Friday, 22 February 2019

You know it's not big, and it's not clever. Well it's not clever anyway.

Artificial intelligence.

Do those words scare you? Excite you?

Well, perhaps they should, but not for the reasons you're thinking.

As a couple of people I know these days like to say, AI is not what you think it is. It's not a cold, dispassionate and amoral mind of greater sophistication than any human could manage, but simply a set of algorithms that have been trained to interpret a limited aspect of the world through a block of data presented to them.

There's an article here that's intended to be what passes for Friday afternoon humour in the IT industry, but is actually so accessible and levelling that it should be mandatory reading for people concerned with the care of people and the impact AI might have on them. Yes, it's a bit nihilistic, a touch sweary, but it's insightful and also funny. The article is probably biased too, but then again, everything people produce is only neutral from their reference point.

Seriously, if you don't really know what AI is then you should read it.

Suppose I should make some lunch.

I'm just not hungry right now, but I bet I don't lose any weight. :-p

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Lurgy is back with a vengeance.

My brain isn't quite right, and I read the title of Chris's Hilary Mantel book as bring up the boobies.

Now that's a pleasant thought for a sicknote Thursday.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Spring is almost here.

The snowdrops have peaked round here and the wood pigeons are sending out invites to make more pigeons.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

You know you have a cold when.....

You can't remember whether you need 8.5 grams or 85 grams of NaCl for a litre of physiological saline - and you don't seem to care.

Meh, as the kids used to say. So much for the benefits of a week in the sun. 🙁

Saturday, 9 February 2019

The computer cooling system is whistling away merrily.

Lightroom is building previews from the pictures of Fuerteventura, where we spent the week as Chris's birthday present. The island is interesting, sunshine good, but 15'C with a strong breeze when the sun has gone down *feels* distinctly chilly.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Spanish doesn't always translate well.

I've just seen a lorry with on the side. 😲

Sunday, 3 February 2019

My phone made a notification chime.

Chris asked "was that you?" to which I replied "pardon me for tinkling in public".

Somehow that was funnier spoken out loud. 😛

Friday, 1 February 2019

When you don't feel at home when 'at home'. (former draft)

Or am I "getting old"?

For those who don't know, the group of churches we're connected to has regular 'celebrations' where everyone from across Oxfordshire gets together for communal worship and teaching. They're a slightly mixed blessing, in that it's a major effort to get into Oxford (though less so now than when we all met in the cinema in George st.) since it would mean using the park & ride because of council restrictions about vehicular access. When all the churches across the area came together there could be more than a thousand bodies squeezed into the auditorium.

That was back in the mid-late noughties.

Cue 6 year break due to our time at Heyford park - what has been a large, thriving, excited charismatic congregation seemed to have shrunk to be mostly middle aged or retired with a few exceptions and suddenly as a guitar player* I've gone from being a bit 'surplus to requirements' to often being in the band for these things - it's nice, but also feels like one is only wanted when there's no-one better available. A part of the reason for the change is that different groups of churches now meet together at different times instead of all at once, but it seems to reflect the fragmentation of the Salt & Light organisation in a wider sense - see previous posts here and here. Thinking back, I can see when the change started happening in the mid 2000s, several years before we got involved in Heyford Park, but the vague feeling of disquiet that I had then didn't mean anything.

I wonder, if we'd never left & returned, would it have been like the theory of frogs and heated water, so we'd never have noticed the difference?

The way we do church locally now doesn't feel like church either, and I'm finding it difficult to take seriously. Everything feels random, haphazard, a bit meaningless . Perhaps I've become fossilised and can't adapt to the changes and lack of pattern or systematic organisation?

Some of it is certainly me, and I definitely don't see faith, the bible or the people leading these things in the way I used to. Having seen the other side of church leadership, so many things that are done may happen from the best of intentions, but often they also seem pragmatic or simply someone's good ideas (and not always so good). A common problem for leaders seems to be seeing something done elsewhere and the leader thinking to themselves "THAT looks really good - let's try it at home" and of course it's at best a bit mediocre, because it may be good, but it was never intended for the new recipients. The 'hearing God' part of the process is often a little tricky because who hears an audible voice, sees angels or messages in 10ft high letters of fire that cannot be mistaken? I can see that I was guilty of doing that at Heyford Park, with a teaching series on Ephesians 5 ministries, but of course *to me* it looked really good & seemed right, while causing a certain amount of puzzlement & confusion. At least it wasn't outright damaging, like some of the things we've seen imported, driving away people who were otherwise committed and trying to work out how to live as part of a community.

So where does this leave me?

Still going through the motions (cue jokes about swimming and Southend pier) trying to be useful, make a positive contribution, not pull people down, serving a bit as ability allows. Someone I know who was looking for a church went along to a few meetings at an associated group, but didn't see the point: bible studies were just a series of questions with no teaching and little apparent guidance, meetings were disorganised. I keep doing this because the alternative seems less good, rather than because I'm convinced it brings life and builds faith. It's tempting to find another church, where I've no expectation or investment, one which is a bit more teachy and a bit less fluid. But I won't (for now).

* I realised that on Sunday I was the oldest person on stage by 17 years, and when I started doing that I was one of the young, dynamic guys - the drummer hadn't even been born when I first played in a celebration meeting.

Don't we love a night without sleep?

I know the warning signs: manic time putting data together for a report, getting home later than usual & then an evening full of activities which require significant concentration and attention detail, feeling fired up when I should have been lethargic.

And so to bed: body feels uncomfy and in my case fingertips are slightly itchy and very rough on the bed sheets. And the mind simply won't close down. Flight details, data from the report, gifts for someone at work, gifts for a birthday, ache in the hips, skin feeling cold, what arrangements for getting the car in for new tyres tomorrow, a need to sort out insurance, should I upgrade the camera and which one to get. The list goes on and on.

Here I am at work, unable to concentrate, head running one day ahead and wanting to get on with tomorrow when today has troubles that are neither of interest nor easy to fix.

Happy Friday. ;-)