Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 18, 2016

No, The Nuclear Sanctions On Iran Did Not Work

Some (not so) smart people believe that the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal shows that "sanctions worked":

Doug Saunders @DougSaunders
The Iran paradox: this week proved that sanctions worked. So it was the worst week for US Congress to impose new sanctions
10:42 AM - 17 Jan 2016

This is completely wrong. Sanctions did not work in the case of the nuclear issue with Iran. Sanctions will also not work one Iran's ballistic missile program.

Other authors have already expanded on this in length but it needs repeating.

For Iran the development of a civil nuclear program for electricity and other needs was and is seen as a precondition to become a fully developed modern state. The U.S. and Israel wanted to prevent that. Israel sees Iran as a competing power in the Middle East and the U.S. sees Iran as too independent and too powerful to be left alone. Both want to restrict Iran's development unless Iran agrees to again become the client state it once was.

The vehicle to pressure Iran was its nuclear program and an assertion that "Iran has no right to an enrich" Uranium. That assertion was wrong as a legal argument as any state has a natural right to use its resources as it like but the U.S. went to great length to make that claim. If it would have gotten its way it would have achieved a veto over how Iran, and others, could manage and use its natural resources.

It was that U.S. claim and Iran's will to resist it that prolonged the conflict over a decade. After first (false) claims were made that Iran was developing nuclear weapons negotiations ensued and made fast progress. Iran was willing to restrict its activities and to have its nuclear program under full inspection. But its was the U.S. "no right to enrichment" point that blocked any solution. Writes UK negotiator Peter Jenkins:

Having served on the UK’s Iran Nuclear negotiating team in 2004 and 2005, I know that in March 2005 President Hassan Rouhani and Minister Javad Zarif, then in different roles, were ready to offer a deal very similar in its essentials to the JCPOA.

At that time Iran had only a few experimental centrifuges and little enriched Uranium.

But the U.S. insisted that Iran had no right to enrichment and blew the negotiations. Sanctions followed and Iran responded by building up more enrichment capabilities. Several more sanction rounds followed and Iran responded to each round by again increasing its capabilities. After the last round of sanction Iran announced that it would create highly enriched Uranium to fuel nuclear submarines.

At that point the U.S. finally understood that it was senseless and impossible to ever increase international sanctions as a way to stop Iran's nuclear program. Only two alternatives were left. A very aggressive and expensive military attack on Iran followed by a lengthy occupation for which the U.S. public had zero appetite or negotiations and concessions to settle the issue.

A new negotiation round started in November 2013 and at the core of the issue was again Iran's right to enrich:

Disagreement over whether Iran has the right under international law to enrich uranium goes to the heart of the decade-old dispute over its nuclear program and has complicated diplomacy to end the standoff.

Iranian officials made clear on the third day of talks in Geneva on Friday that the Islamic state's "right" to enrich uranium must be part of any interim deal aimed at curbing its atomic activity in exchange for some sanctions relief.
The United States says no country has that explicit right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the 1970 global pact designed to prevent the spread of atomic bombs.

During those negotiations in 2013 the U.S. finally caved and a few days later an preliminary agreement was reached:

The initial nuclear deal struck with Iran at the weekend states unambiguously that the second step – or “comprehensive solution” – will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits.”

The wording allows Tehran to state that the U.S. and five other powers in the negotiations have conceded that a final agreement, due within six months, will leave Iran with a domestic uranium-enrichment program.

Iran interpreted that as the acknowledgement of its right to Uranium enrichment. After this key issue was solved further negotiations were about give-and-take points but no longer about a fundamental disagreement.

As was revealed only later the U.S. had given up on the "no right to enrichment" claim even before the November 2013 negotiations:

The secret US-Iran diplomatic channel that helped advance the interim nuclear deal last year got underway after a message from US President Barack Obama was conveyed to Iran: The United States would be prepared to accept a limited Iranian domestic enrichment program as part of a nuclear agreement in which Iran would take concrete and verifiable steps to assure the world its nuclear program would remain exclusively peaceful.
Obama’s message that he would be prepared to accept a limited Iranian enrichment program in an otherwise acceptable deal was conveyed to Iran at a secret meeting in Oman in March 2013, by a US delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, which also included Jake Sullivan, now Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, as well as Einhorn and then-White House Iran adviser Puneet Talwar.

It was the U.S. that caved and pulled back from its (indefensible) position that Iran was not allowed to enrich Uranium. It was this concession by the U.S. - not the sanctions -  that brought Iran to the table and which allowed to end the conflict over Iran's nuclear program.

Posted by b on January 18, 2016 at 16:27 UTC | Permalink


And yet last night Clinton asserted that the deal was the product of successful sanctions. The neocons (of both parties) have not abandoned their propaganda. Thank you for asserting the facts. They need to be repeated until they catch up with and bury the crap.

Posted by: Lefty | Jan 18 2016 17:07 utc | 1

what i don't get is the usa thinking it can dictate a system of one rule for some and another rule for others... but then i have never figured out hypocritical positions and the exceptional nation has a lot of them..

Posted by: james | Jan 18 2016 17:15 utc | 2

You are absolutely right but the USA will always disguise its defeats into victories. It is after all an arrogant "superpower" and as such should never admits its failures, no?

Posted by: virgile | Jan 18 2016 17:20 utc | 3

Thanks, b.
This post explains why Iran seemed so confident all along that the deal was a good one. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall, to hear what was said about "Israel", during the private negotiations.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 18 2016 17:31 utc | 4

The Iranians have succeeded in getting rid of International sanctions by agreeing to not pursue what they never intended to do in the first place i.e. produce a nuclear weapon.
All the invective directed at Iran is because it is a fiercely independent country whose economic and conventional military hegemony is feared by Israel and Saudi Arabia, that is why these two true axis of evil are going ape shit on the Iran/US agreement. I have just watched Hillary Mann Leverett on Press TV saying the US should make a genuine rapprochement with Iran similar to Nixon's approach to China, but understood that many things stand in the way at this time inter alia the petrodollar and 10's of billions of arms sales.

Posted by: harry law | Jan 18 2016 19:25 utc | 5

There're two very good related articles at Saker's that complement b's essay quite well, and

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 18 2016 20:07 utc | 6

A bit off topic, but why has there been virtually no discussion about draconian western sanctions against Syria -- the main force fighting against ISS and Al Queda? Regime change dreams trumping the fight against terrorism.

Posted by: Andoheb | Jan 18 2016 20:25 utc | 7

Thank you, b. That's well worth knowing and very skillfully presented. Well done, sir!

Posted by: Penelope | Jan 18 2016 20:49 utc | 8

"As was revealed only later the U.S. had given up on the "no right to enrichment" claim even before the November 2013 negotiations:"

How does this date square with the date of Peugeot's forced withdrawal from the Iranian market? China's Iranian car factory is churning out 1.2 million cars per year, according to CCTV this morning.
Do Chines gloat?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 18 2016 21:15 utc | 9

Initially, I thought that "regime change" paradigm makes sense, but the passage of time proved that it is based on false premises, idealistic version, "pursuit of human rights and democracy", realistic version "we should bestow boons upon our friends and poxes upon their enemies", legalistic version "we must eliminate intolerable behavior, using regime change if nothing else work". The idealistic version suffers from hypocrisy making it totally hollow, and the realistic version suffers from idiocy (and how realistic idiots can be, however hard they try?). Legalistic version is equally lame.

Since the fall of the Shah, Iran was on the enemy list, and the prime candidate for the regime change. Iranian leaders observed that as long as USA sticks to that priority, sanctions will not end, whether they have a nuclear program or not. If nothing else, as an "enemy of the friends of USA" it is always on the list of counties supporting terrorism. However, some of those friends love to support terrorists, and as the peripatetic jihadists were crossing borders their status was flipping between "friend" and "foe". Sanction regime was basically the policy of keeping "enemies of our friends" in the doghouse unless they fulfill few simple conditions like confessing the deepest possible admiration of Israel (or converting to Salafi brand of Sunni Islam? hard to see what could appease our Saudi friends).

The way I see it, recent escalation of jihadi terrorism and the dubious role of our friends in that brought acknowledgment that following whims of our friends must have some limits. And nothing would bring the message home better than the deal with Iran. But it is not like we abandoned our friends, so we follow their whims to some extend, and thus we firmly stick to a zigzag course in the international affairs. In that way, we can pocket bribes and deliver SOMETHING to the friends, but we avoid the worst. In particular, after much thought and several disasters to learn from, American policy makers do not want a collapse of the Syrian government (zig) but a perpetual civil war there is fine (zag).

Incidentally, as those frolics continue, the cause of democracy is taking a distinct downturn. Three major Western friends abandoned democracy either totally -- Egypt, Thailand -- or they are quickly getting there -- Turkey. One can even argue that there is a significant illiberal slide at home.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 18 2016 21:30 utc | 10

Excellent article b. The Iranian has been very smart all along they have used their intellectual and technical capacities over uranium as a leverage against the US and it worked.One thing the US feared more than an independent Iran was an independent nuclear Iran.But we must not be fooled by Iranians,they purpose all along has always been to be reintegrated in the global capitalist system but on its own term.They don't hate the US it is quiet the contrary actually.Tehran is a city with all the new technological devices ,movies and even music we have in the west.

I have been asking myself a question for a long time why does Israel hate so much Iran?Iran despite being fiercely independent ,objectively, doesn't represent a menace for the right to exist of Israel.Sure they support a peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians and they do want the creation of a Palestinian state but they are not opposed to Israel per say.So why ?

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Jan 18 2016 21:38 utc | 11

@9, love it or hate it, Israel is a parliament grafted onto the cult of Homo sapiens iudens. It can't exist as a "state". If Iran is not opposed to Israel, it ought to be.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 18 2016 21:54 utc | 12

Isn't it obvious? Israelis oppose any independent entity in the neighbourhood because they fear it would interfere with their domination of the ME. Why were Iraq and Syria destroyed? They cannot abide a strong nation state; in addition, they covet some of the territory of those states (i.e., Yinon plan). Unfortunately, no other explanation makes sense.

Posted by: GoraDiva | Jan 18 2016 22:06 utc | 13

Gee, after posting a comment that included a link to this item at the Saker, I came here and posted the links to two item's that complemented b's here in about position #5 several hours ago, but I fail to see my comment published here.

If referring to particular websites is verboten, then I really have no use for this site.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 18 2016 22:27 utc | 14

@9 @11

I think GoraDiva explains well, but something can be added. Israeli politicians are typically former military officers. One implication is that they conceptualize foreign (and domestic) policy in terms of threat analysis etc. Another is that they have a military concept of "greatness". They do good job with Palestinians, but at the end of the day, this is just harassing villagers, no greatness there. So where can one find that greatness? The most handy archetype is Alexander the Great, think of Issos, Gaugamela etc. While the Persian Empire is not around anymore, the Islamic Republic carries the mantle. Only poor level of classical education among the masses prevents accusations of medism, but the "Leftist-Islamic anti-Israeli conspiracy" is basically that.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 18 2016 22:48 utc | 15

This site is Saker adverse. Not sure why ... maybe some Russophobia? DV, ICH, Consortium News, Global Research, and PCRoberts often use the Saker as a source.
My bet is that this won't make the cut, and there will be no discussion regarding what is acceptable and what is not.
It would be helpful to know what, if not why.
But welcome to the blogosphere.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 18 2016 23:02 utc | 16

This is a worthwhile article for consideration though perhaps NOT for any in-depth discussion.
It is also test of the proposition that this site is Saker Adverse.
If this comment stays up, and anyone refers to the following article, I will apologize.

The article was NOT written by the Saker.

I would hate to NOT read MoA, because the Moon (aka: B) does a good job ... most of the time.

To all, have a good day.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 18 2016 23:11 utc | 17

If only every US Presidential candidate could read and understand this article. Heck, if even a couple could we'd be doing much better than we are...

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jan 18 2016 23:40 utc | 18


@12 karlof1

not sure what happened to your post or links.. try again as i doubt b has any interest in subverting your links..

@ 14 Rg an LG

i don't believe this site is saker adverse, but it isn't the cult of the saker either.. it's definitely not russophobic here from my own observations.. but then i thought the saker was located in florida and not russian anyway?

Posted by: james | Jan 18 2016 23:47 utc | 19

@12 karlof1

I do not understand the hubris of people like you in the blogsphere of the intertubes.

Are you paying for access to MoA? No!

But you have the audacity to pass judgment, within its forum, for its current "rules of the road".

Why don't you provide your own blog where you can set the rules? And don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Thanks for the posting b. It is sad to see mankind acting stupid by playing with extinction type nuclear technology.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 18 2016 23:49 utc | 20

Sanctions on Iran did not make any sense and served solely to keep on political leash the EU stooges and all others because of the dollar trade BS jurisdiction US illegally claims (routed via US ,US controlled,) server). Therefore,Iran had to resort to dollar transaction mirroring or gold transaction mirroring or strait gold shipments to avoid greedy American hand.

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 19 2016 0:17 utc | 22

The "absurd" agreement was a face saving gesture for US to back out of the blatant aggression violating UN charter, yes, the so-called sanctions were illegal and themselves violated UN charter. Iran never crossed enrichment levels violating international law and non-proliferation treaty and hence, without any inspections had a right of doing what they were doing. That's why you sign a treaty to become a trusted party with no need for monitoring. It is Israel and NK which should be monitored.

In fact spirit of the treaty is that, if you somehow got yourself a nuke stop proliferating it so you will not be bother. In this context Iranians had right to a nuke but they abandoned this idea and became interested in pursuing old Shah of Iran idea of supplementing electric power system with NPP for diversification of sources and environmental considerations. But in recent years they even abandoned those ideas focusing on highly efficient gas plants and renewable energy as a century long project of transformation of energy basket.

All that irrational, illogical erratic BS was a US-Iranian mostly non-military war that US lost, namely US lost Iraq, Afghanistan and never got Syria while strongly antagonized Russia, India and China.

But what's worst is that whole generations of Iranian people suffered by being cut off from western communities which they themselves historically were important source and inspiration and in the process it needlessly entrenched a calcified theocratic regime that is alien to Iranian culture. In 1979 Iranians revolted against brutal suppression of true democracy, by American puppet and not for theocracy with some democratic veneer.

Come to think of it since 1979 it was the US that was the best ally of Iranian clerics helping them to hold on to power, transcending natural democratic aspirations and development of Iranian nation as a important part of world community.

But this is not the end, as author pointed out. It is more to come, more excretions of neocon psychotic rants informed by fading US imperial hubris. Stay tuned.

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 19 2016 0:19 utc | 23

Obama is a dove. The NeoCons are not. That's the short and the long of it. Obama has not succeeded in defeating the NeoCons, so he's stuck with their policy, apart from exceptional situations.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 19 2016 0:42 utc | 24

@20 LG 'Obama is a dove.'

Can you really believe that, all evidence to the contrary?

Posted by: jfl | Jan 19 2016 6:03 utc | 25

posted an article at #15 that included a Saker link. It was, and said so, a test to see if a Saker link could make the cut.
It didn't, so I have to wonder why.
Granted this is the MoA's site and he has complete editorial control ... then so does the NYT who can be excoriated herein, but still quoted.
Saker does have some pieces that are complimentary to issues on this site, so I can't help but wonder why he's excluded.
As a former librarian (now either retired or retarded or both) I have always questioned rules that are invisible while having the affect of censorship.
Nuff said ...

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 19 2016 6:47 utc | 26

Hmm. Here is an article that may actually fit into the discussion about US policy/double standards ...

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 19 2016 6:51 utc | 27

Did the former librarian Rg an LG @22 mean that Saker does have some pieces that are "complementary" to issues on this site?

Posted by: Captain Cook | Jan 19 2016 7:12 utc | 28

@ 24

Ahoy there Captain, maybe you should belay your word policing, the difference between to praise and to complete is not in evidence in the drift of @22's statement context, either has the possibility to apply given no example was originally provided to discern, as you seem to have done on so little evidence, the correct usage. As the line reads, the reader accustomed to the dearth of both spelling acuity as well as grammatical transgressions ubiquitous in common communications would easily make out by context what was intended. That may not be so for someone as befogged as yourself but as the tides are favourable maybe it is time for you to weigh anchor and set sail to more agreeable shores. Bon Voyage!

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 19 2016 8:58 utc | 29

US sanctions against Iran was becoming hard to maintain as their EU allies were increasingly getting pissed at the loss of business with Iran..It was only a matter of time before they broke ranks with their Yankie partners over some cooked-up crisis.

The problem with the US is AIPAC controlled congress and the many dual citizen congressmen/women whose allegiance clearly lies NOT with America.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 19 2016 10:24 utc | 30

psychohistorian says:

It is sad to see mankind acting stupid by playing with extinction type nuclear technology

yeah, if we can just scrape by for another hundred years or so the uranium supply should be largely depleted(and oil too, for that matter). of course, as a linear representation of stupidity continues its upward trending diagonal, a hundred years starts to look like forever, and without any known antidote, for stupidity that is, it might well be curtains.

Posted by: john | Jan 19 2016 10:47 utc | 31

@ John #27

Economics (pseudo science), otherwise know as stupid human tricks, has deflected attention away from what is now an unavoidable death sentence for most of the human race; nay, most life on this planet.
Guy McPherson is certain human extinction is certain and staked his families life on that.
His cred’s are impressive. Here’s an interview with Chuck Mertz of This is Hell podcast;
This is a must listen, IMO.
This is not a new position for me; I listened to David Suzuki saying much the same thing in the late 80’s (and I knew he was right); and it’s far, far, worse today, nearly 30 years later.
There is no 100 years, any more, foreever...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 19 2016 11:30 utc | 32

@27 John @28 V. Arnold

The future is far less knowable than you might think, because there are so many different trends which might turn out to be the most significant. We really don't even know for sure if 30 or 50 years from now, humans will still be the dominant intelligences. Maybe we will be, especially if some sort of societal disaster aborts the continued rapid development of machine intelligence, but for all we know, super intelligent entities may turn Mercury into a giant solar collector in our lifetimes. If the Singularity turns out to be real, almost anything could happen.

Posted by: Glenn Brown | Jan 19 2016 12:41 utc | 33

@27 John @28 V. Arnold

Well, first, thank you for ignoring my links so you can go on your tangent of fantastical thinking: Maybe Jesus will come and save us all?
My post is rooted in historical behavior and sound extrapolations of present behavior; not to mention science.
It should go without saying that nobody "knows" the future; likewise it should be self evident the course taken by the predominant species on the planet hasn't varied in many, many decades.
You speak to 30-50 years in the future; quite an assumption that. What makes you think that time line even exists? Likely it does not.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 19 2016 13:00 utc | 34


Suzuki is a 501(c)3 tax dodge Green PAC foundation marketer, no different than James Hansen, the former NASA astronomer turned astrophysicist turned climatologist (sic), at least on the paid lecture circuit, in violation of the Hatch Act, for which he had to retire, or go to IRS prison. He's a con.

I worked intimately at the fisheries biology level with both US and Canadian fisheries biologists, when Suzuki made his astonishingly ignorant claims about net penning, then rather than recanting in the face of hard science, doubled down for green bucks, like all the other climate whores.

Your boy McPherson writes: "Civilization is an omnicidal heat engine. Nearly everybody I know loves it, even though it’s killing practically all life on Earth, including us. And shortly after it’s gone, we’ll all die. What’s not to love?"

Not much science in that statement, just End Times fear and loathing, like those sandwich-board kooks when I was a kid, with their "The End is Near!!" schuck and jive routine. It's a con, and a $100s BILLIONS one, that affects primarily old white males with low testosterone levels, and hysterical single women. That's actually a stastical fact.

100 years ago another white guy like Mcpherson created the Ghost Dancing End Times Revival that swept the Southwest. America has always been prone to AM End Times Revivalism.

That doesn't mean it's true. All of today's species survived CO2 at 35000 PPM and seas as hot as bath water, then survived CO2 levels so low and temperatures so cold the permanent forests were nearly extirpated. It a cycle, like El Nino. Atmospheric CO2 cannot possibly, by any mechanism, affect deep sea temperatures, and NOAA has no probes that deep, it's pure conjecture and back-modeling to get the numbers you want.

Keep on ghost dancing, and maybe you'll find the long-lost baby Jesus.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jan 19 2016 13:07 utc | 35

Chipnik | Jan 19, 2016 8:07:11 AM | 31

You are so full of shit; it's not worth more than this reply.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 19 2016 13:19 utc | 36

Chipnik | Jan 19, 2016 8:07:11 AM | 31

Oh, and I gave your links a cursory read; crap science and that's a compliment.
So, do carry on; I'll be sure not to respond.
Denial is strong with humans; their greatest weakness...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 19 2016 13:25 utc | 37

@30 V Arnold

Jesus is probably a myth, but the fact that the computer industry has largely managed to meet the goals described by Moore's Law for the last fifty years is a reality. In 1965, the steady, exponential improvement in computer capabilities which has been achieved would indeed have seemed fantastical. As I said in my first post, there is no assurance that this trend will continue. Human society may collapse before machines reach and surpass human levels of intelligence. But your dismissive rejection of this possibility is not justified by the facts, and in fact ignores a serious threat that anyone concerned about the future should keep in mind. War and dictatorship may turn out to be the crucibles from which arise humanity's evolutionary successors.

Posted by: Glenn Brown | Jan 19 2016 14:18 utc | 38

Glenn Brown | Jan 19, 2016 9:18:23 AM | 34
Sorry; your word salad is lost on me...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 19 2016 14:28 utc | 39

Germany Sees Iran as Key to Stabilizing Middle East

By REUTERS JAN. 19, 2016, 8:24 A.M. E.S.T.

BERLIN — Germany wants to work with Iran to help calm regional conflicts now that the Islamic Republic is emerging from international isolation and also prevent tension escalating with regional rival Saudi Arabia, Germany's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

GUARDIAN, Martin Chulov and Kareem Shaheen in Beirut, Monday 18 January 2016

Advantage Iran in Lebanese political proxy battle with Saudi Arabia

Iran tightens grip over Lebanese elections after Saudi-backed presidential candidate Samir Geagea endorses Michel Aoun... [who is supported by Hezbollah]

TALKBACKS IN SOME WEBSITE: King Altzheimer tries to secure succession for Prince Captagon

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 19 2016 14:28 utc | 40

Oh ! for the love of all that is fair and rational, can the lot of you give your righteous opinions a miss? For the rare few times an original opinion is expressed here, a tsunami of opinions created by someone else that happen to opine something that that commentariat happens to agree with and links that opinion so that everyone can see just how ingenious they are (by reflected erudition) without even working up a sweat by the strain of thinking for themselves. Please become aware enough to realise your maturity has reached a level of a pre-teenager before it ceased development in that retarded state. These posts by 'b' are denigrated by your jejune conduct and become a trial to read.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 19 2016 14:30 utc | 41

V. Arnold @ 30 says:

Well, first, thank you for ignoring my links so you can go on your tangent of fantastical thinking

wow, you wait a whole hour and a half, without any input from me, to accuse me of something you couldn't possibly know to be true or false(it was false).

i see you have a real bent for science.

regarding this McPherson dude(good rant) doubt his research has led him to such grim conclusions. i won't doubt his honesty, but maybe he should curtail bumming the shit out of people and go sit out on the front porch and spend some quality time with the grandkids.

Posted by: john | Jan 19 2016 14:45 utc | 42

good history b! Just as an anecdote I heard thru the grapevine that when Kerry and them all were negotiating in Lausanne (end May early April 2015) they didn’t do much negotiating! They had oodles of meals, drinks, walks, long breakfasts, etc. Kerry rode his bike a lot, around France - remember, he broke his leg. (He was trying to do some of the roads of the Tour de France.)

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 19 2016 15:50 utc | 43

V. Arnold, IMO, machine intelligence is now a maximum of 10 years away -- not 50.

Not only will it teach itself, it can and will make itself smarter every day. Exponential growth in IQ -- not just in the knowledge it acquires.

It could lead to paradise or extermination. I can't estimate the odds of either. But, this event is very close -- close enough that you might start considering it when making your or your kids' plans for the future.

Either way, it's going to render all other human concerns irrelevant. It'll impact us more dramatically than the switch from hunting/gathering to farming.

Posted by: dr. daystrom | Jan 19 2016 16:38 utc | 44

I forget, are we at war with Eurasia or Eastasia?

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Jan 19 2016 17:30 utc | 45

@40 dr. daystrom

I put your prognostications about AI in the same league as what I call faith breathers, hubristic rubbish.

I have been in the computer world since 1969, embedding an application into a mainframe OS of the day; so don't tell me I don't know computing. Humans in science believe that our universe is made up of less than 5% matter (of which we know a little bit) and more than 95% we conjecture is a combination of "dark" energy and matter.

But you, like the faith breathers, see humanity as gods with the ability to build/create Gawds more powerful than themselves.

What hubris. What is the intelligence of a species that cannot evolve beyond private finance and accumulation of private property as the controlling tenets of their social organization?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 19 2016 17:59 utc | 46

Either way, it's going to render all other human concerns irrelevant. It'll impact us more dramatically than the switch from hunting/gathering to farming.
Posted by: dr. daystrom | Jan 19, 2016 11:38:51 AM | 44

You'll like this. The Hunt for AI (BBC Horizon, 2012. Approx 55 mins)
It questions the fundamental nature of intelligence and explores muscle-memory which enables people to 'learn' how to walk a tightrope, or play a piano (both are activities which can't be performed expertly using conscious thought alone. It ends with learning-by-doing humanoid robots (to add physical context to the learning process). Very thought-provoking.

People have spent a lot of time building machines which could interrogate a large database and answer questions. AI will have arrived when someone builds a machine which asks questions.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 19 2016 18:15 utc | 47

Note who is starting the usual circular ot discussions.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 19 2016 20:32 utc | 48

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