JFK Assassination Update / The AI Myth

Hosted byRichard Syrett

JFK Assassination Update / The AI Myth

About the show

Thirty years after his film "JFK," director Oliver Stone has returned to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, this time in a documentary (excerpt). James DiEugenio, one of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, joined Richard Syrett (Twitter) to discuss the new film, what revelations are uncovered, the millions of government files that have been released in the years since "JFK," and how those files shaped this new production. Everything in the script is annotated but the source is not the Warren Commission or House Select Committee on Assassinations, DiEugenio explained. The screenplay for the new documentary, written by DiEugenio, is from information gleaned from two million pages of documents declassified by the Assassination Records Review Board. "Ninety-eight percent of the public has never seen this stuff," he reported.

DiEugenio outlined inconsistencies in the autopsy of JFK. Forty witnesses from two hospitals saw a large exit wound in the back of JFK's head, which means the shot came from the front (not from above and behind as in the official report), he revealed. The autopsy photographer recalled seeing damage to the back of JFK's head as well, and did not recognize photos from the official record that he supposedly took that day which do not show this wound, DiEugenio continued. "Who took the pictures and why do you need a different set of photos," he pondered. DiEugenio also commented on the autopsy sketches which show bullet trajectories. The drawings were made by a first year medical illustrator who never saw the Zapruder film or the autopsy photos, he noted. "When the real autopsy pictures came out we saw that the bullet did not enter Kennedy's neck... it entered into his back," DiEugenio said.


During the second half of the program, artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and tech entrepreneur Erik Larson debunked the fantasy that human-level AI and superintelligence are just a few clicks away. According to Larson, the myth of AI is that it is inevitable and only a matter of time, and that we have already embarked on a path that will lead to it. Products such as Siri or Alexa do not possess any intelligence whatsoever, Larson suggested, noting these programs simply take the highest probability response from thousands of prior responses. "That's not intelligence, that's just a spreadsheet," he added.

"We don't know what intelligence is and we certainly can't put it on a laptop or a smart phone," Larson continued. He reviewed the types of inference (deduction, induction, abduction), pointing out they are essentially ways humans gain knowledge. Inferences are a function of what one already knows plus new data which leads to a conclusion, Larson explained. "So many things come up that you can't program," he continued. Basic things humans can do effortlessly are difficult for computers to achieve, such as walking down the street. The human brain is very good at making the slight predictions necessary to perform these functions but programs with their locked in logic are not, he added. "If you're going to make the world all about AI... you're actually making the world dumb," Larson insisted.

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