Saturday, December 07, 2019

Externalities regulated by lawsuits

Externalities, the "side-effects" of economic behavior, are regulated by lawsuits. Is this the best way? Is this the only way? I am reminded of "Exit, Voice, and Loyalty" by Hirschman, that advocates other regulatory behaviors by consumers to give the market feedback. What happens when the externalities impact a commons, such as air pollution or climate change?

Rule for political systems

Are there issues being voted on that can be segmented, so that instead of "majority rules", each constituency "rules", and so more people are better off?

 This is like "dollar proportional voting", only everyone is given an equal number of votes. This is called "dot" voting, where each is given a number of dots to spread amongst alternatives.

Politics as a process to manage all commons

Politics is the process of managing the commons. What can I do to improve the political process by studying how other commons have been managed?  How can I use this information to improve local politics?

From whence a god?

A community that is overseen by a vast intelligence, a "god". This "god" asks itself the question of where it came from and finds out that it was created by the community it oversees billions of years ago through the use of artificial intelligence.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Mitochondrial network...

It all began with nano-machines. The military developed a network of sand, machines the size of a grain of sand, that had sensors and the ability to connect and communicate?? through a "mesh" network. Each grain of sand could "see" the little space around it, send its observations to another grain of sand, passing it through the network of sand, until it reached the mother-ship computer. There, the tens of thousands of pieces of information were pieced together into a picture that could be understood and used by a human. All someone had to do was throw a handful of sand into a room and a three-dimensional video and sound replica of the room could be created, real time, by an observer anywhere on the internet.

The sand particles got smaller and smaller, until they could become an aerosol, sprayed into a room, like a deodorizer. The mesh network of little observers now floated in the air. It didn't take long for medical researchers to start asking patients to inhale the tiny bots. And the world of the body opened into real-time observations of blood flows and biology.

Smaller still, and the tiny observers made it into the brain, into every neuron, observing and reporting on every connection and interaction. Soon enough, a model of the mind was populated with this matrix of observations, and people's minds were able to move to digital replicas.

The recipe is not the cake

I was watching people use the internet: three people, sitting in their living room, tapping away, staring at their phones. I was trying to see the world from their perspective, not from mine. I was struggling with the concept of people being with each other but not talking with each other. I was raised in a world where that sort of behavior was considered very rude and unacceptable. But here were three people, friends and family, who found it perfectly normal to be sitting by one another while absorbed in another world.

I imagined that I was on the other end of their internet connection, where my experience of them would be very different: engaged, acknowledged, sharing points of view. It struck me that, if I thought of each node of the internet (a person connected to the internet) was like a single neuron of the brain, I would have exactly the same two perspectives. From the outside looking in, I would watch a neuron, firing from time to time, surrounded by other neurons, but perhaps not connected or interacting with them. While if I looked from the perspective of the signal, into and out of the neuron, there would be an active connection with thousands of other neurons, in a dialogue that was exciting and dynamic, not "three potatoes sitting on a couch."

I was also struck by the internet, the connection of those three people to thousands of other people, exciting and dynamic, lacked a sense of "self-awareness"; like the internet was more animal than human, following its own forces, in its response and evolution to an ever-changing environment. What would self-awareness for the internet look like? Watching itself, its activities, its state? Would self-awareness by the internet generate energy to change? Energy to act? What would THAT look like? Would self-awareness by the internet lead to motivation? Perception of alternate, possible states? And would that lead to efforts to choose an action to inch the internet to a preferred state?

It is interesting, to think of a recipe for chocolate cake, the steps to create a delicious desert. I can taste the cake, and the big glass of milk, or maybe a strong cup of coffee that accompanies my slice. But the steps for creating the cake are not the cake itself, only a recipe. And the algorithm that is the internet is only a program, a process, and not the internet itself.

To try to understand how the internet might change humankind, perhaps I need to understand several perspectives: internal, external, the process, the state. And no doubt I will need to have lots of different people's perspective, each contributing a point of view, each testing my biases, limited as I am by my particular point of view.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Thoughts Ideas Wanderings

What is it that motivates me to do something that is not an "economic" decision? When I want something that "money can't buy", for example, friendship, love, emotional connection, understanding, interaction with others, sensory stimulation (going for a walk just to see, smell, hear, touch, taste, etc.).

I often imagine what the world looks like through another person's eyes. Why?

When I see someone struggling, I tell myself, "That could be me." Why?

My ability to imagine the world from another person's perspective helps me be compassionate, understanding, caring. There are those that have the ability to imagine another person's world, and those that have, in their own lifetimes, experienced themselves similar situations. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, many people experienced the helplessness and "out of control" experience of losing a job, losing wealth, going hungry, struggling to stay alive. Some of those people, when their life situations improved, remembered what it was like, and when they saw someone experiencing what they had experienced, they were able to be more compassionate.

What are examples of systems, outside of the economic system, that influence my behavior? I often tell myself, "There but for the grace of God go I," or "in another universe, another lifetime, that could have been me, and how would I have wanted someone to treat me." And there is, "do unto others as you would have them do unto me" (and the related "platinum rule" etc.).

I am drawn back to the question of the intersection of meta-organizations (economic systems versus religious systems, economic systems versus government systems, religious systems versus government systems, cultural systems versus economic systems versus religious systems versus government systems versus education systems versus ...).

Another example for a story: Wealthy people, at random, loose some or all of their wealth, and it is given, at random, to less wealthy people. The wealthy people are chosen at random, weighted by their wealth, as if each dollar had the same chance of being chosen, so that someone who was twice as wealthy had twice the chance of losing a dollar (uniformly distributed across dollars). And people to whom the dollars were given were chosen, at random, where the chance of being chosen was equal for every person (uniformly distributed across people).

Another story: The number of children created from your DNA is proportional to your "value" as measured by the people who choose what DNA to use to create a child. Would anyone choose not to use their own DNA when creating their own child? Someone else's child? A child for the community? Adoptive parents do this.

Corollary stories: Your DNA is used to create children in proportion to your wealth. Your DNA is used to create children in proportion to how long you live. Your DNA is used to create children in proportion to how others perceive your "prestige" or some measure of value to the community.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Google search suggestions...

"why do"             "why do"            "why do"  
(7/11/12)            (8/11/13)           (4/2/19)
cats purr            cats purr           dogs eat grass
people blush         we yawn             cats purr
we yawn              we dream            dogs lick us 
men cheat            dogs eat grass      we yawn
dogs lick            people blush       
cats knead
people yawn          men cheat          
dogs lick
we dream             people yawn        
people snore
dogs eat grass       dogs howl          
we dream
dogs howl            dogs eat poop      
dogs howl
I sweat so much      cats knead          cats meow

"why does"           "why does"          "why does"  
(7/11/12)            (8/11/13)           (4/2/19)
hair turn grey       hair turn grey      it hurt when i pee
ice float            my vagina smell     my stomach hurt
my eye twitch        ice float           my chest hurt
my dog eat grass     it rain             my back hurt
the earth spin       my lower back hurt  my head hurt
it rain              the world exist     my eye keep twitching
my life suck         my chest hurt      
my jaw hurt
my pee smell         my jaw hurt        
my lower back hurt
god allow suffering  salt melt ice      
my throat hurt
it always rain on me my stomach hurt    
my ear hurt

"why does my"        "why does my"       "why does my"
(7/11/12)            (8/11/13)           (8/11/13)
eye twitch           vagina smell        stomach hurt
dog eat grass        lower back hurt    
chest hurt
lower back hurt      chest hurt         
back hurt
life suck            jaw hurt           
head hurt
pee smell            stomach hurt       
eye keep twitching
internet keep      
  throat hurt         jaw hurt
back hurt            heart hurt         
lower back hurt
mom hate me          tongue hurt        
throat hurt
dog shake            cat lick me        
ear hurt
jaw hurt             knee hurt          
knee hurt

"why do I" 
          "why do I"          "why do I"
(7/11/12)            (8/11/13)           (4/2/19)    
sweat so much        sweat so much       feel dizzy
bruise easily        feel dizzy          crave salt
sleep so much        bruise easily       have a headache
feel so tired        sleep so much      
sweat so much
feel dizzy           hate myself         owe taxes
crave salt           burp so much        keep getting sick
hate myself          poop so much        snore
poop so much         fart so much        hear boss music
fart so much         feel so tired      
hate myself
sweat in my sleep    feel bloated        bruise so easily

Other phrases that may be interesting:"when can I" "where can I" "who can I"

Artificial Intelligence is Everywhere (and has been for some time)

What might be "intelligence"?

One way of thinking of intelligence is the capacity to imagine options and their potential outcomes, evaluating those outcomes to make a choice. This definition raises many other questions: On what basis are the potential outcomes compared? How do we imagine options? Since there are a very large number of options, how do we decide when to stop imagining options? Suffice it to say that, to make choices, we make assumptions about the likelihood of options to yield desired outcomes, so that our search algorithms do not imagine options outside fairly short time and distance horizons.

What might be "artificial intelligence"?

What we teach each other is a form of artificial intelligence. This intelligence, based on another person's experience, saves us from having to rely on our own experience, letting us learn from previous generations. How do we know what to pass on to the next generation? Trial and error, that has given consistent results, is the most useful information to pass on. This especially includes learned lessons about cause and effect that contribute to our survival. Towards this end, we have developed the "scientific method" and the requirement that experiments must be able to be replicated across time and space. The scientific method is an algorithm for building artificial intelligence.

Culture, too, is a form of artificial intelligence. Culture permits us to share historical perspectives with each other efficiently and securely. Culture is about trust systems, like language, social etiquette, mores, belief systems, etc. Trust is critical to learning. If I don't trust what someone tells me, then I will expend energy testing and learning on my own. If I trust someone else's perspective, then I will more easily accept their perspective.

Why is artificial intelligence important?

As an individual, my view of the world is biased. First, because I have a specific existence in time and space. Second, because what I experience and remember as "reality" is biased towards (a) genetic (built-in) biases and (b) learned biases. The scientific method attempts to overcome the first and second biases by measuring and attempting to reduce the variability of the "experience", to make the variance dependent on the "experiment" and not the "experience". In other words, science is an attempt to make knowledge independent of any particular human being's experience of the world. This artificial intelligence is a more generalized and reliable explanation of reality, that exists in spite of an individual's specific experience of the world.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Fifty Years in Computer Technology

It's hard to remember, what I knew when I was in high school, and what I didn't. That was 50 years ago. So as I spoke to two high school classes recently, about what it was like to learn computer programming when I was 14, I had to remind myself:
  1. I don't remember.
  2. Not everyone is the same as me.
  3. Things have changed since then.
Fifty years ago I learned QuickTran, a derivative of Fortran. I typed my program on a teletype, creating a paper punch tape, which was fed to a 300 baud (30 characters per second) modem, to a computer some 50 miles away.

Daily Pilot Newspaper Article
Newport Beach, California, 1967

I also learned to program the Olivetti Programma 101, the first desktop computer. All programs for the 101 had to be no more than 120 instructions long. And the programs were saved on an early version of a floppy disk that looked more like a floppy card.
Olivetti Programma 101
Olivetti Programma 101 Magnetic Program Card

As I talked with the students of today, I was asked: "What did you learn in that class that helped you for the rest of your life?" It's a good question, one that took some time to think about and answer honestly. Here is what I came up with:

  1. The world continues to change. If I don't know more than the person teaching me, I'm getting behind. I don't worry that the teacher doesn't know the answer. That is to be expected. I learn how to find the answer myself, and know that my answer will get outdated as soon as I've learned it.
  2. Living with change is a challenge. But rapid change also means untapped opportunities. Remember the saying, "When one door closes, another opens"? Well, now it's more like, "When one door closes, look for the new house!" Change means new doors opening in whole worlds that didn't exist before.
  3. I found something I was passionate about. I was passionate about computers, how they worked, why they worked, what I could build with them. My passion guided me when I had difficult choices to make. Choosing my passion meant my work was its own reward.
  4. I let my passion change as my life experience changed me. When I was 14, my passion for computers was all about me, what I could do. In many ways, my passion was an addiction. As I got older, I found that wasn't enough. My passion shifted to helping others, using computers to help others. I let the passions of my younger days be replaced by my passions for family, career, and the world around me. By shifting my focus to helping others, my self-serving computer addiction grew into a tool to help improve the world.
  5. Change means learning, I have to keep learning. Learning means making mistakes, mistakes are how I know I have something to learn. Making mistakes means being wrong, which is discouraging and is painful to my self-esteem. So, if I want to change, to keep up with change, then I have to get used to making mistakes.
I still have an unbridled enthusiasm for the future of computer technology. I hope the high school students got a taste of that from "the old man with gray whiskers". The challenges of today are bigger and more difficult than ever, and will require a generation committed to change and learning in ways I will not understand. I have confidence that the connectivity offered by the Internet will provide the foundation for the collaboration and cooperation that will be needed. We've come a long way since the paper punch days of 30 characters per second! 

Fifty Years in Computer Technology web site with links to events that shaped my life with computers.