(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘history

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future”*…

… but maybe not as hard as it once was. While multi-agent artificial intelligence was first used in the sixties, advances in technology have made it an extremely sophisticated modeling– and prediction– tool. As Derek Beres explains, it can be a powerfully-accurate prediction engine… and it can potentially also be an equally powerful tool for manipulation…

The debate over free will is ancient, yet data don’t lie — and we have been giving tech companies access to our deepest secrets… We like to believe we’re not predictable, but that’s simply not true…

Multi-agent artificial intelligence (MAAI) is predictive modeling at its most advanced. It has been used for years to create digital societies that mimic real ones with stunningly accurate results. In an age of big data, there exists more information about our habits — political, social, fiscal — than ever before. As we feed them information on a daily basis, their ability to predict the future is getting better.

[And] given the current political climate around the planet… MAAI will most certainly be put to insidious means. With in-depth knowledge comes plenty of opportunities for exploitation and manipulation, no deepfake required. The intelligence might be artificial, but the target audience most certainly is not…

Move over deepfakes; multi-agent artificial intelligence is poised to manipulate your mind: “Can AI simulations predict the future?,” from @derekberes at @bigthink.

[Image above: source]

* Niels Bohr

###

As we analyze augury, we might note that today is National Computer Security Day. It was inaugurated by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 1988, shortly after an attack on ARPANET (the forerunner of the internet as we know it) that damaged several of the connected machines. Meant to call attention to the need for constant need for attention to security, it’s a great day to change all of one’s passwords.

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 30, 2022 at 1:00 am

“My fake plants died because I didn’t pretend to water them”*…

Your correspondent treasures Wikipedia, and uses it often. But as Marco Silva points out, it has its vulnerabilities…

“I read through Wikipedia a lot when I’m bored in class,” says Adam, aged 15, who studies photography and ICT at a school in Kent. One day last July, one of his teachers mentioned the online encyclopaedia’s entry about Alan MacMasters, who it said was a Scottish scientist from the late 1800s and had invented “the first electric bread toaster”.

At the top of the page was a picture of a man with a pronounced quiff and long sideburns, gazing contemplatively into the distance – apparently a relic of the 19th Century, the photograph appeared to have been torn at the bottom.

But Adam was suspicious. “It didn’t look like a normal photo,” he tells me. “It looked like it was edited.”

After he went home, he decided to post about his suspicions on a forum devoted to Wikipedia vandalism.

Until recently, if you had searched for “Alan MacMasters” on Wikipedia, you would have found the same article that Adam did. And who would have doubted it?

After all, like most Wikipedia articles, this one was peppered with references: news articles, books and websites that supposedly provided evidence of MacMasters’ life and legacy. As a result, lots of people accepted that MacMasters had been real.

More than a dozen books, published in various languages, named him as the inventor of the toaster. And, until recently, even the Scottish government’s Brand Scotland website listed the electric toaster as an example of the nation’s “innovative and inventive spirit”…

All the while, as the world got to know the supposed Scottish inventor, there was someone in London who could not avoid a smirk as the name “Alan MacMasters” popped up – again and again – on his screen…

For more than a decade, a prankster spun a web of deception about the inventor of the electric toaster: “Alan MacMasters: How the great online toaster hoax was exposed,” from @MarcoLSilva at @BBCNews.

* Mitch Hedberg

###

As we consider the source’s source, we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 that Atari introduced its first product, Pong, which became the world’s first commercially successful video game. Indeed, Pong sparked the beginning of the video game industry, and positioned Atari as its leader (in both arcade and home video gaming) through the early 1980s.

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 29, 2022 at 1:00 am

“First study the science, and then practice the art which is born of that science”*…

In the wake of the collapse of FTX, the world of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is in chaos; some wonder if crypto is dead (and here). But the underlying technology, the blockchain, still has much to offer, Dimitry Mihaylov argues– especially in the realm of science and innovation…

In the last few years, we have seen several use cases of the blockchain. From gaming to education, nothing has been off-limits for this revolutionary technology. Today, we see it emerging into more significant and nuanced fields across the spectrum. DeSci, or Decentralized Science, is one of the trends that has seen blockchain moving into the critical field of scientific research and development.

DeSci is an example of practical blockchain usage in order to establish a public infrastructure for creating, funding, crediting, reviewing, storing, and distributing scientific knowledge fairly and equitably. It’s an ecosystem where scientists and research contributors are incentivized for sharing their studies and knowledge. It then makes that knowledge publicly accessible to anyone across the Web.

DeSci is based on the fundamental ideology that scientific knowledge should be accessible and available to anyone, and the process of any scientific research should be transparent. It’s a rather revolutionary Web3 movement that can transform the legacy practices of scientific research and funding within academia. It also facilitates the work of innovative companies by providing them with direct contact with the best scientists.

The full acceptance of DeSci in the global scientific community can create a significant shift in research accessibility and funding – as knowledge will no longer be stored in private repositories. DeSci creates a sustainable model where scientists receive the true value and credit of their work, and knowledgeable data is available for anyone across the world.

His case in full: “How Decentralized Science (DeSci) lowers the Cost of Innovation and Implementation,” from @hackgernoon.

Apposite: “Decentralization.”

For the contra view: “The Underlying Technology Shibboleth” (“The only innovation we’ve seen from blockchain technology is for defrauding investors, facilitating capital destruction, and creating transient, unfair, chaotic dark markets for speculating on hot air”…)

* Leonardo da Vinci

###

As we look for wheat in the chaff, we might recall that it was on this date in 1895 that America’s first auto race, the Thanksgiving Day Chicago Times-Herald race, was held. There were six contestants, four cars and two motorcycles, competing on a cold and snowy day. Two of the competitors were electric, and quickly failed in the cold. The other four finished the 54 mile (to Evanston and back) circuit; it was won by Frank Duryea‘s Motorized Wagon… though motorcycles (which had appeared in the U.S. only two years earlier) were also winners after a fashion, as they received a great deal of publicity. Electric cars… not so much.

Frank Duryea’s Motorized Wagon (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 28, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”*…

Representation of consciousness from the seventeenth century by Robert Fludd, an English Paracelsian physician (source)

… but that doesn’t mean that we won’t attempt to answer “the hard problem of consciousness.” Indeed, as Elizabeth Fernandez notes, some scientists are using Schrödinger’s own work to try…

Supercomputers can beat us at chess and perform more calculations per second than the human brain. But there are other tasks our brains perform routinely that computers simply cannot match — interpreting events and situations and using imagination, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Our brains are amazingly powerful computers, using not just neurons but the connections between the neurons to process and interpret information.

And then there is consciousness, neuroscience’s giant question mark. What causes it? How does it arise from a jumbled mass of neurons and synapses? After all, these may be enormously complex, but we are still talking about a wet bag of molecules and electrical impulses.

Some scientists suspect that quantum processes, including entanglement, might help us explain the brain’s enormous power, and its ability to generate consciousness. Recently, scientists at Trinity College Dublin, using a technique to test for quantum gravity, suggested that entanglement may be at work within our brains. If their results are confirmed, they could be a big step toward understanding how our brain, including consciousness, works… 

More on why maybe the brain isn’t “classical” after all: “Brain experiment suggests that consciousness relies on quantum entanglement,” from @SparkDialog in @bigthink.

For an orthogonal view: “Why we need to figure out a theory of consciousness.”

* Erwin Schrödinger

###

As we think about thinking, we might spare a thought for Alexius Meinong; he died on this date in 1920. A philosopher, he is known for his unique ontology and for contributions to the philosophy of mind and axiology– the theory of value.

Meinong’s ontology is notable for its belief in nonexistent objects. He distinguished several levels of reality among objects and facts about them: existent objects participate in actual (true) facts about the world; subsistent (real but non-existent) objects appear in possible (but false) facts; and objects that neither exist nor subsist can only belong to impossible facts. See his Gegenstandstheorie, or the Theory of Abstract Objects.

source

“I spend too much money on books, many of which I will never read. I know that already. I certainly intend to read all of them, more or less. My intentions are good. Anyway, it’s my money. And I’ll bet you do it too.”*…

‘Twas ever thus. As Denise Gigante eaplains, nineteenth-century New York City was filled with books, bibliophilia, and marginalia…

By the nineteenth century, readers were feeling lost in a sea of print, and though this feeling was not entirely new, it was exacerbated by new print technologies and cheap reprints flooding the literary marketplace….

In New York in the 1840s, books and printed matter were everywhere. Up and down Broadway, boxes of used books cluttered the sidewalks. Newsstands stocked papers, literary journals, and magazines, while street vendors hawked the latest serialized novels by Dickens: “He-e-ere’s the New World—Dick’s new work. Here’s the New World—buy Master Humphrey, sir?”

From storefront windows, new books appealed to pedestrians with siren songs of entertainment and instruction at bargain prices, while literary annuals, gift books, and illustrated editions catered to an expanding American readership. New steam-powered rotary printing technology invented in New York in the mid-1840s revolutionized the print industry, rolling out thousands of pages per hour, while other innovations, such as stereotype printing, enabled a boom in cheap reading matter…

When technologically-enhanced supply met increased demand: “Choice Reading,” from @laphamsquart.

See also: “The value of owning more books than you can read.”

* Nick Hornby

###

As we read on, we might note that it was on this date in 1865 that a notable volume joined the parade of new books described in the article linked above: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (and here) was written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson– better known as Lewis Carroll– went on sale in America for the first time (a revised edition of the first British version). Copies of the first U.S. edition, with illustrations created by John Tenniel, sold out quickly; the volume has never gone out of print since.

First edition cover (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 26, 2022 at 1:00 am

%d bloggers like this: