Archive for the ‘Circuits’ Category

Quote note (#251)

From Niven and Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye (end Chapter 3):

“They used to teach us that evolution of intelligent being wasn’t possible,” she said. “Societies protect their weaker members. Civilizations tend to make wheel chairs and spectacles and hearing aids as soon as they have the tools for them. When a society makes war, the men generally have to pass a fitness test before they’re allowed to risk their lives. I suppose it helps win the war.” She smiled. “But it leaves precious little room for the survival of the fittest.” […] …
“You were saying about evolution?”
“It — it ought to be pretty well closed off for an intelligent species,” she said. “Species evolve to meet the environment. An intelligent species changes the environment to suit itself. As soon as a species becomes intelligent, it should stop evolving.”

It makes you think (or rather, the opposite). The original sin of intelligence — falling back in blind homeostatic antipathy against its own conditions of emergence — isn’t so hard to see.

May 18, 2016admin 36 Comments »
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A Correction

Just noticed that I’ve been accused of having “anthropomorphized capital” (by NBS). Gnon, no!

The point is this: If you think there’s a difference between capitalism and artificial intelligence you’re not seeing either at all clearly. The Austrians already understood that capitalism is an information processing system, and the decentralized robotics / networks types on the other side grasp that AI isn’t going to happen in a research lab. ‘Anthropomorphism’ has nothing to do with it. Complex Adaptive Systems are the place to start.

If you even vaguely understand what a convergent wave is, you’ve got most of what you need to discuss the topic, but if you haven’t read this classic you’re probably wasting everyone’s time.

ADDED: A (left-wing) Marxist discussion of the topic (and one that leaves most Neoreactionary musings in the dust).

January 26, 2016admin 116 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#43)


(Time-travelers from the future might need to know that it’s responding to this.)

A singularity is crossed there, whether or not it’s widely noticed.

ADDED: Some Bitcoin thoughts from Jim.

January 15, 2016admin 22 Comments »
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The Sex Trap

More malignant cybernetics, this time outlined by Janet L Factor in a brilliant essay at Quillette. The basic grinder:

Because the human population sex ratio is normally 50/50, when one man takes on an extra wife, another man is deprived of the opportunity to have one at all. So if just one man in ten takes a single extra wife, a very modest degree of polygyny, that means fully 10% of men are shut out of the marriage market entirely. This sets off a mad scramble among young men not to end up in that unfortunate bottom 10%. There, the options for obtaining sex (at least with a woman) are reduced to two: subterfuge or rape.

Now, think about the reproductive numbers. Say a woman can be expected to successfully raise ten children in her lifetime. But a man can have that 10 times the number of wives (or concubines) he obtains. What does this mean for parental investment? Parents can hope for only a small number of grandchildren from daughters, but a large number from sons. Selection will favor parents who favor sons by granting them the means necessary to obtain wives. Daughters will suffer neglect; some desperate man will likely take them anyway.

In fact, the reality is even worse than this, because the relatively low biological value of daughters encourages female infanticide. So the number of women available for marriage actually becomes less than that of men even in theoretical terms, yet the number of children each of them can have does not increase. It’s a vicious circle that escalates sexual conflict — a trap.

Gnon’s sense of humor is not always easy to appreciate.

(Previous harsh trap-circuits at XS here, and here.)

January 13, 2016admin 55 Comments »
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Quote note (#181)

Hsu waxes optimistic about the coming ecology of explosive intelligence:

… perhaps we will experience a positive feedback loop: Better human minds invent better machine learning methods, which in turn accelerate our ability to improve human DNA and create even better minds. In my own work, I use methods from machine learning (so-called compressed sensing, or convex optimization in high dimensional geometry) to extract predictive models from genomic data. Thanks to recent advances, we can predict a phase transition in the behavior of these learning algorithms, representing a sudden increase in their effectiveness. We expect this transition to happen within about a decade, when we reach a critical threshold of about 1 million human genomes worth of data. Several entities, including the U.S. government’s Precision Medicine Initiative and the private company Human Longevity Inc. (founded by Craig Venter), are pursuing plans to genotype 1 million individuals or more.

The feedback loop between algorithms and genomes will result in a rich and complex world, with myriad types of intelligences at play: the ordinary human (rapidly losing the ability to comprehend what is going on around them); the enhanced human (the driver of change over the next 100 years, but perhaps eventually surpassed); and all around them vast machine intellects, some alien (evolved completely in silico) and some strangely familiar (hybrids). Rather than the standard science-fiction scenario of relatively unchanged, familiar humans interacting with ever-improving computer minds, we will experience a future with a diversity of both human and machine intelligences. For the first time, sentient beings of many different types will interact collaboratively to create ever greater advances, both through standard forms of communication and through new technologies allowing brain interfaces. We may even see human minds uploaded into cyberspace, with further hybridization to follow in the purely virtual realm. These uploaded minds could combine with artificial algorithms and structures to produce an unknowable but humanlike consciousness. Researchers have recently linked mouse and monkey brains together, allowing the animals to collaborate — via an electronic connection — to solve problems. This is just the beginning of “shared thought.”

September 5, 2015admin 23 Comments »
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Short Circuit II

How much analytical work can be done with the short circuit model of dysfunction in complex intelligent systems, exemplified by the Alexander’s Wirehead-AI model? This blog is betting: a lot.

Shelving the AI question, for the moment, how can it be applied to social-civilizational systems? (This is a scratch-pad post on some suggestive topical territories.)

(1) Macroeconomics. Fiat currency short-circuits the monetary function by directly hacking the financial sign. Rather than receiving money feedback for productive performance, currency is reconceived as a political-economic drug, for employment in technocratic-managerial social therapeutics. The concept of ‘money illusion’ (among many others) captures this new dispensation with acute cynicism. Operate directly upon public ‘economic sentiment’ through money manipulation, rather than tolerating the spontaneous control of money by industrial production — and risking depression. The whole of what is still — comically — called ‘capitalism’ is clogged up to its eyeballs with Keynesian Prozac.

(2) Drugs. Macroeconomics is already such a perfect neuro-pharmaceutical analog there’s scarcely any point treating this as a separate category.

(3) Signalling (all of it). Directly hack the signal, while abandoning to atrophy all those things the signal originally indicated. Isn’t the Cathedral, fundamentally, a machine to do this? Split off holiness signals, and hystericize them, in complete remove from any actual performance that might once have grounded them. That is our culture. It’s a semiotic technology that, once learnt, is immediately irresistibly addictive, and self-reinforcing. The entire escalation of ‘Ultra-Calvinism’ is inextricable from this process, as sublimed signals of the goodthink true faith cast off the last ballast of ‘works’, in order to become liberated academic-media functions. ‘Goodness’ is now sheer cosmetics.

(4) Fertility. Who needs grandchildren, when they can play the immersive happy grandparent game? (Get caught up in the web-porn intermediate stages, if that seems more convincing.) All the Darwinian guidance signals have been hacked to hell.

(5) Social media. Short-circuit social feedback, stripped-down semiotic ‘performance’, increasingly theatrical ‘identities’, addiction … it’s all there.

A restoration would require something like a Confucian ‘rectification of names’ — a reality-based re-validation of signs. How popular is that going to be, when the alternative, continuing semiotic short-circuit, is pure dope?

ADDED: Also this (prompt via).

June 4, 2015admin 35 Comments »
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