UFO Conjecture(s)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

An example of Bostrom’s Singularity: The 1979 Robert Taylor UFO Episode

The Robert Taylor 1979 UFO event in Scotland has been a favorite of mine, as many of you know.

I’ve always accepted this etiological explanation for the episode as outlined in the Wikipedia “article” on the event [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Taylor_incident]:

"Patricia Hannaford, founder of the Edinburgh University UFO Research Society and a qualified physician advised Campbell on medical aspects of the case. She suggested that Taylor's collapse was an isolated attack of temporal lobe epilepsy."

However, the object's strange configuration and Mr. Taylor’s torn pants and grooves found in the ground have been troublesome for me:

"When Bob Taylor began to approach, the UFO dropped - from its bottom half - two spheres with protruding metal spikes which looked like old naval mines. These two small objects, of which each was approximately three feet wide, were made of the same dark metallic material as the larger object.

... grooves caused by some object weighing several tones were detected. The photographs of them were taken and analyzed carefully. Taylor's clothes were sent for forensic examination which revealed tears in the trousers."

The above from The UFO Evidence:

In re-visiting the story, with an overlay of Nick Bostrom’s thesis about Artificial Intelligence, I think the incident is an particularly excellent example of what would happen if an alien probe that is a product of artificial intelligence confronted two biological species: Mr. Taylor and his dog:

"Lying on the ground he was met of his dog. The animal was barking wildly at him." [op cit.]

An artificial intelligent probe, that has evolved from a now possible extinct civilization that created artificial intelligent machines, if it came across a human being and a dog would try to determine what it had found.

The “beings” discovered by the probe would not be technology, obviously, and a probe would be flummoxed by two seemingly inter-related life-forms: a man and a dog.

A dog by itself or a human by it itself would be easily identified if an intelligent probe has a accumulated a data base of Earth species, but both a dog and human, seemingly interconnected would be something unique perhaps.

Or the probe was a new visitor to Earth and confused by two differing biological entities, thus precipitating an attempt to capture or gather the “specimens.”

Bostrom’s artificial intelligences, while advanced in the context of their galactic environment would be confronting a whole new set of data in this environment: the Earth.

This goes to my supposition that Earth is unique in that it has a myriad of species, all odd, and acting strangely (insane as I see it).

An artificial intelligence, coming across the zoo that is Earth would, surely be confused, no matter how advanced it was, by the surfeit of queer creatures found here.

And Mr. Taylor, walking with his dog, presented a strange scenario for a new probe, and I see the probe as new, in that the “machine” described by Mr. Taylor is, itself unique, in the pantheon of UFO reports (except perhaps for the Ezekiel “object”).

The Taylor object, and its actions, strike me as indicative of what Nick Bostrom’s thesis portends, should artificial intelligence reach the advanced superiority that causes alarm for Bostrom, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steven Hawking.


  • ``It was a “flying dome”, 20 feet wide, hovering above the grass. No sound came from the object, and it did not move. It seemed to be made of grey metal, shiny but rough, like emery paper. About half-way down it had a circular platform, like the brim of a hat, set with small propellers. There were darker areas on it that might have been portholes, but the strangest thing was that the dome would be solid one moment, transparent the next, so that Mr Taylor could see the fir trees through it, as if it was trying to camouflage itself. ``


    There are many details in that economist story that we don't find in others. I wish it was sourced better. I find that 'phasing in and out' of reality aspect quoted above to be rather interesting.

    ``And there was the evidence. A large circle and inner “ladder” marks, which had flattened the grass but not dented the ground, as if a heavy craft had hovered but not landed. Forty little round holes, leaving the circle clockwise and anticlockwise, as if spiky “mines” had indeed rolled out of it. But no track entering or leaving the clearing, making the machine's arrival impossible unless it was a helicopter or something dropped by a mobile crane; and nothing of that sort had been seen in the area that day or the day before. `` (Ibid.)

    I also find the description of the indentation and marks to be rather difficult to imagine. It's rather less than adequate in that 'amphibolous' sort of way -- which I find in many UFO reports.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

  • http://www.educatinghumanity.com/2011/12/robert-taylor-incident-dechmont-law.html

    There are three video clips included on that page. Pretty good stuff.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

  • RR,

    You have me going on this one, the mechanical probe encounters man and dog, goes til, and departs, an odd craft with secondary probes both of a type never to be seen again. Sure sounds like your thinking and conjectures on Bostrom's theory.

    But surely there are unusual aspects -propellers and spiked meanies?

    As we have also discussed as a needed element previously, a real investigation actually takes place as police treat it as a crime scene. I also liked how the cop, observing the tracks, remarks that it didn't drive in or out. This is truly an interesting and unique story.

    But then hilarity breaks out: Idiot skeptic calls it Venus -that easily resembles a 20' diameter textured metallic sphere with platform and attachments (why not swamp gas?) and is followed with another goofy off-handed medical diagnostic/projection.

    Indeed, what a provocative story. Humorous aspects of the report and skeptic retort intertwined with a real police investigation.


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Thursday, November 26, 2015  

  • This is a wonderful tale....and I don't mean that pejoratively.

    As I write, I accepted the epileptic etiology but those grooves in the ground and Taylor's torn pants caused me pause.

    Then, going through my Picasa images, I came across the Dewilde encounter and now I'm thinking there might be something to my AI proposition, and Bostrom's AI views.

    (When I read that Venus explanation, I almost gagged. It's such a stupid explanation.)

    The incident has a fairy-tale quality, which I imagine Brit David Clarke would find to be the brunt of the episode.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, November 26, 2015  

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