Sunday, September 30, 2018

ML Again

I'm back to attending to Siraj, meaning I'm falling asleep, sometimes intentionally, while getting back into the namespace of Machine Learning, wherein I visit new-to-me nooks and crannies.

Siraj is one of my Youtube teachers, one of a cast of celebs that have come to frequent the privileged homes.  In recordings of live chat sessions, I see a lot of kids from Bangalore and elsewhere, chiming in.  They're learning about TPUs as a feature offered by the Google Mind.

This renewed focus on ML is apropos for other reasons.  The Philosophy of Mind debates go well with Indian food.  Dwaraka rocks.  We yakked about such marvels as The Turk in the Age of Napoleon.  AI was in some dimensions self booting and retains some of its carnival ambience.  Sophia and so on.

The idea of an AI Brothel in Texas came up, which I think distills the memes in a wicked brew that maybe Texans are able to handle.  Shades of Westworld.

Speaking of Westworld, as a test of Google's picture matching I slid the picture below from file manager to Google image search.  I'd snipped it from a Youtube of the opening credits. Google search recognized right away where it came from.

Carol (89) and Celeste (94) are both at the symphony, is the current hope.  Supporting evidence would be no evidence to the contrary.  I just dropped Carol off in the Nissan, just a block from the venue.  Celeste was arriving by rail.

Long before I worry about a Singularity, I'm going to be studying the anthropology of what people believe.

Siraj is suffering from no serious delusions about robots about to be real humans, yet already many humans have been branded as "bots".  The need for a term other than "subhuman" has been filled.  The "Russian Bot" T-shirt has been popular in some eCommerce circles.

Long before we say AI has closed the gap, we'll see ourselves in the mirror as highly advanced AI.  We're entitled to some vanity, as we admire ourselves as machines, cyborgs, not because anything has changed, but because we've closed a lot of gaps in the narrative.  We see ourselves as learning much the same way machines learn, by perpetually re-weighing what marbles we're given, by God's grace.

What's changed?  In part it's that our machine models now converge without becoming clones of one another, because of differing initial conditions and sometimes randomness in the algorithms themselves.  Two strong classifiers need not always classify the same way, and that matches our experience of intelligent humans disagreeing.  AI becomes more believable in proportion to its not always seeing eye to eye with itself.  Intelligence means nothing if not contentiousness.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Intermittent Service

I'm finding the Jupyter Notebook rendering service, much appreciated on Github, to be hit or miss.  I'll promote one of my repos, only to find a Sorry, Reload? situation.

Sometimes I might take it personally, given my state of mind.

Speaking of which, I just got through both seasons of Real Humans, a Swedish series (so that's the title in translation).  All this after Westworld (season one only).

So much exposure to the machine-human conundrum all at once should probably be factored in as a likely bias going forward a few posts at least. 

Talk about brainwashing, though in exactly what way is the unknown.  That's what comes out in the wash, as they say.

I'm paying attention to the CoC business rippling the pond in Linux World.  That may sound neither here nor there, but then lets remember Vulcan Spock in Star Trek and give "coldly logical" a place at the table.

The machine-human conundrum embraces the "cold rationality" we sometimes project on machine intelligence.  Empathy or "warmth" is what's lacking in mere "Hubots" (a word from the Swedish series).

What I'm saying is, I acknowledge Github gets on my nerves sometimes, as do other aspects of our Wild World Web.  In that sense (nerves), cell and silicon unite.  We've become that cyber-creature.  We're still subject to intermittent breakdown.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Graphene with Quadrays

Another Test

Continuing my meditation on "user-friendly", I tried to pump more life into Quadrays by using them to ray-trace graphene-like imagery.

Some thinkers project a coming Age of Carbon, given all the nano stuff we've learned since the discovery of buckminsterfullerene.  Graphene, surprisingly, is a relative latecomer.  We already knew "pencil lead" was really graphite that rubbed off in layers.  An individual sheet:  that wasn't so much the focus.  Diamond was another allotrope.

Then Bf came along (C60) and a sudden interest in soccer ball imagery, on which I later capitalized using hash tag HP4E ("hexapents for everyone").  Nanotubes would maybe turn out to be good for something.  Separating them into isomers was a technological challenge.  Then came graphene.

However, from another angle, we've been in an Age of Carbon for quite some time now, in that we understand polymer chemistry, oil refining, all manner of things carbon.  As a life form, we're all about hydrocarbons.

I chauffeured again today, driving my passenger to Portland Nursery.  On the way, we rescued an abandoned coffee maker, a Cuisinart model I've owned in the past.  The Coffeemaker went out the morning Melody (visiting guest) tried to use it.  So far, everything is looking promising.  I'll try making some real coffee in a minute.

Added to inventory:  two fire extinguishers, dry retardant, still under regulation pressure.

Pruned:  my tree in the margin.  The office doubles as a Portland looking house.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Benefactor: the New Board Game

In this science fiction, every baby gets a million dollars at birth.  That's right, you're a millionaire out of the "box". But that must by funny money, right?  Some loser crypto?

The ideology is simple:  we're born helpless but with entitlements, to care from guardians at first.

Whether we're talking nuclear families or the UN Declaration of Human Rights is negotiable before game play.  Benefactor comes with a wide array of settable parameters (see: configuration file).  Accept the defaults to begin immediately, and then adjust with the wisdom of hindsight.

Regardless of what our rights are precisely, ensuring them takes funding, and giving
everyone the same million dollar account seems unarguably a good design.  One deals people in.

You can't expect a baby to hold down a full time job.

Provide the money up front and gradually build towards a right of passage wherein adult level access to Benefactor is conferred.

However, to have a game one needs a plot.  Many squander their million through lack of discipline, or encounter tragic misfortune through no fault of their own.

Without specific skills or a life plan, and with no other such secure source of income, some players, of necessity, turn to preying upon others, including by looking for flaws in the Benefactor scheme's overall security.

Could there be a way to get a second million?  Superstitions and rumors abound.   Players are not promised a world free of fake news, scams, hoaxes, pyramid schemes.

The corporate side of Benefactor is pretty huge, with vast enough inventories to make good on the claims of their sponsored parties, namely everyone, from birth.

Now imagine the computer game, based on the board game.

You'll want to do more homework regarding Benefactor.

The aforementioned ideology has roots in Egyptian metaphysics, especially in this "22nd Century" (ahead of its time) interpretation of Pharaoh Ikhnaton's religion: the Sun provides enough wattage to justify the million dollar per child fund.

Think of charging batteries.  Money measures a potential to pay for work.

You might think everyone would just kick back in this scenario. No one works, because hey, everyone is thinking "I'm one of the idle rich, I'll just sip martinis by the pool".  Nothing gets done.  Civilization breaks down.  Not only do the trains not run on time, they don't run at all.  What millionaire wants to play with trains?

A lot of them, as it turns out. Both simulations and real life experiment shows most people prefer to do meaningful work, committing their energy in ways that makes a difference, to others not just to themselves.

In fact, with Benefactor encouraging education and skills training, and with ubiquitous "authorized access only" obstacle courses, most players feel an urge to compete, achieve, excel.

Humans come with an innate athleticism that inspires them to set new records.

They play lots of "Glass Bead Games" and tackle real world challenges, such as space travel, for amusement.

In sum, many players still choose medical school while others train to become astronauts.

In general, many humans commit a lot of their initial million towards skills building and cognitive training.

Not all players want serious or heavy responsibilities, however, instead opting for more fun in the sun, at least in some chapters, especially as children.

Benefactor is non-judgemental.  The system was not put in place with the idea of "rewarding good behavior".  Other rewards systems run in parallel to Benefactor.  Benefactor is not the only game in town.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fear & Loathing in Florida

I was in high school in Florida at the start of the 1970s.

I'm not surprised it's among the most Jim Crow of the fifty states.

People retire there to live out their racist utopia fantasies, no longer playing out in Michigan, paying top dollar for the privilege.

The state government does its best to oblige.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Among Friends

Carol wanted to be sure she got to Peace and Social Concerns, which started its meeting in the main room, same as for Meeting for Worship, at noon.

Amazingly enough, we made it by 10 AM and so were in time for the hour-long silent worship, sometimes anything but silent.  This time, however, we had only the one short message towards the end, a meditation on change and metaphors for what changes the least.

During social hour, I was befriended by a woman raised Catholic, and still very connected to the Grotto, a destination for visitors on the religious site loop, lots of Asians.  She's meticulous about extending her range and mobility, in the face of arthritis.  We agreed to meet at Laurelhurst Park after an interim.

My goal was to obtain a DVD copy of Eyes Wide Shut, by Kubrick.  I've recently seen a documentary about his life and film making process, which intersected other research. They had Clockwork Orange, which I saw a long time ago, but the former was only in Blu-Ray. I decided to get Westworld instead, the whole of season 1 for $5.  I've already seen a lot of it, but wondered about filling in some holes.

Upon returning home, on foot, having left the car at the meetinghouse, I checked on the remnants of a Facebook thread.  We'd been going at it about Alex Jones and whether it was a good idea for tech giants to do the bidding of political institutions which were themselves tasked with similar responsibilities.  Mark Zuckerberg had come under a lot of scrutiny during the Russiagate scandal.  Would Facebook have to arbitrate in every country where it found users?  That seems to be the direction.

"What if NATO pressured the Zucc to deplatform DPRK?" I queried.  "Should he pull the plug on Gulen just because he's ordered to do so by some tyrant?  I'd not want him to bow to such pressures that easily."  Paraphrasing from memory. I also plugged the new Gregory Brothers tune.

Anyway, the profile owner got nervous, apparently, and censored the whole thread, over a hundred comments from an assortment of political backgrounds, thereby making my point that adults would be seeking other venues besides Facebook.  We can't always keep it PG-13.  I left a few emoji behind and resolved to jot down a few notes in my blog.

After all this catching up on-line, and a shower, I was somewhat late back to Laurelhurst, but my new friend was still there, having met some new people, Asians I'm thinking, in the off-leash area.  We walked together back to her car. I got her business card, someone psychic.  That's Portland!

When I got back to the meetinghouse, the Peace and Social Concerns Meeting was still going on, in the tying off loose ends part.  Carol, mom, suggested some more action around the Ban Treaty (the shortened name), now in ratification phase.  About ten nation-states are on board, more expected.  Like Nike, they're trying to figure out the right side to be on, given history.

After the rise of meeting, when people were milling about and going downstairs, I buttonholed Barry, suggesting his campaign to lodge some specific 911 book in our library collection was too much of a short cut.  Chandler has put the most time into that concern, and has worked through the committee.  Barry comes somewhat infrequently and I don't think has that much insight into our reading patterns, or how we want to showcase them.  Some churches may get by without any library at all.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

No Beer Diet


I probably have other blog entries with this exact same title, or at least theme, as I periodically swear off beer as a way of losing weight.  It usually works, but there's always that first time, when it doesn't. I need to give it some more weeks and months.

My lifestyle is too sedentary as my presence is not required in the hinterlands.  Sure, I write about Extreme Remote Livingry and all the gizmos this entails, but then I write about bizmos too.  The writer doesn't always get immediate entre into her or his subject matter, even when the genre is non-fiction, investment banking even.

Tonight I joined Wanderers for open discussion.  We discussed the Dominicans and the history of antisemitism in the Catholic Church, not that I'm any big authority.  I brought up the Gospel of Judas I'd been learning about, thanks to National Geographic.  I did grow up in Rome and work for Dominicans after Princeton, which is how the topic arose in the first place.  Then we turned to a discussion of the solar system, which lasted most the rest of my time there.

Were I to draw a histogram of what we talk about, boat engines would dwarf almost everything else, especially if more than one boat owner is present.  Astronomy is also a high bar.  We're not to be confused with Talking Liberally, another meetup I've posted about.  That was at Lucky Lab.  I've not been to that group in many years.  More recently, I've attended Thirsters, which is more likely to get into politics against a backdrop of political history.

We did talk about dynasties and which presidential last names had been repeated e.g. Adams, Roosevelt, Bush.  We almost had two Clintons.  That would have been a first:  a husband, then a wife.  I joked about a Chelsea-Ivanka co-queendom, wherein all Senators would be women, all Representatives men.  The possibilities seem endless once we've broken free of the Constitution. This conversation came after the main meeting had already concluded.  Not that we're plotting to suspend the Constitution. That part seems pretty well taken care of, starting well before 911.  Praise Allah for autopilot, right? Meaning I'm glad we know how to keep going through the motions, of keeping America great.

The No Beer Diet does not entail giving up alcohol, just the habit of swilling two or even three pints on more days than I don't, sampling new IPAs or sticking with old favorites.  The other drinks I imbibe instead don't add up to the same calories, by a long shot, is the theory.  So far, that theory has proved out in practice.

During the main meeting, when I was talking about teaching high school for the Dominicans, I brought up Father Divine, the short black shaman deity figure who organized multi-racial hotel living centered around banquets.  He always seemed to walk his talk.  By the time I showed up, interested in the breakfast menu, Father had moved on, but I believe Mother Divine was still active, as she was quite a bit younger.  The Fairmont Hotel was kitty corner to St. Dom's, and I'd go there with other faculty for breakfast sometimes.