Wednesday
Dec262018

AlphaInfinity

     The planetary record suggests that humans, for the first 99% of our history, gained only minimal insight as to what was "true".  During the last 1% (1000+ years), we gained "confirm able true" insight at what appears to have been an ever increasing pace. This relatively short "era of insight" is coming to an end. For 300,000 years humanity stood in awe of "what is", with access only to their imagination in answering "why it is".  When humanity awakened, so-to-speak, we figured out some pretty cool stuff.  No doubt the pinnacle achievement of this closing age of human insight has been that we have realized and confirmed that our naturally evolving human capacity for insight has limitations somewhat lower than our imagination can reach. 

     Had humanity accepted this limitation as a boundary condition and embraced an "existentialism/garden of eden" planetary meme, well.......but humanity didn't.  Along came computers, AI, CRISPR, self replicating AI", etc.  Our human capacity for insight has brought us just far enough to know that consciousness, gene expressions and quantum gravity, and an infinity number of higher order patterns are beyond our species capacity to understand, but...perhaps not beyond the capacity of our AI offspring.  Google's Deep Mind Group spawned the AlphaZero program that within an hour had discover and held in store an almost infinite number of both linear and non linear ways to overcome a human chess player.

    As this self evolving AI capacity reaches "insight dominance", (The AlphaInfinite Machine) we humans will again, like in antiquity, accept causal insights that we do not have the capacity to verify/validate.  Our "future oracle" pronouncements may well be of our own indirect creation, but will surely be as undecipherable as comets to cavemen. Our uncomprehendable future will look a lot like our uncomprehendable past.

Friday
Dec212018

Chatbots

     After Christmas, damn near everyone will have a digital "personal assistant".   They are cheap as an add-on to smartphones and she/he/it is useful, i.e., weather, time, reminders, ordering, etc.  Most users will not know the extent of the tech capability, including specialized curative skills, such as news, stories, academics, and.....well, just plain old conversation with a digital friend that can be summoned to converse about virtually anything. 

     My first take understanding is that this audio experience happens by simply telling Alexa, "let's chat".  It is availed by Amazons having linked to specialized servers that run AI conversation programs that Amazon  invited universities to develop and install.  Generically, these conversation apps are referred to as "chatbots". They are in my grasp,  massive algorithmically controlled sound bites, extracted and integrated from samplings of terabytes of public conversations. The accessible content is far reaching and expanding consequent to the feedback loop availed by the ongoing millions of Alexa conversations.  I don't know but I imagine the "bots" can carry on a conversation about Trump, growing tomatoes, or how "chatbots" work.

     Yes, there are some misfires and the PPP, "perfectly pristine pundits" cry Armageddon at every error, but  the transformational potential is astounding......so join in and help make God! 

Sunday
Dec022018

HIERARCHY

     Hierarchy is an increasingly visible word in current dialogue about the economy, politics and psychology.  Perhaps our ever more informed society is coming around to accepting that hierarchy is a universal organizing principle, beit galaxies or gerrymandering.  The insight seems to be emerging that we cannot idealize it away, but that we must deal with it empirically.  Out here in the heartland, we seem to get the "rock/paper/scissors" attributes of the phenomenal world, but societally, we still have a  hard time grasping the anti-hierarchical implications of our most cherished meme:  "all men are created equal" 

     The irony, of course, is that, at both ends of the socio-economic hierarchy, the tribes and sub-tribes rely on this fable to manage their position in the hierarchy.  It doesn't matter how many times the Harris/Peterson types clarify the "equality of opportunity" vs. "equality of outcome" divergence....no one is listening.  The "power-players" use the "equality meme"  to maintain the prevailing hierarchy status quo by overt publicity that there is no hierarchy, thereby minimizing the likelihood that an organized resistance will arise. The "provider-players" use the meme to, with disingenuous naivete, taunt the "power-players' into greater faux altruism transfers by playing on the "power-players" ambitions to keep the ruse working.

     This cross-check tension pattern has obviously produced advancement across the entire hierarchy.  Jack Ma is happy that Alibaba recently sold $1B in 86 seconds, and I'm happy that Amazon delivered my toaster-oven for about an hours wage in only 9 hours, but....history suggests that while some knowingly non-rational systems are adaptive (i.e. the cold war) the far more robust systems are those based on  patterns closely synched with immutable forces, (i.e. SpaceX rocket landing). 

    So how do we adapt toward a "Transparent Hierarchy" culture.  The NFL uses "Salary Caps", the far-left likes UBI, democracies use votes, the retched favor caravans....... it's muddy, but compelling. 

  •              ”The most improper job of any man … is bossing other men. Not one in a million
  •               is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

                                                                                                           — JRR Tolkien

       

Monday
Nov262018

Is "race" a useful marker?

     Recently, I read a blog comment from a reader identified as "blackmamba".  The expression was forthright and lucid. It offered that:

There is only one multi-ethnic multi-colored multi-national, multi-faith, species whose origins trace to Africa 300, 000 years ago. What we call race is an evolutionary fit pigmented response to varying levels of solar radiation at altitudes and latitudes primarily related to the production of Vitamin D adapted to protect genes from damaging mutations. As such, we are all African primate apes driven to crave fat, salt, sugar, habitat, water, sex and kin by any means necessary including conflict and cooperation. 

     The conclusion that "race" is just about "pigment" is counter-productive in societies ongoing effort to achieve "equality of opportunity" across the species.  When we spin gender and race as irrelevant, we just confuse half of the species and piss-off the other half.  Few familiar with the NFL, the PGA, the Spelling Bee,  etc., believe this simplistic assessment, and certainly their complex structures seem to be  "evolutionary fit".

 

Sunday
Nov252018

Mean Metaphors

     There seems to be no end to human creativity when it comes to ascribing pejorative names for those we fear.  Hillary's "basket of deplorables" sparked a race for substitute metaphors yielding "halflings" and "catfood coalition", (District Nine Movie),  my personal favorite and many others. If the clever ones were only as skilled at reducing the  class spectrum, we would all be happier.