Sunday, September 18, 2016
I get a little frustrated when I read about certain conclusions being made from some very interesting research. The article from Quanta linked below is a case in point
Stating that our perception of "reality" is an "illusion" is so fraught with connotative baggage that I am amazed that a very smart person like Donald Hoffman would be so imprecise. To put the matter more clearly, one needs to frame the situation a little differently.
Is there a physical totality that we do not get all the information about at a conscious level? Absolutely. So much interaction is going on in the whole process of energy exchange at every scale of consideration, how could it be otherwise. The thing is, in my view, sentient consciousness isn't here to give us any kind of absolute reality. It is here for the purpose of creating meaning space. Through the process of experience association, and objectification, it builds a complex sedimentary layering of abstraction (inherent in the whole process of adding layers of abstraction). What we live in consciously is the interactive mix of physical space and our built up meaning space. Therefore you must think of our reality in that context.
If you think about, however, physical space is nothing more than a layering of abstractions in it's own right, as all objects are simply other objects interacting, with those lower scale objects following the same breakdown as far as you want to keep going in scales of consideration. What is salient here is what decides the resolution of boundaries at any given scale. And this is where physicists start talking about wave functions collapsing through various probability ranges. All of that, though, presupposes this wondrous thing we call an "observer."
It is here, I think, that we must ultimately fall back to a philosophical framework. An observer in my philosophy is simply a meaning processor of some sort, which presupposes an abstraction handling system, which is why mind, here, is just as fundamental as the "elemental embrace," or the absolute requirement for interaction and exchange. After all, what can interact and exchange if it hasn't already been objectified in some way.
In the larger sense this is why I see the entirety as an unimaginably immense, recursive question answer engine, the whole point of which is to determine meaning, at every quantum moment, at every scale up to the infinite singularity that is the entirety itself, which has no outer objectification. In this are infinite matrix arrays of time vectors where meanings are associated into nominal, local realities (what I like to call reality ray tracing).
What you have to realize in all of this is that meaning will always be fleeting, and subject to the ongoing moments of context. Just as every answer is just another set of questions, every connection made to a new meaning (which is its own new object) creates a context framework for any number of new juxtapositions, and thus, new meanings. Is, then, what we hold as a current meaning an illusion? Not in my view. It is simply what makes sense in the current context, based on experience association to that point.
The other thing you have to realize, however, is that our hold on meaning space, as it interacts with physical space, influences it, which then feeds back to influence us. Or, stated another way, we make it just as it makes us. Which is why balance is so important in the way we live; not overemphasizing either mind (or rationality), or the elemental embrace (which you can also refer to as love). As such, what we do, and how we do it, matters both literally and figuratively. Which is why striving for thoughtful, loving structure is so important.
Living in the moment, as well as beyond the moment, mustn't be overly concerned about "illusion;" mindful, of course as we can certainly deceive ourselves. What is much more important is to strive for meaning structure that keeps both mind, and love, working together for the best possible continuance of thoughtful loving structure. Meaning progression along that line of experience association will give us the best possible probabilities for meanings to keep doing the same.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Personally, I've never understood the need to have humungous amounts of functionality in a device with a screen about the size of a couple of playing cards. Of course, I have the eyes of a 65 year old man so you can probably see the bias there. Still... If I'm going to interact with apps and games of various sorts I want at least one 27 incher, and more preferably two or three. If you're going to keep it to two than they have to be 30 inchers at least. And if it has to be one then, as I have now, it ought to be a 60 inch, 4K compatible behemoth because... Well... Some of us just have size issues.
Anyway... As far as the I-Phone 7 is concerned this YouTube clip from CollegeHumor (via Digg) puts things in a proper perspective.
People don't understand that Apple has released a completely innovative product, in that it is not innovative at all. They've done something that seems counterintuitive: They made it worse.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
There's a contrast to be made between two expressions of the Info Sphere recently that ought to give one a moment to pause and consider what the factory mindset of Capitalism, now mutating ever faster under the pressures of electrified competition, does to the dichotomy between work and making things, and the tools we use to make either happen.
On the one hand is the making of a wallet, and on the other the making of a home. Both processes involve an ostensibly practical output, and both could provide an equal possibility for either great personal involvement with the tools and crafting, or great disconnection, as with the cursory involvement of a machine applying motive force, and interchangeable attachments providing, cuts, blows, transfers and placements.
As anyone who has spent any time at all looking into can tell you, working with wood, or working with leather can provide ample opportunity for a true craftsman to show off what a connection to one's tools can yield. And it matters only in small part whether one is putting together large assemblies of wood or leather (as in a house, or involved leather apparel), or smaller ones (as in a wallet or a cabinet), that connection will still be quite apparent.
So we now come, first, to the video of a leather craftsman making a wallet, and it is a beautiful thing to behold; not only because the end product is aesthetically desirable, but because one can see the deep involvement of the craftsman as he works. And the thing is, you could change this example to a master custom car builder, making a one of kind vehicle creation, and you'd get much the same involvement. The tempo, the different cadences of the tools used, and the different tactility of the materials used, would provide a completely different feeling certainly, but deep involvement would be the same.
Contrast this with the commercialized modality of building a home now. Standardized methodologies of cutting, placing, and fixing in place make for a process that excels in efficiency; so much so that, more and more, homes now can either be manufactured modulary in a factory, with a great deal of machine, and assembly line, applications, printed outright now on sight, or still built by hand, but with only the most cursory skill sets required (at least for the major part of the framing).
I mention this because an article today from nbcnews.com indicates that a now hot housing market has suddenly found itself short of carpentry workers. Not surprising as the last fall off of market demand left former workers scrambling to find other vocations. The thing is, the expectation here is that workers, who used to do who knows what kinds of various things that are now not so marketable, ought to be flocking to this new demand opportunity. The assumption being that training of one sort or another would be provided, though it is not always clear who will be expected to pay for that training. And low and behold, the unemployed are now gainfully set, even if $16 or so an hour might be a pretty big come down in wages.
Of course the real problem with this is that the workers moved over will be fine only so long as the hot market lasts, or an assembly method is found to do their skill more cost effectively. But hey, no big problem, right? We can just have them shuck off that last bit of cursory tool connection and form a new set of same with some other temporary skill requirement.
And as time progresses, and competition increases, this process can only be seen to cycle around ever more rapidly. The question then needs to be asked: Is there an intrinsic part of the human psyche that needs a deep, and lasting, connection with tools of one form or another, and the kinds of involvement that goes along with them? And if there is that need, what do we do to ourselves when we thwart it ever more severely?
Think about this. Think about it carefully because it matters greatly as just one of the aspects of what is making us all increasingly insane right now
The music is a tad cheesy and occasionally it all feels a bit self-aggrandizing but, goddamn, is it relaxing.
A new federal program signed up hordes of eager students — just as the industry went bust.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Maybe if there were more of us who simply wanted to live, and love, creatively, as well as responsibly, we could have a world that could resonate without dischord.
That title sounds like hyperbole, but it's not. Give this a listen.
...That would help make nearly self sufficient city states possible, as well as allow everyone involved participate in their own well being.
There's nothing more soothing than a machine that fulfills one specific purpose on a farm. Except, of course, this machine, which does a little of everything until your garden is done growing and your veggies are ready to eat.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
...Another aspect to the tradeoffs of inherent in "layers of abstraction." This is what the linked article here from Nautilus makes me think of.
Not being able to understand how various sorts of deep learning, or neural network, systems get from input to desired output is an interesting parallel to our own inability to fully understand not only why we do the things we do, but what all that wetware is doing to allow us to "think" in the first place.
I have always been suspicious of efforts to create true "AI," even if it might be possible. The fact that you might then create self aware entities, gifted, or burdened, depending on your point of view, with point of view, and thus the singular notion of identity, from which ego might arise, without the same aspects of fear, and chemical/emotional response that we inherited, via lower brain functionality, from our genetic ancestors, presents questions of behavioral possibilities that one could speculate endlessly on. And that doesn't even begin to consider the other process we go through, as we progress from infant to adult, of extensive experience association, making complex connections between inner feelings with outer stimuli; all while in the necessary care of other sentients who have already made their own such connections, and pass on subtle influences into the mix. We generally think of this as learning, but it is a great deal more than that as it literally structures a tremendously flexible neural system into the specific patterns to handle the physical, language and cultural matrix we are born into.
It has always seemed to me that, whether true, "sentient," AI is possible or not, it is absolutely not something we should be pursuing now; especially with our own ignorance of ourselves. What is reasonable, as well as useful, would be context specific reasoning engines. Procedurally based contingency processing systems that could help us de emphasize the need for skill specialization so that we can rid ourselves of an operating system that has taken specialization to an absurd extreme; something that should be self evident when you consider the possibility that it is the insane need of competitive advantage that is a significant part of what is driving the push for sentient "AI" in the first place (there is also, of course this insane idea that such new "sentience" is the natural, next step in our evolution, which to me is utter nonsense. Especially when you consider that we haven't yet even begun to explore what human ability might extend to if it were allowed to develop in an environment of truly thoughtful, loving structure; as opposed to the fear based economics of scarcity we have now).
Despite new biology-like tools, some insist interpretation is impossible.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
What this BrightWork article is really talking about here is the process of adding abstract layers to the tool kit of a developer; a hallmark of object oriented programming. In this ever increasing libraries of already developed functionality are easily grafted into new development projects; which can obviously be a powerful productivity tool.
Everything has a downside though. It doesn't take many iterations of layers being created from the foundation of previous layers, and then new layers built atop of that, adnauseum. Not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but it can still be fertile ground for unexpected logic anomalies to be created; especially if one adds in the concept of "inheritance," and "polymorphism" that are also powerful aspects of object oriented programming. One can create a new class, with greatly expanded functionality, simply by starting with the inheritance of an old class, and then adding new functional code.
What can happen in all of this layering is that a problem can be the manifestation of subtle interactions between multiple layers, and the process of tracking back down through the layers to find it hardly trivial at all.
Another problem, in my mind, is that we are already well on the road to when a coder won't be necessary at all; what with the possibilities of a visually oriented development environment. In this context you have a gui interface that renders functionality into icons of various sorts, selected so that they make intuitive sense as to the functionality they represent. One then merely needs to select the icons of choice, make icon related links (of interactive functionality) between them and one has a functioning app.
This has been a significant guiding principle in web development for some time now as the idea has become ingrained that graphic artist oriented folks are much more suited to putting together what is essentially a visual experience. This too has been a useful development as it has also made it possible for ordinary folks to create quite complex web applications.
The problem, as I see it, is that, if we continue to rely on the "cost" mentality of an economic operating system bent on reducing costs, we could likely find ourselves in a situation where there are fewer and fewer actual coders who are able to dig down into the layers of code to find a problem; layers that might someday represent many decades of development. In fact, it might soon be the case that only other pieces of software would be able to do so, whose own inter-workings none of us would understand.
This would be, in my opinion, not a very good position to find ourselves in. It would also be an example of an aphorism I have been using for some time now: heaven help those who become too separated from that which sustains them.
Just something to think about when you view things through the lens of "cost" based assumptions.