Sunday, May 12, 2013

Initiating Summertime Activities

There are some things you just can't force.  Inspiration doesn't come because you ask for it.  Friendships don't become intimate overnight.

You have to be diligent.  And patient.  Because when you invest in something that matters, it's going to pay off.

This summer, I'll be putting in some more work of my own to make some progress towards some of the bigger, more important things I must do.

With a handful of people who like asking big questions and finding answers, I will spend a nice chunk of my time thinking about the future.  Not just my own future, either.  I just obtained a research position with the Dean of my university's Honors Program, with the goal of developing an educational platform to teach about the importance of the 21st century from the perspective of the divergent future societies it might lead to.  And he's interested, as am I and as are these other social entrepreneurs of sorts, to get started on the thinking before the academic year begins.

I'll be taking 3 summer classes to make necessary progress on my academics.  Those shouldn't take up too much time.  Fundamentals of Cell & Developmental Bio, Intro to CS, and Calc II.  So... more basics courses that I have to cover just to be mildly educated in the fields I want to weave together.  Diligence and patience.  Should keep that in mind.

I'll be learning how to art.  I've already collated a few resources that I'll be able to process once I've moved in to my first rented house.

But before I can get involved with any digital art, I'll have to solder the inside of my drawing tablet back together.  That necessitates organizing the basement of our new house into a fantastic hackerspace and second bedroom.

I'll watch some anime, play some video games, read some books.

I also have a few projects that I plan to undertake, but which are of the utmost secrecy (mostly because they're the sort of niche things that nobody would care to hear about anyway).

WHOA I don't know yet which will be the most fun, because all of it seems pretty enticing.  This will be a good summer.

Once I've moved out and senior week is over, I'll reflect properly on the school year that's almost behind me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


So... autocomplete.

It's interesting, because it's what humans do all the time when they're listening to conversations.  We've taken a human cognitive model and extrapolated it to search engines, word processing, and basically anything that involves a computer receiving our input.

But shouldn't we also extrapolate the fact that it's really rude to persistently jump in at somebody's throat to finish their sentences, guess what they mean to say without giving them your full attention, to repeatedly feed somebody words that they weren't looking for?  It's frickin annoying in real life, so why on Earth does anybody think it's a good idea for google to put in extra words into my search the moment I strike the enter key?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How We Perceive Synthetics

We don't understand consciousness.  Humans do not understand humans on the scientific level that we ultimately want to, but we can individually intuit how we work to a reliably sophisticated degree.

I am strongly fearful that we will end up in a world where we create synthetic consciousness and become scared of it.  We are going to create beings that are more intelligent than us, with consciousness and with critical thought, but we won't know what to do with it.

I am so scared by people who say they want to create robots that can do all the "drudgery" to free up our minds to do greater things.  It's absurd for many reasons, not the least of which is the undeniable fact that modeling robots after the workings of our own brains is guaranteed to give us some form of intelligence that is at least as powerful as ours.

"At least as powerful"... How powerful are our brains?  If we were to continue using the algorithms that allow us to learn and to think past the point at which they generally stop operating in human development, what would happen to our thoughts?  Is it possible that we could continue to grow, forever, or does the circuitry that we use to think ultimately reach a certain point of sophistication because it is self-limiting?

There are so many fascinating questions to ask about what could happen were we to change certain small variables in our own brains, and if we were to construct slightly different learning algorithms for computers, and I can't wait for the real research to get underway.  All I can say is that, regardless of how well these computers can learn how to identify coffee mugs, and whatever company comes up with a cognizant robot first, I want to program my own artificial intelligence to communicate with and grow into a full-fledged person.  I will learn what it takes to develop my own artificial intelligence by following in the footsteps of all those mathematicians and computer scientists, making some changes to get as close to a person as I can.

I think it's important that we approach the prospect of inventing life with a feeling of obligation to whatever we create.  If we create synthetic consciousness, then it's important to recognize that consciousness as valuable and to treat it as we may treat other people today.

So many fascinating questions!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Beauty Around Us

I love the feeling that I get when I am listening to the  music on my ipod, and I come across a song that I don't recognize.  Something that I took the care to put on a playlist, but then completely forgot about.  When I run a list on shuffle, I spend the first few seconds of each song trying to put my finger on what the title and artist are, deciding whether I want to listen to the rest of the song or if I'm looking for a different vibe for the moment.

Then I'll hear something, that sounds just like new, I am reminded that my music collection is incomplete.  That there are new things to discover.

Exploration will never outpace creation.  As long as there is life, we will grow, we will conceive other life, and we will morph the nonliving into new shapes.  The dynamo of invention is so important to humans' dual nature as animals and people that I don't believe any individual can say they've lived life to the fullest without investing in creativity.

I so vividly crave exploration.  The vastness of the unknown is a glorious thing.  I wish I wasn't so stuck in this tiny moment of my life, so shortsightedly mired in an inconsequential lifestyle, and that I was brave enough to go explore the abounding frontiers of my world.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I went back.  I wanted to go back and I didn't know why.  Now I'm back and I don't know why I'm here or why I wanted to be.

It's easy to fight.  But what happens when I'm fighting myself?