In the Things are Getting Better category areRay Kurzweil: How to Build a MindSteven Pinker: A History of ViolenceJulia Galef: Rationality and the FutureLongevityLaura Deming: Extending LifespanCultureJulia Galef : Rationality and the FutureSteve Pinker - A History of ViolenceHealth more generally includesJohn Wilbanks: Your Data, Your Health, Your FutureLinda Avey: Personal GenomicsCarl Zimmer - Our Viral FutureACIStuart Armstrong - How we're predicting AGIPeter Norvig : Channeling the Flood of DataLuke Muehlhauser - Singularity: Promise and PerilRay Kurzweil : Building a MindSingularityLuke Muehlhauser - Singularity: Promise and PerilRay Kurzweil : Building a MindJaan Tallinn - Why Now, A Quest in MetaphysicsVernon Vinge "Who's Afraid of First Movers"
http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Vernor_Vinge_Whos_Afraid_of_First_MoversWho’s Afraid of First MoversThe AGI outcome is the original one he proposed and still the one most purist think of first (very much including myself). But the Intelligence Amplification path is more interesting to me today.It is much easier to make substantial progress on and to build business, products and projects around. In theory if we incorporate/use technology to become effectively smarter and smarter we might simply ramp up smoothly with the technology ramp up and incorporate AGI abilities inside of or as subbrains of ourself.I am not convinced as humans + augmentation < what is theoretically possible in the space of minds. Intelligence Amplification is about building a neo-neo-cortex if you will.Digital Gaia is the idea that the “network of things” plus ever increasing technology/computation/communication plus perhaps automatic interconnection of systems leads to a digital world that self assembles within and along the aspects of the physical world. This Digital World has possibilities to be unfriendly to humans just as AGI does. But it is a fascinating idea. Consider that any node of this digital network can in principle talk to any other node..The last notion is that a big factor in both the shape and scope of singularity and one way to get there perhaps faster is to make as sure as we can that all 7 billion of those Turing Test passing intellects on earth today are utilized as much and as well as possible.
“Channeling the Flood of Data”http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Peter_Norvig_Channeling_the_Flood_of_DataIn 2007 he prdictedProbabilistic First-Order Logic (not so much)Hierarchical Represendation and Problem SolvingLearning over aboveOnlineEfficiency increasesHierarchical sets of concepts/groupings is key to learning type problems. Convolutional Deep Belief Networks were a big step in this work. Combine this with Google’s massive knowledge base and processing power. Their vision work is two orders of magnitude more than for any other other similar projects. Using single frame over millions of videos it automatically classed by things like animals (cats especially), faces, materials, shapes, and so on. This is an exciting development in pure unsupervised learning.He also talked about his work in online education and motivation. It was very moving. He and Thrun want to increase the number of people that are exposed to high quality information and teaching. They also want to do large data mining to improve education and especially online education over that sort of large “study” size.
“Rationality and Intelligence”http://fora.tv/2012/10/13/Julia_Galef_Rationality_and_the_FutureBesides our rational thinking mind we also have a more primitive evolved mind moved by other things. For instance status among others moves us strongly. We are very social creatures.Much of the time anecdotes, especially those with strong emotional content, especially those that confirm our current beliefs are often much stronger than what our reason tell us.Acting on strong emotional feeling made a lot of sense in [more] dangerous environments we evolved in. This is the “fast mind” of Kahneman vs. the relatively “slow mind” of reason.Strangely we are relatively unemotional about tragedies on a really large scale. It is as if we can only feel what we feel say on the death of a loved one multiplied a small amount of times.Learning to be more rationalUse it on things you really care about to more likely actually achive them.Note the cognitive biases including beliefs in the brain that are simply part of brain content. So they get attached more easily than perhaps more powerful and accurate unfamiliar ideas.You want domain transfer from one area of rational practice and learning to other areas where they are useful. Pesople tent to compartmentalize too much without attention to this.Community is key for social animals. Being with others that are seexing to become more rational and engage in examination of beliefs and ideas avoids the stigma and scary place of going against the group.
“Your Health, Your Data, Your Choices”http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/John_Wilbanks_Your_Health_Your_Data_Your_Choices/The_Potential_of_Usable_Copies_of_Health_RecordsMedical data is increasing drastically especially as new continuous data comes online and new testing modalities include social data, self monitoring and so on. This data is a goldmine for personal well being and medical science in general. But you need access to your own data and right to share it with whomever you will how you wish to.can get bids online to get various microarrys doneMedical record technology is very old tech mostly today. Much is still simplistic paper trail of visits to various medical caregivers when something has gone wrong. Most of your test data and even the episodic information is not available to the person the data is about. Bad law to “protect us” ends up making it difficult and ad hoc to get to and control your own medical information.Health is not like other data in that it is not as easy to access or have rights to see and transfer. It is more sensitive in most people’s minds. Query: would you rather be advised by a medical stranger that you have signs of X but that simple steps can keep it from being serious or keep your privacy on that matter a bit more tightly? Even for physicians to see your records from other physicians outside their network takes a lot of work. HIPAA actually is making the situation worse without adding any better value for most patients and doctors. It has legislative over-reaction built inIf we had more data effectively processed we could do things like tell beforehand what drugs would and would not work for you before we partially poison your system with the ones that will not do you any good. Better we can design drugs and treatments more precisely tailored to the individual.Non-identification is not workable. In health data. You can pick out an individual with only a very few bits of information today. Health data has hundreds of thousands especially as it improves and deepens. Who are we kidding that we can remove identity from this?
“A History of Violence”http://fora.tv/2012/10/13/Steven_Pinker_A_History_of_ViolenceThis was a very interesting talk. Violence and other less than niceness of human beings is decreasing drastically and has for some time. More details of this are in his book “The Better Angels of our Nature”.Pacification process. He believes, he says reluctantly, that central government with its monopoly on initiation of force has had a tremendous pacification process compared to the feuds and endless battles between smaller groups of the past. There was roughly a 3% change of violent death beginning 20th century and lest than 0.03% chance now. That is quite a change. There has been a massive decline in the rate of homicide in across the world and throughout the west. Among western developed countries only the US still has the death penalty and invokes it a LOT less. Commerce and trade generally made for non zero-sum games of mutual advantage and opened up range of those considered “us” or “for us”. Combined with technology it opened up much more understanding of many points of view and lifestyles and greater range of empathyHumanitarian RevolutionRemoving sadistic punishmentsDecline of death penalty and what it is used forEnd of witch hunts, slavery, debtor’s prisonsCausesPrinting and LiteracyKnowledge replacing superstition and ignoranceCosmopolitanism Big Questions:Why is there such peace?What are we doing right?
Great Power war has decreased dramaticallyExcept nuclear the deadliness of wars has decreasedNo nuclear weapon use since NagasakiNo wars of great powers since Korean WarBefore 1945 there were few years some great powers were not at warTrend is spreading to the rest of the world but more civil wars even these have decreased as Cold War use of countries as proxies stoppedPossible Causes Democracy Trade International Community
So what brought this about?Big State?Neutralize exploitive inter-group attacksReduce preemption, vengeance, deterrenceCircumvent self-justificationNegotiation of conflictsEnforcement of agreementsTradeHuge benefits across the borderGreatly expands the set of “Us”, literature, cultural awarenessIncrease of ReasonWe think more abstractly and universallyConsider Flynn Effect
“Why Now? A Quest in Metaphysics”http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Jaan_Tallinn_Why_Now_A_Quest_in_Metaphysics“hacker, entrepreneur, investor, physicist”Kazaa, Skype, etc..Great fun talk in tradition of hard take-off change the face of the Uinverse thinking. He illustrated his talk with cartoon sequence. I loved the one where a programmer realizes that programmers, even he himself, might be the ones that determine the very shape of the future universe AND the future of humanity based on how certain programs in up being done. !!!The hero of our story uses three tools: Empiricism LogicSkepticism Anthropic idea:The universe seems to be fine tuned for beings like us and for intelligence. How could this be by chance? I always thought this was a weak argument. If the universe was not so there would be no beings around to wonder about this. Then again.. Some people say this combined with not being anything special is a strong argument for the multiverse where all possibilities are worked out for shape of a universe.Working hypothesis: Everything is computable and in real way is computable. Bostroms simulation argument: One of the following is true:Humanity is very likely to go extinct;We don’t go extinct but decide to never do simulations of reality including human beings;We are living in a simulationWhy do simulations? Well, for instance to explore the space of pre-singularity species and decisions for the best choices and alternatives.Brought up novel idea of AGI simulating other AGI and thus starting just before Singularity with slight variations in order to model other AGI POVs. Intelligence explosion implications:Post-singularity period much much richer and longer than pre-singularity periodLikelihood we are first and origin is small if simulationsIf reality is computation and computable then the difference at sufficient detail between actual physcial and and virtual worlds and reality becomes much less ginigicant.It is very likely you find yourself in a pre-singularity period if that sort of period is one of the most heavily simulatedDoes being in a simulation mean nothing is important?NO! The simulation is to explore and learn new things and to create new outcomes. You choices still matter and not only to your world but to the simulating world to at least some degree.
1. Recap: 11.04.2012
2. Categories Things are generally to a lot better  Steven Pinker Longevity Health in General Managing Data Flood AGI  Ray Kurzweil, Vernor Vinge Access to and owing own data  John Wilbanks Singularity
3. Improvments Health Wealth including all levels Violence of all types way down Technology Much better narrow AI Longevity research
4. Vernor Vinge Singularity from mulitple scenarios  AGI  Intelligence Amplification  Digital Gaia  Integration of human mentation On uploads  May simply be AGIs that are made to be convinced they are humans
5. Peter Norvig His projections from 2007 were part wrong Hierarchical Knowledge / Concept abstraction  Automatic sellf learning recognizers Google’s Distributed Processing  Huge vision models Machine translation  Combining components at multiple levels over parallel text  Gives ability to guess reasonably an missing elements
6. Julia Galef Different aspects of mind  Rational  More primitive drives like status Anecdotes have a lot of power for social creatures Emotion moves us a lot Teaching Rationality  Supportive community  Overcoming biases  Belief rattling in mind
7. John Wilbanks Medical data volume is increasing hugely  Can get own micro-arrays done, etc Current medical record handling is closed and ancient methods Health data is not like other data Law and health data Need to apply massive data mining privacy
8. Steve Pinker We are living in the most peaceful era of our species’ existence Types in decline:  War  Homicide  Sadistic Punishments and Torture  Death Penalty Positives  Rights recoginized  Expansion of “Us”
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10. Jaan Talinn Hard takeoff could change the face of the universe But how could we be in this position? Simulation Argument Anthropomorhic Notions Does the multiverse help?