How to get empowered, not overpowered by AI

Before to talk about getting overpowered by AI we should make clear for ourselves: how, in what way AI will be smarter as us. We are emotion machines (Marwin Minsky), how future robots will create a smart balance between emotions, reason, and values?
Our behavior is mostly determined by emotions. If we want to create humanlike robots in a field of decisions and behavior we have to create two systems: emotion driven and reason-driven behavior. How to create a smart balance between them?
There are only two ways: programming emotions, reason, values and balance between them (how to program: Lyle N. Long An Emotion and Temperament Model for Cognitive Mobile Robots), and, raising created robots in some human society or schools. We must realize that preprogrammed robots (at least at the beginning) will be rather far away from contemporary humans and their values. IMHO the only way to create humanlike robots with higher intelligence is to teach them in a human society. Why? Because the only way to acquire, to create values in human mind is via own, personal, personal experience. In order to create realistic external world models (Nancy Cartwright) and understand the real world (this means to predict what will happen) and human society, the only way is personal experience: to the every event emotions, body movements, touch, visual, audio, smell experience must be connected. In other words: to understand the world and human society, robot must have the personal experience in some way connected with the current moment. (Remember, L. Witgenstein said that full understanding between people via language is impossible).

Can we teach, create robots better as we are? Is it possible to someone teach the language we don’t know ourselves? Of course, you can say that these highly intelligent robots will read the whole internet. But: it is impossible to fully understand the issues you have not experienced by yourself. For robots is the same. This means: teaching highly intelligent humanlike robots will take time not less than teaching our children. If we can’t solve the so called global problems, how we can teach this to robots? We can only hope that after some time they will be better as us. Overpowered? If we teach them (to overpower us) they will do.

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New Dark Age

As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world. In actual fact, we are lost in a sea of information: despite its accessibility, we’re living in a new Dark Age.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-dark-age-with-james-bridle-virtual-futures-salon-tickets-46717921561

“the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes”. True. 

“our existence is understandable through computation”. Our existence is understandable through investigation of facts and thinking.

“more data is enough to help us build a better world.” To build a better world we need to realize, to formulate and use the basic laws describing our existence. 

“we are lost in a sea of information”. We are lost in a sea of dezinformation. 

“we’re living in a new Dark Age.” True. I.V. 

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Life is suffering, art is supreme – not anymore

Life,’ Arthur Schopenhauer wrote in a typical mood in 1818, ‘is deeply steeped in suffering, and cannot escape from it; our entrance into it takes place amid tears, at bottom its course is always tragic, and its end is even more so:

https://aeon.co/videos/the-intellectual-legacy-of-philosophys-greatest-pessimist-life-is-suffering-art-is-supreme?utm_source=Aeon+Newsletter&utm_campaign=574e66bb0c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_06_11_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_411a82e59d-574e66bb0c-68643017

Not anymore. Time of not knowing has passed. Today we know: we are biological information processing systems (IPS)  subjected to some laws we can learn, understand, and manage and change ourselves. Basically we are Emotion machines (see Marwin Minsky), knowingly (and not) we are doomed to follow and indulge to our genetic heritage: basic survival needs, social needs (self-assertion and social role, see, for example, E.O. Wilson, On Human Nature) yearning for something higher than daily avails, and satisfaction for sating these needs. Today we can rise above ourselves, to get aware of forces driving us, and manage our lives. Managing needs understanding, understanding is possible only when we create real models of external world and ourselves. This is possible if we search, think,  and learn. 

A bit broader view. In order to achieve goal directed development, all conscious machines need rewards and punishments (reinforced learning). From his own experience every indivudual creates values which guide behavior. Homo sapiens reward and punishment system is a result of random evolutionary events, it is not optimal. While we can’t transfer and reprogram our consciousness and send it to AI devices, for the current time the only option is: we have to and can learn to understand and change, reprogram ourselves as we are now. This is called the art of life. It is not simple and easy, this change will take many generations and probably  some extinctions. 

Pagaidām, kamēr mēs neesam iemācījušies savas smadzenes programmēt tā, kā programmējam datorus, mums jālieto pieejamos un zināmos paņēmienus. Ciešanas, sāpes un bojāeja vairs nav neizbēgama nolemtība (kā Šopenhauera laikos), šodien tā ir neprasme un nezināšana. Mūsu smadzenes rada, izveido pasakaini skaistu izdomātu pasauli, kuras esamību un patiesīgumu reālās dzīves notikumi brīžiem pat apstiprina. Mēs, dažu ārējās pasaules notikumu ierosināti, iztēlojam, izveidojam, tā mums šķiet, nemaldīgu priekšstatu par to, cik skaisti tas būs, un … rīkojamies saskaņā ar to. To apstiprina zināmi fakti – 50 % šķirto laulību, kuru dalībnieki meklē to īsto – labāku, pilnīgāku, skaistāku. Vai atrod? Daļēji, dažreiz vairāk, citreiz mazāk. Daži neatrod, un visu dzīvi pavada meklējot. Kas ir tie, kas atrod? Izrādās, dažreiz, pat to nezinot, mēs esam izauguši un tās mīlestības valodas (skat. Garry Chapman, The 5 Languages of Love) labāk iemācījušies, un tādēļ nākošajai reizei labāk sagatavoti. 

Skatoties tam pāri, varam ieraudzīt, ka evolūcija mums iedevusi smadzenes, kuras mūs brīžiem paceļ debesīs, bet gandrīz vienmēr izrādās, ka tās mūs mānījušas (ja to nezin, tad nonāk pie Šopenhauera secinājumiem), radījušas, izveidojušas pasaules un nākotnes vīzijas, kādu realitātē nav un nevar būt. Tādēļ, ka tas otrs un mēs paši, mēs neesam tādi, kādus smadzenes mums to iztēlojušas, bet reāli, ar vajadzībām, īpašībām un balvām, kuras jāpēta, jāzin un pareizi jāizmanto.  Tādēļ tiem, kuri iemācās sevi un otru redzēt, iepazīt un pieņemt tādu, kāds tas ir, nav jāšķiras. Bet, protams, ir izņēmumi. 

Vai tas nozīmē, ka mums dzīves pamatā jāliek atziņa, ka smadzenes mūs maldina? Nē, nebūt nē. Ja tāds brīdis kādam gadās, tad ir pareizi noticēt lielā brīnuma un laimes sajūtai: to mums iedod gēnos ieliktā pieredze, kas veidota tūkstošu iepriekšējo paaudžu laikā. Laimi vajag pieņemt, bet: tā ir kā brīnumputns, kuru ar nemākulīgu rīcību viegli aizbaidīt. 

Vai cilvēki kādreiz iemācīsies veidot laimīgāku dzīvi, cik tālu vēl ir, cik ilgi vēl jāgaida?  Tad, kad skolās kā galveno priekšmetu mācīs mūsu smadzeņu uzbūvi un darbības īpatnības, tad varēsim teikt, ka esam sākuši iet tajā virzienā. 

 

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In pain after a breakup? These three strategies can help you ease the suffering, study shows

The higher you rise, the harder you fall. With love being one of the most powerful emotions we feel, its end can bring some of the most heartwrenching moments we ever experience. After a particularly painful breakup, it’s hard to believe you’ll ever recover. Persistent and pervasive feelings of depression, anxiety, exhaustion, insomnia, and loss of appetite are all common in the recently-brokenhearted. Perhaps most infuriating — in my experience, at least — is when people tell you that it will get better in time. It just feels like a hollow pat on the back that doesn’t actually fix anything.

The study included 24 participants aged between 20 and 37 who had recently ended long-term relationships (average length 2.5 years) and who were — quite understandably — quite distressed. They were asked to try out several cognitive strategies to help them recover:

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The Age of Perplexity: Rethinking the World we Knew

The technological revolution and globalization have opened up an “age of perplexity”: Perplexity in the face of changes that affect not only our lives, but the future of humanity and for which we don’t have guidelines or instructions to operate with.

23 leading academics and specialists analyze the great challenges and opportunities offered by the advances in science and technology and how they affect the economy, politics, society and our daily lives.

Download the book for free

The technological revolution we are living – the most accelerated in history – is generating transformations that affect the future of humanity. Those that seemed fundamental constants of the human species: their physical and mental capacities, their longevity … etc., are now to be defined. All this has opened what this book calls “the era of perplexity”, before changes for which we do not have guides or even less recipes to act.

The impact of globalization, of technological progress and of the insecurity that they cause is reflected in people’s decisions, and by the path that our society is following. This path that will decide our future, in the sense that it will determine our capability of facing the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities offered up by the advances in science and technology.

In this book, we look at generalized subjects, taking in the transformation that computing and the greater availability of information brings to our perceptions and understanding of things, and in the social imaginaries, that shape our attitudes and reactions to the events that we observe.
All this underpins the changes in politics we are witnessing, the appearance of populist movements or, more generally, the lack of commitment or disaffection with political institutions and the values that support the existing democracies. In these arenas, the new digital media, new types of digital political activism, and the rise of movements that question the dominant economic and political paradigm all play a key role.

From this base, we look at which are the most suitable economic policies and forms of organization for harnessing the potential of the digital revolution, and also for minimizing the risks of a society with increasing inequality, with a huge number of jobs taken over by machines, or even the loss of control of individual or collective decisions.

This technological revolution will undoubtedly require a complex transition process, but we also have before us a wonderful opportunity to better tend to the needs and demands of people: with more growth, jobs and a fairer distribution of wealth, and a richer and fuller life for the whole of humanity.

 

“tend to the needs and demands of people: with more growth, jobs and a fairer distribution of wealth, and a richer and fuller life for the whole of humanity.”

will not work. If not forced, nobody will support ‘a fairer distribution of wealth’ or other slogans. Why? Because they are contrary to the basic human nature. If we want to survive, radical and fundamental changes are completely necessary: restriction of the number of people, restriction of consumption and damage to environment, new morality and values. Humanity is not ready for these changes. I.V. 

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Science and Pseudoscience

BY HARRIET HALL, M.D.

We live in a post-truth, anti-intellectual world where intuition, “common sense,” and fake news are often preferred to scientific evidence, and where pseudoscience is often presented as valid science. Assuming that truth exists and is worth searching for, and that science is our most reliable tool in that search, how can we identify pseudoscience and combat it effectively?

In the first chapter, David Hecht argues that understanding pseudoscience is as important as debunking it. Science and pseudoscience are opposite ends of one spectrum; we can easily identify the extremes, but there is no clear line separating them. Pseudoscientific beliefs are not as random or indefensible as they seem, and science is not as objective and detached as we like to think. Science is powerful but imperfect; and until we understand its limitations, we shouldn’t condemn those who choose not to trust it. We must avoid dogmatism and remember that scientific knowledge is always provisional.

In the final chapter, “Truth Shall Prevail,” Paul Joseph Barnett and James C. Kaufman stress that scientists are searching for the truth, sometimes at great personal cost. “Humility, or a reticence to speak in absolutes, is the single greatest distinction between the sides of pseudoscience and evidence-based science.” They add, “Responding to pseudoscience takes its toll. Scientists get frustrated when they have to repeat facts, refute the same fallacious arguments, and end up in defensive positions because their detractors are not bound to the same rules. Like nuisance lawsuits, pseudoscience rarely plays to win; the goal is simply not to lose. Getting people to doubt science counts as a victory.”

We clearly have our work cut out for us, but truth will prevail in the end. In a foreword, psychologist Scott Lilienfeld summarizes the valuable lessons in this book:

  1. We are all subject to cognitive biases.
  2. We are largely unaware of our biases.
  3. Science is a systematic set of safeguards against biases.
  4. Scientific thinking doesn’t come naturally to humans.
  5. Scientific thinking is exasperatingly domain-specific. Even Nobel Prize winners can fall prey to pseudoscience in fields outside their area of expertise.
  6. Pseudoscience and science lie on a spectrum.
  7. Pseudoscience is characterized by a set of fallible, but useful, warning signs such as an absence of self-correction, overuse of ad hoc maneuvers to immunize claims from refutation, use of scientific-sounding but vacuous language, extraordinary claims in the absence of compelling evidence, over-reliance on anecdotal and testimonial assertions, avoidance of peer review, etc.
  8. Scientific claims can be wrong. Pseudoscientific claims differ from erroneous claims in that they are deceptive: they appear to be scientific, but they are not.
  9. Scientific and pseudoscientific thinking are cut from the same basic psychological cloth. Heuristics (mental shortcuts or rules of thumb) are invaluable in everyday life, but when misapplied they can lead to mistaken conclusions.
  10. Skepticism differs from cynicism. Skeptics must guard against dismissing implausible claims out of disconfirmation bias.
Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science (book cover)
No comment. I.V. 
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О «самом гениальном изобретении»

«Самое гениальное изобретение … Бога  – это смерть. И если бы не было смерти, вообще, мне кажется, ничего бы не было. Мы бы не развивались. А когда ты живешь и каждый день ты думаешь: может быть, сегодня – твой последний день… А может быть, сегодня я буду вечером кататься с друзьями по каналу Мойки, я упаду и там утону,… и ты начинаешь жить по-другому. Ты понимаешь, что ты должен что-то после себя оставить. Ты должен что-то изменить. Ты должен сделать какой-то героический поступок. Ты должен поменять мир. Я считаю, что мы, «Тинькофф банк», поменяли мир <…> Мы поменяли банковский мир. Уже можно умирать мне».

Cilvēku vairākumam, lai ieraudzītu savas dzīves jēgu, iespējas, uzdevumu un pienākumu, izrādās, vajadzīgs stiprs stimuls – priekšāstāvošās nāves apziņa. Smaidot varam teikt, ka Dievs gudri darījis: kamēr viņi nav ieraudzījuši savu eksistenci liela laika mērogā, tikmēr, lai viņi rīkotos kaut cik mērķtiecīgi, viņiem jādod īslaicīgu dzīvi un nāves apziņu (tas gan nesakrīt ar paradīzes stāstu, kurā Dievs viņiem atņēmu mūžīgu dzīvību par to, ka viņi bija ieguvuši apziņu, sākuši sevi apzināties). Tad, kad viņi iemācīsies redzēt sevi kā Visuma apziņas daļu, nesēju un veidotāju, tad tā nāve, tas īsais mūžs, kādu pazīstam šodien, viņiem vairs nebūs vajadzīgs. Tā arī ir: apziņas pārnese uz citu fizikālu vidi (Genaral Artificial Intelligence GAI izveidošana) īsā dzīveslaika neizbēgamību atcels. Turpinot smaidošo reliģijas pavedienu, varam teikt, ka viņi iegūs mūžīgu dzīvību, gan šaurākā nozīmē, salīdzinot ar pašreizējo Homo sapiens dzīveslaiku. Plašākā, kosmoloģiskā skatījumā, protams, par neierobežotu jeb mūžīgu dzīvi nevar runāt – šodien mums nav zināmi neierobežoti ilgi kosmoloģiski apstākļi, kas ļautu nepārtraukti veikt informācijas jaunradi un apziņas darbību. 

Galvenais (sakarīgas, pilnvērtīgas dzīves) kritērijs ir – iegūt iespēju nemirt tad, kad galvenie, svarīgākie apkārtējās pasaules un sevis modeļi ir izveidoti, ir parādījusies iespēja baudīt un lietot iegūtās izpratnes. Kā zinām, šodien Homo sapiens tādas iespējas nav: realitātei kaut cik atbilstoši sevis un ārējās pasaules modeļus indivīds izveido tikai mūža beigās vai, kā daudzi, neizveido nemaz. Ja mazliet citiem vārdiem – spēju padzīvot laimīgu dzīvi sasniedz nedaudzi.

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Kompetenču falsifikatori

Juris Paiders

http://nra.lv/latvija/izglitiba-karjera/juris-paiders-3/222451-kompetencu-falsifikatori.htm

raksta:

Latvijas skolās tūdaļ tiks īstenota radikāla reforma. Notiek masveidīga un visaptveroša pāreja uz jaunu  – kompetencēs balstītu – izglītības satura modeli.

Reformas kaislīgākais aizstāvis ir Valsts izglītības satura centra (VISC) direktors Guntars Catlaks, kurš apgalvo, ka «joprojām mūsu izglītības sistēma centrējas uz zināšanu pasniegšanu. Informāciju nodod un saņem lielā apmērā. Ir vāja saikne starp zināšanām, prasmēm un arī attieksmēm, un šo saikni maz izprot arī paši skolotāji» (http://www.lvportals.lv, 17.05.2016).

Vai tiešām reformas vienīgais mērķis ir latvju izglītības zemais līmenis? Patiesībā VISC priekšnieku intereses var nojaust uzzinot, ka VISC projektā Kompetenču pieeja mācību saturā tiek «apgūti» 14 miljoni eiro, no kuriem 11,9 miljoni ir ES finansējums. Ak, Dievs! Par 14 miljoniem daudzi ir gatavi tēvu un māti pārdot, tāpēc nebrīnāmies, ka, lai pamatotu tik lielas naudas apgūšanas, ir ilgi un skaļi jānomelno Latvijas skolu izglītības sistēma. Lai pamatotu 14 miljonu eiro iesūkšanu, ir jāgāž pār Latvijas skolu un skolotāju galvām desmitiem samazgu spaiņi. Tā kā VISC jau pierūkst iekšējo nomelnotāju resursu, tad talkā nāk Latvijas Bankas apmaksātie propagandisti. Latvijas Bankas ekonomists Mārtiņš Bitāns tikko izplatīja galveno argumentu, lai neviens netraucētu kompetenču reformatoriem iesūkt 12 miljonu no ES fondiem: «Izcilo skolēnu īpatsvars Latvijā ir divreiz mazāks nekā OECD valstīs vidēji un aptuveni trīs reizes atpaliek no mūsu kaimiņvalstīm. Tas kārtējo reizi apliecina, ka Latvijas vispārējās izglītības sistēma ir tendēta galvenokārt uz viduvēju, nevis izcilu rezultātu.»

Latvijas skolu sistēma ir tik pagrimusi, ka gals klāt! Tikai kompetenču reforma iedēstīs pirmās sēklas, lai no viduvējās skolēnu masas parādītos pirmie izcilības asni!

Es domāju, ka nopietnu problēmu nav. Mēs nejauši esam atbrīvojušies no vienas okupācijas un ieguvuši dažas priekšrocības un iespējas: brīvi pārvietoties, iegūt zināšanas un labāku ekonomisko stāvokli. Kopā ar Eiropas un ASV sasniegumiem pie mums atnākušas arī viņu problēmas: nav vērtību, ir tikai viedokļi, un daļēji neapzināta izdabāšana ģenētiski mantotajiem instinktiem. Sabiedrībā tas izpaužas taisnīguma un godīguma devalvācijā, aiz laipnības slēptā cinismā un egoismā un vienaldzīgā, cietsirdīgā sacensībā un vēl daudzās mūsu dzīves nozarēs. Šaurāk to mēs pieredzam izglītības degradācijā: mērķis nav zināšanas un varēšana, bet peļņa. Students nav skolnieks un līdzcilvēks, bet ir klients. Autors citē spožu VISC direktora izteikumu, kas labi raksturo to, kas notiek: ” Ir vāja saikne starp zināšanām, prasmēm un arī attieksmēm, un šo saikni maz izprot arī paši skolotāji.” Bet nevajag jau citātus. Sistēmas veidotā nosaukuma ‘Valsts izglītības satura centrs’ un līdzīgu nosaukumu rašanās labi aprakstīta Dž. Orvela darbos.
Izglītības uzdevums nav kaut kādas saiknes vai izglītības satura veidošana, bet ārējās pasaules modeļu veidošana indivīda apziņā. Kad indivīds domā, tad lieto šos modeļus, un tie ļauj paredzēt, prognozēt, kas notiks. Ja prognozes sakrīt ar ārējās pasaules notikumiem, mēs sakām, ka cilvēks saprot ārējo pasauli, spēj tajā orientēties, to veidot un vispārīgāk – izdzīvot. Ir izglītots. 
Es domāju, ka mācīšanās nav problēma, tai skaitā arī finansiāla. Internetā par velti var dabūt, lejuplādēt lābākās mācību grāmatas krievu un angļu valodās, tās tik kārtīgi jāstudē, jāmācās, un pēc tam var iet un kārtot eksāmenus. Tādas augstskolas ir (piemēram, Khan Academy). Šāda mācīšanās, protams, nav līdzīga izplatītajai. Cilvēks vairākus gadus neko citu nedara, tikai mācās. Ja vajag naudu, tad arī strādā. Bet neko citu. Viss brīvais laiks tikai mācībām. Vairākus gadus. Tā 2 gadu laikā var iemācīties valodu, matemātiku, fiziku un datorzinības. Kā? Parastā pieeja nederēs, vajag kaut ko no Plūdoņa Atraitnes dēla. Tam, kas spēj stāvēt pāri savam laikam un tā ‘problēmām’, tam problēmu nav. Es atvainojos par pozīciju, bet, ja es 3 gadus nebūtu tā darījis, tad man nebūtu tiesību tā rakstīt. 
Eiropas un ASV problēmas nevienam nav jāpieņem, bet katrs var paņemt to, kas tur ir derīgs. I.V.

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Dainis Vītols: Quo vadis, patria? (Kurp dodies, mana tēvzeme?) 2018.g.19.maijā Mai 20

https://tencinusarunas.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/dainis-vitols-quo-vadis-patria-kurp-dodies-mana-tevzeme-2018-g-19-maija/

Sapņotāji un citi godīgi cilvēki grib piedalīties un veidot labāku mūsu kopējo dzīvi. Tā, kā viņi prot savu iekšējo pasauli. Skaisti, lai viņiem veicas.
Ja gribam vairāk, tad jāierauga, ka valsts un tautas kopējo dzīvi veido visu indivīdu rīcība, kopā sasummēta, Nav iespējams iedot tautai brīvību, demokrātiju, godīgumu un sakārtotību, ja dominē to indivīdu daļa, kas to neprot. V. Pozners saka, ka Krievija to sasniegs, tam pietuvosies tikai pēc vairākām paaudzēm. Viņi, tāpat kā latvieši, neprata, nespēja aizliegt bijušajiem valsts un partijas funkcionāriem strādāt svarīgos valsts amatos. Tie ir tās sistēmas cilvēki, viņu domāšanu, vērtības, rīcību un pārliecību izveidoja padomju sistēma. Mēs redzam, ka tie, (piemēram, vācieši), kas prata nepielaist pie varas vecos sistēmas funkcionārus, mūs daudzās nozarēs apsteidz. Tas ir likumsakarīgi, un tur nekā nevar darīt. Pēc neatkarības atgūšanas man vairāki ārzemnieki teica: “Mr. Vilks, it will take at least one generation.”
Nav nekāda māksla paziņot, ka ‘tur nekā nevar darīt’. Galvenais ir jautājums: ko darīt tagad, tajā situācijā, kurā mēs esam? Kad Pozneram klausītāji jautā, ko darīt, viņš atbild: “Не надо писать в лифте!” Katram jāsāk ar sevi, un tikai tad, kad mēs visi būsim izmainījušies, būsim iemācījušies demokrātijas, kultūras un cilvēcības valodas, tikai tad mēs sasniegsim labklājību. Kā to darīt? Es domāju, ka vissvarīgākā ir izglītība, kas tās valodas māca. Mums vajadzīga ne tikai tāda izglītība, kāda pieejama labklājības valstīs, bet tāda, kas katru indivīdu gatavo dzīvei, palīdzot viņam ieraudzīt, ka mēs visi piedzimstam ar augu savācēju un mednieku cilšu ģenētisko mantojumu (ņemt vairāk, nekā tas izdzīvošanai nepieciešams, apliecināt sevi sociālās grupās, izpildīt darbības, kuras sagādā fizisku un emocionālu baudu), un veidosim sabiedrību, kurā šīs īpašības ne tikai ievēro, bet uz tām balstās (piemēram, privātā īpašumā esošās mājas un zemes cilvēki apkalpo, uztur un kopj labāk, nekā valsts īpašumā esošās, un vēl: jāierobežo cilvēku vēlmi ņemt arī tad, kad tas izdzīvošanas nodrošināšanai nav vajadzīgs). Tas nav vienkārši, mēs redzam, ka pašreizējās pasaules valstis un sabiedrības ne tuvu nespēj atrisināt t.s. globālos konfliktus (pašreizējā civilizācija gribot-negribot un dažreiz arī neapzinoties iznīcina savus un nākošo paaudžu izdzīvošanas apstākļus), un pat ne savējos, lokālos: viņi vienkārši iet bojā.
Ja gribam vairāk, tad mums vajadzēs pacelties sev pāri. Imants Vilks

Posted in Contemporary Society Problems | Leave a comment

How To Be a Systems Thinker

Mary Catherine Bateson [4.17.18]

Until fairly recently, artificial intelligence didn’t learn. To create a machine that learns to think more efficiently was a big challenge. In the same sense, one of the things that I wonder about is how we’ll be able to teach a machine to know what it doesn’t know that it might need to know in order to address a particular issue productively and insightfully. This is a huge problem for human beings. It takes a while for us to learn to solve problems, and then it takes even longer for us to realize what we don’t know that we would need to know to solve a particular problem. 

The tragedy of the cybernetic revolution, which had two phases, the computer science side and the systems theory side, has been the neglect of the systems theory side of it. We chose marketable gadgets in preference to a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

MARY CATHERINE BATESON is a writer and cultural anthropologist. In 2004 she retired from her position as Clarence J. Robinson Professor in Anthropology and English at George Mason University, and is now Professor Emerita. Mary Catherine Bateson’s Edge Bio

Very very reasonable. What is missing? IMHO:

  1. Values. Contemporary science has abandoned religions, and with the dirty water we throve out the child. We, people, need, our genetic heritage demands something higher than daily existence, and we have lost it. Values are saved only in families (deep, rich love and reasonable way of life), small communities and religions. With the first the problem is that they are local, but the problem with religion is that it simply is not true, it is not based on reality.
  2. Understanding. To understand means to create the model of the system and use it in order to predict what will happen. If the predictions are correct, we say that we understand the process. Understanding is abandoned, it is replaced by behavioral and thinking templates: “We chose marketable gadgets in preference to a deeper understanding of the world we live in.” I.V. 

 

Posted in Contemporary Society Problems, Understand and Manage Ourselves | Leave a comment

Profesionālās izglītības kompetences centrs – muļķība vai sazvērestība?

Maija Kūle grāmatā ‘Eirodzīve’ raksta, ka viņa problēmu izpratnē priekšroku dod nevis sazvērestības teorijām, bet vienkāršam skaidrojumam: daudzu procesu pamatā ir nevis kādas sazvērestības, bet vienkārša muļķība. Droši vien, ka daudzos gadījumos tā arī ir, bet es domāju, ka vēl ir tādi gadījumi, kas kādam (cilvēkiem vai sociālai grupai) ir izdevīgi. Kad RTK sastapos ar to, ka students pie diplomdarba aizstāvēšanas nezin pateikt, ko viņš ir izgatavojis, un kā tas darbojas (un dažreiz arī nedarbojas), un eksāmenu komisijas locekļi studenta darbu novērtē, skatoties un rēķinot, lai viņš tomēr saņemtu minimālo pozitīvo vērtējumu, tad ieraudzīju, ka tā ir sociāla parādība: augsts zināšanu un prasību līmenis vairākumam dalībnieku nav vajadzīgs.

1. Apstākļos, kad elektroniskās ierīces miljonu eksemplāros izgatavo roboti, inženieri-projektētāji vajadzīgi 100-1000 reizes mazākā skaitā, nekā pirms 30-50 gadiem. Ražotājiem vajadzīgi ierīču uzraugi un apkalpotāji, bet kvalificēti inženieri-konstruktori, kam daudz jāmaksā (kas prot izrēķināt un zin, kas iznāks un kā tas strādās) vajadzīgi reti.
2. Studentiem tādas teorētiskās zināšanas, kādas dažreiz cenšas iedot RTK pasniedzēji, vajadzīgas tikai interesei un patikai, bet darba vietā – ne. Tādēļ mācās tā, lai saprastu, kādi 10-20%. Pārējie mācās tādēļ, lai iegūtu papīru, bez kura darbā neņem.
3. Mācību un t.s. vadošajās iestādēs pakāpeniski iekļūst cilvēki, kas mācāmo priekšmetu zin vāji (Einšteins teica, ka tādēļ neprot paskaidrot), bet izveido vai atbalsta tādu vērtēšanas sistēmu, kura neprasa procesu izpratni, bet ļauj uzminēt pareizu atbildi: ja uz eksāmena jautājumu ir piecas iespējamās atbildes, tad pilnīgi bez jebkādām zināšanām iespējams iegūt 20% pareizas atbildes. Ja studenta atmiņā ir kādas gadījuma atmiņas par terminu saistību, tad pareizo atbilžu skaitu var palielināt līdz 30-40%.
4. Mācību iestādes kritērijs: rīkoties tā (izveidot vērtēšanas kritērijus, likt tādas atzīmes), lai studentu skaits nesamazinātos tā, ka skolu (fakultāti vai kursu) likvidē un pasniedzēji un darbinieki pārvēršas par bezdarbniekiem.
Imants Vilks
Posted in Economics and Politics | Leave a comment

On Michael Shermer’s defence of moral realism

https://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/on-michael-shermers-defence-of-moral-realism/#comment-12685

Empty talking. All human values are created by humans. Platonic world and religions are not based on evidence. They are our images. Schermer shows the main contemporary problem: nobody defines the most important, the basic moral principle and human value: human survival on a cosmic scale, or, as Carl Sagan said, Universe’s matter try to get conscious of itself.
If we define and accept this principle as a basic human value, then we obtain answers on all our moral questions and ‘problems’. The only problem is that contemporary humans are not ready for such a radical change of their values and behavior. Because of it the current civilization is doomed. At least partly. Imants Vilks

Posted in Values and Sense of Life | Leave a comment

NASA successfully tests next-generation space reactor

NASA and the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have announced that the next-generation Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY) nuclear reactor has passed its initial demonstration tests.

NASA is developing its Kilopower system, which is a 10-kilowatt reactor that can run for a decade before refuelling. To avoid the plutonium shortage, it uses a solid-cast uranium 235 reactor core 6 inches in diameter surrounded by a beryllium oxide reflector. A mechanism at one end removes and inserts a single rod of boron carbide that starts and stops the reactor, while the reflector catches escaping neutrons and bounces them back into the core, improving the efficiency of the self-regulating fission reaction. Until activated, the core is only mildly radioactive.

The Kilopower experiment was carried out at the Nevada National Security Site from November 2017 through March of this year. David Poston, chief reactor designer at NNSA’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, says the Nevada tests were intended to both demonstrate that the reactor works and that it is safe under abnormal circumstances. Two tests were conducted without the reactor generating power to test the components and a third increased power in stages. The final test was a 28-hour, full-power mission simulation that included reactor startup, ramp to full power, steady operation, and shutdown.

Fusion still missing. I.V. 

Posted in Cosmology | Leave a comment

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

Our life is a river, our inherited needs, tendencies and talents (mostly not known to us) collaborate with life stream’s random events and make a direction. The most important – to realize, to see self. Get know what is most important for him (her), wait random events from stream and take the right one out. Accept it, use it. Let it work. Don’t work with dislike and antipathy. The basic principle: if you feel, if you know the right job, work for it, prepare yourself, learn and wait, and life will offer the possibility. Take it, and it will be your destiny and fulfillment.

Years will pass and you will change, you will start looking for another partner. Do you dare? Vladimir Pozner says, yes, but only then when you know definitely (by this time you should know and understand yourself a bit) that this human is the essence and fulfillment of your dreams. It happens rarely, and when it happens, you will know. If you are not sure, let it go.

https://waitbutwhy.com/2018/04/picking-career.html

 

Posted in Happiness and Quality of Life | Leave a comment

Par Ilmāra Rimšēviča aizturēšanas iemesliem

https://infoagentura.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/par-ilmara-rimsevica-aizturesanas-iemesliem/#comment-5469

Citāts: “Lai gan nekādi pierādījumi šim apgalvojumam netiek doti, tas izskatās pietiekami patiess”.
Šis izteikums liecina, ka varbūt notiek uzbrukums bez pierādījumiem. KNAB esot iesniegta kaut kāda Norvik bankas ‘sūdzība’, kuras saturu nevienam neatklāj. Tādējādi lasītājam nav iespējams pašam spriest, vai apsūdzētais ir vainīgs, un, vai esošie pierādījumi ir pietiekošs pamats arestam un kratīšanai. Fakts, ka mums šos pierādījumus nedod, ļauj domāt, ka to varbūt nav, ka notikušais ir plānots uzbrukums Latvijas banku sistēmai un valstij. (šis fakts raksturo Latvijas tiesu sistēmas degradāciju: fakti, kuru publicēšana ir neizdevīga likumu pārkāpējam, tiek paziņoti par slepeniem, un tas pārkāpējam ļauj izvairīties no sabiedrības iejaukšanās. Šajā gadījumā ir pilnīgi skaidrs, ka KNAB pienākums ir informēt Latvijas iedzīvotājus par to, cik pamatota ir bankas prezidenta aizturēšana, lai viņi paši varētu spriest un izdarīt savus slēdzienus. Faktu slēpšana nodara lielu kaitējumu Latvijas valstij: tā ne tikai pārkāpj iedzīvotāju tiesības zināt, kas notiek valstī, bet arī veicina iedzīvotāju neuzticību un nelojalitāti. Un vēl vairāk: faktu slēpšana dod KNAB iespēju rīkoties nekontrolēti. Šādiem procesiem maz sakara ar demokrātiju).
Publicētajā tekstā mēs redzam nevis prasību pēc patiesības noskaidrošanas (prasību pēc faktiem), bet izteikumu, ka apgalvojums ‘izskatās pietiekami patiess’. Skarbi.

Citāts: ” Jautājumi, “ņēma/neņēma”, “vainīgs/nevainīgs” nav pareizie (tie ir otršķirīgi dēļ savas trivialitātes.)”
Šajā gadījumā ‘vainīgs/nevainīgs’ izškir lietas būtību: nepamatota, noziedzīga apsūdzība, kuras uzturēšanā gribot vai negribot piedalās arī KNAB, vai arī bankas prezidents ir pārkāpis godu un likumu. Manuprāt, šeit nekā triviāla nav. Imants Vilks

Posted in Economics, Values and Sense of Life | Leave a comment

Ultralow power artificial synapses using nanotextured magnetic Josephson junctions

Superconducting ‘synapse’ could enable powerful future neuromorphic supercomputers

Fires 200 million times faster than human brain, uses one ten-thousandth as much energy
February 7, 2018

NIST’s artificial synapse, designed for neuromorphic computing, mimics the operation of switch between two neurons. One artificial synapse is located at the center of each X. This chip is 1 square centimeter in size. (The thick black vertical lines are electrical probes used for testing.) (credit: NIST)

A superconducting “synapse” that “learns” like a biological system, operating like the human brain, has been built by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The NIST switch, described in an open-access paper in Science Advances, provides a missing link for neuromorphic (brain-like) computers, according to the researchers. Such “non-von Neumann architecture” future computers could significantly speed up analysis and decision-making for applications such as self-driving cars and cancer diagnosis.

The research is supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) Cryogenic Computing Complexity Program, which was launched in 2014 with the goal of paving the way to “a new generation of superconducting supercomputer development beyond the exascale.”*

A synapse is a connection or switch between two neurons, controlling transmission of signals. (credit: NIST)

NIST’s artificial synapse is a metallic cylinder 10 micrometers in diameter — about 10 times larger than a biological synapse. It simulates a real synapse by processing incoming electrical spikes (pulsed current from a neuron) and customizing spiking output signals. The more firing between cells (or processors), the stronger the connection. That process enables both biological and artificial synapses to maintain old circuits and create new ones.

Dramatically faster, lower-energy-required, compared to human synapses

But the NIST synapse has two unique features that the researchers say are superior to human synapses and to other artificial synapses:

  • Operating at 100 GHz, it can fire at a rate that is much faster than the human brain — 1 billion times per second, compared to a brain cell’s rate of about 50 times per second.
  • It uses only about one ten-thousandth as much energy as a human synapse. The spiking energy is less than 1 attojoule** — roughly equivalent to the miniscule chemical energy bonding two atoms in a molecule — compared to the roughly 10 femtojoules (10,000 attojoules) per synaptic event in the human brain. Current neuromorphic platforms are orders of magnitude less efficient than the human brain. “We don’t know of any other artificial synapse that uses less energy,” NIST physicist Mike Schneider said.

Superconducting devices mimicking brain cells and transmission lines have been developed, but until now, efficient synapses — a crucial piece — have been missing. The new Josephson junction-based artificial synapse would be used in neuromorphic computers made of superconducting components (which can transmit electricity without resistance), so they would be more efficient than designs based on semiconductors or software. Data would be transmitted, processed, and stored in units of magnetic flux.

The brain is especially powerful for tasks like image recognition because it processes data both in sequence and simultaneously and it stores memories in synapses all over the system. A conventional computer processes data only in sequence and stores memory in a separate unit.

The new NIST artificial synapses combine small size, superfast spiking signals, and low energy needs, and could be stacked into dense 3D circuits for creating large systems. They could provide a unique route to a far more complex and energy-efficient neuromorphic system than has been demonstrated with other technologies, according to the researchers.

Nature News does raise some concerns about the research, quoting neuromorphic-technology experts: “Millions of synapses would be necessary before a system based on the technology could be used for complex computing; it remains to be seen whether it will be possible to scale it to this level. … The synapses can only operate at temperatures close to absolute zero, and need to be cooled with liquid helium. That this might make the chips impractical for use in small devices, although a large data centre might be able to maintain them. … We don’t yet understand enough about the key properties of the [biological] synapse to know how to use them effectively.”


Inside a superconducting synapse 

The NIST synapse is a customized Josephson junction***, long used in NIST voltage standards. These junctions are a sandwich of superconducting materials with an insulator as a filling. When an electrical current through the junction exceeds a level called the critical current, voltage spikes are produced.

Illustration showing the basic operation of NIST’s artificial synapse, based on a Josephson junction. Very weak electrical current pulses are used to control the number of nanoclusters (green) pointing in the same direction. Shown here: a “magnetically disordered state” (left) vs. “magnetically ordered state” (right). (credit: NIST)

Each artificial synapse uses standard niobium electrodes but has a unique filling made of nanoscale clusters (“nanoclusters”) of manganese in a silicon matrix. The nanoclusters — about 20,000 per square micrometer — act like tiny bar magnets with “spins” that can be oriented either randomly or in a coordinated manner. The number of nanoclusters pointing in the same direction can be controlled, which affects the superconducting properties of the junction.

Diagram of circuit used in the simulation. The blue and red areas represent pre- and post-synapse neurons, respectively. The X symbol represents the Josephson junction. (credit: Michael L. Schneider et al./Science Advances)

The synapse rests in a superconducting state, except when it’s activated by incoming current and starts producing voltage spikes. Researchers apply current pulses in a magnetic field to boost the magnetic ordering — that is, the number of nanoclusters pointing in the same direction.

This magnetic effect progressively reduces the critical current level, making it easier to create a normal conductor and produce voltage spikes. The critical current is the lowest when all the nanoclusters are aligned. The process is also reversible: Pulses are applied without a magnetic field to reduce the magnetic ordering and raise the critical current. This design, in which different inputs alter the spin alignment and resulting output signals, is similar to how the brain operates.

Synapse behavior can also be tuned by changing how the device is made and its operating temperature. By making the nanoclusters smaller, researchers can reduce the pulse energy needed to raise or lower the magnetic order of the device. Raising the operating temperature slightly from minus 271.15 degrees C (minus 456.07 degrees F) to minus 269.15 degrees C (minus 452.47 degrees F), for example, results in more and higher voltage spikes.


* Future exascale supercomputers would run at 1018 exaflops (“flops” = floating point operations per second) or more. The current fastest supercomputer — the Sunway TaihuLight — operates at about 0.1 exaflops; zettascale computers, the next step beyond exascale, would run 10,000 times faster than that.

** An attojoule is 10-18 joule, a unit of energy, and is one-thousandth of a femtojoule.

*** The Josephson effect is the phenomenon of supercurrent — i.e., a current that flows indefinitely long without any voltage applied — across a device known as a Josephson junction, which consists of two superconductors coupled by a weak link. — Wikipedia


Abstract of Ultralow power artificial synapses using nanotextured magnetic Josephson junctions

Neuromorphic computing promises to markedly improve the efficiency of certain computational tasks, such as perception and decision-making. Although software and specialized hardware implementations of neural networks have made tremendous accomplishments, both implementations are still many orders of magnitude less energy efficient than the human brain. We demonstrate a new form of artificial synapse based on dynamically reconfigurable superconducting Josephson junctions with magnetic nanoclusters in the barrier. The spiking energy per pulse varies with the magnetic configuration, but in our demonstration devices, the spiking energy is always less than 1 aJ. This compares very favorably with the roughly 10 fJ per synaptic event in the human brain. Each artificial synapse is composed of a Si barrier containing Mn nanoclusters with superconducting Nb electrodes. The critical current of each synapse junction, which is analogous to the synaptic weight, can be tuned using input voltage spikes that change the spin alignment of Mn nanoclusters. We demonstrate synaptic weight training with electrical pulses as small as 3 aJ. Further, the Josephson plasma frequencies of the devices, which determine the dynamical time scales, all exceed 100 GHz. These new artificial synapses provide a significant step toward a neuromorphic platform that is faster, more energy-efficient, and thus can attain far greater complexity than has been demonstrated with other technologies.

comments 4

  1. February 10, 2018
    by GrahamRounce

    A synapse is not, of course, a neuron. In a human brain each one of the trillions of neurons has thousands of connections to other neurons, and other cells, via a synapse. I think the roadblock is going to be all those interconnections.
    There’s a long way to go!

  2. February 10, 2018
    by Palle R Jensen

    Readers might be interested in this:
    https://youtu.be/4Lne1bFc0rA
    According to this theory (TRANS), it will be possible to create conscious computers.

  3. February 9, 2018
    by tschaefer

    Is there any way that kurzweilai can schedule a periodic (annual) update to this article, maybe watch the NIST research group or individuals involved? Do you remember the article last year about the silicon Intel chip that has ~100K neurons and ~256 synapses per neuron? Isn’t it a matter of time and accumulated ingenuity before the watchers of this NIST demonstration (NASA Technology Readiness Level 2?) scale it? If TRL goes from 2 to 9 in 9 to 12 years, could this put a Singularity-level AGI within grasp by 2030? Let’s get some intermediate data points at TRL 4 or 5 ASAP! https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/trl.png

    • February 9, 2018
      by Editor

      tschaefer: Great idea, will do. Note: Nature News quotes Steven Furber, a computer engineer at University of Manchester, UK, “who studies neuromorphic computing says practical applications are far in the future: ‘The device technologies are potentially very interesting, but we don’t yet understand enough about the key properties of the [biological] synapse to know how to use them effectively,’ he says. ‘For instance, there are many outstanding questions about how synapses remodel themselves when forming a memory, making it difficult to recreate the process in a memory-storing chip.’ Furber says that because it takes 10 years or more for new computing devices to reach the market, it is worth developing as many different technological approaches as possible. …”

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Posted in Artificial Intelligence | Leave a comment

Meaning of Life: Science Reveals Our Deepest Purpose

It is interesting to see thoughts and positions about very important aspect of our lives in our societies – thoughts about deaf, eternal life and the sense of life.

Example. In a flashback scene in the 1977 film Annie Hall, Woody Allen’s character Alvy Singer is a depressed young boy who won’t do his homework because, as he explains to his doctor: “The universe is expanding…. Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart, and that will be the end of everything.” His exasperated mother upbraids the youth: “What has the universe got to do with it?! You’re here in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not expanding!”

Scientific American (cover)

Call it “Alvy’s Error”: assessing the purpose of something at the wrong level of analysis. The level at which we should assess our actions is the human timescale of days, weeks, months and years—our life span of fourscore plus or minus 10—not the billions of years of the cosmic calendar. It is a mistake made by theologians when arguing that without a source external to our world to vouchsafe morality and meaning, nothing really matters.

I disagree completely. Only looking at our life on a big scale we can realize the sense of our existence. We are, as Carl Sagan said, our Universe’s matter try to get conscious about itself. This means that we have a great possibility to pass our consciousness to the next human generations, the great responsibility for not destroying it. From here we have the cosmic sense for our life, the holy task – to pass over. It is not important for current moment that we don’t have ‘eternal life’ yet. Our followers will have it. Even more: undeniably we will proceed to live at that time, but we will not know it (in the sense, we will not feel it). When our consciousness will be transferred to more sustainable and more safe silicon environment. Or, possibly, humans will learn to prolong Homo sapiens lifetime for some hundreds of years. It is not important, the main issue is – we must realize that our lives today is great possibility and responsibility, this is the sense of our lives, the greater one is not possible. 

Basis for our morality can be formulated simply – the long-term survival of Humanity. This moral maxim includes far reaching changes of our lives, values and behavior. Contemporary humans are not prepared for these future changes, but there is no way out, if we want to survive and pass human spirit to future. Talking about ” destruction in the heat death of the universe” is empty – if humans will survive for some hundred years from now, definitely they will learn to prolong human body lifetime or they will learn to pass their consciousness to, as they today are called, robots. Even more, they will learn how to improve contemporary human balance between reason and emotions, to support human yearning for happiness. And more: they will learn to manage cosmological processes and to distribute consciousness. Happiness and nearly unrestricted (‘eternal’) life is possible, there is no law in information theory forbidding it. Our descendants will have it, only if we will not destroy the possibility for them. 

In this view talking about ” In light of that end, it’s hard for me to understand how our moral choices have any sort of significance. There’s no moral accountability. The universe is neither better nor worse for what we do is empty. 

More: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/16170c00ee93ef77

Pale Blue Dot

Below:
The Earth: a pale blue dot in a sunbeam.
Photographed by Voyager 1 from beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Image of a pale blue dot

Carl Sagan wrote:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, Random House, 1994

 

Posted in Are We doomed?, Happiness and Quality of Life, Values and Sense of Life | Leave a comment

The Doomsday Clock is now two minutes before midnight

Scientists move clock ahead 30 seconds, closest to midnight since 1953
January 25, 2018

(credit: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

Citing growing nuclear risks and unchecked climate dangers, the Doomsday Clock — the symbolic point of annihilation — is now two minutes to midnight, the closest the Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War, according to a statement today (Jan. 25) by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

“In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago — and as dangerous as it has been since World War II,” according to the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with the Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel Laureates.


“This is a dangerous time, but the danger is of our own making. Humankind has invented the implements of apocalypse; so can it invent the methods of controlling and eventually eliminating them. This year, leaders and citizens of the world can move the Doomsday Clock and the world away from the metaphorical midnight of global catastrophe by taking common-sense action.” — Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, Foundation Professor at School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, Arizona State University, and chair, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Board of Sponsors.


The increased risks driving the decision to move the clock include:

Nuclear. Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions from North Korea and the U.S. have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation. These include U.S.-Russian military entanglements, South China Sea tensions, escalating rhetoric between Pakistan and India,  uncertainty about continued U.S. support for the Iran nuclear deal.

Decline of U.S. leadership and a related demise of diplomacy under the Trump Administration. “In 2017, the United States backed away from its longstanding leadership role in the world, reducing its commitment to seek common ground and undermining the overall effort toward solving pressing global governance challenges. Neither allies nor adversaries have been able to reliably predict U.S. actions or understand when U.S. pronouncements are real and when they are mere rhetoric. International diplomacy has been reduced to name-calling, giving it a surrealistic sense of unreality that makes the world security situation ever more threatening.”

Climate change. “The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge.”

How to #RewindtheDoomsdayClock

According to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

* U.S. President Donald Trump should refrain from provocative rhetoric regarding North Korea, recognizing the impossibility of predicting North Korean reactions. The U.S. and North Korean governments should open multiple channels of communication.

* The world community should pursue, as a short-term goal, the cessation of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile tests. North Korea is the only country to violate the norm against nuclear testing in 20 years.

* The Trump administration should abide by the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran’s nuclear program unless credible evidence emerges that Iran is not complying with the agreement or Iran agrees to an alternative approach that meets U.S. national security needs.

* The United States and Russia should discuss and adopt measures to prevent peacetime military incidents along the borders of NATO.

* U.S. and Russian leaders should return to the negotiating table to resolve differences over the INF treaty, to seek further reductions in nuclear arms, to discuss a lowering of the alert status of the nuclear arsenals of both countries, to limit nuclear modernization programs that threaten to create a new nuclear arms race, and to ensure that new tactical or low-yield nuclear weapons are not built, and existing tactical weapons are never used on the battlefield.

* U.S. citizens should demand, in all legal ways, climate action from their government. Climate change is a real and serious threat to humanity.

* Governments around the world should redouble their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so they go well beyond the initial, inadequate pledges under the Paris Agreement.

* The international community should establish new protocols to discourage and penalize the misuse of information technology to undermine public trust in political institutions, in the media, in science, and in the existence of objective reality itself.

Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2017

“As of mid-2017, there are nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, located at some 107 sites in 14 countries. Roughly, 9400 of these weapons are in military arsenals; the remaining weapons are retired and awaiting dismantlement. Nearly 4000 are operationally available, and some 1800 are on high alert and ready for use on short notice.

“By far, the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons reside in Russia and the United States, which possess 93 percent of the total global inventory. In addition to the seven other countries with nuclear weapon stockpiles (Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea), five nonnuclear NATO allies (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey) host about 150 US nuclear bombs at six air bases.”

Hans M. Kristensen & Robert S. Norris, Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2017. Pages 289-297 | Published online: 31 Aug 2017.

Posted in Are We doomed? | Leave a comment

Mākslīgā inteliģence, pašreizējais stāvoklis, problēmas un nākotnes vīzija

Anotācija. Rakstā dotas svarīgākās definīcijas, īsi aplūkoti nozīmīgākie brīvi pieejamie sasniegumi un labākās publikācijas, aplūkotas zināmas un dažas jaunas problēmas, un izvērtētas nākotnes iespējas.

Ievads. Mākslīgā inteliģence ir viens no mūsu laika svarīgākajiem atklājumiem, kas, iespējams, izmainīs cilvēces attīstības gaitu. Mākslīgā inteliģence ir inteliģences simulācija mašīnās. Tā šodien tiek veidota, atdarinot cilvēka smadzeņu uzbūvi un darbību. Cilvēka smadzenēs ir aptuveni 1011 neironu un 1015 sinapses (savienojumi starp neironiem). Smadzenes var izpildīt 1014-1015 operācijas sekundē, smadzeņu atmiņas apjoms ir 1014-1015 bitu. Pēc ātrdarbības un atmiņas apjoma pasaules labākie datori ir pietuvojušies cilvēka smadzeņu parametriem, bet patērētā jauda un gabarīti ir miljoniem reižu lielāki. Ja iedomājamies, ka datoru patērētā jauda un izmēri samazināsies pēc Mūra likuma, (aptuveni divas reizes divos gados), tad tie pietuvosies cilvēka smadzeņu jaudai (80W) un izmēriem apmēram pēc 34-40 gadiem. Bet Mūra likums neapraksta datoru patērētās jaudas un gabarītu samazināšanos – šie procesi ir daudz lēnāki. Labāko šodienas datoru patērētā jauda ir no 3 līdz 18 MW, un to masa ir dažas tonnas. Kamēr radikālu fizikāli efektīvāku risinājumu (mazgabarītu un mazjaudīgi skaitļošanas elementi) nav, mākslīgās inteliģences veidotāji strādā pie konkrētu uzdevumu risināšanas un to algoritmu un neironu tīkla (NT) struktūras pilnveidošanas.

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Smaidošas domas

Es apzinos, ka 99% cilvēku tos nespēs pieņemt, bet labāk turpinās pašreizējo skrējienu uz savu galu. Tādēļ smaidam par to, kas nav iespējams. Sākot ar šodienu likumi visā pasaulē:
1. Visaugstākā cilvēces vērtība: saglabāt un nodot tālāk vienīgo mums zināmo matērijas apziņas formu – Homo sapiens. Viena no augstākajām morāles vērtībām – izglītība, lai iespējami vairāk cilvēku būtu sagatavoti neiznīcināt savas un savu bērnu eksistences noteikumus. Tāpēc augstākā izglītība ir norma, vidējā – obligāta. Par normas nesasniegšanu – sabiedrības nopēlums un finansiāli ierobežojumi. Par normas pārsniegšanu – sabiedrības atzinība un finansiāls atbalsts. Visas izglītības pamatā tikai fakti, tas, ko var neierobežoti pārbaudīt un pierādīt. Atļaut neierobežoti daudzus uzskatus un izteikumus, bet valsts uztur izglītības sistēmu, kurā māca izdzīvošanai derīgas zināšanas, atbalsta galveno, mūsdienu zinātnes pieeju. Valsts skaidro iedzīvotājiem, kas izplatītās māņu mācībās un reliģijās nav pierādīts un neatbilst realitātei, bet – neapkaro un neaizliedz tās. Citiem vārdiem, valsts sagatavo savus pilsoņus saskarsmei ar nepatieso,  viņiem nederīgo un kaitīgo, piemēram, gēnu vajadzībām izdabājošas izklaides, kurās rāda seksu, porno, vardarbību, karus, laupīšanas, u.t.t.
Kāpēc tik neadekvātas, itkā pārspīlētas izglītības prasības? Šeit redzam seno vistas-olas problēmu. Cilvēka dzīves kvalitāte ir atkarīga no sociālās sistēmas. Bez labas sociālās sistēmas nevar iegūt labu izglītību, bet bez labas izglītības nevar iegūt labu sociālo sistēmu un valsti.  Ir zināmi īslaicīga uzplaukuma un sasniegumu piemēri dažu diktatūru laikā, bet tas ‘strādā’ neilgi, agrāk vai vēlāk diktatūra aiziet kopā ar tās atbalstītājiem, un cilvēki atgriežas pie tādas valsts pārvaldes, kas atbilst viņu spējai tādu izveidot: viņu zināšanām, izpratnei, vērtībām. Bet to visu dod un veido izglītība.
2. Divi bērni ģimenē. Ja mazāk, tad prēmija, atbalsts, ja vairāk, tad jāmaksā. Un daudz. Tiesības dzemdēt bērnus var pirkt un pārdot.
3. Par jebkuru negodīguma izpausmi, kura kavē sabiedrības attīstību – tāds sods, lai pārkāpumu izdarīt nebūtu izdevīgi (ne tā, kā tagad. Tas ir, soda lielums, reizināts ar noķeršanas varbūtību, ir daudz lielāks par ieguvumu, kuru saņem pārkāpējs). Ieskaitot nāves sodu, izmantojot pārkāpēja orgānus nevainīgu cilvēku ārstēšanai. Ķermeņa orgānus var pirkt un pārdot.
4. Neierobežota un bezmaksas zināšanu un mākslas darbu izplatīšana. Autori atlīdzību saņem no valsts.
5. Īpašuma tiesības un uzturēšana atbilstoši cilvēku reālai īpašībai – viņi labi pārvalda to, kas viņiem pieder.
6. Piespiedu ienākumu nevienlīdzības ierobežošana: atbilstoši cilvēku reālai īpašībai ņemt neierobežoti. Jo neviens nevar iegūt miljonus un miljardus tikai ar savu darbu vien: tam ir nepieciešami arī citi cilvēki. Ir zināms visai izplūdis kritērijs: nevienlīdzība atbalstāma tikmēr, kamēr tā veicina sabiedrības progresu. Pareizāks kritērijs varētu būt taisnīgums: izcili talanti savu rezultātu pārdod, bet atlīdzības lielums un laiks ir ierobežoti. Līdzīgi kā ar patentiem – pēc 10-15 gadiem tie kļūst par visas cilvēces īpašumu. Pamatā ir doma – jebkurš izcilais talants ir varējis sevi izkopt, tikai pateicoties iepriekšējo paaudžu un līdzcilvēku ieguldījumam.
7. Valsts pārvalde: demokrātija, kurā četras neatkarīgas varas (likumdevēja, izpildu, tiesu un MIL) un izveidots daudzpusīgs līdzsvars starp kompetenci un iedzīvotāju vērtējumu. Tas nozīmē, ka visās nozarēs (medicīnā, izglītībā, valsts pārvaldē), kurās nepieciešamas speciālas zināšanas un kompetence, lēmumus pieņem un izpilda speciālisti, bet viņu darbu vērtē iedzīvotāji, ieskaitot iespēju vadītājus un speciālistus atsaukt vai nodot kriminālvajāšanai. Visu vadītāju finansiāla un krimināla atbildība par paveikto un nepaveikto, tā, lai izveidojas saprātīgs līdzsvars starp pretendenta vēlmi sevi apliecināt un kaut ko derīgu paveikt savas tautas un cilvēku labā, un atbildības nastu, kas var novest ne tikai pie atstādināšanas (ja nav likuma pārkāpuma), bet arī pie soda.
Likumdevēja un izpildu varas vadītājus var ievēlēt un atsaukt iedzīvotāji, kas pierādījuši savu spēju vērtēt ievēlamos un ievēlētos (viņiem ir attiecīgas izglītības dokuments), bet par tiesu varas un MIL vadītāju ievēlēšanu vai izvirzīšanu man priekšlikumu nav, bet, protams, ka viņiem jābūt dokumentiem, kas apliecina profesionālo kompetenci.
Šeit neaplūkošu hipotētiskas nākotnes sabiedrības enerģētikas un pārtikas sistēmas, likumus un ierobežojumus, atstājot tos lasītāja jaunradei.
Slēdziens. Ātru un drīzu risinājumu nav. Paies daudzas paaudzes, katastrofas un bojāejas, kamēr cilvēce pamazām iegūs izglītību – izpratnes par sevi, savu vietu un esības jēgu, un priekšstatu par to, kā to mēģināt sasniegt. Jo sasniegt var tikai to, ko veido visu cilvēku rīcība, kopā sasummēta (E.O. Wilson, On Human Nature). Bet cilvēku rīcība, savukārt, ir atkarīga no viņu vajadzībām, kuru piepildīšana dod gandarījumu, kuru sauc arī par laimi. Pēc tās jau mēs visi lūkojamies un to sasniegt cenšamies. Tāpēc ceļs ir tik tāls un grūts – visupirms jāizveido vajadzības, tām sekos rīcība, un tikai tad sekos uzplaukums. Visas valsts sistēmas ir balansa jeb līdzsvara sistēmas, kurās tiek iegūts, iestādīts, ieveidots smalks, fluktuējošs balanss starp to, ko cilvēki grib tūlīt un tagad, un to, kas ir nepieciešams viņu ilglaicīgai izdzīvošanai. To, ko cilvēki grib, var izveidot daudzu paaudžu laikā, balstoties uz viņu ģenētiski iegūtajām, mantotajām vajadzībām (tās ir dotas, tās atliek tikai ieraudzīt un saprast, tās izmainīt mēs pagaidām nevaram), tās izkopjot sabiedrības kultūrā, veidojot ierašas, tradīcijas un vērtības.
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A Video Game Analogy to Our Energy Predicament

The way the world economy is manipulated by world leaders is a little like a giant video game. The object of the game is to keep the world economy growing, without too many adverse consequences to particular members of the world economy. We represent this need for growth of the world economy as being similar to making a jet airplane fly at ever-higher altitudes.

More: https://ourfiniteworld.com/2017/11/28/a-video-game-analogy-to-our-energy-predicament/#more-42440

An even bigger problem is a physics problem that is hidden from the view of those operating the control mechanism. Jet airplanes in the real world cannot rise beyond a certain altitude (varying depending upon the plane), because the atmosphere becomes “too thin.” There is a parallel problem in the economic world. The atmosphere that allows an economy to grow is provided by a combination of (a) an increasing supply of cheap-to-produce energy, and (b) increased technology to put this growing energy supply to use. This atmosphere can become too thin for several reasons, including the higher cost of energy production, rising population, and growing wage disparity.

It is simple without any video games and airplanes. It is impossible to increase production without increasing the resources and the load to environment. 

The only solution is to restrict the number of people on the planet. Create, e.g., strict laws forbidding more than two children in a family in all world societies and states. We know, people will not obey this law, and there is no way to force them. In short, we are all in a big run to our deaf. I don’t see the solution. I.V. 

Posted in Economics and Politics | Leave a comment

Every Friday Is Black Friday: Why Our Addiction to Consumption and Growth Is Killing Us

A general view of the inbound area of the Amazon.com MPX5 fulfillment center on November 17, 2017 in Castel San Giovanni, Italy. "In seeking to defend the living world from the maelstrom of destruction," writes Monbiot, "we might believe we are fighting corporations and governments and the general foolishness of humankind. But they are all proxies for the real issue: perpetual growth on a planet that is not growing." (Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)

A general view of the inbound area of the Amazon.com MPX5 fulfillment center on November 17, 2017 in Castel San Giovanni, Italy. “In seeking to defend the living world from the maelstrom of destruction,” writes Monbiot, “we might believe we are fighting corporations and governments and the general foolishness of humankind. But they are all proxies for the real issue: perpetual growth on a planet that is not growing.” (Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)

Everyone wants everything – how is that going to work? The promise of economic growth is that the poor can live like the rich and the rich can live like the oligarchs. But already we are bursting through the physical limits of the planet that sustains us. Climate breakdown, soil loss, the collapse of habitats and species, the sea of plastic, insectageddon: all are driven by rising consumption. The promise of private luxury for everyone cannot be met: neither the physical nor the ecological space exists.

But growth must go on: this is everywhere the political imperative. And we must adjust our tastes accordingly. In the name of autonomy and choice, marketing uses the latest findings in neuroscience to break down our defences. Those who seek to resist must, like the Simple Lifers in Brave New World, be silenced – in this case by the media.

“Green consumerism, material decoupling, sustainable growth: all are illusions, designed to justify an economic model that is driving us to catastrophe.”

With every generation, the baseline of normalised consumption shifts. Thirty years ago, it was ridiculous to buy bottled water, where tap water is clean and abundant. Today, worldwide, we use a million plastic bottles a minute.

Every Friday is a Black Friday, every Christmas a more garish festival of destruction. Among the snow saunas, portable watermelon coolers and smartphones for dogs with which we are urged to fill our lives, my #extremecivilisation prize now goes to the PancakeBot: a 3D batter printer that allows you to eat the Mona Lisa, the Taj Mahal, or your dog’s bottom every morning. In practice, it will clog up your kitchen for a week until you decide you don’t have room for it. For junk like this, we’re trashing the living planet, and our own prospects of survival. Everything must go.

The ancillary promise is that, through green consumerism, we can reconcile perpetual growth with planetary survival. But a series of research papers reveal there is no significant difference between the ecological footprints of people who care and people who don’t. One recent article, published in the journal Environment and Behaviour, says those who identify themselves as conscious consumers use more energy and carbon than those who do not.

Why? Because environmental awareness tends to be higher among wealthy people. It is not attitudes that govern our impact on the planet but income. The richer we are, the bigger our footprint, regardless of our good intentions. Those who see themselves as green consumers, the research found, mainly focused on behaviours that had “relatively small benefits”.

I know people who recycle meticulously, save their plastic bags, carefully measure the water in their kettles, then take their holidays in the Caribbean, cancelling any environmental savings a hundredfold. I’ve come to believe that the recycling licences their long-haul flights. It persuades people they’ve gone green, enabling them to overlook their greater impacts.

None of this means that we should not try to reduce our footprint, but we should be aware of the limits of the exercise. Our behaviour within the system cannot change the outcomes of the system. It is the system itself that needs to change.

Research by Oxfam suggests that the world’s richest 1% (if your household has an income of £70,000 or more, this means you) produce about 175 times as much carbon as the poorest 10%. How, in a world in which everyone is supposed to aspire to high incomes, can we avoid turning the Earth, on which all prosperity depends, into a dust ball?

By decoupling, the economists tell us: detaching economic growth from our use of materials. So how well is this going? A paper in the journal Plos One finds that while, in some countries, relative decoupling has occurred, “no country has achieved absolute decoupling during the past 50 years”. What this means is that the amount of materials and energy associated with each increment of GDP might decline but, as growth outpaces efficiency, the total use of resources keeps rising. More important, the paper reveals that, in the long term, both absolute and relative decoupling from the use of essential resources is impossible, because of the physical limits of efficiency.

A global growth rate of 3% means that the size of the world economy doubles every 24 years. This is why environmental crises are accelerating at such a rate. Yet the plan is to ensure that it doubles and doubles again, and keeps doubling in perpetuity. In seeking to defend the living world from the maelstrom of destruction, we might believe we are fighting corporations and governments and the general foolishness of humankind. But they are all proxies for the real issue: perpetual growth on a planet that is not growing.

“We need to build a world in which growth is unnecessary, a world of private sufficiency and public luxury.”

Those who justify this system insist that economic growth is essential for the relief of poverty. But a paper in the World Economic Review finds that the poorest 60% of the world’s people receive only 5% of the additional income generated by rising GDP. As a result, $111 (£84) of growth is required for every $1 reduction in poverty. This is why, on current trends, it would take 200 years to ensure that everyone receives $5 a day. By this point, average per capita income will have reached $1m a year, and the economy will be 175 times bigger than it is today. This is not a formula for poverty relief. It is a formula for the destruction of everything and everyone.

When you hear that something makes economic sense, this means it makes the opposite of common sense. Those sensible men and women who run the world’s treasuries and central banks, who see an indefinite rise in consumption as normal and necessary, are beserkers: smashing through the wonders of the living world, destroying the prosperity of future generations to sustain a set of figures that bear ever less relation to general welfare.

Green consumerism, material decoupling, sustainable growth: all are illusions, designed to justify an economic model that is driving us to catastrophe. The current system, based on private luxury and public squalor, will immiserate us all: under this model, luxury and deprivation are one beast with two heads.

We need a different system, rooted not in economic abstractions but in physical realities, that establish the parameters by which we judge its health. We need to build a world in which growth is unnecessary, a world of private sufficiency and public luxury. And we must do it before catastrophe forces our hand.

George Monbiot

George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper. Visit his website at www.monbiot.com

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This Horrifying ‘Slaughterbot’ Video Is The Best Warning Against Autonomous Weapons

http://www.sciencealert.com/chilling-drone-video-shows-a-disturbing-vision-of-an-ai-controlled-future?utm_source=ScienceAlert+-+Daily+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=c0e4eb3f8b-MAILCHIMP_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe5632fb09-c0e4eb3f8b-364820141

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A Chinese AI passed the national medical licensing exam, so technically it’s a doctor

https://www.zmescience.com/science/china-ai-doctor-xiaoyi/?utm_source=ZME+Science+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4df49f4a92-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3b5aad2288-4df49f4a92-242745225&goal=0_3b5aad2288-4df49f4a92-242745225

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Over 15,000 Scientists Just Issued a ‘Second Notice’ to Humanity

"Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere," over 15,000 scientists warned in a letter published Monday. (Photo: NASA)

Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,” over 15,000 scientists warned in a letter published Monday. (Photo: NASA)

More: https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/13/over-15000-scientists-just-issued-second-notice-humanity-can-we-listen-now?utm_term=Over%2015%2C000%20Scientists%20Just%20Issued%20a%20%27Second%20Notice%27%20to%20Humanity.%20Can%20We%20Listen%20Now&utm_campaign=%27All%20Out%20Class%20War%27%20on%20a%20Planetary%20Scale%20%7C%20Your%20Week%20In%20Review%20&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-%27All%20Out%20Class%20War%27%20on%20a%20Planetary%20Scale%20%7C%20Your%20Week%20In%20Review%20-_-Over%2015%2C000%20Scientists%20Just%20Issued%20a%20%27Second%20Notice%27%20to%20Humanity.%20Can%20We%20Listen%20Now

By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,” they write.

Among the steps that could be taken to prevent catastrophe are promoting plant-based diets; reducing wealth inequality, stopping conversions of forests and grasslands; government interventions to rein in biodiversity loss via poaching and illicit trade; and “massively adopting renewable energy sources” while phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Taking such actions, they conclude, are necessary to avert “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss.”

“Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. “

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