We must pay attention to the danger of the rise of artificial intelligence

This may be due to overreliance on decisions based largely on profitability, without taking into account other factors that illustrate the important distinction between humanity and machines.

The current Cabinet ministers in Westminster are trying to deal with the increase in the number of illegal immigrants and the costs associated with their accommodation. It is possible to visualize a decision delegation situation based on an algorithm and produced by Artificial Intelligence based on profitability. The end result could be a solution (or Solution), recognized by those who have lived through recent history. They will recognize the chilling results of decisions based on such considerations where the human elements of ethics, compassion and morality are not included in the equation.

It is time for politicians to listen to scientists and other people who value humanity, before we open the doors more widely to a society as envisioned by George Orwell.

Malcolm Alan, bishopbriggs.

Why is the DRS necessary?

JOHN F Crawford (Letters, April 1) says the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is a waste of money; that it would not be popular and that it would jeopardize the existing collections on the sidewalks. He asks why this scheme is necessary.

One of the most obvious and pressing reasons is the fact that far too many cans and bottles are not recycled at all, mainly because they are dumped on the roadside. At the moment, there are sections of the M74, as well as most other roads in Scotland, that are covered in debris that has been thrown from vehicle windows.

Highway billboards shout the message “Litter pick up costs lives.” Porch signs kindly ask people to take their trash home. Thousands of volunteers in communities across the country take their time to pick up the tons of trash that thoughtless people have simply thrown away regardless of the ramifications of their actions. Town halls spend a fortune on garbage collection. The legal threat of large fines has not worked because there is no effective way to catch the culprits.

The DRS provides a realistic solution: the money motivation. By paying 20p more for drinks, a large proportion of people will want it back and the only way to get it is through DRS.

Curbside collections will continue to be filled with paper, cardboard, and anything else that cannot be recycled through DRS.

dennis white, black wood.

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another hidden tax

The DRS, which may not increase the number of bottles and containers returned for recycling, is in fact a sneak tax.

The 20p added to the container price is subject to VAT. So actually 24p is added and only 20p is returned. The Scottish Government will thus obtain this money plus the amount of the unreturned containers.

W Thompson, Lenzie.

Read More: It’s About Time We Abolished National Exams

Committed to Scottish research

IN reply to P Davidson (Letters, 1 April), I can assure your correspondent that Cancer Research UK has definitely not withdrawn all funding for cancer research in Scotland and Wales. Thanks to the dedication and generosity of our supporters, £24 million was raised last year for Cancer Research UK in Scotland and, in the same period, we invested £33 million in the high-quality, life-saving research being carried out in Scotland.

As well as funding the CRUK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, Cancer Research UK also funds research at universities in Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. This also includes increased funding of £4 million for the Centers for Experimental Cancer Medicine in Glasgow and Edinburgh, jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the Little Princess Trust, which run clinical trials of new treatments for adults and children in Scotland.

We remain committed to funding the highest quality research to improve cancer prevention, detection and treatment across the UK to deliver on our ambition that everyone can live their lives without fear of cancer.

Dr Catherine Elliott, Cancer Research UK, Director of Research, London.

Hail the return of classical ballet

THE brief performance of Swan Lake at Edinburgh’s Festival Theater last week was a long-awaited and welcome return of classical ballet to a Scottish stage. Despite funding restrictions, dance is flourishing at the grassroots level in Scotland. In theaters we are seeing interesting modern and contemporary dance. What has been missing for some years is large-scale classical ballet.

Such work is as important to dance as live orchestral works are to music. As the recently appointed director of the English National Ballet, Aron Watkin, says: “Classical ballet is the fundamental basis of organized dance.”

The ballet presented last week by the Birmingham Royal Ballet was co-produced by former Scottish Ballet Artistic Director Galena Samsova. It is to be hoped that at some point in the future the means and the vision will exist to allow such work to again originate in Scotland.

Dr Brian Mucci, Glasgow.

Ugly views on the sidings of the A9

We had the misfortune of having to drive on the A9 from Perth to Stirling on Sunday afternoon (2nd April). Unfortunate I say because in three consecutive rest areas there were groups of men probably, but not certainly, soccer fans urinating openly.

It’s appalling that they A) feel the need to and B) there are no roadside facilities. Trash on the side of the road is another matter, but don’t get me started.

steve barnet, gargunnock.

Would you talk to the grass?

It’s always a pleasure to share Thelma Edwards’ affinity for nature (Letters, April 1), and I’m sorry that her outings in the woods have been curtailed recently.

My own relationship with flora and fauna has also been pleasant but less intimate, perhaps after seeing the gaunt Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon (1969), singing “I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me.” If they don’t listen to tough guy Clint, they sure as hell aren’t going to listen to me.

On the other hand, I’m drawn to Whispering Grass (The Ink Spots, 1940): “Why tell them all your secrets? Who kissed there long ago, Whispering Grass, the trees don’t need to know.”

Russell Smith, big.


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