Oops it’s not my week to post a question :(

I once overheard a man on the train talking about the MTA system and how it was putting an endless amount of money into a system that couldn’t support itself. The foundation of the MTA system itself is very poor. Bruce Stutz talks about the disruptions of hurricane Sandy and how Mayor Bloomberg, the city, state and federal agencies, all saw it coming, but not for another twenty years from now. “It wasn’t as if they’d been derelict in starting to plan.” But the problem is that from the very beginning, the MTA failed to create a strong foundation for itself and that’s why it needs so much planning now. How do you feel about the Sustainibility report for the MTA? Do you feel that this will help with the renewal of the system and rebuild the foundation, or do you think the system is getting ahead of itself, considering “green” factors without strengthening its structure? Alongside, do you think that artificial intelligence is a good idea? In Intelligence Explosion: Evidence and Import, it was pointed out that an uncontrolled intelligence explosion could result disastrous. Similarly to the MTA system, when creating something so significant, do you think that people try to jump ahead to the good things, (ex: the MTA to provide transportation to all of New York City,) but fail to consider structure and risks (the MTA foundation and protection in face of things like weather impact)? Should AI be created and expanded?

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1 Response to Oops it’s not my week to post a question :(

  1. Yana Manevich says:

    I completely agree with your notion that a proper foundation is key in any structure or system, especially one as significant as the MTA. Unfortunately, the MTA had failed initially to create a sustainable foundation and is paying the price for it now. I do think that the comprehensive sustainability report issued by the MTA is a step in the right direction regarding necessary changes and upgrades to their dated systems. However, it does feel that they may be “getting ahead of themselves” a bit, as you put it, with most of their concerns and plans focusing on emission reductions, carbon reductions, renewable energy integration, and more ‘green’ projects, which although very important, may not be the most pressing issue they are facing at the moment. I think this dilemma once again goes back to the mitigation vs. adaptation question, and while the MTA should be applauded for introducing a number of mitigation efforts in this report, I do think they are overlooking a strong need for the adaptation of their underlying structures, especially in the wake of the damage done by Sandy. It is obvious that New York’s subway system is outdated, susceptible to flooding and in need of an overhaul. Sandy caused major damage when it hit and resulted in almost a week-long recovery process, which a city so dependent on public transportation simply cannot afford. I think the MTA’s best bet would be to hold off on mitigation efforts until they have adaptation covered, and until they have a strong enough foundation to sustain themselves in case another storm hits sometime in the near future.
    Regarding Artificial Intelligence, the article points out a major difference between an uncontrolled intelligence explosion and a controlled intelligence explosion, and I think that is a key factor in whether AI is a good idea. If ‘controlled’ from the start – built with a strong foundation, backups, etc. – I think that AI could only benefit our way of life. However, like you said, it is important not to rush into things, as the MTA unfortunately did when they were first creating our subway systems. It is scary to think what could result from an uncontrolled AI failure similar to one of the MTA during Sandy but on a larger scale, but just like a proper foundation could have prevented so much damage to the MTA, a proper foundation and structure for our AI systems could do the same.

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