Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mass shootings

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

So, I want to preface this by saying I in no way approve of mass shootings or mass shooters, and that I am unlikely to ever even own a gun and I feel that guns are a tool for making a bad decision very quickly.

That said, I understand the forces that push people into committing mass shootings. Or at least some of them.

The world is rigged against us. There’s a never-ending series of paperwork to be done, admonishments for doing it improperly, hoops to be jumped through if you want to continue eating and living indoors – often hoops which are completely needless – makework jobs, poorly engineered systems – including our economic system itself. At some point while being pushed around by large corporations and the wealthy, who hasn’t been angry? This world sometimes seems like a dystopia designed to make us angry, starting out with the religions and education they try to force down our throats while telling us what awful people we are if we don’t wholeheartedly embrace them, moving on to the fact that the vast majority of us are essentially slaves – we can’t quit our jobs because we’d end up homeless, hungry, and cold. Combine that with the total lack of any control over our government – I’m personally forced to pay our government to hurt and kill innocent people with drones, something I find abhorrent – and apparently if I was on the other side of the fence I’d find providing health care to people equally abhorrent ..

Is it any wonder that a few people snap every year? Knowing that banks get handed free money that they can lend out at 9%, that laws get steadily written more in favor of corporations and less in favor of individuals? Knowing that people get bullied and abused in schools – including being abused by the state itself, told what they’re worth boiled down to a letter grade? And then some people draw a bad hand, and the next thing you know you’ve got $60,000 in debt and a worthless degree. Or some situation equally bad. The insurance company not paying to replace your car because they’d rather spend the money on superbowl ads. And that’s just if you live *here*. If you live in China, you’re likely to get forced to work a assembly line 12 hours a day. Live in a place the USA has decided is a “axis of evil” and you’re likely to get bombed back to the stone age.

Then you’ve got the laws – we’ve got laws against playing with your body chemistry, blue laws, laws against putting up a windmill, laws against .. well, you name it, really. We have a *absurd* number of laws. People like to tell other people what to do. It’s a problem. And we also have a absurdly broken criminal justice system – one that seems almost tailor-made for making the situation worse.

I refuse to fall for it, but I feel the anger. I know that giving into it won’t make anything better for anyone, and I think I have enough of a neurological operating system to not go domino – but I understand all the myriad forces that could cause someone to do so. We seem to be building a dystopia. And we *really* should stop.

Until then, don’t be surprised by the shootings. But do understand that our media seems to try to make things look as bad as they possibly can – statistically speaking, the number of people going domino is actually very, very small – you’re still more likely to be killed on the freeway than in a mass shooting, by a wide margin.

But if we’d like to stop mass shootings, my suggestion is, let’s stop being awful to people. Let’s stop being so “Don’t you steal dollars from my pocket to feed those hungry kids” (which turns out to be provably bullshit if you follow *the actual resources moving around instead of the paper fiat money*). Let’s reduce the number of government forms, and strip the criminal justice system of most of it’s power, and strip corporations of their personhood. Let’s arrange for inducements to learn for people who take away the rights guaranteed in the bill of rights – not punishments to hurt them, but inducements to learn that will leave them with the idea that it is not okay to take away people’s freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and freedom of the press. Let’s throw out both political parties and try again. Or.. I don’t know. We have to do *something* differently.

“now he’s up to something…”

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

So, it remains to be seen if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.. I will say the math is starting to get pretty hardcore around here.

Here’s the computing farm..

You know things are getting serious when I can find a use for 26 cores, 12 of which are high end Xeon.

Still cranking away on my neural network project

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Here’s a screen capture to tease you (and give you the sense that I’m doing something interesting over here)

I always test my code…

Monday, January 8th, 2018

On my office wall, I have a poster that has a picture of me with “I always test my code.. in production. When I’m coding myself, there’s nowhere else to test.”

This is about to not be true. I am building a genuine, very real, not in any way a delusion neural network debugger.

I will be posting a link to the git repo once it’s approximately functional so you can all appriciate the cleverness that goes into this. (Or laugh at me ;))

In the meantime, I leave you with this image of that poster.

If this were a co-op game..

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

So, I was having a conversation with a friend about one of my potential many mental models for God – the one in which God is a few neurons in each mind, spread out over all of us like a application running on a Beowulf cluster. In this particular model for God, it is possible that how we decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell is majority vote. I hope this isn’t actually what’s going on, but you get some interesting results if it is.

Everyone goes to hell. Well, more likely, we throw religion out completely as criteria once we realize that everyone goes to hell.

Looking at a list of religions by population, you will see that *no one* has a majority vote. The top dog only has 31%. Now I can’t wrap my head around, at all, how people could be so dense as to think God is filtering based on religion and can’t manage to get the message straight. I’m not really all that clear on why anyone thinks God would need help multicasting a message while they believe God is all-powerful, but it strikes me that if we were playing a co-op game we’d be losing.

I do notice increasingly that men of faith are willing to admit that men of other faith are probably not evil nor the enemy. This is progress, but I think there’s a lot more to be made here. I can’t figure out how people even manage to hold the idea in their heads that A: our dispensation in the afterlife is limited to two destinations, given how big the universe obviously is B: there’s a omniscient deity who nonetheless can’t even manage to get a message to 1/3rd of the humans out there

Of course, this brings up the other (scary) possibility that not agreeing with the group you were born in is cause to be tormented for all eternity. But I would like to think that *no one* is going to be tormented for all eternity, because that phrase conjures up the idea of a being of pure, true evil. And yet, I do not get the feeling that the vast majority of Earth agrees with me that this is outside the realm of beleivability. This brings the idea of Peirson’s Puppiteers that the majority is always sane sharply into doubt.

I continue to want someone to author a new religion that doesn’t suck. What Scientology should have been but clearly wasn’t. If the Scientologists were honest, they would have the best neuroscience and mind-state gear in the world, instead of a 50-year-old dubious technology based on a wheatsone bridge and called a “e-meter”.

I do think the idea of why we can’t play Earth as a co-op game deserves further study

Free will and state machines

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

One of the interesting topics that we bandy around from time to time is the question of whether humans really have free will, or there’s just a very persistent illusion that makes it look like we do. Now, I find the idea of us not having free will at all rather sinister, and prefer not to believe that it’s possible that we have none, but I also find the idea that our decisions are simply the product of our minds equally absurd – this especially grates on me insofar as we humans love to punish each other – sometimes for the most abysmal things (I gesture you to Loving vs. Commonwealth Of Virginia for a example of this) that we later come to realize we shouldn’t have been punishing anyone for – but sometimes for things that are clearly suboptimal but still might not be definable as choices that people are making with their free will intact.

Jumping back up to the head topic for a minute, our minds structurally change as we learn new things, or have experiences good or bad. If someone is physically abused, the resulting physical traces in their minds – the wiring in their lion / no lion subnet – will change the decisions they make for the rest of their lives – and even something as simple as learning about a new topic will inform the decisions that we make in the future. So clearly our free will does not exist in a vacuum, and often when we are engaging in suboptimal behavior, you can trace the source back to suboptimal things that were done to us – and you can trace this backwards in time, generation after generation. Some of it is probably legacy all the way back from when ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ was the law of the land and we were extremely violent because we had to be in order to survive.

For all our religions that advocate forgiveness, we are not a particularly forgiving people. In addition, as I’ve talked about in previous articles, when people behave in ways we don’t like, we toss them into a system that is designed to be abusive – thusly breaking them worse. Frequently, when they come out, they behave in even more suboptimal ways, and we blame this on them rather than on ourselves as a society because hey, blaming people is fun, and enables us to feel superior.

But, beyond my dislike of the criminal justice system and indeed every system we have in place for fixing broken people (most of which don’t, and many of which break them worse, suck all the money out of their bank accounts, or both at the same time) I do think the question of how much of us is free will and how much of us is the inevitable, state-machine like responses to stimuli is worth examining, probably even with some hard science. I don’t think that we’ll find that we are entirely state machines, but I also am fairly sure we will not find that we are entirely creatures of free will either. However, we’re such good storytellers that even when we are responding to a series of signals lighting up clusters of subnets in ways that leave us very little choice (because there’s only one really good response path) we can tell ourselves stories that make it look to us like we are acting perfectly inside the world of free will.

Another possibility that I have considered is that in fact time doesn’t work the way we think it does – that while we perceive time as a linear experience, all of the decisions actually happen all at once, at the top of the tape so to speak, and then we experience them being played out in linear time.


Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

hought: both your lover and the devil will explore giving you exactly what you want.. but they are very much not the same thing

the devil wants to tease you with what you want, to demonstrate your exact flaws as a individual, perhaps even to enslave you

your lover wants to literally give you what you want, to make you feel good, perhaps even to set you free

How, if you’re in a turing test with the two of them, can you tell the difference?


Saturday, January 21st, 2017

So, I can’t remember if I discussed in a previous post my working definition of evil. Understanding that it should be possible to give anyone any experience they would ever want to have in simulation, without needing any fancy VR gear – just needing the proper configuration set up on their mind – evil would, in my view, be the people who would not be satisfied with the *simulation* of control over other people or hurting other people, but who would want the experience in which other people are actually being hurt – and people who don’t want to be hurt, even though this gains them nothing but the idea that someone else is being hurt.

It’s probably too sophisticated a definition.. I mean, it certainly isn’t something that you can define quickly.. but it forms a working map for what, when I find in myself, I will root out and remove, mercilessly. It’s a special type of stupidity that I don’t think should exist. Not just cruelty, but cruelty that insists that the target of the cruelty be someone who doesn’t want to experience pain.

Now, we all know that it’s possible you could end up with a ideal universe just by matching up the masochists with the sadists. I haven’t heard any reasonable provisions for doing this, which is yet another argument in favor of the universe not currently being run by a intelligent designer. If we needed another argument for that. Of course, it’s possible that the universe *is* and my *experience* of it isn’t, see previous discussions on the topic. Which is just one of a number of reasons why rooting out evil in my own mind seems like a worthy goal.


Friday, January 20th, 2017

So, I’m still working Angel through the process. Still haven’t managed to get vox tracked for it.

Then there’s the even more complex possibility

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

What if I’ve got it inverted.. what if you are in love with me? And don’t know it? It certainly was a long time before I knew I was in love with you…