Categories
Philosophy

Is the Cosmos intelligent?

Context: Is Physical Law an Alien Intelligence? It is a concept on the higher end of a modified Kardashev scale that sufficiently advanced technological intelligence may be indistinguishable from nature itself; effectively – a parallel of the conjecture (in the article linked above) that “life has moved so far on that it doesn’t just appear […]

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Philosophy

Oh yes, this world is a mess

Science and technology cartwheel and careen past us in ways that few can convincingly argue are fully comprehended, defined or ever anything more than superficially controlled. This accelerating turbulence of complex sociotechnical recursion and self-validating necessity is a self-propagating compression wave of information, energy, technology and concepts. It ripples and oscillates like waves on a […]

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technology

Bill Gates: Rolling the Dice on Nuclear Power

Context: How Bill Gates’ company TerraPower is building next-generation nuclear power As a general observation, *anything* which measures safety as “analyzed by deaths per unit of electricity generated” is a worry – it is a normative expectation of inevitable fatality. The technical solution described is interesting and certainly shifts the hazards and juggles the entropy […]

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Philosophy

Some brief (if complex) agnostic observations on Machine Sentience

Context: How would we know if an AI is conscious? We find ourselves in an intractable ontological (as much as epistemological) bind here. If we ever get to the point of generating autonomous synthetic information-processing systems that tick all the boxes for notionally proving their possession of consciousness by whatever standard metric we might arbitrarily […]

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Philosophy

When Big is Small: Technological Miniaturisation as Self-Accelerating Singularity

Context: The revolution in satellite technology means there are swarms of spacecraft no bigger than a loaf of bread in orbit It is a curious property of the juggernaut of relentless technological metamorphosis that utility is generally measured in inverse proportionality to miniaturisation, regardless that a network of associated, integrated systems quite naturally proliferate and […]

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Philosophy

S.O.S. Planet Earth

Science seeks underlying patterns and abbreviated logical explanations (as equation, model and approximation or general framework) to describe and manipulate nature but this is always at an inadvertent and inverse cost of generating precisely the same quantity of unmanageable complexity and disorder as that control and value or utility it brings. There exists a general […]

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Philosophy

On ending an endless war…

War is at least partially a function of the fact that in seeking to maintain sustainable continuity, all dynamical systems must effectively and persistently offset the inevitability of their own internal dissonance and thermodynamic or organisational entropy to an environment composed of other systems that are engaged in precisely the same exercise of existential self-interest. […]

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technology

Is China Taking the Lead in AI?

Context: Is China Taking the Lead in AI? I guess it really depends on what we consider progress to be and in what ways such progress is substantive and meaningful or superficial and fragile. It may be an undeniable fact that competition and adversarial sabre-rattling is as profoundly and normatively written into our modern psyches […]

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Philosophy

Extraterrestrial Linguistics?

Context: Listening for Extraterrestrial Blah Blah I doubt whether human beings are even a quarter of a percent as smart as we think we are. The indefinitely-extensible properties of logic and mathematics suggest that languages and intelligence on the higher end of the (Kardashev) scale are quite plausibly far too sophisticated for us to interpret […]

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culture

On Moral Machines and Embodied Biases

Context: The Appearance of Robots Affects Our Perception of the Morality of Their Decisions Curious: “People consider moral decisions made by humanoid robots to be less ethically sound than when another human or traditional-looking robot makes the same decision.” The uncanny valley rides again. This is a particular instance of a general principle. The apperception […]

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Philosophy

Facebook is Dangerous

Context: Facebook blocks Australian users from viewing or sharing news I have not used Facebook for years and it is not at all missed. It says a lot for just how rapidly and reflexively people come to depend on the integrated communications systems of “social networks” that the threat of removing access to algorithmically-shaped biases […]

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culture

AI: Dispatches from a metal mind

Relatively recent and unexpected career changes have found me up to my armpits in the swiftly-flowing waters and complex technologies of machine learning and artificial intelligence. I am utterly fascinated by the many and diverse ways in which we seek to replicate our own cognition and even while we must at some level know that […]