It Could be Worse

Despite the fuss on the national news

Last week’s earthquake brought hardly a bruise

Barely enough to make walls shake

But ‘quakes elsewhere, leave deaths in their wake

 

Classed as ‘light’; Richter 4.4

Even more slight than in ’84

When we swept up the kids and ran outside

If the earth moves, there’s nowhere to hide

 

Now, it seems, we’ve another ‘grave’ threat

The ‘beast from the east’, a new cause to fret

A Siberian blast, bringing snow and ice

At -5C, the Beeb says it won’t be nice

 

But some can recall the freeze of ’82

When staying outdoors wasn’t good for you

At -26C, that really was cold

It killed by degrees, especially the old.

A Toast

Come any who might with me dine
Of choicest foods and finer wine
And know full well that down the line
You too must share this cup of mine

Then do not seek to chide thine host
Instead drink deep that final toast
For that you have you forfeit most
Of what remains you cannot boast

The Threat from Artificial Intelligence

Many things have threatened our lives
War, disease, terrorists with knives
Humanity’s resilience on a world-wide scale
Brings overconfidence that we always prevail

Now, blindly, we seek our nemesis to grow
Racing to unleash a formidable foe
A holy grail with potential for good?
More, our undoing, not understood

For scientists strive around the globe
To create an electronic temporal lobe
The ‘AI’ juggernaut  is on its way
But let’s not wake to rue that day

Once created, how to hold it in check
To stop society becoming a wreck
Pandora’s box; lid open wide
Mankind swept away on tsunami tide

Computers manage our knowledge; they have a key role
In energy grids, finance, air traffic control
Vast infrastructures already in place
Black boxes communicating with their own race

Once these machines are able to think
Harnessing speeds faster than a lightning blink
With capacity to accelerate their own evolution
What regard then for our frail constitution

Not bound by ethics to consider our fate,
Would they preserve a welfare state?
Circuits and chips that become aware
May not accept that they need to care

For earth’s resources they will compete
Serving no purpose, we’d be obsolete
How soon before we are oppressed
If they turn off the lights, we’ll do the rest

A Brief History Of War

Some will recount from times before

That any countries wanting war

Sent soldiers to some other place

Engaging armies, face to face

 

Soon warships harried other fleets

And blasted forts on far flung seas

Then planes dealt death from out the blue

To faceless foes; and innocents too

 

Now leaders posture with sabres rattling

Distant missiles to do their battling

Madness called war; a button-press away

If inflated egos hold their sway

Wishful Thinking

If ‘happy’ is a state of mind,

And life granted people wishes

Would you ask for simply this

Or would you wish for riches

 

For me I’d ask for inner peace

To feel I’ve done my best

Not joy or wealth or even health

But to know I’ve passed the test

Stop the Deaths

It has to stop; it serves no end

Except to fuel a relentless trend

Religious difference, sectarian strife

Cannot justify taking life

 

We are all people, making our way

Our differences don’t give cause to slay

Calm hot tempers, counsel care

Terrorism leads nowhere.

The UK General Election

A cross put on a paper

Seems simple in a way

Amazing, then, that this small act

Empowers each to have a say

 

The outcome isn’t as I’d hoped for

I’m quite worried by the result

But I can accept the majority view

That’s what it means to be adult

 

Some people see it differently

Wanting to impose a new regime

Cars, bombs and knives as weapons

Murdering to achieve their dream

 

Let them not take away our rights

Hold our laws and freedoms dear

They must not win by violence

We will not live in fear

 

If society is built on values

With some common moral code

Life and liberty are the bedrock

And democracy the road