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Gideon Rosenblatt

Gideon Rosenblatt Verified in Google 

Grounding Machines in Humanity

Occupation: I write about the future of the human experience in an era of machine intelligence.

Followers: 51,291

Cream of the Crop: 04/01/2012

Added to CircleCount.com: 12/25/2011That's the date, where Gideon Rosenblatt has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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Gideon Rosenblatt has been at 3 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Yifat Cohen87,839*Why does the ex-head of American Express Chairman’s Innovation Fund think our future is in “producerism,” not consumerism?* What does it even mean?!? _This Hangout is public so feel free to share and invite your friends._ Using frameworks +Steve Faktor developed such as the 4C’s of Innovation™ - Creativity, Capabilities, Culture, and Context - and the Creativity Cube™, Mr. Faktor deconstructs the current economic environment to reveal innovation opportunities and growth sectors – health and education in particular. *Although his initial scenario suggests doom and gloom for the U.S. and other markets, the future he envisions is ripe with opportunity.* *SO - How do You Get Innovation Right?* Well, if we're lucky (and we usually are), Steve will dive into his latest book Econovation and share with us a future we've taken for granted. *It empowers readers to think big, dream big, and conquer economic conditions that will paralyze others.*  *WE WILL TOUCH ON HOW TO* Capitalize on a market that will go from making nothing to making everything . . . for China. Use psychological pricing and some crafty tricks from Google to reduce reliance on tapped-out consumers. Sell to consumers whose new identities will be based on what they create, not what they buy, click or super-size. Seduce a desperate government to finance your business, then feed you pancakes in the morning. Motivate tomorrow’s employees with social currency instead of the green, depreciating kind. Upgrade your business and your kids with a little help from Mormons and kindergartners with hacksaws. *WHO IS STEVEN?* Developing B2B startups at @109499489972846579596  and corporate speaking about emerging producerism opportunities that I wrote about in my book @116385844146363178305 and Forbes column.  --------------------- #hangoutsonair   #americanexpress   #econovation   #interview   #entrepreneur   #entrepreneurship   #economy   #goodbusiness   #amazon   #fortune500   #gplusgotogal  How Global Trends Will Shape the Future of Innovation.2013-01-17 18:00:0046  
Yifat Cohen87,839*Google+ changes the Truth about social media marketing.* _This is a public Hangout, feel free to share and invite_ Have you noticed the date? *Today the world is ending.* And it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. *Everything you know*, or think you know, about online marketing, social media, engagement and where's the money is online - *is no longer true*. *IN THIS HANGOUTS WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SOME TRULY CONTROVERSIAL CLAIMS* @116901017556394771817 is going to show you why you should pay attention to Google+ now, if you want to make money online.  He'll show you why the *money is no longer in the list* How the conversation have moved from one-to-many to *many-to-many* How you can *broadcast your Hangouts simultaneously on hundreds of sites* And most of all - *how to position yourself in front of this trend that is going to turn the social media world upside down.* *BUT WHO IS ALEX MANDOSSIAN TO BE CLAIMING THIS?* His colleagues and students acknowledge him as the Warren Buffet of the Internet because of his unique ability to teach his students how to make BIG money with very little risk.  Alex has generated $243 million in sales and profits for his small business students, clients and joint venture partners since 1993.   Many of the business strategies you'll learn today transformed his annual income in 2001 to be a monthly income in 2003; and eventually daily income by 2006. These marketing principles helped him grow his student data base from 200 people to 20,000 during his first 2 years in business ... and to over 200,000 during the following 3 years. He has engaged with best-selling authors such as Jack Canfield, @112439370122733503773  @105578574150809713602 and @113217646903708244617 (4-Hr Work Wk) Business leaders such as Donald Trump, Vic Conant of Nightingale Conant and Ivan Misner, CEO of Business Network International, and celebs such as Larry King and Mohammad Ali to name a few. *As a family-centered entrepreneur who works from home*, his goal is to become the world’s 1st "work-at-home" billionaire, not just in Net Worth, but by creating 1,000 other Internet millionaires …The money is no longer in the list, so where is it?2012-12-20 18:00:0058  
Yifat Cohen87,839*How the social revolution is changing the way we do business.* We all keep hearing about how important it is to engage and build relationships - what does it really mean, and what tools are out there to help us master it? When @105103058358743760661 spoke at DreamForce he saw *a vision for a future of business information systems that is entirely based on relationships.* *ENGAGE OR DIE.* In this Hangout On Air, we'll dive into the topic of engagement with @105103058358743760661   as he explains what he calls "engagement leverage." This framework bridges the kind of internal engagement you need with employees with the external engagement you need with customers, suppliers, partners and other external stakeholders. It's a simple, yet surprisingly powerful way for thinking about the way your organization gets work done.  Gideon writes at Alchemy of Change about helping companies bring purpose and technology together into a more powerful source of competitive advantage. Gideon just came back from leading a panel on engagement at Salesforce's Dreamforce Conference (now the biggest tech conference in the world) and so in addition to talking with us about the engagement leverage model, he'll also share some of what he saw at Dreamforce. (http://www.salesforce.com/dreamforce/DF12/)DreamForce: what I learned about the relationship revolution.2012-10-04 18:00:0063  

Shared Circles including Gideon Rosenblatt

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The Google+ Collections of Gideon Rosenblatt

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Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

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7
reshares per post
48
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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 93

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2017-04-23 15:35:08 (93 comments; 20 reshares; 122 +1s; )Open 

Relationships on Shared Knowledge Graphs - and on Google+ in Particular

G+ is on my mind these days, and so I hope you don't mind me spewing out a bit more riffs on this front over the next few days. Like many of you here, I have a substantial investment in this platform and would like it to succeed.

In short, it's not enough to enshrine Collections and Communities. Circles matter too.

Relationships in a Knowledge Network
I've been stewing on a core idea, which is that Google+ needs to invest more into building back relationships between human beings. I'm not saying this to detract from the important strategic turn this network made in focusing on topics. I'm saying this to support the focus on shared interests.

For there is no shared interest without someone to share them with.

A pure topic network already... more »

Most reshares: 43

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2017-05-08 15:21:11 (21 comments; 43 reshares; 82 +1s; )Open 

Net Neutrality Under Threat Again

Let me keep this simple. The new FCC chair, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, is on record as wanting to do away with Net Neutrality and is now pushing changes that would undermine the resolution on this that secured Net Neutrality a few years ago.

Why, why do we have to keep fighting this, wasting all our time fighting policies that clearly only benefit a few very large companies and the expense of US citizens??

But I digress. Here is a simple link that John Oliver made to take your right to the cleverly hidden comments section on these proposed changes on the FCC website:

*****************
gofccyourself.com
*****************

And because even that takes you to something that is confusing on the FCC site, I've included a graphic to show you where to click to add your comment (see below).
... more »

Most plusones: 193

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2017-05-13 18:18:19 (88 comments; 34 reshares; 193 +1s; )Open 

DOJ-Appointed Special Prosecutor: It's Time. Now.

We are at a critical point in U.S. history, right now. This is no joke and it is not a reality TV show. This isn't some problem for other people to solve. It is a crisis that is rapidly on its way to a coverup, and if that happens, we could be setting the stage for a slide into a much darker form of government than anything we Americans have yet known.

We, the people, now need to apply to get to the truth.

Without an independent examination, there will forever be a cloud over the Trump Administration and its ties to Russia. This will impede our domestic politics and our relations with other countries. It needs to be resolved and it needs to be resolved in a credible, independent way.

This post is not aimed at convincing hardened Trump supporters, I will not debate you in this post and I will... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2017-05-24 18:57:46 (18 comments; 4 reshares; 79 +1s; )Open 

Transparency on Google+ Plans

This is exactly the kind of post that we need here on Google+. I'm so glad to see +Leo Deegan making these kinds of public statements about where the G+ team will be focused over the next few months.

On an interest-sharing network, like Google+, the users are co-creators of the service. These kinds of updates help us to feel confident in our investments of time and energy into the service.

A very good sign of shifts that now seem to be underway on the G+ team.

What's new with Google+

Hey there Plussers! I'm your friendly neighborhood Server Eng Manger, and I wanted to take a little time to tell you some of the great things the G+ team is working on. As always, we listen carefully to your feedback, and in the coming months, we'll be focusing on your most highly requested areas of improvement, including:

• Better spam control
• Enhanced community moderation
• Improvements to the web user experience
• More intuitive navigation and discovery
• Cleaner notifications

And more that we'll reveal as they become available ;)

We've heard your desire to stay informed about G+ product updates. Going forward, you can expect to hear more from me; our Product Managers, like +John Nack, our Program Managers, like +Carter Gibson; and Community Managers, like +Leanne Osborne and +Madeleine DeRome. We'll try our best to reply to questions and keep you up to date on all the great progress.

Thanks!
___Transparency on Google+ Plans

This is exactly the kind of post that we need here on Google+. I'm so glad to see +Leo Deegan making these kinds of public statements about where the G+ team will be focused over the next few months.

On an interest-sharing network, like Google+, the users are co-creators of the service. These kinds of updates help us to feel confident in our investments of time and energy into the service.

A very good sign of shifts that now seem to be underway on the G+ team.

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2017-05-23 19:04:33 (0 comments; 3 reshares; 22 +1s; )Open 

Auto-Generated Narratives

Narrative Science has a simple demonstration of how their tool can automatically generate textual descriptions from underlying Business Intelligence. In this case, they're pulling publicly-available data on bike sharing in Chicago. 

Auto-Generated Narratives

Narrative Science has a simple demonstration of how their tool can automatically generate textual descriptions from underlying Business Intelligence. In this case, they're pulling publicly-available data on bike sharing in Chicago. ___

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2017-05-23 15:22:06 (15 comments; 4 reshares; 31 +1s; )Open 

I posted this work earlier, but am sharing again because I think it is an important way of viewing life on this planet.

Plus, I want to call out +Eli Fennell's introductory remarks in his share, and this line in particular:

It was not idyllic conditions that gave rise to life on this planet, in effect, but rather life that made our world idyllic...

Excellent way to describe it. Sort of reminds me of the notion of the "adjacent possible" that Stuart Kauffman talks about.

The 'Energy Revolutions' That Powered Evolution

Understanding how life evolved as it did on Earth is a fundamental quest of the evolutionary sciences, with applications both for the life history of our world as well as the quest to find life elsewhere in the cosmos.

It has long been considered helpful to describe life history on this planet as a series of unfolding stages. Not only does such an approach make it easier to understand, but also fits with the fossil evidence showing life occurring in a series of 'explosions' of new categories and forms of life (i.e. evolution is an ongoing process, but speciation and the emergence of new categories of lifeforms occurred far more rapidly during certain periods).

A new article published in Nature Ecology and Evolution suggests a new and foundational way to categorize the stages of life on Earth as a series of energy epochs, as living things accessed new and better forms of energy.

Broadly, the suggested schema identifies five overlapping epochs: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh, and fire. Each of these was, at one time, not yet exploited or not exploited at all by living things, but as each became more and more available to life, new categories of living things exploded in response to these 'energy revolutions', expanding to fill every new niche made available, and increasing in complexity with the increasing richness and efficiency of the energy sources available.

While it may not yet be possible to predict the next epoch in the energy sources of life, or even if there will be one, knowing the role energy availability played in the evolution of life over our planetary history may be useful for identifying cosmic 'candidate habits' which might host life. The search for 'Earth-like' planets, in fact, may be overly narrow, and the important question may not be whether a planet looks like Earth, but whether it possesses the energetic 'ingredients' first for simple lifeforms, and then the more complex life made possible in part by the existence of those earlier forms.

After all, when life first evolved on Earth, the planet was utterly inhospitable for any of the complex forms inhabiting our modern world, and it was those earlier and simpler lifeforms themselves that helped 'terraform' us, for example by releasing large amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere, or simply by existing to function as food sources for each other (whether consumed, as a predator eats its prey, decomposed as by microbes, or broken down into soil and absorbed as by plant roots).

It was not idyllic conditions that gave rise to life on this planet, in effect, but rather life that made our world idyllic, its biochemical machinery powered at each stage by more and more complex and efficient energy forms, each 'setting the stage' for the next categories of life to follow.

#BlindMeWithScience #Evolution___I posted this work earlier, but am sharing again because I think it is an important way of viewing life on this planet.

Plus, I want to call out +Eli Fennell's introductory remarks in his share, and this line in particular:

It was not idyllic conditions that gave rise to life on this planet, in effect, but rather life that made our world idyllic...

Excellent way to describe it. Sort of reminds me of the notion of the "adjacent possible" that Stuart Kauffman talks about.

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2017-05-21 12:38:10 (17 comments; 1 reshares; 19 +1s; )Open 

Shared Cropping

When you control the sharing platform, you control the flow of money through it too. In the new Uber pricing, drivers no longer participate in the upside of demand-based pricing.

Under the new system, in place in 14 major markets, driver pay is no longer directly tied to how much passengers pay. Instead, Uber can increase fares based on factors like destination and time of day, but still only pay drivers based on mileage and time spent on individual rides.

All drivers must accept the new agreement by Monday to continue driving.



Shared Cropping

When you control the sharing platform, you control the flow of money through it too. In the new Uber pricing, drivers no longer participate in the upside of demand-based pricing.

Under the new system, in place in 14 major markets, driver pay is no longer directly tied to how much passengers pay. Instead, Uber can increase fares based on factors like destination and time of day, but still only pay drivers based on mileage and time spent on individual rides.

All drivers must accept the new agreement by Monday to continue driving.

___

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2017-05-20 05:00:26 (10 comments; 10 reshares; 46 +1s; )Open 

Google's Top AI Folks in an Interesting Panel

This is a great panel discussion of what Google is up to on the AI front.

Be sure to listen to Feifei Li, talking about why machine vision is the killer app for AI. It's pretty compelling, and I think she's absolutely right. That's at minute 25:00

Also of interest is Fernanda Viégas's segment on the discovery of a kind of virtual language, or "interlingua", in the semantic space made possible from mapping sentences from multiple languages into a data visualization space. That's at minute 31:00.



Google's Top AI Folks in an Interesting Panel

This is a great panel discussion of what Google is up to on the AI front.

Be sure to listen to Feifei Li, talking about why machine vision is the killer app for AI. It's pretty compelling, and I think she's absolutely right. That's at minute 25:00

Also of interest is Fernanda Viégas's segment on the discovery of a kind of virtual language, or "interlingua", in the semantic space made possible from mapping sentences from multiple languages into a data visualization space. That's at minute 31:00.

___

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2017-05-19 15:13:13 (16 comments; 10 reshares; 58 +1s; )Open 

Passing on Human Values

This piece focuses on two different methods for passing on human values to artificial intelligence. The first is training, where that training may happen through intensive work with human trainers or through reading a wide range of human stories from books, television and movies. The second is embedding a kind of synthesized emotion, such as guilt.

On the teaching part, my first question was, "well, what about all those dark stories out there?"

There’s a certain poetic symmetry to the solution: from the Golem to Frankenstein’s monster and beyond, humans have always turned to stories when imagining the monstrous impact of their creations. Just as there are gloomy conclusions to these stories, there is also a worry that, if you feed the AI only dark plotlines, you could end up training it to be evil. “The only way to corrupt theAI wo... more »

Passing on Human Values

This piece focuses on two different methods for passing on human values to artificial intelligence. The first is training, where that training may happen through intensive work with human trainers or through reading a wide range of human stories from books, television and movies. The second is embedding a kind of synthesized emotion, such as guilt.

On the teaching part, my first question was, "well, what about all those dark stories out there?"

There’s a certain poetic symmetry to the solution: from the Golem to Frankenstein’s monster and beyond, humans have always turned to stories when imagining the monstrous impact of their creations. Just as there are gloomy conclusions to these stories, there is also a worry that, if you feed the AI only dark plotlines, you could end up training it to be evil. “The only way to corrupt the AI would be to limit the stories in which typical behaviour happens somehow,” says Riedl. “I could cherry-pick stories of antiheroes or ones in which bad guys all win all the time. But if the agent is forced to read all stories, it becomes very, very hard for any one individual to corrupt the AI.”
___

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2017-05-19 03:25:52 (4 comments; 5 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

+Clay Bavor, who heads up Google's Virtual and Augmented Realities published this piece yesterday in advance of the company's announcements today. In it, he frames the longer view on what he calls "immersive computing." It's a worthwhile read to help put this next paradigm in computing into perspective.

Google won't be building its own headsets (at least initially), but is instead partnering with Qualcomm, HTC, and Lenovo to release a reference design that will result in actual products. Here's Bavor talking about the new World Sense technology behind this work, which is key for meshing AR/VR with the physical world:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/google-virtual-reality-chief-clay-bavor-interview.html

Also, it's worth looking at how Google is partnering with artists to use its Tilt Brush to create new forms of artistic expression:... more »

+Clay Bavor, who heads up Google's Virtual and Augmented Realities published this piece yesterday in advance of the company's announcements today. In it, he frames the longer view on what he calls "immersive computing." It's a worthwhile read to help put this next paradigm in computing into perspective.

Google won't be building its own headsets (at least initially), but is instead partnering with Qualcomm, HTC, and Lenovo to release a reference design that will result in actual products. Here's Bavor talking about the new World Sense technology behind this work, which is key for meshing AR/VR with the physical world:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/google-virtual-reality-chief-clay-bavor-interview.html

Also, it's worth looking at how Google is partnering with artists to use its Tilt Brush to create new forms of artistic expression:
https://www.tiltbrush.com/air/
___

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2017-05-18 23:53:38 (7 comments; 6 reshares; 44 +1s; )Open 

Solar is Cheapest Energy in Some Part of World


In the last year, according to Naam, we’ve seen crossover in the solar power market. In the sunniest parts of the world, unsubsidized solar is becoming the cheapest form of energy.

In the US, natural gas is the cheapest energy at around five or six cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). A deal in Palo Alto, California late last fall was signed for 3.6 cents per kWh (5.1 cents removing subsidies, according to Naam). A deal signed in India was less than the price of coal there. No subsidies. In Chile, solar bids won a dozen auctions, one of which was the lowest we had yet seen at 2.9 cents a kWh.

“Now, that was not just the cheapest price for solar ever assigned, that was the cheapest unsubsidized contract for electricity of any sort on planet Earth with any technology ever in history,” Naam says.

That recordlaste... more »

Solar is Cheapest Energy in Some Part of World


In the last year, according to Naam, we’ve seen crossover in the solar power market. In the sunniest parts of the world, unsubsidized solar is becoming the cheapest form of energy.

In the US, natural gas is the cheapest energy at around five or six cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). A deal in Palo Alto, California late last fall was signed for 3.6 cents per kWh (5.1 cents removing subsidies, according to Naam). A deal signed in India was less than the price of coal there. No subsidies. In Chile, solar bids won a dozen auctions, one of which was the lowest we had yet seen at 2.9 cents a kWh.

“Now, that was not just the cheapest price for solar ever assigned, that was the cheapest unsubsidized contract for electricity of any sort on planet Earth with any technology ever in history,” Naam says.

That record lasted for about a month, when a deal in Dubai was signed for 2.4 cents a kWh—less than half US natural gas prices and lower than natural gas in the Middle East or Africa.

“And it wasn't just one company with an unusually aggressive bid,” Naam says. “There were four companies that came with bids of less than three cents in this auction.”

___

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2017-05-18 19:30:56 (15 comments; 6 reshares; 42 +1s; )Open 

The Origins of Consciousness Hacking

Here's Erik Davis talking about some of the origins of Consciousness Hacking in the 60's and 70's and bringing the scientific process into altered states of consciousness and the 'weird.'



The Origins of Consciousness Hacking

Here's Erik Davis talking about some of the origins of Consciousness Hacking in the 60's and 70's and bringing the scientific process into altered states of consciousness and the 'weird.'

___

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2017-05-18 14:52:02 (4 comments; 0 reshares; 24 +1s; )Open 

In light of Google's Lens announcement yesterday (see my last post), I thought it with sharing this piece on the role of labor in training chatbots and machine learning more generally. And the episode of Silicon Valley that it draws from is classic.

You could call the workers that perform these tasks AI trainers or data annotators, but those roles tend to inflate the importance of the work and downplay its grueling nature. Ultimately, what it comes down to is human beings stepping in when a chatbot or AI program needs assistance, or tirelessly reviewing an algorithm’s decision-making and cataloging its mistakes to ensure it improves over time. Think of it like a specific extension of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace, where human beings are regularly tasked with performing feats computers are not yet capable of doing for tiny fees.

A number of AI startups have popped up overthe... more »

#HBO’s #SiliconValley addresses the dark underbelly of #ArtificialIntelligence, The human labor behind a chatbot.

#AI #TechNews +HBO Watch___In light of Google's Lens announcement yesterday (see my last post), I thought it with sharing this piece on the role of labor in training chatbots and machine learning more generally. And the episode of Silicon Valley that it draws from is classic.

You could call the workers that perform these tasks AI trainers or data annotators, but those roles tend to inflate the importance of the work and downplay its grueling nature. Ultimately, what it comes down to is human beings stepping in when a chatbot or AI program needs assistance, or tirelessly reviewing an algorithm’s decision-making and cataloging its mistakes to ensure it improves over time. Think of it like a specific extension of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace, where human beings are regularly tasked with performing feats computers are not yet capable of doing for tiny fees.

A number of AI startups have popped up over the last few years, as the field has become one of the most sought-after technologies in the industry. Nearly every single one relies on human labor, often secured through short-term contract agreements, to make the reality of the service or software match both the lofty expectations of its creator and the confused expectations of users.

HT +Cara Bush

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2017-05-18 02:29:44 (9 comments; 11 reshares; 62 +1s; )Open 

Google is pushing Photos into some really exciting new directions with Lens, a kind of visual search engine.

Google is pushing Photos into some really exciting new directions with Lens, a kind of visual search engine.___

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2017-05-17 23:25:33 (5 comments; 4 reshares; 59 +1s; )Open 

Google's Machine Learning Cloud

Google announced new chips, optimized for machine learning, that it hopes will give its cloud services a leg up on Amazon and Microsoft.

Dubbed TPU 2.0 or the Cloud TPU, the new chip is a sequel to a custom-built processor that has helped drive Google’s own AI services, including its image recognition and machine translation tools, for more than two years. Unlike the original TPU, it can be used to train neural networks, not just run them once they’re trained. Also setting the new chip apart: it’s available through a dedicated cloud service.

Google's Machine Learning Cloud

Google announced new chips, optimized for machine learning, that it hopes will give its cloud services a leg up on Amazon and Microsoft.

Dubbed TPU 2.0 or the Cloud TPU, the new chip is a sequel to a custom-built processor that has helped drive Google’s own AI services, including its image recognition and machine translation tools, for more than two years. Unlike the original TPU, it can be used to train neural networks, not just run them once they’re trained. Also setting the new chip apart: it’s available through a dedicated cloud service.___

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2017-05-15 21:02:25 (10 comments; 5 reshares; 25 +1s; )Open 

The Community of Knowledge

"Ignorance and the Community of Knowledge" Presentation by Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences, Steven Sloman, PhD from Brown University at the University of Chicago Wisdom Research Forum on May 8, 2015.

Two key conclusions from his research:
* People often conflate the knowledge in other people's heads with the knowledge in their own.

* As long as information is accessible, it increases our sense of understanding.



The Community of Knowledge

"Ignorance and the Community of Knowledge" Presentation by Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences, Steven Sloman, PhD from Brown University at the University of Chicago Wisdom Research Forum on May 8, 2015.

Two key conclusions from his research:
* People often conflate the knowledge in other people's heads with the knowledge in their own.

* As long as information is accessible, it increases our sense of understanding.

___

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2017-05-15 13:19:02 (6 comments; 8 reshares; 30 +1s; )Open 

The Challenge of Automating Text Summarization

Salesforce is working on software to summarize text. They've made some progress.

An interesting excerpt on the challenges:

Kristian Hammond, a professor at Northwestern University, and the founder of Narrative Science, a company that generates narrative reports from raw data, says the Salesforce research is a good advance, but it also shows the limits of relying purely on statistical machine learning. “At some point, we have to admit that we need a little bit of semantics and a little bit of syntactic knowledge in these systems in order for them to be fluid and fluent,” says Hammond.

HT +Erik Jonker​.

Summarizing text
It's not at human level yet but algorithms are making great progress in summarizing text. In a time where information overload remains a problem this could bring benefits for people like me who want to read more articles in a day then is physically possible.___The Challenge of Automating Text Summarization

Salesforce is working on software to summarize text. They've made some progress.

An interesting excerpt on the challenges:

Kristian Hammond, a professor at Northwestern University, and the founder of Narrative Science, a company that generates narrative reports from raw data, says the Salesforce research is a good advance, but it also shows the limits of relying purely on statistical machine learning. “At some point, we have to admit that we need a little bit of semantics and a little bit of syntactic knowledge in these systems in order for them to be fluid and fluent,” says Hammond.

HT +Erik Jonker​.

posted image

2017-05-13 18:18:19 (88 comments; 34 reshares; 193 +1s; )Open 

DOJ-Appointed Special Prosecutor: It's Time. Now.

We are at a critical point in U.S. history, right now. This is no joke and it is not a reality TV show. This isn't some problem for other people to solve. It is a crisis that is rapidly on its way to a coverup, and if that happens, we could be setting the stage for a slide into a much darker form of government than anything we Americans have yet known.

We, the people, now need to apply to get to the truth.

Without an independent examination, there will forever be a cloud over the Trump Administration and its ties to Russia. This will impede our domestic politics and our relations with other countries. It needs to be resolved and it needs to be resolved in a credible, independent way.

This post is not aimed at convincing hardened Trump supporters, I will not debate you in this post and I will... more »

DOJ-Appointed Special Prosecutor: It's Time. Now.

We are at a critical point in U.S. history, right now. This is no joke and it is not a reality TV show. This isn't some problem for other people to solve. It is a crisis that is rapidly on its way to a coverup, and if that happens, we could be setting the stage for a slide into a much darker form of government than anything we Americans have yet known.

We, the people, now need to apply to get to the truth.

Without an independent examination, there will forever be a cloud over the Trump Administration and its ties to Russia. This will impede our domestic politics and our relations with other countries. It needs to be resolved and it needs to be resolved in a credible, independent way.

This post is not aimed at convincing hardened Trump supporters, I will not debate you in this post and I will ruthlessly delete and ban troll-like, uncivil behavior in comments.

No, this message is for people on the left and in the center, even for people who voted for Trump out of valid concerns over where this country is headed, but who are now starting to have doubts about Trump's behavior now that he is in office.

The attached link is from an activist organization, a Tea Party-like organization on the left, called Indivisible. Don't let that dissuade you from reading their analysis and recommendations. I think they are probably right.

Here's a short recap, but it's worth reading the full piece. I will be curious to hear from people who agree that something needs to be done about whether you concur with this strategy or see another path as more fruitful.

In recent weeks, Indivisible had been pushing for a congressionally-created independent commission. Before Comey’s firing, it seemed unthinkable that Trump would allow the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor. Things have changed. Whether you like James Comey or not, when he was in charge of the investigation, one could reasonably trust him to carry it out in a responsible and impartial manner. Now the key people that will be handling the investigation are all compromised. There should be no other option for the Department of Justice than to appoint a special prosecutor. The question is whether they will feel the necessary pressure to do it.

The hard truth is that Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell will not allow legislation on a commission or special prosecutor to move forward. For this reason, your team of former congressional staffers at Indivisible believes the best option is to use our leverage in the Senate to pressure the White House to appoint a special prosecutor. Just as public pressure forced Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor, we will now force Trump to do the same. This is where we have the most hope of success right now.

Demand that your two Senators stop the Senate from conducting business until a special prosecutor is appointed. Tell them to object on every motion and filibuster every piece of legislation. This will effectively slow the Senate to a crawl, making it difficult to carry on business as usual. For a refresher on withholding consent and filibustering, see our explainer.





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2017-05-12 22:10:24 (3 comments; 3 reshares; 22 +1s; )Open 

Where Amazon is Going with Echo

In Amazon’s future, its technology products are merely a means to an end: increased commerce. Be it drones, reading devices, voice cylinders, video intercoms, autonomous vehicles, its line of AmazonBasics electronics, or obsoleting the checkout process—these innovations aren’t designed to create more intimacy with its customers… they’re designed to decrease the time between the moment demand appears and how fast supply can respond. Amazon won’t stop until the entire supply chain has been absorbed and internalized.

The outcome of this battle may well bring about the end of the concept of the personal computer, at least as we’ve known it for the last 20 years.

In its place, we will start to live in a “field of computing”, where, yes, we may have certain digital accomplices that stowaway on our bodies and are used tonotify and identi... more »

Where Amazon is Going with Echo

In Amazon’s future, its technology products are merely a means to an end: increased commerce. Be it drones, reading devices, voice cylinders, video intercoms, autonomous vehicles, its line of AmazonBasics electronics, or obsoleting the checkout process—these innovations aren’t designed to create more intimacy with its customers… they’re designed to decrease the time between the moment demand appears and how fast supply can respond. Amazon won’t stop until the entire supply chain has been absorbed and internalized.

The outcome of this battle may well bring about the end of the concept of the personal computer, at least as we’ve known it for the last 20 years.

In its place, we will start to live in a “field of computing”, where, yes, we may have certain digital accomplices that stowaway on our bodies and are used to notify and identify us, but the nose-to-the-phone model of personal computing may already be on its way out.

___

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2017-05-11 03:58:43 (17 comments; 4 reshares; 42 +1s; )Open 

"A Society Worthy to Survive"

Natural history writer, Loren Eiseley, on the growth of humanity:

Looking so, across the centuries and the millennia, toward the animal men of the past, one can see a faint light, like a patch of sunlight moving over the dark shadows on a forest floor. It shifts and widens, it winks out, it comes again, but it persists. It is the human spirit, the human soul, however transient, however faulty men may claim it to be. In its coming man had no part. It merely came, that curious light, and man, the animal, sought to be something that no animal had been before. Cruel he might be, vengeful he might be, but there had entered into his nature a curious wistful gentleness and courage. It seemed to have little to do with survival, for such men died over and over. They did not value life compared to what they saw in themselves — that strange innerl... more »

"A Society Worthy to Survive"

Natural history writer, Loren Eiseley, on the growth of humanity:

Looking so, across the centuries and the millennia, toward the animal men of the past, one can see a faint light, like a patch of sunlight moving over the dark shadows on a forest floor. It shifts and widens, it winks out, it comes again, but it persists. It is the human spirit, the human soul, however transient, however faulty men may claim it to be. In its coming man had no part. It merely came, that curious light, and man, the animal, sought to be something that no animal had been before. Cruel he might be, vengeful he might be, but there had entered into his nature a curious wistful gentleness and courage. It seemed to have little to do with survival, for such men died over and over. They did not value life compared to what they saw in themselves — that strange inner light which has come from no man knows where, and which was not made by us. It has followed us all the way from the age of ice, from the dark borders of the ancient forest into which our footprints vanish… Man may grow until he towers to the skies, but without this light he is nothing, and his place is nothing. Even as we try to deny the light, we know that it has made us, and what we are without it remains meaningless.


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2017-05-11 03:15:00 (59 comments; 2 reshares; 32 +1s; )Open 

Fascinating Look at the Comey Debacle

Ignoring, just for the moment, the danger that Comey's firing represents, just look at how poorly managed this effort was. Amateur hour at the White House. Is this the way that The Trump Organization has been run all these years? 

Fascinating Look at the Comey Debacle

Ignoring, just for the moment, the danger that Comey's firing represents, just look at how poorly managed this effort was. Amateur hour at the White House. Is this the way that The Trump Organization has been run all these years? ___

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2017-05-09 22:58:57 (91 comments; 3 reshares; 64 +1s; )Open 

Um, should we be worried about this? I mean, really worried? Because I'm starting to think maybe we should be...

Um, should we be worried about this? I mean, really worried? Because I'm starting to think maybe we should be...___

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2017-05-09 02:51:58 (6 comments; 4 reshares; 35 +1s; )Open 

Good opinion piece on Net Neutrality. I feel like there needs to be some cost allocated to the Comcasts, Verizons and ATTs of the world for continuing to bog down our political system and force citizens to have to remain vigilant to their stupid shenanigans on this front. I'm just getting sooo sick of their relentless, professional pressure on our political system, as they attempt to exert more and more monopoly power over our economy.

I'd drop them, but who would I get Internet access from?

And that's part of the problem. 

Good opinion piece on Net Neutrality. I feel like there needs to be some cost allocated to the Comcasts, Verizons and ATTs of the world for continuing to bog down our political system and force citizens to have to remain vigilant to their stupid shenanigans on this front. I'm just getting sooo sick of their relentless, professional pressure on our political system, as they attempt to exert more and more monopoly power over our economy.

I'd drop them, but who would I get Internet access from?

And that's part of the problem. ___

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2017-05-09 01:26:22 (6 comments; 2 reshares; 44 +1s; )Open 

Tool-Making and Mental Capacity Pushed Back to 1.8 Million Years Ago?

This is interesting research. I can't quite put my finger on what's bothering me about the logic behind the conclusions, but it's something like: "just because modern brains light up a certain way when faced with an ancient puzzle, doesn't necessarily mean that that's how much older hominid brains lit up."

Still, this is pretty interesting research, and maybe it does.

“The fact that these more advanced forms of cognition were required to create Acheulean hand axes — but not simpler Oldowan tools — means the date for this more humanlike type of cognition can be pushed back to at least 1.8 million years ago, the earliest these tools are found in the archaeological record,” Putt said. “Strikingly, these parts of the brain are the same areas engaged in modernactivitie... more »

Humanlike Ways of Thinking Evolved 1.8 Million Years Ago

By using highly advanced brain imaging technology to observe modern humans crafting ancient tools, an Indiana University neuroarchaeologist has found evidence that human-like ways of thinking may have emerged as early as 1.8 million years ago.

The research is in Nature Human Behavior. (full access paywall)___Tool-Making and Mental Capacity Pushed Back to 1.8 Million Years Ago?

This is interesting research. I can't quite put my finger on what's bothering me about the logic behind the conclusions, but it's something like: "just because modern brains light up a certain way when faced with an ancient puzzle, doesn't necessarily mean that that's how much older hominid brains lit up."

Still, this is pretty interesting research, and maybe it does.

“The fact that these more advanced forms of cognition were required to create Acheulean hand axes — but not simpler Oldowan tools — means the date for this more humanlike type of cognition can be pushed back to at least 1.8 million years ago, the earliest these tools are found in the archaeological record,” Putt said. “Strikingly, these parts of the brain are the same areas engaged in modern activities like playing the piano.”

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2017-05-08 15:21:11 (21 comments; 43 reshares; 82 +1s; )Open 

Net Neutrality Under Threat Again

Let me keep this simple. The new FCC chair, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, is on record as wanting to do away with Net Neutrality and is now pushing changes that would undermine the resolution on this that secured Net Neutrality a few years ago.

Why, why do we have to keep fighting this, wasting all our time fighting policies that clearly only benefit a few very large companies and the expense of US citizens??

But I digress. Here is a simple link that John Oliver made to take your right to the cleverly hidden comments section on these proposed changes on the FCC website:

*****************
gofccyourself.com
*****************

And because even that takes you to something that is confusing on the FCC site, I've included a graphic to show you where to click to add your comment (see below).
... more »

Net Neutrality Under Threat Again

Let me keep this simple. The new FCC chair, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, is on record as wanting to do away with Net Neutrality and is now pushing changes that would undermine the resolution on this that secured Net Neutrality a few years ago.

Why, why do we have to keep fighting this, wasting all our time fighting policies that clearly only benefit a few very large companies and the expense of US citizens??

But I digress. Here is a simple link that John Oliver made to take your right to the cleverly hidden comments section on these proposed changes on the FCC website:

*****************
gofccyourself.com
*****************

And because even that takes you to something that is confusing on the FCC site, I've included a graphic to show you where to click to add your comment (see below).

And if you want to watch John Oliver's brilliant take down of these stupid, greedy changes, here you go:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=92vuuZt7wak

And here's the TechCrunch take:
https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/27/how-to-comment-on-the-fccs-proposal-to-revoke-net-neutrality/

Yes, I feel strongly about this. And if you use the Internet, you probably should too.

P.S. -- If you know this stuff well, feel free to weigh in with detailed analysis. But if you don't, don't let that stop you from still raising your concerns. Don't let technocracy win through obscurity. ___

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2017-05-08 04:18:48 (5 comments; 6 reshares; 46 +1s; )Open 


Energy and Life

I've heard much of this before, but it is the frame of thinking of Earth's stages of Life in terms of different types of energy consumption that is so interesting here.

The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire. The first two were present at the start, but oxygen, flesh and fire are all consequences of evolutionary events.

A few interesting excerpts:
For the purposes of this Perspective, however, one feature of eukaryotes is particularly important. This is the ability to engage in phagocytosis—the engulfment of particles and, sometimes, other life forms. The wholesale engulfment of other beings appears to be a eukaryotic invention,and it ... more »

The energy expansions of evolution

The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire. The first two were present at the start, but oxygen, flesh and fire are all consequences of evolutionary events. Since no category of energy source has disappeared, this has, over time, resulted in an expanding realm of the sources of energy available to living organisms and a concomitant increase in the diversity and complexity of ecosystems. These energy expansions have also mediated the transformation of key aspects of the planetary environment, which have in turn mediated the future course of evolutionary change. Using energy as a lens thus illuminates patterns in the entwined histories of life and Earth, and may also provide a framework for considering the potential trajectories of life–planet systems elsewhere.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0138

___
Energy and Life

I've heard much of this before, but it is the frame of thinking of Earth's stages of Life in terms of different types of energy consumption that is so interesting here.

The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire. The first two were present at the start, but oxygen, flesh and fire are all consequences of evolutionary events.

A few interesting excerpts:
For the purposes of this Perspective, however, one feature of eukaryotes is particularly important. This is the ability to engage in phagocytosis—the engulfment of particles and, sometimes, other life forms. The wholesale engulfment of other beings appears to be a eukaryotic invention, and it whets the appetite for...Energy epoch four: flesh

...
Today, animals influence diversity at all levels of an ecosystem, with grazers such as slugs96 or zooplankton97 maintaining the diversity of plants or phytoplankton, and carnivores such as wolves98 maintaining the diversity of plants through their predation on herbivores. This kind of ecology—complex food webs with many types of eaters—was absent from Earth until around 550 Ma, when the first animals that eat animals evolved. Their appearance seems to have triggered the rapid diversification of animal life sometimes referred to as the Cambrian Explosion.

...
Of all the planets and moons in the Solar System, Earth is the only one to have fire. This is because, to have fire, all of three conditions must be met. (1) Fire needs a source of ignition—such as lightning strikes...Fire needs oxygen...Fire needs fuel. So it is not until the evolution of vascular plants on land, around 420 Ma, that all three conditions were met.

In addition to fire being used for cooking, it has other far-reaching, and more recent, applications:

The second phase of fire as an energy source is even more recent—but the onset is nonetheless difficult to pinpoint. Does it start with the use of fire to manufacture labour-saving tools? With the smelting of iron, something otherwise energetically impossible? With the burning of fossil fuels such as coal to generate heat and light? With the invention of the internal combustion engine? Or with the discovery of the Haber–Bosch process for fixing nitrogen—which, in 1925, Alfred Lotka described as the start of “a new cosmic epoch”? Perhaps these last three are the most important contenders, as together, they have transformed the planet. In particular, the human input of energy to manufacture and deliver an otherwise limiting nutrient has produced far higher crop yields, enormously larger human populations, and gigantic populations of human-associated animals such as pigs, cows, horses and chickens. Erisman and colleagues estimate that between 1908 and 2008, industrially produced nitrogen fertilizer supported an additional four billion people and that by 2008, nitrogen fertilizers were responsible for feeding 48% of the human population. Meanwhile, Pimm and colleagues judge that extinction rates are now 1,000 times greater than the typical background rate. In sum, in this epoch of fire, total biomass has remained high, but biodiversity has begun to fall.

...
From this point of view, the familiar observation that Earthly life is powered by the sun takes on a more nuanced aspect: the modern biosphere is powered not merely by sunshine but by the oxygen that results from using sunshine in a particular way.

This Perspective further suggests that, through the harnessing of fire as a source of energy, Earth has now arrived at a new inflection point. Considering life–Earth history through the lens of energy expansions supports the view that the Anthropocene is a genuinely novel phase of the planet's geological and biological development—a conclusion independently reached by Lenton and colleagues. The technology of fire may also, perhaps, mark an inflection point for the Solar System and beyond. Spacecraft from Earth may, intentionally or not, take Earthly life to other celestial objects (though whether any Earthly life forms can thrive elsewhere remains unknown).

Thanks to +Vladimir Pecha for this one. Also, +Edward Morbius, this sounds like something you'd like (and something you've said yourself).



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2017-05-07 19:10:10 (4 comments; 2 reshares; 23 +1s; )Open 

This deep dive into chemistry is not complete without following the links, which as usual with +David Amerland's Sunday Read.

David is an excellent guide in these weekly tours of one topic after another.

Affinity

Chemistry, for me, has always been a doorway into a magical world. Particularly given the fact that organic and applied chemistry (the domains that drew me into the most during my Chemical Engineering days) were given birth in the idle dream of one man while, if his account is truly to be believed, dozing on the upper decks of a horse-drawn, London omnibus.

August Kekulé (https://goo.gl/e2f4Ut), single-handedly, opened the doorway into understanding some of nature’s innermost secrets, giving us insights in what everything is made up of: https://goo.gl/cjCL58.

The importance of Chemistry is not to be underestimated, particularly when even events as seemingly cut-and-dry as the Hinderberg disaster are still open to re-interpretation the moment a better understanding of chemistry (and a single element) enters the picture: https://goo.gl/l2aZsw.

Because everything is made up of chemicals of one type or another, chemistry allows the easy transfer of knowledge from one situation to another where the specific chemical structures studied are present such as a one hundred and fifty years old photograph and a modern oil pipeline: https://goo.gl/YOriV6.

What is even more fascinating is that chemistry existed, as a discipline, long before it existed as a science. Its ancestor, Alchemy (https://goo.gl/DuLcrW) blended a unique mix of experiment and philosophy, belief and faith into a potent whole that for a while promised to solve almost every ill mankind faced: https://goo.gl/zpAoOo.

The search for the Philosopher’s Stone (https://goo.gl/mZscY0) powered a generation of pioneers who delved into the chemical world that surround us in search of secrets that would change everything. Amongst the names of those who joined the hunt were luminaries such as physicist Isaac Newton (https://goo.gl/OhD8Yx) whose own approach to science included a liberal dose of alchemy.

When studying I was absorbed, at one stage, by a course labelled “the philosophy of chemistry” (https://goo.gl/z8fgUs). It drove home to me back then, that we cannot do anything without basing it on some fundamental assumptions that reveal some of our innermost beliefs and what we believe always plays a role in the actions we take and the assumptions we make, regardless of how logical or unbiased we claim to be.

For some of the practical applications of Chemistry this brief TED-style introduction to the subject is quite revealing (https://goo.gl/QYlJ07).

In true alchemical style, chemistry affects so much of our lives that something as seemingly innocuous as oil has the ability to change the political landscape, shape countries and define systems of governance: https://goo.gl/kqLQtU.

Because life itself sprung from a chemical mix (the so-called primordial soup - https://goo.gl/5a6qFI) we cannot ever escape our chemistry. We are a complex composition of seemingly simple compounds (https://goo.gl/8RWvBI), held together by the affinity (https://goo.gl/IwNxfO) they display for each other.

What few of us realize is that we are all chemists whether we know it or not. Cooking (https://goo.gl/igA0hv) is all about chemistry and it can easily be viewed as alchemy: https://goo.gl/CKvjdF. That’s an approach that some people take very seriously as they search for the perfect French fry or the best way to brown meat: https://goo.gl/FCuYvJ.

There is a secret at the heart of chemistry and it is this: Chemistry is all about the transfer of heat (https://goo.gl/FCuYvJ). There is no chemical process that can take place at absolute zero (https://goo.gl/rgt7be). This then makes chemistry part of physics and biology. Part of neuroscience (https://goo.gl/ZDm9y) and mathematics: https://goo.gl/tp8GOA.

When something is as vital and fundamental as that that it is woven into practically everything, including Quantum Mechanics (https://goo.gl/1JKOvC) we then understand that what we know about it and what we think has the ability to change how we view the world and ourselves.

To make the point consider that chemistry plays a role in the cookies (https://goo.gl/ghq7oF) you should have with you today. It affects the rivers of coffee (https://goo.gl/XySRoR) that power your deeper thinking. It powers the cake (https://goo.gl/JFZbNx) that should be at hand. And it transforms coffee and donuts into the breakfast of champions (https://goo.gl/wH6yF9). Secretly, we’ve known all this forever, intuitively. Have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are. ___This deep dive into chemistry is not complete without following the links, which as usual with +David Amerland's Sunday Read.

David is an excellent guide in these weekly tours of one topic after another.

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2017-05-07 15:34:31 (6 comments; 1 reshares; 43 +1s; )Open 

Meditation.

Meditation.___

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2017-05-07 01:43:42 (13 comments; 12 reshares; 53 +1s; )Open 

Research on Psychedelics and the Mind

Researchers in the UK are looking into the effects of psychedelics on the human brain.

In a very general sense psychedelics appear to disrupt brain networks used in high-level functioning, reverting to a more primitive, child-like state. But that description belies how useful disruption can be in certain situations. In some people, thinking patterns and the brain networks that govern them can become so rigid and inflexible that they reinforce an overwhelmingly pessimistic view of the world and all the sensory information in it, causing debilitating depression. Psychedelic treatment seems to break that pattern. Similarly, with their inherent disruptive capacity, psychedelics can also unlock a larger range of possible brain configurations leading to ‘mind expansion’ and seemingly spontaneous insights and creative thinking.



Research on Psychedelics and the Mind

Researchers in the UK are looking into the effects of psychedelics on the human brain.

In a very general sense psychedelics appear to disrupt brain networks used in high-level functioning, reverting to a more primitive, child-like state. But that description belies how useful disruption can be in certain situations. In some people, thinking patterns and the brain networks that govern them can become so rigid and inflexible that they reinforce an overwhelmingly pessimistic view of the world and all the sensory information in it, causing debilitating depression. Psychedelic treatment seems to break that pattern. Similarly, with their inherent disruptive capacity, psychedelics can also unlock a larger range of possible brain configurations leading to ‘mind expansion’ and seemingly spontaneous insights and creative thinking.

___

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2017-05-06 00:16:10 (8 comments; 5 reshares; 41 +1s; )Open 

Understanding China's Internet Giants

I used to live in China in the eighties, and back then its industries were woefully behind the US companies that I represented there. I mean, not even close in terms of level of sophistication.

We all hear about the incredible growth that China's economy has experienced over the last several decades, but if you're like me, you may not have tuned into the dynamics of individual Chinese firms, and nowhere are those dynamics more...dynamic than in the rivalry amongst Chinese internet companies.

This is a great overview of the BAT rivalry -- Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent -- I found it very interesting. 

Understanding China's Internet Giants

I used to live in China in the eighties, and back then its industries were woefully behind the US companies that I represented there. I mean, not even close in terms of level of sophistication.

We all hear about the incredible growth that China's economy has experienced over the last several decades, but if you're like me, you may not have tuned into the dynamics of individual Chinese firms, and nowhere are those dynamics more...dynamic than in the rivalry amongst Chinese internet companies.

This is a great overview of the BAT rivalry -- Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent -- I found it very interesting. ___

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2017-05-05 22:59:11 (47 comments; 2 reshares; 21 +1s; )Open 

The Dissolving Power of Art

"That collapse of the distance between the self, and in this case the object, is what we call 'Beauty'."

Love is the equivalent experience with people and animals. With objects, we call it Beauty.

"Our art must give us a taste of Nature's Eternity."


+Susanne Ramharter, +Giselle Minoli, +Zara Altair, +Gina Fiedel and +Teodora Petkova you may like this.

___The Dissolving Power of Art

"That collapse of the distance between the self, and in this case the object, is what we call 'Beauty'."

Love is the equivalent experience with people and animals. With objects, we call it Beauty.

"Our art must give us a taste of Nature's Eternity."


+Susanne Ramharter, +Giselle Minoli, +Zara Altair, +Gina Fiedel and +Teodora Petkova you may like this.

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2017-05-05 01:00:44 (14 comments; 15 reshares; 73 +1s; )Open 

A few excerpts:

“We don’t just passively perceive the world; we actively generate it,” Seth says. “The world we experience comes as much from the inside-out as the outside-in.”

In fact, we’re all hallucinating all the time. “It’s just that when we agree about our hallucinations, that’s what we call ‘reality.’”

And this, the conclusions:
First, just as we can misperceive the world, we can misperceive ourselves, when the predictive mechanisms of perception go wrong. This opens new opportunities for diagnosing and treating disorders of self-perception in psychiatry and neurology, as we can finally get at the mechanisms rather than just treating the symptoms.

Second, what it means to be me cannot be reduced to — or uploaded to — a software program running on an advanced robot, however sophisticated. We are biological animals, whoseexperiences are shaped by a... more »

"So what are the properties of being conscious?

Seth thinks about consciousness in two different ways: first, experiences of the world around us — sights, sounds, smells — and second, the conscious self, or the specific experience of being you, or being me."

http://blog.ted.com/how-does-consciousness-happen-anil-seth-speaks-at-ted2017/___A few excerpts:

“We don’t just passively perceive the world; we actively generate it,” Seth says. “The world we experience comes as much from the inside-out as the outside-in.”

In fact, we’re all hallucinating all the time. “It’s just that when we agree about our hallucinations, that’s what we call ‘reality.’”

And this, the conclusions:
First, just as we can misperceive the world, we can misperceive ourselves, when the predictive mechanisms of perception go wrong. This opens new opportunities for diagnosing and treating disorders of self-perception in psychiatry and neurology, as we can finally get at the mechanisms rather than just treating the symptoms.

Second, what it means to be me cannot be reduced to — or uploaded to — a software program running on an advanced robot, however sophisticated. We are biological animals, whose experiences are shaped by a fundamental drive to stay alive. Making computers smarter is not going to make them sentient.

Finally, our individual inner universe is just one way of being conscious, and even human consciousness generally is a tiny region in a vast space of possible consciousnesses.

“We are part of, not apart from, the rest of nature,” Seth concludes. “And when the end of consciousness comes, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing at all.”

Looking forward to listening to this talk once it's published.

Nice catch, +Kenny Chaffin.



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2017-05-03 19:42:17 (5 comments; 8 reshares; 46 +1s; )Open 

Here's a lovely approach to trolling that will get you out into nature...

HT +Andrew Pam

Giant wooden sculptures made from reclaimed material hidden around the forests of Denmark
#CuriousMarvels #art #sculpture

Danish artist Thomas Dambo has been creating enormous sculptures from recycled materials for the last three years.

Six new sculptures of "friendly giants" have gone up around Copenhagen as a way to encourage people to visit the offbeat areas of his hometown.

The giant sculptures are a group effort, with local volunteers helping Dambo assemble the works. Made from 600 wood pallets, a shed, and an old fence, the scavenged wood comes together to produce incredible hidden giants. Each is named after a volunteer and can be found using a map Dambo prepared or a poem engraved into stones near the sculptures. “It invites the viewers to go on a treasure hunt, not only to see the sculptures, but also to discover hidden gems in nature,”___Here's a lovely approach to trolling that will get you out into nature...

HT +Andrew Pam

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2017-05-02 02:21:56 (11 comments; 9 reshares; 48 +1s; )Open 

Reassessing the Luddites

Things did not end well for the Luddites. The group of weavers and textile artisans in early 1800s were crushed by the British government after resisting the destruction of their livelihoods by industrialization. History, in one of its callous twists, recast their story from a workers’ revolt for fair treatment to a short-sighted war against technology and progress.

The truth is that the Luddites were the skilled, middle-class workers of their time. After centuries on more-or-less good terms with merchants who sold their goods, their lives were upended by machines replacing them with low-skilled, low-wage laborers in dismal factories. To ease the transition, the Luddites sought to negotiate conditions similar to those underlying capitalist democracies today: taxes to fund workers’ pensions, a minimum wage, and adherence to minimum labor standards.<... more »

Reassessing the Luddites

Things did not end well for the Luddites. The group of weavers and textile artisans in early 1800s were crushed by the British government after resisting the destruction of their livelihoods by industrialization. History, in one of its callous twists, recast their story from a workers’ revolt for fair treatment to a short-sighted war against technology and progress.

The truth is that the Luddites were the skilled, middle-class workers of their time. After centuries on more-or-less good terms with merchants who sold their goods, their lives were upended by machines replacing them with low-skilled, low-wage laborers in dismal factories. To ease the transition, the Luddites sought to negotiate conditions similar to those underlying capitalist democracies today: taxes to fund workers’ pensions, a minimum wage, and adherence to minimum labor standards.


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2017-04-30 00:19:01 (54 comments; 16 reshares; 114 +1s; )Open 

Automating the Scientific Method

As science expands, the relative percentage of what is known that one scientist can retain in her or his head is diminishing. This is exacerbated by the growing specialization that our modern scientific establishment encourages.

In short, it is getting harder and harder for scientists to keep up with the rapidly expanding knowledge of the scientific community as a whole.

This begs the question, are there ways for artificial intelligence to assist with this process?

Francis Bacon (pictured), whose work Novum Organum was a progenitor of the modern scientific method, described his "new method" of induction as like a machine. This suggests that it is inherently algorithmic, and thus amenable to automation. The article talks about some possibilities here.

What interested me the most was its brief... more »

Automating the Scientific Method

As science expands, the relative percentage of what is known that one scientist can retain in her or his head is diminishing. This is exacerbated by the growing specialization that our modern scientific establishment encourages.

In short, it is getting harder and harder for scientists to keep up with the rapidly expanding knowledge of the scientific community as a whole.

This begs the question, are there ways for artificial intelligence to assist with this process?

Francis Bacon (pictured), whose work Novum Organum was a progenitor of the modern scientific method, described his "new method" of induction as like a machine. This suggests that it is inherently algorithmic, and thus amenable to automation. The article talks about some possibilities here.

What interested me the most was its brief discussion of the work of Don Swanson in literature-based discovery (https://goo.gl/0GWVKH), which is essentially ways for navigating through existing scientific publications to connect scientific findings together in novel ways. Think of it as a kind of crawling of a massive scientific knowledge graph and making new linkages as a way to create new hypotheses. Hypotheses which might then be tested through automated experiments. Pretty cool, huh?

Need a reminder of the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning? Here's a quick video: https://goo.gl/69h10N

A special thanks to +Darius Gabriel Black for flagging this one for me. If you don't know him already, Darius frequently comes up with interesting stuff.
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2017-04-28 18:31:06 (16 comments; 11 reshares; 75 +1s; )Open 

A List of Google+ Topics

Well, now that Topics has released, some of you may be wondering what topics are available. Luckily, +CircleCount is hard at work gathering all that they can find into one place:
http://www.circlecount.com/topics/

Thanks to +Jaana Nyström for the tip.

#topics


A List of Google+ Topics

Well, now that Topics has released, some of you may be wondering what topics are available. Luckily, +CircleCount is hard at work gathering all that they can find into one place:
http://www.circlecount.com/topics/

Thanks to +Jaana Nyström for the tip.

#topics
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2017-04-28 17:30:04 (11 comments; 4 reshares; 63 +1s; )Open 

When people don't believe you, even when you tell them over and over that you're telling the truth. The hilarity of our technology-mediated work.

HT +Chris Harpner.

Mostly, life hands you stale bread.
Sometimes it hands you turkey and milk.
Alt. Title: "I did something stupid and blame YOU!"___When people don't believe you, even when you tell them over and over that you're telling the truth. The hilarity of our technology-mediated work.

HT +Chris Harpner.

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2017-04-27 21:38:55 (76 comments; 15 reshares; 84 +1s; )Open 

Topics Rolled Out Officially on Google+

Another way to aggregate content on Google+ is now official. It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds over time. Depending on where it goes, it could be pretty interesting.


HT +Selina Kyle.

Love anime? Obsessed with street art? Can’t get enough nature photography? Now it’s even easier to get way into what you’re into with Topics.___Topics Rolled Out Officially on Google+

Another way to aggregate content on Google+ is now official. It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds over time. Depending on where it goes, it could be pretty interesting.


HT +Selina Kyle.

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2017-04-27 16:23:19 (10 comments; 2 reshares; 68 +1s; )Open 

Life is a tree: a Tree of Life.

Our new, radial, view of it is simply looking down from the top, rather than from our branch.


Life is a tree: a Tree of Life.

Our new, radial, view of it is simply looking down from the top, rather than from our branch.
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2017-04-27 01:12:58 (38 comments; 34 reshares; 154 +1s; )Open 

Artificial Super Intelligence? Not So Fast. What Do you Mean?

If I had to distill the point that +Kevin Kelly is making in this piece into one sentence, it would: The problem with "super intelligent AI” is that there isn't actually just one form of intelligence.

His argument against the myth of a "Superhuman AI" is more complex than this, of course. He frames it in terms of five heresies:

1) Intelligence is not a single dimension, so “smarter than humans” is a meaningless concept.

2) Humans do not have general purpose minds, and neither will AIs.

3) Emulation of human thinking in other media will be constrained by cost.

4) Dimensions of intelligence are not infinite.

5) Intelligences are only one factor in progress.


Some highlights (as I am so apt to provide in my posts):
A m... more »

Artificial Super Intelligence? Not So Fast. What Do you Mean?

If I had to distill the point that +Kevin Kelly is making in this piece into one sentence, it would: The problem with "super intelligent AI” is that there isn't actually just one form of intelligence.

His argument against the myth of a "Superhuman AI" is more complex than this, of course. He frames it in terms of five heresies:

1) Intelligence is not a single dimension, so “smarter than humans” is a meaningless concept.

2) Humans do not have general purpose minds, and neither will AIs.

3) Emulation of human thinking in other media will be constrained by cost.

4) Dimensions of intelligence are not infinite.

5) Intelligences are only one factor in progress.


Some highlights (as I am so apt to provide in my posts):

A more accurate chart of the natural evolution of species is a disk radiating outward, like this one (above) first devised by David Hillis at the University of Texas and based on DNA. This deep genealogy mandala begins in the middle with the most primeval life forms, and then branches outward in time. Time moves outward so that the most recent species of life living on the planet today form the perimeter of the circumference of this circle. This picture emphasizes a fundamental fact of evolution that is hard to appreciate: Every species alive today is equally evolved. Humans exist on this outer ring alongside cockroaches, clams, ferns, foxes, and bacteria. Every one of these species has undergone an unbroken chain of three billion years of successful reproduction, which means that bacteria and cockroaches today are as highly evolved as humans. There is no ladder.

...
I will extend that further to claim that the only way to get a very human-like thought process is to run the computation on very human-like wet tissue. That also means that very big, complex artificial intelligences run on dry silicon will produce big, complex, unhuman-like minds. If it would be possible to build artificial wet brains using human-like grown neurons, my prediction is that their thought will be more similar to ours. The benefits of such a wet brain are proportional to how similar we make the substrate. The costs of creating wetware is huge and the closer that tissue is to human brain tissue, the more cost-efficient it is to just make a human. After all, making a human is something we can do in nine months.

And my favorite quote in the piece:

Therefore when we imagine an “intelligence explosion,” we should imagine it not as a cascading boom but rather as a scattering exfoliation of new varieties. A Cambrian explosion rather than a nuclear explosion. The results of accelerating technology will most likely not be super-human, but extra-human. Outside of our experience, but not necessarily “above” it.

And finally, a little myth to close things out:
I understand the beautiful attraction of a superhuman AI god. It’s like a new Superman. But like Superman, it is a mythical figure. Somewhere in the universe a Superman might exist, but he is very unlikely. However myths can be useful, and once invented they won’t go away. The idea of a Superman will never die. The idea of a superhuman AI Singularity, now that it has been birthed, will never go away either. But we should recognize that it is a religious idea at this moment and not a scientific one. If we inspect the evidence we have so far about intelligence, artificial and natural, we can only conclude that our speculations about a mythical superhuman AI god are just that: myths.

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2017-04-26 23:15:43 (15 comments; 1 reshares; 40 +1s; )Open 

Karma is a conversation.

With Life.

Karma is a conversation.

With Life.___

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2017-04-26 20:41:49 (33 comments; 2 reshares; 26 +1s; )Open 

Location, Culture and Media Bias

This is a really interesting piece that looks at where journalists live and work as a way to understanding media leanings. With the rise of the Internet as the primary way people get their news, journalists increasingly live on the coasts.

Resist—if you can—the conservative reflex to absorb this data and conclude that the media deliberately twists the news in favor of Democrats. Instead, take it the way a social scientist would take it: The people who report, edit, produce and publish news can’t help being affected—deeply affected—by the environment around them. Former New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent got at this when he analyzed the decidedly liberal bent of his newspaper’s staff in a 2004 column that rewards rereading today. The “heart, mind, and habits” of the Times, he wrote, cannot be divorced from the ethos of thecosmopolitan ci... more »

Location, Culture and Media Bias

This is a really interesting piece that looks at where journalists live and work as a way to understanding media leanings. With the rise of the Internet as the primary way people get their news, journalists increasingly live on the coasts.

Resist—if you can—the conservative reflex to absorb this data and conclude that the media deliberately twists the news in favor of Democrats. Instead, take it the way a social scientist would take it: The people who report, edit, produce and publish news can’t help being affected—deeply affected—by the environment around them. Former New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent got at this when he analyzed the decidedly liberal bent of his newspaper’s staff in a 2004 column that rewards rereading today. The “heart, mind, and habits” of the Times, he wrote, cannot be divorced from the ethos of the cosmopolitan city where it is produced. On such subjects as abortion, gay rights, gun control and environmental regulation, the Times’ news reporting is a pretty good reflection of its region’s dominant predisposition. And yes, a Times-ian ethos flourishes in all of internet publishing’s major cities—Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington. The Times thinks of itself as a centrist national newspaper, but it’s more accurate to say its politics are perfectly centered on the slices of America that look and think the most like Manhattan.


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2017-04-26 04:05:08 (19 comments; 15 reshares; 183 +1s; )Open 

Brain-Computer Interface and Elon Musk's Neuralink Venture

Tim Urban truly is one of those writers who is a joy to read. Here, he explains what Elon Musk is aiming to do with his brain-machine interface (BMI) venture, Neuralink, and does so with some really deep background into the human brain.

This article will take a little while to get through (I mean, this thing is a small book), but it is completely worth it. The illustrative capacity of Urban's prose is captivating. I learned a ton about brains and the technology for conversing with them simply by reading this piece.

Phew, I better stop selling, and just let you read a few samples that I found particularly intriguing. But then, I've included so much that you might as well just read the article:

Computers can compute and organize and run complex software—software that can even learn oni... more »

Brain-Computer Interface and Elon Musk's Neuralink Venture

Tim Urban truly is one of those writers who is a joy to read. Here, he explains what Elon Musk is aiming to do with his brain-machine interface (BMI) venture, Neuralink, and does so with some really deep background into the human brain.

This article will take a little while to get through (I mean, this thing is a small book), but it is completely worth it. The illustrative capacity of Urban's prose is captivating. I learned a ton about brains and the technology for conversing with them simply by reading this piece.

Phew, I better stop selling, and just let you read a few samples that I found particularly intriguing. But then, I've included so much that you might as well just read the article:

Computers can compute and organize and run complex software—software that can even learn on its own. But they can’t think in the way humans can. The Human Colossus knows that everything it’s built has originated with its ability to reason creatively and independently—and it knows that the ultimate brain extension tool would be one that can really, actually, legitimately think. It has no idea what it will be like when the Computer Colossus can think for itself—when it one day opens its eyes and becomes a real colossus—but with its core goal to create value and push technology to its limits, the Human Colossus is determined to find out.

...
On the goals of BMI
There are many kinds of potential brain-machine interface (sometimes called a brain-computer interface) that will serve many different functions. But everyone working on BMIs is grappling with either one or both of these two questions:

1) How do I get the right information out of the brain?
2) How do I send the right information into the brain?

These two things are happening naturally in your brain all the time. Right now, your eyes are making a specific set of horizontal movements that allow you to read this sentence. That’s the brain’s neurons outputting information to a machine (your eyes) and the machine receiving the command and responding.

Explaining EEG
Imagine that the brain is a baseball stadium, its neurons are the members of the crowd, and the information we want is, instead of electrical activity, vocal cord activity. In that case, EEG would be like a group of microphones placed outside the stadium, against the stadium’s outer walls. You’d be able to hear when the crowd was cheering and maybe predict the type of thing they were cheering about. You’d be able to hear telltale signs that it was between innings and maybe whether or not it was a close game. You could probably detect when something abnormal happened. But that’s about it.

...
On how many simultaneous neural connections are needed
We need higher bandwidth if this is gonna become a big thing. Way higher bandwidth.

The Neuralink team threw out the number “one million simultaneously recorded neurons” when talking about an interface that could really change the world. I’ve also heard 100,000 as a number that would allow for the creation of a wide range of incredibly useful BMIs with a variety of applications.

... Sometimes called Stevenson’s Law, this research suggests that the number of neurons we can simultaneously record seems to consistently double every 7.4 years. If that rate continues, it’ll take us till the end of this century to reach a million, and until 2225 to record every neuron in the brain and get our totally complete wizard hat.

Whatever the equivalent of the integrated circuit is for BMIs isn’t here yet, because 7.4 years is too big a number to start a revolution. The breakthrough here isn’t the device that can record a million neurons—it’s the paradigm shift that makes the future of that graph look more like Moore’s Law and less like Stevenson’s Law. Once that happens, a million neurons will follow.

...
On the cyborg we already are
In that sense, your phone is as much “you” as your vocal cords or your ears or your eyes. All of these things are simply tools to move thoughts from brain to brain—so who cares if the tool is held in your hand, your throat, or your eye sockets? The digital age has made us a dual entity—a physical creature who interacts with its physical environment using its biological parts and a digital creature whose digital devices—whose digital parts—allow it to interact with the digital world.

But because we don’t think of it like that, we’d consider someone with a phone in their head or throat a cyborg and someone else with a phone in their hand, pressed up against their head, not a cyborg. Elon’s point is that the thing that makes a cyborg a cyborg is their capabilities—not from which side of the skull those capabilities are generated.

In other words, putting our technology into our brains isn’t about whether it’s good or bad to become cyborgs. It’s that we are cyborgs and we will continue to be cyborgs—so it probably makes sense to upgrade ourselves from primitive, low-bandwidth cyborgs to modern, high-bandwidth cyborgs.

...
Omni Sense
But in the same way we can currently hook an implant, for example, into someone’s cochlea—which connects a different mic to their auditory cortex—down the road we’ll be able to let sensory input information stream into your wizard hat wirelessly, from anywhere, and channel right into your sensory cortices the same way your bodily sensory organs do today. In the future, sensory organs will be only one set of inputs into your sense—and compared to what our senses will have access to, not a very exciting one.

...
Hearing like a dog
Want to hear what a dog hears? That’s easy. The pitch range we can hear is limited by the dimensions of our cochlea—but pitches out of the ear’s range can be sent straight into our auditory nerve.

...
A revolution in knowing
Level 1: I want to know a fact. I call on the cloud for that info—like googling something with my brain—and the answer, in text, appears in my mind’s eye. Basically what I do now except it all happens in my head.

Level 2: I want to know a fact. I call on the cloud for that info, and then a second later I just know it. No reading was involved—it was more like the way I’d recall something from memory.

Level 3: I just know the fact I want to know the second I want it. I don’t even know if it came from the cloud or if it was stored in my brain. I can essentially treat the whole cloud like my brain. I don’t know all the info—my brain could never fit it all—but any time I want to know something it downloads into my consciousness so seamlessly and quickly that it’s as if it were there all along.

Level 4: Beyond just knowing facts, I can deeply understand anything I want to, in a complex way. We discussed the example of Moby Dick. Could I download Moby Dick from the cloud into my memory and then suddenly have it be the same as if I had read the whole book? Where I’d have thoughts and opinions and I could cite passages and have discussions about the themes?

...
On controlling AI
And since Elon sees AI as the ultimate power, he sees AI development as the ultimate “play it safe” situation. Which is why his strategy for minimizing existential AI risk seems to essentially be that AI power needs to be of the people, by the people, for the people.

...
On extending our minds...
And just like the feelings and urges of the limbic system and the thoughts and chattering voice of the cortex all feel to you like parts of you—like your inner essence—the activity that flows through your wizard hat will feel like a part of you and your essence.

...
...And our sense of self
This makes sense on paper. You do most of your “thinking” with your cortex, but then when you get hungry, you don’t say, “My limbic system is hungry,” you say, “I’m hungry.” Likewise, Elon thinks, when you’re trying to figure out the solution to a problem and your AI comes up with the answer, you won’t say, “My AI got it,” you’ll say, “Aha! I got it.” When your limbic system wants to procrastinate and your cortex wants to work, a situation I might be familiar with, it doesn’t feel like you’re arguing with some external being, it feels like a singular you is struggling to be disciplined. Likewise, when you think up a strategy at work and your AI disagrees, that’ll be a genuine disagreement and a debate will ensue—but it will feel like an internal debate, not a debate between you and someone else that just happens to take place in your thoughts. The debate will feel like thinking.
...
And what he says is that this is all about bandwidth. It’s obvious why bandwidth matters when it comes to making a wizard hat useful. But Elon believes that when it comes to interfacing with AI, high bandwidth isn’t just preferred, but actually fundamental to the prospect of being AI, versus simply using AI.Here he is walking through his thoughts:

The challenge is the communication bandwidth is extremely slow, particularly output. When you’re outputting on a phone, you’re moving two thumbs very slowly. That’s crazy slow communication. … If the bandwidth is too low, then your integration with AI would be very weak. Given the limits of very low bandwidth, it’s kind of pointless. The AI is just going to go by itself, because it’s too slow to talk to. The faster the communication, the more you’ll be integrated—the slower the communication, the less. And the more separate we are—the more the AI is “other”—the more likely it is to turn on us. If the AIs are all separate, vastly more intelligent than us, how do you ensure that they don’t have optimization functions that are contrary to the best interests of humanity? … If we achieve tight symbiosis, the AI wouldn’t be “other”—it would be you and with a relationship to your cortex analogous to the relationship your cortex has with your limbic system.



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2017-04-25 03:47:47 (36 comments; 9 reshares; 142 +1s; )Open 

AI, Please Explain Yourself

Just as many aspects of human behavior are impossible to explain in detail, perhaps it won’t be possible for AI to explain everything it does. “Even if somebody can give you a reasonable-sounding explanation [for his or her actions], it probably is incomplete, and the same could very well be true for AI,” says Clune, of the University of Wyoming. “It might just be part of the nature of intelligence that only part of it is exposed to rational explanation. Some of it is just instinctual, or subconscious, or inscrutable.”

HT +Darius Gabriel Black

AI, Please Explain Yourself

Just as many aspects of human behavior are impossible to explain in detail, perhaps it won’t be possible for AI to explain everything it does. “Even if somebody can give you a reasonable-sounding explanation [for his or her actions], it probably is incomplete, and the same could very well be true for AI,” says Clune, of the University of Wyoming. “It might just be part of the nature of intelligence that only part of it is exposed to rational explanation. Some of it is just instinctual, or subconscious, or inscrutable.”

HT +Darius Gabriel Black___

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2017-04-24 21:29:05 (0 comments; 4 reshares; 27 +1s; )Open 

Ford Foundation Getting Serious About Impact Investing

With a total endowment of about $12 billion, that means there’s about $600 million granted toward charitable programs each year. (That 5% figure is the minimum requirement to maintain nonprofit status under federal tax code.) But it also means that 95% of the foundation’s money is sitting in stocks, private equity, real estate, and venture capital, not leveraged in the same socially responsible manner that the foundation insists on when making its grants.

In recent years, president Darren Walker has grown uncomfortable with that imbalance, which he sees as another “classic disconnect” affecting well-funded but sometimes apathetic institutions, including Ford. “We won’t solve big problems without deploying some part of that 95%,” Walker says. “So what I’m hoping is that we are reaching an inflection point, atipping point in ... more »

Ford Foundation Getting Serious About Impact Investing

With a total endowment of about $12 billion, that means there’s about $600 million granted toward charitable programs each year. (That 5% figure is the minimum requirement to maintain nonprofit status under federal tax code.) But it also means that 95% of the foundation’s money is sitting in stocks, private equity, real estate, and venture capital, not leveraged in the same socially responsible manner that the foundation insists on when making its grants.

In recent years, president Darren Walker has grown uncomfortable with that imbalance, which he sees as another “classic disconnect” affecting well-funded but sometimes apathetic institutions, including Ford. “We won’t solve big problems without deploying some part of that 95%,” Walker says. “So what I’m hoping is that we are reaching an inflection point, a tipping point in which the momentum has shifted to normalize a conversation about how foundations use our endowments from the margins to the mainstream. For too long this question has been sidelined. And I think the time has come where we’ve got to take it on and we’ve got to demonstrate the capacity to use our endowment to advance our mission.”

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2017-04-24 03:24:13 (13 comments; 5 reshares; 29 +1s; )Open 

Here is a recording of Alan Watts, talking about the Joker/Fool archetype and its relationship to the Bodhisattva. It's a really wonderful talk.

I share it here because it reminds me so very, very much of the book, Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse.

That book is one of my all-time favorite ones, and so I found it a little disorienting to hear these ideas, uttered by Watts many years before the publishing of that book in 1986. Watts himself died in 1973, though I can't seem to find any background on when, exactly, this particular talk was given.

Did Carse lift the ideas for Finite and Infinite Games from those shared by Watts in this talk? Or is this just another example of similar notions popping up in different minds? I'm not sure we'll ever know, or that it even matters. Both are excellent.

HT to +Grizwald Grim, for flagging this for... more »

+Gideon Rosenblatt​ stopped at 7:28 because it was reminding me so much of the recent threads, particularly the resonance bit___Here is a recording of Alan Watts, talking about the Joker/Fool archetype and its relationship to the Bodhisattva. It's a really wonderful talk.

I share it here because it reminds me so very, very much of the book, Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse.

That book is one of my all-time favorite ones, and so I found it a little disorienting to hear these ideas, uttered by Watts many years before the publishing of that book in 1986. Watts himself died in 1973, though I can't seem to find any background on when, exactly, this particular talk was given.

Did Carse lift the ideas for Finite and Infinite Games from those shared by Watts in this talk? Or is this just another example of similar notions popping up in different minds? I'm not sure we'll ever know, or that it even matters. Both are excellent.

HT to +Grizwald Grim, for flagging this for me.

+Mark Traphagen and +Leland LeCuyer, you will find this interesting, I think, given the connection to Finite and Infinite Games.

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2017-04-23 15:35:08 (93 comments; 20 reshares; 122 +1s; )Open 

Relationships on Shared Knowledge Graphs - and on Google+ in Particular

G+ is on my mind these days, and so I hope you don't mind me spewing out a bit more riffs on this front over the next few days. Like many of you here, I have a substantial investment in this platform and would like it to succeed.

In short, it's not enough to enshrine Collections and Communities. Circles matter too.

Relationships in a Knowledge Network
I've been stewing on a core idea, which is that Google+ needs to invest more into building back relationships between human beings. I'm not saying this to detract from the important strategic turn this network made in focusing on topics. I'm saying this to support the focus on shared interests.

For there is no shared interest without someone to share them with.

A pure topic network already... more »

Relationships on Shared Knowledge Graphs - and on Google+ in Particular

G+ is on my mind these days, and so I hope you don't mind me spewing out a bit more riffs on this front over the next few days. Like many of you here, I have a substantial investment in this platform and would like it to succeed.

In short, it's not enough to enshrine Collections and Communities. Circles matter too.

Relationships in a Knowledge Network
I've been stewing on a core idea, which is that Google+ needs to invest more into building back relationships between human beings. I'm not saying this to detract from the important strategic turn this network made in focusing on topics. I'm saying this to support the focus on shared interests.

For there is no shared interest without someone to share them with.

A pure topic network already exists: it's called Google Search (and the Knowledge Graph behind it). What Google+ really is is a Shared Interest Network, designed to augment its Interest Graph. The Interest Graph is the point of intersection between the Social Graph (which Facebook already dominates with its social network) and the Knowledge Graph (which Google largely controls).

The Interest Graph is what ties me to a network of particular topics. It’s what ties me into the Knowledge Graph.

For what constitutes knowledge is a true matter of perspective. I may want to know about the human soul, about artificial intelligence, and about mission-driven businesses. You may want to know about marketing, biology, and theology. The value that certain knowledge has for me is not the same as what it has for you.

The Mission of Shared Interest
Understanding this relative value that each of us hold for various topics is essential, not just for advertising, but for the bigger project of organizing the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful, which is, after all, Google's mission.

One could argue that Google already has a very good model of this intersection between people and knowledge thanks to the massive amounts of data it collects from our interactions with its Search Engine. But those relationships to knowledge — that search history — is a mixture of our subconscious and conscious minds that we don't always want exposed to everyone else.

The Shared Interest Graph is a representation of our outward-facing expressions of our interests. It is what we consciously express to one another, what we willingly share with one another.

The primary purpose of a Shared Interest Graph is to express ourselves to one another.

Shared Interest Graph Competition
Interest-sharing networks like Google+ that are built for the express purpose of generating an Interest Graph. The Interest Graph is the new frontline in the battle for commerce.

From a commercial perspective, I'm talking about the detailed understanding of how each individual conducts her or himself when we know our expressions are visible to the public.

If you don't quite see how important something like this is, I recommend you dig into what Facebook is doing with its Graph API. You see Google is cooperating with search competitors like Microsoft and Yandex on Schema.org, which suggests to me they are not anticipating a future where any one company has a lock on the knowledge graph and its connections to our various social graphs through things like social networks, email, messaging, and more critically in the future, the Internet of Things.

Facebook, however, does seem to believe that they can own the whole thing. They are betting they will be big enough to control this interface between people and knowledge. They know there's advertising money there, and know, rightly, that it is this juncture between people and things is where all business-to-consumer commerce originates in the field of marketing and operates in the coming Internet of Things. Facebook is betting its future on owning the interface between people and things.

This, you see, is part of why I invest my time on Google+ and Twitter (and now Mastodon), with only a minimal presence on Facebook.

Relationships Lost on Google+
Google is betting its financial future on this interface too. What Google doesn't seem to realize is just how important its bet on the Shared Interest Graph — its bet on Google+ — actually is.

The good news is that the Google+ team is really focused on the idea of shared interests. That’s been the fuel behind the resharpened focus on Collections and Communities in the new UI.

The bad news is that other topical navigation solutions such as hashtags and search have been badly degraded in the redesign. These need to be fixed.

The further bad news is that the redesign badly crippled Circles, which is really the heart and soul of human relationships on Google+.

But the squelching of Circles is only one example of the way that relationships have been demoted in importance on Google+ over recent years. Another example is the fact that, without tools like +CircleCount and +Circloscope, we are unable to know whether or not someone has circled or followed us back. Reciprocality is social networking 101. This omission would almost be funny if it weren’t so damned egregious and telling of the lack of focus on relationships.

Why did the design team take away the simple icon that shows someone else feels that they too are in relationship with you? Was it somehow running out of pixels? No, my gut tells me its because it is now unclear what exactly constitutes that reciprocality. Should it show as reciprocal simply from someone follow one of my Collections or does it have to retain its original meaning, which was that that person had circled you? It’s a good question right? But rather than resolving this, the design team just punted on it, remaining silent to ongoing user questions about the rationale behind its removal.

Or what about the fact that it take a good 30-40 seconds between the time I hit the “Done” button and the time I’ve successfully added someone to a circle using my Android phone? Adding someone to a circle should take no more than a second or two. It’s ridiculous that it takes that long, and more evidence of the lack of focus on relationships in the redesign.

Let’s Go!
If all this sounds a bit harsh, it is only from a place of the tough love that I hope can act as a catalyst for change. Google+ team, we are here to help you, just as much as you are here to help us. People want to be co-creators, not cattle.

We are telling you, in various ways, that there needs to be a renewed focus on relationships. And here’s the good news, it’s not at the expense of the new strategy, but in full support of it. For a Shared Interest Graph is nothing without people with which to share it.

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(Please excuse any typos; I don't consider this my blog, where I edit things more carefully before publishing. If there's something that just plain doesn't make sense, let me know in the comments and I may re-edit the post to address it.)
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2017-04-22 17:36:30 (83 comments; 9 reshares; 101 +1s; )Open 

Breathing Life into Echoing Halls of Silence

My experience of Google+ has just reverted back to my old experience of lots of interesting conversation.

All that it took was to have a post that generated a lot of conversation like the one from a few days ago on losing patience with this place. Suddenly, my new posts since then are generating the attention of people who like to comment and are good at it.

I am responding, but other than that I am not doing anything different.

This suggests that one of the things that may have dampened down conversations on Google+ is a coincidence of the way the algorithms play with the new Google+ UI. Let's say, for arguments sake that the cumulative effect of the UI changes was to dissuade commenting (for example by exposing posts to large volumes of low quality commenters who drown out conversation with noise, by... more »

Breathing Life into Echoing Halls of Silence

My experience of Google+ has just reverted back to my old experience of lots of interesting conversation.

All that it took was to have a post that generated a lot of conversation like the one from a few days ago on losing patience with this place. Suddenly, my new posts since then are generating the attention of people who like to comment and are good at it.

I am responding, but other than that I am not doing anything different.

This suggests that one of the things that may have dampened down conversations on Google+ is a coincidence of the way the algorithms play with the new Google+ UI. Let's say, for arguments sake that the cumulative effect of the UI changes was to dissuade commenting (for example by exposing posts to large volumes of low quality commenters who drown out conversation with noise, by prioritizing topics over human relationships, etc.). Were conversations to drop like this, the algorithms would have to compensate by relying instead on other signals, signals let's say, like plusses.

Plusses are a low-effort form of engagement. Long, thoughtful posts with something to say are more work. It's much easier to plus a pretty picture, fit example, and so pretty pictures get lots more plusses.

In an environment with a profusion of low-effort and lower-quality engagement, the algorithms are left with nothing but lower quality signals to fuel their work. As a result, chaff is prioritized over wheat, and noise over signal, as we begin consuming a high carb diet of fast-food posts. This feeds the demand for more low quality and the viscious cycle repeats.

The results are virtual hallways, echoing with pings of plusses, in the absence of stronger human relationships and the conversation it generates.

What I'm suggesting here is that perhaps getting good conversation going requires some effort. Perhaps "garbage-in-garbage-out" really is a thing when it comes to social networks, and particularly with interest-sharing networks like Google+.

If this is true, then user experience design that automates and trivializes engagement can't help but trivialize content too. When that happens on a content sharing network, it falls into a downward spiral like that which I described and many others echoed the other day.

The good news, if this is true, is that the problem is addressable with revisions to the user interface.

But. Time. Is. A. Tickin'...___

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2017-04-22 14:48:40 (39 comments; 10 reshares; 69 +1s; )Open 

Literalism

Sharing this piece to a different Collection, "Technology Meets Humanity" and adding a few additional thoughts.

The linked article focuses on the dual nature of language. We carry a kind of built-in syntactic flexibility that helps to keep language flexible and better fit for describing the analog world. And so too do we carry a precise, formal -- which is to say "digital" -- meaning in words (even though words themselves have some built in flexibility like synonyms).

This morning, I was thinking about literalism relative to metaphorical and it struck me that literalism maps closely to the digital nature of language while metaphor, myth and story keep us grounded in the analog nature of language and the nature of the human experience.

Now if that little brain-twister doesn't get you to sit up and grab yourself a cup of... more »

Literalism

Sharing this piece to a different Collection, "Technology Meets Humanity" and adding a few additional thoughts.

The linked article focuses on the dual nature of language. We carry a kind of built-in syntactic flexibility that helps to keep language flexible and better fit for describing the analog world. And so too do we carry a precise, formal -- which is to say "digital" -- meaning in words (even though words themselves have some built in flexibility like synonyms).

This morning, I was thinking about literalism relative to metaphorical and it struck me that literalism maps closely to the digital nature of language while metaphor, myth and story keep us grounded in the analog nature of language and the nature of the human experience.

Now if that little brain-twister doesn't get you to sit up and grab yourself a cup of coffee, I don't know what will. :) ___

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2017-04-21 16:12:50 (5 comments; 10 reshares; 52 +1s; )Open 

Asilomar AI Principles

23 principles for helping to assure artificial intelligence remains beneficial. This is important work. 

Asilomar AI Principles

23 principles for helping to assure artificial intelligence remains beneficial. This is important work. ___

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2017-04-21 14:56:01 (30 comments; 3 reshares; 47 +1s; )Open 

Given that Google+ is now housed within the G Suite organizational structure, I think it's useful to to see where Hangouts' next iterations, two new apps, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, are evolving. They're also part of G Suite.

HT +Yifat Cohen and +Holger Alexi

Google Hangouts Chat: The smart person's guide.

The Google Hangouts Chat app offers G Suite users a way to collaborate through text conversations and document sharing.
This comprehensive guide covers what you need to know about Hangouts Chat.


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#Googlehangouts #growthhacking #Googlechat #hangouts ___Given that Google+ is now housed within the G Suite organizational structure, I think it's useful to to see where Hangouts' next iterations, two new apps, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, are evolving. They're also part of G Suite.

HT +Yifat Cohen and +Holger Alexi

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2017-04-21 03:35:34 (7 comments; 2 reshares; 34 +1s; )Open 

Dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
And your very flesh shall be a great poem…

___Dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
And your very flesh shall be a great poem…

Buttons

A special service of CircleCount.com is the following button.

The button shows the number of followers you have directly on a small button. You can add this button to your website, like the +1-Button of Google or the Like-Button of Facebook.



You can add this button directly in your website. For more information about the CircleCount Buttons and the description how to add them to another page click here.

Gideon RosenblattTwitterFacebookCircloscope