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Richard Dooling

Yet now we are faced with the sickening suspicion that technology has run ahead of us.

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Under Medicare right now, I get paid to put a pacemaker in you, but I don't get paid to counsel you about end-of-life care.

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Let's take care of mothers and infants first, and then let's see what's left over for everybody over 50. I'm over 50. If I get sick, I would rather have money spent on children before it's spent on me.

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Man is a fire-stealing animal, and we can't help building machines and machine intelligences, even if, from time to time, we use them not only to outsmart ourselves but to bring us right up to the doorstep of Doom.

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At times, we forget the magnitude of the havoc we can wreak by off-loading our minds onto super-intelligent machines, that is, until they run away from us, like mad sorcerers' apprentices, and drag us up to the precipice for a look down into the abyss.

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Over and over again, financial experts and wonkish talking heads endeavor to explain these mysterious, 'toxic' financial instruments to us lay folk. Over and over, they ignobly fail, because we all know that no one understands credit default obligations and derivatives, except perhaps Mr. Buffett and the computers who created them.

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And it was back in the mid-1980s, and as I point out in a piece, that was when we are spending about eight percent of our gross domestic product on health care. And even then, we had the impression that so much of the excessive, aggressive medical treatment that took place at the end of life was not only unnecessary but it was cruel.

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