The great Italian actor, philosopher and competitive swimmer Bud Spencer once said the following: “If I don’t eat properly, I can’t go to the water closet properly. And if I can’t go to the water closet, I’m not a real human being… and then there won’t be any love.”
As a school kid in the late 1980s Szplbert was infused with a sense of impending doom: cars are polluting the atmosphere, forests are dying, marine ecosystems are collapsing and everyone is being killed by radioactivity. Terribly depressing – see, for example, stuff like Gudrun Pausewang’s “The Cloud” and “The Last Children of Schewenborn”, etc. While all of this may or may not be real, Szpylbert thinks it is a terrible thing to let teachers without competence in separating fact from fiction pass on their somewhat smug hopelessness to children.
Introducing Ferdinand the lab rat – who regrets not having become a scientist at a prestigious research institution.
Unfortunately, Ferdinand didn’t study hard enough in school (especially maths). But every cloud has a silver lining: if his experiments go well, he may be promoted to Senior Lab Rat some day.
In academic research there is a division line between people who secretly think they are geniuses and people who know they aren’t. Come to think of it, that probably applies everywhere on the intellectual spectrum. All the way from Mensa down to the people deciding car parking policies in your artist’s local council.
Szpylbert is annoyed with an article on artificial intelligence in The Economist (09/05/2015), claiming that there “is no result from decades of neuroscientific research to suggest that the brain is anything other than a machine, made of ordinary atoms, employing ordinary forces, and obeying ordinary laws of nature”. If your cartoonist isn’t entirely wrong, then the article is about the possibility of creating an artificial mind. However, for good reasons, a mind can only be completely unlike a machine (c.f. Thomas Nagel). It should therefore be impossible to create anything like an artificial mind at our current level of thinking...