The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

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They are behaving like sixteenth-century priests who do not think the Bible should be translated into English.  Guest essay by Matt Ridley  (Note: due to the length of this essay, I am only including paragraph excerpts here. See the link at the end for the full essay. – Anthony) The great thing about science is […]

Artificial Intelligence, The Brain as Quantum Computer – Talk about Disruptive

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Originally posted on CloudRamblings:


The AI side of the equation

I started my career studying Artificial Intelligence at MIT.  Back then the researchers thought that we would have computers that were smarter than humans in short order.  What I discovered after observing what the AI people had done was hardly anything close to “intelligence.”   Marvin Minsky called the bluff and wrote an article back in the day basically spelling out in a somewhat comical way that using the variable “learning” in a computer program didn’t mean the program learned anything.

What we have done with AI since then is to build smarter and smarter algorithms and if there is a learning variable in those programs it doesn’t mean those programs are learning anything either.    Some of these algorithms running against massive data stores like the contents of the internet and with virtually unlimited processing power can appear to produce answers to questions…

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A simple guide to to Blockchain and a compelling use case: Voting Election Democracy Worldwide Zero-Fraud

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Originally posted on CloudRamblings:


(Mandelbrot Set signifying the alarming simplicity and yet powerful possibilities of some simple math)

The Blockchain is useful for financial, legal and other applications in general not just for Bitcoin.    It is a new enterprise grade technology that disrupts a lot of existing trust and transactional  systems.

Properties of the Blockchain:

1) You have a unique code which nobody can fabricate themselves from anything you do.  They can’t “be you” without stealing it from you.

2) Other people have a way of determining that you and only you have the code, so assuming you haven’t lost it, other people know you are who you say you are.

3) When you do a transaction (buy something, send someone money, vote, sign your will, sign a contract) the information recorded on the blockchain in an indelible manner and copied hundreds/thousands of times.  The blockchain is publicly viewable by all proving that…

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Privacy! This is egregious and illustrative example of way over the line behavior.

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Originally posted on CloudRamblings:

holding hands

I have written about Privacy before.   It is a topic I feel personally very strongly about.  Here is my other blog entry in which I specify what I think should be legislated to help bring some sanity to the privacy debate.

A Case Study

This morning I read an article in buzzfeed:


The article purports that in a “closed” meeting an Uber executive suggested (possibly jokingly although the article seems to make that unlikely) that Uber could create a slush fund of $1M to fund operatives who would discover information about reporters who report negatively about Uber and leak that information to the press to hurt those reporters.   He said that in particular that he had specific personal information on a reporter at BuzzFeed who is critical of Uber that he could release that would be damaging to her.

This is a nightmare scenario.   We…

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Is Deep Learning AI going to result in human intelligence or better anytime soon – the setup?

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Originally posted on CloudRamblings:

Does a significant advance like the recent advances in AI presage a massive new potentially dangerous robotic world?


Elon Musk Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and others. have stated that recent advances in AI, specifically around CNN (Convoluted Neural Nets) also called Deep Learning has the potential to finally represent real AI.

This is exciting and worrisome if true.   I have been interested in this problem from the beginning of my career.   When I started doing research at MIT into AI I had kind of a “depressing” feeling about the science.   It seemed to me that the process the brain used to think couldn’t be that hard and that it would take computer scientists not very long to try lots of possible approaches to learn the basic operation and process of how people “abstract and learn” to eventually give computers the ability to compete with…

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Virtual Virtual Reality, Virtual Anthropomorphic Reality, Virtual Functional Reality, Virtual Extended Reality

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Originally posted on CloudRamblings:

Virtual Reality

I categorize virtual reality into these 4 different types.   They are progressively more difficult technologies but each will progress independently.   VVR, VAR, VFR, VER represent the 4 ways VR technology can be used.   VVR is about creating false worlds or artificial computer generated worlds.  VAR is about transferring ourselves in the real world virtually.  VFR is about using using VR for functional purposes like building things.   VER is about extending our perception to new senses and new environments that require our brains to adapt to these new senses.


Ten years ago people at home frequently had thousands of bits/second to their home and their phones or data communications over wireless was practically nonexistent.  If you had it, very slow at hundreds of bits/second.   Ten years later cell phone 4rth generation LTE is common which allows communication at 10s of millions of bits/second…

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Sometimes we have to understand what we don’t know

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Originally posted on CloudRamblings:

man in wheat field

You will find it hard to find someone as enthusiastic about the potential of science and how it could benefit us.    However, there are several things I think everyone should be aware of in spite of our amazing advances.

Our knowledge is recent in most fields.   Something I say is that “man has really been AWARE for about 100 years.”  What I mean by this is that 100 or so years ago we looked into a human body and saw gross organs and had no idea what they did or how they worked.   100 years ago we barely learned that there was a speed limit in the universe and bizarre things like space and time can be warped and we had no inkling of quantum mechanics.   We fared the seas and land of the earth but had no idea of the environment or our potential impact…

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