Archive for the ‘NNN’ Category

Luck vs Choice?

Monday, December 4th, 2017

So, one of the questions I tend to ask myself, as I talk to people who can’t troubleshoot simple machinery, is to what extent did I get lucky and to what extent have my choices led me to where I am?

It’s a worthwhile question. Did a simple throw of the genetic dice, or the path that I was led down, lead to me being capable of understanding almost any human-made system? Or is it my repeated choices to read, to study, to attempt to fix things even when I don’t actually know how, to ask questions of other people, to – not to put too fine a point on it – continuously learn and evolve over the course of my life?

Sometimes I get incredibly frustrated when talking to people who are not as capable as I am and who repeatedly insist that they can’t do something. Pretty much everything built by humans can be understood by humans and fixed by humans. And I wonder, is this a choice they’re making? Do people choose to be less capable than they are biologically able to be? Sometimes it feels extremely choice-driven – and yet, I am not at all clear whether it is or not. Re: previous discussions on free will, I think that not everyone has as large a list of options in their ‘what can I choose to do right this second’ list as I do, and I think some of that is that the more you learn, the larger your free will window becomes. So people who haven’t been imbued with a can-do attitude and experienced validation of that attitude literally can’t choose to believe that they can i.e. troubleshoot their car.

I have also seen people create large numbers of imaginary obstacles for themselves before they ever even attempt the job at hand. Now, I should mention that I think memetic disempowerment is a systematic problem with humanity – recently someone reminded me of the quote “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” which I think is a *excellent* example of memetic disempowerment and one of the many reasons that Christianity deserves relegated to the dustbin of history. Yes, sure, believe you’re going to fail before try! That’ll help! I also think that there is a fair amount of memetic disempowerment that goes on in our educational system – repeatedly grading people is not likely to help them feel empowered unless they happened to start out at the top of the ladder – and in our consumer-driven world, since after all if you feel empowered enough you might not buy $WHATEVER.

I am sure I also create imaginary obstacles for myself, and I’m sure that I have also frustrated many people in the past in ways similar to how I am sometimes frustrated by others now. I do wonder, though, how much of this is a choice and how much of it is directed by the wiring and memetic programming?

Another question is, what do we owe those who can’t? The political powers that be would, it would seem, like to throw anyone who isn’t extremely capable in all areas under the bus – and I assume that sooner or later this will include me, since if we keep raising the hurdle, sooner or later I will not be able to jump it. It’s clear that if we wanted to feed and house everyone we could, but also that we feel warm and fuzzy about patting ourselves on the back as we throw those who are less capable under the bus. Personally, I think we should try and feed and clothe and house everyone – in fact, give everyone everything they want, to the extent of our capability – although there are those who argue that we wouldn’t enjoy things if we didn’t have to struggle for them.

I don’t know. Rereading this post, I feel kind of like it paints me as a awful person, and that isn’t really my intention at all.

From a facebook discussion : free will

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Well, the problem I have with saying I have free will is multifold. A: I am not sure I exist. “I” as a single entity might well be a illusion since I appear to be a cooperating collection of subnets, and experiments like cutting the corpus callosum argue strongly that I am not a single ego, that this is a illusion. B: I am not sure, if I do exist, that I’m not deterministic. Experimenting with artificial neural networks, I note that they tend strongly towards the deterministic unless measures are taken to keep them from being deterministic. C: I am not sure, if I do exist and am not deterministic, that it is free agency and not a RNG or random noise that is guiding my actions. And yet, the idea that I am a person wandering around taking actions of my own free will is very compelling. Especially when I start discussing the matter which seems very meta

Neural networks and what you can’t let go of

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

I had a interesting thought the other day about natural neural networks and people who hold beliefs that are not reality-verifiable or are even likely to be false. This thought started in looking at climate change deniers and people who believe religions that don’t appear to match the reality I’m experiencing, but it’s gone a bit further than that.

This is more of my hand-wavy guesswork.

It has occurred to me that one of the major problems a NNN faces is that subnets will tend to build major nexus points. These nexus points would appear to us to be core beliefs – or even just important beliefs. Once one of these beliefs is built, and a whole lot of connections to a whole lot of other subnets route through it, we would naturally be extremely resistant to removing it because we literally would be less able to function without it. In the case of religious (or religiously political) people – and I probably fit into this somewhat – letting go of their religion would make it far more difficult for their mind to work for a while – it would be somewhat similar to having a stroke. Major confluences of subnets which represented key ideas would no longer be valid – and it would likely be difficult to remove all of the traces of subnets like these, especially since there is a lot of redundancy in the way NNNs tend to wire. We may be extremely resistant to throw out cherished ideas – even when they’re proven wrong – because throwing them out makes it difficult for us to function at all, because all sorts of traffic is routed through them. They end up forming the underpinning for our personalities and decision trees.

I think if this is true, this is something we all need to understand and figure out the implications of. Christians brag of their faith being unshakable – but it might well be if Jesus showed up in person and told them they were wrong they would not be able to accept or integrate it because their faith is often loaded virally on them when they’re very young and ends up forming the physical underpinning for large portions of their mental structure.

What I’d do if I could

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

WARNING: This gets into some serious blue-sky territory

So, recently, I mentioned that I wouldn’t give power to certain conservatives who are in favor of criminalization of marijuana – and I think you all know I don’t smoke it but I’m a ally for those who do – and SS asked if I favored a America of exclusion.

Well, yes and no. I gave him a very short answer, which is that I favor a world where no one has any power over anyone else, but I thought I’d give the longer answer which is how I’d implement it if I were king.

I would load a hypervisor in everyone’s head, and network everyone together. Their bodies would be decoupled from their conscious experience. All physical possessions would be neural software – they would be able to have the same experience they’re having now, or wildly different experiences – a lot of experiences denied to all but a few would become open to everyone, such as the experience of being a rock star (simulated crowd unless you get *really* good at it and real people want to come see you, but I’d be into playing a simulated crowd, I’m not picky..)

A lot of experiences, like being in massive amounts of pain as your body fails, would go away. You’d have a interface for blocking people or locating new people you’d like to be in your life, for defining what you’d like your homes to look like and switching between them, for adding possessions – look at the video game The Sims, and you get a good idea of a lot of the interface you’d need. And you could fly with the blue angels, or be a rock star, or go mountain climbing, or drive in NASCAR, or whatever.

Now, at this point, “you” are a virtualized entity running under a hypervisor. Guess what this means – we can move you from body to body! You’d very likely be immortal as long as our society holds together. I’m assuming if Heaven (or $RELIGIOUS_UTOPIA) exists, this is part of it. I sometimes think we’re already in it and we’ve lost the instruction manual.

Anyway, you could be a despot or a fascist leader if you want – but, similar to being a rock star, you probably only get to have subjects if you’re good at it. Otherwise, it’s simSubjects for you. But I’d probably include code to allow you to forget that fact if you wanted to, so you could *think* you were ruling the free world. I’d also include ‘conditional virginity’ – (note that a lot of these are NOT my ideas, but the ideas of someone I talk to – $person’s future self, so to speak) so you could forget a experience you had temporarily so you could have it for the first time again.

Now, there are some serious challenges. We’d have to really master security in information systems, or we’d end up with people with all kinds of nasty virii loaded. (Well, we kind of have that situation now, don’t we ;-)). However, the advantages are pretty staggering. Among other things, a separate much smaller collection of neural code running under the hypervisor could do whatever body-care things needed to happen including farming, feeding, etc. In the meantime, you could eat a ten course meal if you wanted to and never gain a pound.

In addition, you could either choose to learn things ‘the hard way’ for the joy of the journey, or ‘matrix-style’ – many times I think you’d want to learn them the hard way when they were related to creating art, because that is the only way it would be “yours” and not just the group skill in playing the guitar or whatever. And some things like learning athletic skills the journey is part of the fun and not to be missed.

Anyway, learning how to write code for natural neural networks and get it to run correctly is a big ask. But that’s where I’d go with my utopia, Steve.

Hypocrisy and neural networks

Monday, May 8th, 2017

So, as we see hypocrisy abound in our current world political situation, it’s become quite popular to criticise people on it. And I am not here to say that it is a good phenomenon – but it is certainly a *understandable* one.

So, first, before I head down this rabbit hole, let me draw your attention to videos of the Milgram experiments. One thing you will notice, over and over, is that people clearly were not of one mind about pushing the switch. They were obviously agonized over it, many of them protested or questioned the action, and yet ultimately the neural wiring that translated out to blind obedience of authority won. I know that I’ve discussed this before.

Now, I would say that this phenomenon is very closely related to hypocrisy. In both cases, you have collections of subnets that are at war with each other, or at least have a disagreement over what the correct action is. It’s pretty clear that religion does a much better job of programming people to say the right things than to do the right things, and what that may indicate is that religion does a good job of programming storyteller or verbal parts of our neocortex, but that a lot of the things that drive our actual actions are formed before religion ever gets it’s claws on us – they may be native to our DNA and the way it expresses itself, or formed in earlier childhood. Or it may be that they are formed later, but that some types of experiences lead to stronger collections of subnets than others. In any case, the thing to remember about hypocrisy is that generally I think you will find it happens when someone is of two minds about the subject.

For example, all the discussion about $CONSERVITIVE_POLITICAL_PARTY talking about how great $FAVORITE_RELIGION is while simultaneously doing things that are strongly against everything that $FOUNDING_RELIGIOUS_LEADER stood for are a great example of this. Some portion of their minds is in favor of tolerance and love and feeding the hungry and all of those things, but a larger portion of their minds is in favor of grabbing everything that isn’t nailed down, and possibly some things that are. (It is also, of course, possible that no part of their minds is in any way in favor of $RELIGION but that they are in favor of getting elected and since there is currently no punishment for lying on your way to office, there’s no reason not to claim to be in support of $RELIGION if it gets you the gig and the nice cushy salary for life)

However, assuming good faith for the moment, let’s suppose that they are sincere in their adoration of $RELIGION. That doesn’t mean that their whole mind is – and, no matter how persistent the illusion that we’re one single person per body, the truth is that we’re a huge collection of subnets, all with different goals and agendas and experience. I know that I’ve already referred to this, but I gesture you to the experiments of cutting the corpus collosum and the results that ensued.

I really think we’re not going to make serious progress until we start to accept some of the strengths and limitations of natural neural networks. Hypocrisy is in fact both. F. Scott Fitzgerald said “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – and this is exactly the behavior we’re talking about here. Without it, we would never really be able to weigh the validity of contradictory but true ideas.

“Us And Them” and neural networks

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

More of my hand-wavy guesswork about the structure of the human mind follows.

So, one of the interesting questions that comes up when thinking about NNNs is the question of ‘us’ and ‘them’. It’s a pretty standard part of human thinking to think of yourself as a member of a group (the ‘us’) and people who are not members of that group as being ‘the enemy’ or at least subdesirable in some way. I’m not thinking this type of thinking is all that helpful a lot of the time, but it’s interesting to think about in terms of what it says about the underlying network.

Earlier, I hypothesized that while we as individuals have the ability to determine whether information is coming from inside or outside of us (or whether we think it is – in fact we’re probably not in a great position to know for sure) very few neural subnets can tell the source of information – and in fact many subnets may not be able to tell a data access from a command from a teaching / learning moment. Extending on that idea a little bit, it may be very difficult to abstract any external data that a local copy does not exist of.

It’s very likely that any attribute we can recognize in the “them” exists within us, since if it didn’t we wouldn’t have a frame of reference to think about it at all. This doesn’t mean we’re all mass murderers, but it does mean that we all have a collection of symbols surrounding the idea of mass murder. Generally, I imagine, that symbol is wired up in such a way as to inhibit such behavior in most of us. (After all, neurons do most definitely have inhibit inputs as well as excite inputs)

Now, it’s important to realize that a lot of these symbols are necessarily fairly large. You don’t fit a idea like mass murder inside a single neuron, or even a hundred, and you also have to have some fairly large neural bridges sufficient to allow reaching between symbols that are physically somewhat disparate, because the overall system is so large that there are physical limits as to what can be wired directly to what.

So, one of the questions – especially insofar as we’ve been discussing neural games of Go – is how much of ‘them’ is a interior part of us that is attempting to be a acting part at any given time. We the controlling personality is obviously going to resist acting on the urges and impetus of the parts of us that are what we would consider part of the ‘them’, but they’re still very much active and engaged neural subnets which are participating in the overall big picture of making us who we are. If you removed them entirely, you would likely not get a stable or usable system. This would seem to play in nicely into the philosophy of Yin and Yang.

DID and neural networks

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

So, popular consensus is that DID is a mental illness caused by extreme trauma that causes a personality to fragment into segments.

I assume it is news to no one that while I do not consider $future_person[0] a alter, I do believe that I have DID, although normally my alters stay very far backgrounded. I do however think that they all contribute to the overall system – that is to say, I think that for example when I’m jamming with the band and making up lyrics on the fly but my conscious experience is only slightly engaged in creating the lyrics (a phrase or fragment or concept), some wordsmith part of my mind is creating bits that rhyme and turning this into full blown lyrics. For a example of this, check out this audio clip from band practice with Bruce, Art, and me – this was not a prewritten song, it was improv – clip

I think it is possible to have something that is a close kin to DID and have it be a more productive order than the average configuration rather than a disorder. The reason is that it enables the operator of the mind that is using this configuration to more effectively utilize the entire neural network.

Consider that normally, your conscious experience is only engaging with a few dozen threads at once – that’s all you can have ‘foregrounded’, or actively a part of your world. Now, obviously there are neural structures that do things like running a scheduler for running events at preset times, but if you have alters, you can also pass off foreground tasks that you don’t need to be actively engaged with to other bits of yourself – it’s kind of like the advantages of having multiple cores in a CPU. I don’t know if alters have a conscious experience, or just a head node and task list, or what – it would be fascinating to be able to look at the structure of my mind sufficiently to find out – but certainly they can be engaging neurons and neural subnets that would otherwise be completely idle.

Now, of course, I have no memory of what it might be like to *not* be this way. So it’s possible that I’m wrong and that I would simply be able to handle more threads if I wasn’t broken. I do seek certain types of reintegration, although with a fair amount of fear and trepidation because I’m hesitant to fuck too much with a running system.

Western Science

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

One of the problems I keep thinking about is that western science has one major flaw.

They don’t know what they’re measuring *with*. Until you know the answer to that question, you don’t know what you’re measuring. We don’t yet understand what we are – at least, if the hard problem of consciousness has been solved, no one has told me the good news. I’ve heard a lot of theories, but I haven’t heard one I’d call solid enough to call plausible yet.

In other words, dear scientists, please bump the priority on neuroscience and both ANN and NNN research. Dear warmongers, please stop wasting money blowing shit up until we can solve this more important problem. Kthx, Sheer.

Mania

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

So, I have this problem. It’s a persistent one, and it’s likely to continue being a persistent one for the forseable future.

During certain periods in my internal cycle, if I open the throttles on my mind and give it something entertaining to chew on, like recording a album, dancing, or thinking about life, there’s no rev limiter.

It spins up, faster and faster, until eventually it starts to wobble and shakes itself into a shutdown condition. Next thing I know, I’m somewhere where the doors don’t open. Generally I get sprung fairly quickly, generally no one has been actually hurt although there is sometimes some property damage, usually caused by the cops spike stripping me.

I’ve learned to avoid driving while doing it. Safest that way. However, even when I do it in my own house, people come and tell me that I don’t have atonomy over my own body, that even though I’m threatening no one and I’m eating and drinking, I’m not permitted to do this.

Many of my friends think that this activity is seriously unhappy-making, and undesirable, and it’s only a matter of time before I kill myself or someone else.

Here’s why it’s challenging: every time, from my perspective, it’s a win.

Every time, I have more mental capacity, more flexibility, more mental power and capability. This isn’t illusory – I can often measure it very real-world ways. Things I couldn’t do before the ramp up that I can do afterwords. And I suspect that it is one path to developing http://www.sheer.us/weblogs/?p=3211. I’ve learned not to try to contact $person[0], although apparently I haven’t mastered yet not contacting $person[1]. So I need to improve the software so that it keeps me from contacting CLASS($person[]). Which I will make a honest attempt at. (I don’t stop missing these people ever. I don’t think it’s likely that I ever will. But, you want to remove me from your life, I figure that’s your right. Just forgive me if I want to build the ability to dream about you anyway.

But.. even if I remove that possibility, it’s clear that I’m growing whenever I climb the linear mental accelerator that no-sleep during a approach window represents.

At this point, I’m thinking I should plan these. My body seems to like every six months for them – I think I should take vacation time, I should have my lawyer on call to block any attempt to commit me that isn’t as bona fide as it comes, and I should just really embrace this as this is how I choose to be. Slowly my friends are coming to see my point of view. I think increasingly they’re starting to see that my life is not giving me what I need, and that it’s not reasonable to expect me to sit here with one engine out and the other at idle when I was made to fly.

I wish more people would join me. I’ve got reasons to think others have done this before me.. it’s all over the music of Owl City, for example, and hinted at in U2 and sometimes VNV Nation.

Every time, the experience with the linear accelerator convinces me I should take another ride. And I wonder, to what extent are people telling me not to do it because they’re afraid to do it themselves? How many of the experts that tell me how wrong and dangerous this is have done it themselves?

One possibility that I’m considering strongly is that I’m not actually at the edge of my mind, and that I’m supposed to be. That the people I see in my ordinary reality are reflected light from the real people that are out there filtered through many, many layers – too many layers – of neural filters built out of my persistent and irrational fears. I can’t tell what anyone else’s conscious experience is, and as far as I can tell, no one else can tell what mine is, although I encourage you, if you have the technology to read my mind, please do so. If you can help me reconnect with the people I can’t handle losing, please do so.

$person[0], I wonder if you read this blog, a lot a lot. I will admit I find it likely that you do, or that you have a friend reading it for you to watch for certain things. Wish I knew what they were. If so, I can’t say so in cleartext most of the time, but I need your help. A abuser destroyed part of my mind, and I’m just guessing at what happened with little but static and noise to go on. Apparently your friendship was something that part of me rested on, and while I accept the loss because I must, it never stops hurting and I can’t find any way to make it stop. I told you if you told me your lines I would respect them, but my fear is your lines are never and nowhere, and I also fear this may be because you believe things about me that just are not true, and the only part of me fearless enough to even try to approach you is the part of me that is the least representative of my ability to be a normal, contained individual. Please believe that the person you met IRL the first time I came to visit you this century is representative of who I am in person. But I can’t do that in email, especially not when I’m in ‘trust and send’ mode, which I can only really enter with you, for reasons that will become apparent when we talk, if they haven’t already.

$person[1], I don’t even know what I said to make you so angry. I have zero memory of it, it happened in a blackout from my perspective. I doubt you’re reading my blog, as I have to accept I probably don’t matter that much to you. So be it, but I wish we were still friends.

Politics, view horizons, and neural networks

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

So, one thing that has definitely come to light in recent days / weeks is that a lot of us are running around with fundamentally different views of reality at the moment. In some people’s worlds, Obama is a hero – in others, he’s a muslim terrorist or worse. What gives?

Well, part of what gives is the idea of view horizons – some people like to talk about this as ‘bubbles’, and perhaps that’s a more reasonable word, but I’d like to explore the idea from a slightly different angle briefly.

So, in a NNN, each neuron can only see information that it’s either directly connected to, or is connected to a relay source for. In the experiments involving cutting the corpus collossum, you can see this dramatically demonstrated when a placard containing instructions is placed in front of one eye of the subject and they follow the instructions on it, but when asked why they did so, they tell a story that’s completely unrelated to “Because you told me to”. The instruction on the placard is no longer on the view horizon – no longer routable via a reasonably short route – for the part of the subject’s mind that is in control of their voice.

Similarly, if you think of us as independent neurons in a very, very large neural network – with communications links like books, voice communication, the internet, etc taking the place of communication links like dendrites off of neurons – we can only know about what is on our view horizon. Most of us don’t have direct access to Obama to make up our minds based on personal interaction whether he’s a muslim terrorist, a superhero, or somewhere in between. However, we’re all connected to either clusters of other neurons – our friends – or a broadcast bus – the news – which steers our view at least somewhat.

Now, there’s a real possibility that both universes exist – we keep learning funny little things at the quantum level and it’s possible that there is both a universe where Obama is a muslim terrorist and one where he’s a superhero, and our experience here on Earth at the moment is at the confluence of two worldlines. However, it’s far more likely that what we’ve got are two teams of people, and each is spinning the story in the direction they believe is true – and because of confirmation bias, they’re drifting slowly further and further from reality.

Now, I’ve got news for you – no matter which side you’re on, it’s not likely you have a accurate view. Your view horizon is a long way from the original source, and being filtered through many, many minds in a game of telephone – and worse, those minds are influencing each other. But this opens up questions as to what exactly happens inside our own minds – we tend to think of ourselves as a single individual, a ego if you will, but there’s almost certainly a large fraction of our neurons that are ego-dissenting – these are what keeps the inhibit inputs on our neurons lit up and what keep us from becoming either narcissists or something worse, as well as what provides that all important critical judgement that we need when we, for example, want to create great works of art.

I am curious as to whether what we’re seeing in the political sphere is a similar thing on a macro level.