In the first half, animal welfare advocate Wayne Pacelle joined George Knapp to discuss the horse slaughter industry, wherein tens of thousands of American horses are illegally sent to slaughter each year. Rounded up in the wild or purchased at auction, Pacelle explained, the horses are shipped across the Canadian and Mexican borders and slaughtered in those countries; the process involves subjecting the animals to deplorable conditions that leave them neglected and terrified. Pacelle noted that these practices are carried out by a small number of people who profit from the animals' deaths, and that the horses are not used for human consumption. Although he was heartened by the fact that the number of slaughtered horses has decreased significantly in the past decade thanks to the efforts of citizens who care about animals, he said that a number of species—chickens, cows, and hogs, for example— continue to live miserable lives in the service of our meat, egg, and dairy industries.
Pacelle also talked about his fight to stop the use of animals in medical and product testing. The medical industry, in particular, is heavily invested in testing on animals. While he acknowledged that animal testing won't stop overnight, Pacelle argued that animal advocates have made progress in the form of legislation and pressure exerted upon corporations to alter their practices toward less animal exploitation.
Will advanced technology like robots and artificial intelligence enhance or destroy our future? Author Nick Redfern discussed the possibility of technology running amok with stories of how technology has shaped our past—and may shape our future. Though we tend to see robots, for instance, as the domain of contemporary high-tech, ancient devices like Archimeses' iron hand and the moving doll invented by Petronius Arbiter, as well as Giovanni Torriani's wooden robot in the 16th century, demonstrate that robot technology has its roots deep in history.
Looking toward the future, Redfern anticipates the role of robots in war-fighting, manufacturing, space exploration, and even human sexuality to become far more expanded and ubiquitous. Even the Greys of paranormal lore may not be organic entities, but robotic machines that carry out their tasks, abducting and analyzing humans. The march toward full sentience on the part of machines is something we need to be on guard against as a society, Redfern went on.
Knapp's News 2/26/23
George Knapp shared recent items of interest, including articles about practical and ethical questions about artificial intelligence:
- Landmark Field Investigation of Horse Slaughter in North America (full report here [PDF])
- No, the James Webb Space Telescope Hasn’t Broken Cosmology
- What are ‘robot rights,’ and should AI chatbots have them?
- Your brain is wired to detect fear, outside of your conscious awareness
- The new Bing is acting all weird and creepy — but the human response is way scarier
- Could solar geoengineering cool the planet? U.S. gets serious about finding out
- Surveillance and the Loneliness of the Long-Distance Trucker