Categories
Philosophy

Genetic Predestination

Context: Genetic paparazzi are right around the corner, and courts aren’t ready to confront the legal quagmire of DNA theft — I find that the unacknowledged (yet common enough) assumption that genes deterministically prescribe destiny as more or less isomorphic mappings of downstream biological development is unhelpfully shaping an already complex debate. Yes, genes shape […]

Categories
culture

Blemish

Marcus Aurelius once wrote that the very worst a person could do in life is to make themselves into a kind of blemish upon history and the world. We do not have to think very long or hard to find contemporary examples of just such an abhorrence and regrettably misanthropic wart upon all of history […]

Categories
Philosophy

A conversation with AI on the Philosophy of Language

Open AI have released the language model of GPT-3 for general use, with appropriate caveats. I have previously been skeptical of the ultimate utility of GPT-3 as a creative authorial or (useful) philosophically reflexive tool but discovered just now that if you feed it a sufficiently sophisticated prompt it actually throws back some interesting linguistic […]

Categories
technology

Can a robot write a symphony?

Detective Del Spooner : Human beings have dreams. Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a… canvas into a beautiful masterpiece? Sonny : Can you? Movie: I, Robot, 2004. (After Asimov). A robot can write a symphony, it just can […]

Categories
technology

Competition and Conflict in Technological Evolution

Context: Guess who’s the biggest investor in self-driving tech? As a general (and perhaps self-evident) observation, note that the sum total of investment at $44 billion would achieve so much more if one company had those resources pooled but that, enigmatically, it is precisely the difference and competition which is driving the acceleration in this […]

Categories
technology

Quantum Natural Language Processing

Context: Cambridge Quantum Releases World’s First Quantum Natural Language Processing Toolkit and Library We are moving away from chatbots that intermittently hurl absurdities and misinformation at (and as each other and) the world towards autonomous language-processing systems that reason and understand. Whether or not we get there is not as important as that we invoke […]

Categories
technology

AI’s Poisoned Data

Context: DeepMind tells Google it has no idea how to make AI less toxic The raw data is indeed endemically and intermittently toxic. Filtering out venomous misanthropy from the dataset is a solution but this also requires a language model that does something substantively more than generate probabilistic sequences of linguistic artefacts sans comprehension. John […]

Categories
Philosophy

Distributed Intelligence

Intelligence is somewhat catastrophically problematised by our inability, from within the system, to ever fully capture or represent the system. From within language (and logic) we generate models as fantasies of complete and consistent truths that much more closely approximate to systems of belief that, similarly, simulate closure and completeness without ever being able to […]

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technology

The Great American Novel will not be Automated

Context: The Great American Novel will not be written by a Computer It’s a great point and notwithstanding that hard-core reductionist types often enough give the piñata of John Searle’s Chinese Room a comprehensively passive aggressive thrashing with pitchforks and torches, it is an irreducible fact under the current ascendant paradigm. Semantic complexity in either […]

Categories
Philosophy

AGI: The Missing Link

There is something foundational missing and it can not be brute-forced – all emulations are bound to be hollow and haunted. The ontological, holistic bootstrap of autocatalytic system self-containment that provides even a possibility of life, sentience, and eventually – intelligence and technology, is an absence conspicuous by its presence. There is a hidden logical […]

Categories
Philosophy

Synthetic Biases

Context: What Is Synthetic Data? …and yet, with this – the bootstrap into virtualised abstraction becomes all but complete. Fascinating and clearly intersects with some of Jean Baudrillard’s observations on simulation, semiotics and reality. Training machine intelligence on data generated in virtual worlds solves some tricky problems but at what cost; where does the “real-world” […]

Categories
technology

Cybersecurity’s Endless Spinning Wheel

Context: Utah cyberattacks on the rise as millions paid out in new ‘double-extortion’ ransomware schemes Does there ever come a point at which the accelerating combinatorial complexity of this context transcends human aptitude to comprehend and mitigate the hyper-inflating entropy of the problem-space? I imagine that as long as human brains, incentives and motivations are […]