Chaos Patch (#54)

(Open thread + links)

Sovereignty and legitimacy (NIO’s Schmittian meditations continue). Neoreaction and nihilism. A necessary absurdity. Semantic communion. Selective warfare. Leftists of the right, and corporate leftism. Sustainable virtue. Questioning the Puritan thesis, and nationalism. Colonialism‘s bad rap. SRx stuff. The epistemic damage of distrust (and trust). On soft revolution. Diversity and social capital destruction. Yuray and Brinker on the Anissimov book. Fragged Fiday. Secession trawl (related). New blog (and also … this). Weekly round-ups.

Indubitably: “The truth is that the Dollar is strong this time around not because the U.S. economy is booming but because Europe and Japan (the [largest components] of the Dollar Index) are intent on crashing their currencies” (via), and more (on the “deflationary tide”).

“America’s Middle East strategy is what exactly?”

Alexander reviews The Machinery of Freedom.

The Razib Khan affair (1, 2, 3, 4). Hood on the ‘hood. Cathedral auto-cannibalization watch (1, 2, 3). Hate central. Facepalm fodder.

The meaning of Soumission.

An arms race to AI. Cybersecurity chat.

Patterns of Pi.

Critique. Elements of life. The Cathedral.

March 22, 2015admin 20 Comments »
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20 Responses to this entry

  • RorschachRomanov Says:

    Ah yes, the Atlantic article on the vandalism (“Kant is a Moron”) ends with the classically reactionary, bounded view of mankind:

    “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

    The choice, if you will, is stark: Communism failed because it thought it could supplant this foundational law, operating within the “human” while attempting to transcend all the monkey limitations inexorable to its mode of operation.

    To Carl Schmitt, as Lilla expounds, the attempt to render straight the crooked timber via the process of depoliticization intrinsic to liberal humanism, was rebellion against God.

    The traditionalist accepts this boundedness, operating within an ontological vision that refuses immanentization of solution given a dualism between the profane and the City of God.

    The post-humanist grants the crooked timber, but is not so foolish as Marxism such as to think that it can be transcended within its own ground, seeking instead to, well…it goes back to that Nietzschean ‘mas as bridge.’

    The traditionalist is always omnipresent to remind the post-humanist of the story of Icarus, but the hope is that such a warning never be heard, Icarus 2.0 post carbon based, with wings impenetrable to the sun.

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    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 6:57 am Reply | Quote
  • Chaos Patch (#54) | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 9:29 am Reply | Quote
  • Harold Says:

    The incomprehensible visualisations of the digits of π in the arbitrary base of ten, were intellectually unilluminating, and aesthetically uninteresting (barring, perhaps, the Mondrianesque one, which had some small amount of aesthetic charm). Stunning they were not.

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    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 10:24 am Reply | Quote
  • trolool Says:

    [Gibbeted for idiocy — admin.]

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    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 11:00 am Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

    Another way to look at this: nothing is ever made of humanity as a whole.

    Individuals are another story… this is where Darwinism and hardcore Christianity unite.

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    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 1:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • grey enlightenment Says:

    Indubitably: “The truth is that the Dollar is strong this time around not because the U.S. economy is booming but because Europe and Japan (the [largest components] of the Dollar Index) are intent on crashing their currencies” (via), and more (on the “deflationary tide”).

    yeah. The reason is Europe’s QE program, which is depressing the Euro and boosting bonds.

    What neoreactionaries, conservatives and nihilists have in common is that all three groups are realists.

    and maybe consequentialists? The best policy is one that may not make a large segment off the population citizenry happy, but has the best long-term ROI.

    The libertarian roots of neoreaction suggested that government be viewed as if it were a business, questioning how effective it is, and comparing what may be purchased with the same money.

    I think it also has to do with individual autonomy within a state, also a mixed capitalist system like we have today. Nrx may share many similarities to the system we have today.

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    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 1:34 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    If the USG is going for maximum instability and alienation in the Middle East, they’re meeting with unparalleled success.

    One of more interesting things about recent events is that the interests of Israel, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are in nearly perfect alignment… but that the USG’s foreign policy apparatus is not acting in the best interests of its “allies”, and in fact might be in open opposition to them. What’s their endgame here? Is USG simply intent on alienating everybody? Or are they cozying up to Iran in the hopes of forcing a stalemate? (If sanctions on Iran are lifted, their proxy militias in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq are sure to benefit — and, moreover, this would send a message to the Sunni governments and their allies: “We’re trying to do business with Iran — and we won’t support you if you engage in hostilities against them.”)

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    Posted on March 22nd, 2015 at 3:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • snorlax Says:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32012346

    I assume we’ll see an obituary tomorrow? Hopefully the new generation in Singapore has the mettle not to give in to the Cathedral, although I’m honestly not optimistic.

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    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 1:03 am Reply | Quote
  • SanguineEmpiricist Says:

    You cannot blame ‘minorities’ when a lot of PC is just white people harassing each other needlessly. I have never once had to hear any of these terms from offensive or defensive

    A) Privilege
    B) Racist, unless thrown against gang members (who are racist)
    C) I’ve never seen any of my friends ever mention hatred specifically against white people

    So you cannot blame ‘us’ when the majority of us have just been chilling playing video games or something.

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    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 2:25 am Reply | Quote
  • Hegemonizing Swarm Says:

    Just dropping this here: The Moral Effects of Economic Teaching http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/socf.12153/full
    Being taught about economics corrodes your humanity? How wonderfully convenient.
    And, on those morals…

    > As the 2016 US Presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party, I don’t mind going out on a limb and saying the obvious: I also want AI to belong exclusively to America

    He thinks it would be loyal. To a country, would would that even mean? If a mere human mind can pierce easily through such rhetoric, what would a super-intelligence do…. where have I read that before?. More realistically “I also want AI to belong exclusively to me”.

    > So, inevitably, we are back to our looming dog-eat-dog AI arms race

    I welcome such an arms race. The space race, the nuclear arms race, they resulted in immense amounts of capital to be diverted to a single goal. Even if it fails in its goal, it would lead to many advances in science and computer technology. Just better tools, not “intelligences”. If it does succeed it is a huge jump into the unknown.

    > It may not be one filled with nuclear fallout shelters like yesteryear

    Just heavily armored and protected datacenters, likely buried beneath the earth. Not so different in an abstract sense.
    Less space for people. They are no longer strategic targets. There is nothing to be won by slaughtering populations if they are just living fossils. Sure, there will be collateral damage here and there, and an unscrupulous AI may use us as human shield

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    Erebus Reply:

    All good points. But that article reads like it was written by a high school student — perhaps a student-government candidate. It doesn’t even approach “AI Speculation 101”, and it’s woefully ignorant of the current state of the art. We’ve all seen more thoughtful treatment of the AI problem in pulp SciFi novellas and video games.

    …As if we needed more proof that Zoltan Istvan is neither a deep thinker, nor particularly intelligent. He’s nothing more than a dogged self-promoter and spotlight-seeker — further evidenced by the laughable announcement that he’s running as the “2016 US Presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party”, and his self-serving patriotic jingoism. (It’s worth mentioning that in his quasi-autobiographical book — which is a cringe-inducing adolescent fantasy novel — USG is portrayed as a comically evil force.) He’s a clown.

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    admin Reply:

    Yes, yes — but the basic point (that geostrategic competition is a red queen opportunity for AI escalation) is surely sound. President Istvan would indeed be pulp cyber-apocalypse movie material.

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    Erebus Reply:

    I’m not convinced. Istvan talks about AI exactly as though it were a nuclear weapon — as something that would provide an immediate, obvious, nearly-insurmountable and eternal strategic advantage. The funding that DARPA programs like SyNAPSE, PPAML, CALO, and others have received doesn’t seem to support that conclusion. If anything it implies the contrary — that the government sees AI research as a sort of tangential moonshot with little hope of repaying its investment in any form of battlefield advantage.
    …This despite the fact that programs like SyNAPSE have great potential and have been largely successful in meeting their limited goals.

    That aside, I think that it’s plainly wrong to talk about AI as through it were an arsenal of hydrogen bombs. It’s difficult to believe that a truly superintelligent AI — something which is, by definition, beyond the ken of us mere humans — would lend itself to such crude manipulation. I think that limited “lesser AIs” might be able to streamline complex logistical operations and strategic planning, and they’ll certainly make for useful cyberwarfare tools, but I’d be hesitant to assign them much more utility than that.

    In near-future terms, I am generally inclined to believe that advances in increasingly lethal and capable robots and unmanned systems are what’s going to lead to the next arms race.

    Aside: The people who seem to be the most keenly motivated to invoke an AI are actually the folks over at Baidu. This article was interesting. “Whoever wins artificial intelligence will win the Internet in China and around the world,” says Ng. “Baidu has the best shot to make it work.”

    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 9:04 am Reply | Quote
  • Hegemonizing Swarm Says:

    @Erebus

    > I’m not convinced. Istvan talks about AI exactly as though it were a nuclear weapon — as something that would provide an immediate, obvious, nearly-insurmountable and eternal strategic advantage.

    It probably wouldn’t. That was one of my points in the above post. In the oft chance that a superintelligent general AI is developed, it wouldn’t be loyal to a nation, probaly not even to its owner.

    But it’s easy enough for politicians to believe, and lock horns about with other world leaders.

    Nuclear weapons are also quite pointless in practice in a modern civilization except as last-ditch deterrence and for terrorism. There’s clearly no advantage to owning the most of them. As for the space race, did putting a man on the moon give anyone an immediate, obvious, and nearly-insurmountable advantage? If anything it boosted morale a bit.

    > I think that limited “lesser AIs” might be able to streamline complex logistical operations and strategic planning, and they’ll certainly make for useful cyberwarfare tools

    So you’re saying even the first step in the race would be useful. From that it just needs to escalate to stronger and stronger “lesser AIs”, directing logical operations and strategic planning and cyberwarfare…

    > In near-future terms, I am generally inclined to believe that advances in increasingly lethal and capable robots and unmanned systems are what’s going to lead to the next arms race.

    Could be; no doubt there will be a race there, too, on the other hand, there is comparitively little actual physical war going on. Most of the weaponry is just deterrence. Information processing and manipulation is where the game’s at. And better AI means the attack drones can be more autonomous, which will give a serious lead if any serious high-frequency warfare is going to happen.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    This is highly persuasive to me. As long as Red Queen arms-race pressure is ratcheting to the next increment, the process is accelerating. These dynamics aren’t based upon anyone playing out the end game in advance — quite the opposite.

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    Erebus Reply:

    Yeah, fair enough.

    I’d only like to point out the obvious: That Istvan is talking about creating a nearly-omnipotent genie that’s utterly loyal to the USA, which anybody with even a cursory knowledge of the subject would know is absurd. (Evidently the Pentagon is not so easily fooled.) What we’re talking about with “Limited AI” & with autonomous attack drones — namely, systems which are not superintelligent and which exist to perform strictly defined tasks with some degree of autonomy — is an entirely different kettle of fish. Improved systems like autonomous drones and military cyberwarfare defenses are the logical progression of existing military AI technologies, and I don’t know if they truly represent a “first step” to general superintelligence. And given that the technical issues surrounding these two applications are quite narrow (e.g. sensor processing, threat identification, efficient movement/operation) I’ve gotta say that I think Istvan has gotten way ahead of himself…. and, essentially, highlighted the wrong type of AI…

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    admin Reply:

    Sure, it’s ridiculous (pass the popcorn).

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    Hegemonizing Swarm Reply:

    @admin
    > These dynamics aren’t based upon anyone playing out the end game in advance — quite the opposite

    Exactly. This race will likely go under a “cyberwar” guise. It traces the contours of a beast that may at some point be recognizable as general AI.

    @Erebus Agreed. The AI arms race, if any, will be about narrow AI, not general AI, thus not as Mr. Istvan imagines. That distinction will be lost on many people.

    We don’t know what the first step to general (super)intelligence looks like. Optimizing cognitive tasks is as valid a first step as any. A large part of our brain, and even more so that of ‘lower animals’, is “sensor processing, threat identification, efficient movement/operation”.

    This doesn’t obviously lead to abstract thinking, planning and creativity. It remains to be seen whether that kettle of fish is qualitatively different, or a matter of nesting the same process a few times. But there is undeniably a pressure to get there first.

    I also agree with you that general AI is as likely to be brought into existence in Google’s or Baidu’s labaratory as in a military project. They certainly have the training data available, and do significant research. On the other hand they are subjected stricter rules. If, say, one step to effective AI systems is incrementally replacing human brain cells, the kind of brains-in-a-jar level uglyness may only happen under miltary level (perceived) necessity.

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    Posted on March 23rd, 2015 at 2:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • forkinhell Says:

    Too far?

    P.S. [Ed – no. 55 is overdue, what you playing at?]

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It’s impending.

    [Reply]

    Posted on March 29th, 2015 at 2:11 am Reply | Quote

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