

    • #13
    • September 23, 2017, at 3:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Peter Robinson Founder

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    James, Star Trek references are always good, but, to a fan of my generation, mentioning “Riker” doesn’t cut it. It’s like expecting a 45 year old Glenlivet and being handed a Coors Lite. For purists like me, Star Trek ended in the 1960s.

    One of the many things I like about Henry? He has standards.

    • #14
    • September 23, 2017, at 6:38 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. James Lileks Contributor

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Secondly, and far more seriously: James, Star Trek references are always good, but, to a fan of my generation, mentioning “Riker” doesn’t cut it. It’s like expecting a 45 year old Glenlivet and being handed a Coors Lite. For purists like me, Star Trek ended in the 1960s.

    Well, that’s a pity, Henry. There are episodes and long story arcs in subsequent iterations that make some eps of the original Trek look like “Lost in Space.”

    • #15
    • September 23, 2017, at 10:21 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. James Lileks Contributor

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    First, James, you ended the show speculating on a future in which computers master not the highly structured game of chess, but the much more “human” endeavor of poker. We’re about there:

    But what’s the interface? What can the other players observe? A computer has no tell. Yet, anyway.

    • #16
    • September 23, 2017, at 10:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Henry Racette Contributor

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    First, James, you ended the show speculating on a future in which computers master not the highly structured game of chess, but the much more “human” endeavor of poker. We’re about there:

    But what’s the interface? What can the other players observe? A computer has no tell. Yet, anyway.

    The MITS Altair had a poker face.

    The Macintosh, of course, does not.

    • #17
    • September 23, 2017, at 11:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. RufusRJones Member

    Adriana Harris (View Comment):
    John Hinderaker is a great guest host.

    John Hinderaker and Brian Ward were absolutely hysterical when they were on The Patriot in Minneapolis. They just did whatever the hell they felt like LOL. It was awesome. Both are very smart and keen observers, too. Cynical. I loved it.

    • #18
    • September 24, 2017, at 7:57 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Egg Man Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Secondly, and far more seriously: James, Star Trek references are always good, but, to a fan of my generation, mentioning “Riker” doesn’t cut it. It’s like expecting a 45 year old Glenlivet and being handed a Coors Lite. For purists like me, Star Trek ended in the 1960s.

    Well, that’s a pity, Henry. There are episodes and long story arcs in subsequent iterations that make some eps of the original Trek look like “Lost in Space.”

    I thought the real offense here was saying Riker would say “ramming speed,” when it was Worf who said that in First Contact. Although I beleive Riker gave a similar order in Best of Both Worlds, also against a Borg cube.

    What the heck is “ramming speed” anyway? Is that taught at Starfleet Academy? “If anti-matter torpedoes are ineffective, just throw your ship at the other ship and see what happens. Hope you make it to the escape pods in time!”

    • #19
    • September 24, 2017, at 2:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Henry Racette Contributor

    Philistines.

    • #20
    • September 24, 2017, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. SParker Member

    Egg Man (View Comment):
    What the heck is “ramming speed” anyway? Is that taught at Starfleet Academy? “If anti-matter torpedoes are ineffective, just throw your ship at the other ship and see what happens. Hope you make it to the escape pods in time!”

    well, shoot, humans just really like smacking their machines into other machines. On land, sea, and air. Why not space? Especially what with the gravity of the situation being so much less. (The spirit of Bullwinkle lives!) I would go on about the nuclear depth charge and the psychological test the captain of a ship so armed would have had to pass (or fail), but it’s late.

    • #21
    • September 25, 2017, at 9:16 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Wolfsheim Member

    A quibble: Peter Robinson, wise and learned as he is, seems to have go (more formally known in Sino-Japanese as igo 囲碁) confused with Othello, a very different game. That is, he says (or so I heard) that the stones are white on one side, black on the other, and are flipped. No. There are black stones and white stones, but they don’t change color. In several respects, go (Chinese wéiqí) is the opposite of chess: Stones are placed on intersections, not on spaces; one begins with an empty board and then gradually fills it; stones, once placed, do not move, unless removed by one’s opponent; there is no power hierarchy. The strategy is to create territories which, though surrounded by enemy stones, contain at least two “eyes,” which, according to the rules, cannot be simultaneously filled. The winning player is the one controls the most empty spaces. I have known the game for half a century but have never learned to play well. Still, until recently, I could often win at computer go simply by playing wildly, i.e. not following what is called in Japanese jôseki–lit. ‘standard stone’. I smugly assumed that igo was at least one domain where man was superior to robot. Oh well…Here is a comment by Confucius: 飽食終日無所用心、難左矣哉、不有博奕者乎為之猶賢乎己. “How difficult is the case of the glutton, all day his mind full and his mind empty. Are there not idlers and gamblers, playing weiqi and xianqi [chess], who better occupy their time.”

    • #22
    • September 26, 2017, at 2:11 AM PDT
    • Like
  23. Wolfsheim Member

    The Japanese computer engineer who tried to improve my go game (and gave up when I failed to master orthodox strategies–jôseki) could not understand Occidental cyberphobia, saying that computers are ultimately just machines, stupid machines. I am as reactionary a curmudgeon as they come, but I too have never been able to take at all seriously the premise on which the Terminator movies are based. My computer switches my quotation marks to German conventions when it “detects” that I am not writing in English, but the verb being used here is clearly anthropomorphic…My guess is that scientists in the Hawking mold feel uncomfortable with the concepts of “consciousness” and “self-awareness,” fearful of getting into the forbidden realm of (gasp!) religion and so attempt to blur the distinction between human beings and their mechanical artifacts…On another note, I must say that I squirmed a bit at the suggestion that if humankind cannot beat its swords into plowshares, it can at least work towards reducing the gore by greatly improving both swords and swordsmanship. I remembered the late Robert McNamara, another advocate of high-tech warfare, who later regretted it all. Living in Japan, I sincerely hope that our technological superiority will help protect us from North Korean insanity, but without both human courage and wisdom all the computers and drones in the world won’t save us.

    • #23
    • September 26, 2017, at 3:22 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    • #24
    • September 26, 2017, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Richard Easton Member

    John Yoo may be a good lawyer, but he’s wrong about chess programs. No computer is powerful enough to compute all possible chess games. The programmers developed a way of evaluating positions and have the computer search out with brute force all combinations out to a certain number of moves (plus an opening book). There are refinements to this, but chess has not been solved in terms of whether White has a forced win with best play. It would be if they had programmed all possible moves.

    • #25
    • September 27, 2017, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Keith SF Member
    Keith SF Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Secondly, and far more seriously: James, Star Trek references are always good, but, to a fan of my generation, mentioning “Riker” doesn’t cut it. It’s like expecting a 45 year old Glenlivet and being handed a Coors Lite. For purists like me, Star Trek ended in the 1960s.

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou

    • #26
    • September 29, 2017, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like