68 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2020
    1. A few years ago Angus Maddison, an economic historian at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, plotted a graph of world economic product

      Measuring and Interpreting World Economic Performance 1500-2001

  2. Apr 2020
    1. The demographics show that white people in London will become a minority by 2010

      At the 2011 census, 59.8% of all London residents were white.

  3. Jan 2020
    1. History teaches us that attempts to patch over gaps in understanding by inventing invisible phenomena are both useful (they prevent science from stalling in the face of mysteries) and usually wrong

      One must note many hypotheses on invisible phenomena that succeeded. The allusion that the invisible phenomena of modern science are motivated by such psychological desire for spiritual stuff is just the author guessing.

      Consider the atomic theory in 18-19th century. Atoms remained highly contentious until Einstein's explanation of Brownian matter, and unseen until around

      Or the discovery of Neptune.

      Or the imaginary numbers. Nothing in real life ever has a complex number of them, and yet they proved very useful.

      Or the zero, something that is literally invisible and nonexistent.

      As long as something is in principle observable, it is scientific. If it is not, but mathematically convenient, it is still useful.

    1. If every immune response is caused by damage and every immune response causes damage, then the organism should enter into a vicious circle of immune activation, which is luckily not the case.

      Wrong. This sum diverges if and only if the "response ratio" is at least 1.

    1. entangled bank

      In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history…

      It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

      These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.

      Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.

      There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

    2. 3. Whither Individuality?

      This chapter is very similar to Gilbert, Scott F., Jan Sapp, and Alfred I. Tauber, ‘A Symbiotic View of Life: We Have Never Been Individuals’, The Quarterly Review of Biology, 87.4 (2012), 325–41 https://doi.org/10/gfz64k

    3. immune processes have diverse roles in the body’s ceaseless economy of internal cellular turnover, maintaining stable symbiotic relationships, and mediating external benign exchanges with the environment.
    4. immune processes have diverse roles in the body’s ceaseless economy of internal cellular turnover, maintaining stable symbiotic relationships, and mediating external benign exchanges with the environment.

      In contrast to the "immune self" in clonal selection theory, which is defined by the absence of immune response

    5. immune homunculus

      The immune system contains some autoantibodies (antibodies that attach to proteins inside one's own body). This is the immune system's representation of the body itself, the "immune homunculus".

      The notion of the immunological homunculus arose from the observations (1) that the healthy adaptive immune system is inclined to respond (T cell reactivity and autoantibodies) to particular sets of body molecules (self-antigens) and (2) that autoimmune diseases are characterized by sets of autoimmune reactivity to some of the very same self-antigens recognized by healthy subjects -- with an obvious difference in outcome. I termed this natural autoimmune structuring of the immune system, the immunological homunculus -- the immune system’s representation of the body.

    1. some descendant ofXiis inZ.

      \(X_i\) or some descendent

  4. Dec 2019
    1. Riedl and Louis (2012) to write in a commentary that crawling in Drosophila larvae is a “no-brainer” (in their title).

      As early as 1962, Horridge demonstrated that the ventral ganglia (loosely equivalent to the spinal cord) of cockroaches and locust are sufficient to associate leg positions with an electric shock punishment [1]. In vertebrates and invertebrates, removal of the brain has little impact on the execution of basic motor patterns, even though the resulting behaviors often lack coordination 2, 3. Providing that they stay hydrated, decapitated adult flies will happily stand on their six legs and groom spontaneously or upon touching their mechanoreceptor bristles

    1. The abundance of both solid and liquid brains in nature suggests that evolution has found advantages with both approaches. Traditionally, brains are thought to be composed of components such as neurons that are fixed in space with communication among components through networks. For other distributed biological systems such as ant colonies, information exchange occurs locally between agents as they move through space. We suggest that there is probably a trade-off: mobile agents have more flexible communication patterns determined through movement but lack dedicated communication networks owing to the difficulty of maintaining fixed communication structures as agents move.

      Is this relevant for sociology? A society of people can have "liquid" or "solid" social communication networks. A communication network is liquid when it is easy and quick to cut old ties, form new ties, especially long-distance ties; the opposite for a solid network.

      Liquid network examples: scientist communication, business network, internet friendship...

      Solid network examples: feudal economy, caste system, bureaucracy, military command...

    1. Wiener’s resolute pacifist stance after Hiroshima brought him under close FBI watch and cast a shadow of suspicion over his ideas. The subsequent cybernetics scare in the United States further tinged this field with the red of communism, and set hurdles for federal funding of cybernetics research.

      Also, Project Cybersyn is socialist.

    2. U.S. research in artificial intelligence did receive a very significant boost at the time. Starting in 1963, the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) at the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) lavishly funded Project MAC at MIT and other artificial intelligence initiatives.

      MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory - Wikipedia:

      Project MAC would become famous for groundbreaking research in operating systems, artificial intelligence, and the theory of computation.

      It led to development of Multics (precursor of Unix).

    3. nobody has really been able to figure out how to make good use of this enormous pile of material

      The problem of "big dumb data", or "data swamp".

    1. Scala Naturae

      "ladder of nature"

      Here it denotes the levels of biological organization, from molecular biology to human culture (assumed to be the most complex level of biological organization).

    1. Molecular machines have no learning capacity

      Not true. Molecular machines can be deformed by experience and keep memories in their deformation. This is "conformational memory".

  5. Nov 2019
    1. There’s nothing quite as synonymous with summer as the beach

      For me, the cicada, exam, and the smell of air conditioning.

    1. envelope protection

      Flight envelope protection is a human machine interface extension of an aircraft's control system that prevents the pilot of an aircraft from making control commands that would force the aircraft to exceed its structural and aerodynamic operating limits

    1. Starts of Intermediate Difficulty (SoID)

      It seems rather common sense. It's the same idea as zone of proximal development. Perhaps something else from psychology of learning can be applied to ML too.

    1. Utopian techno-managerial experiments of Chilean communism

      Project Cybersyn

    2. accelerate the process

      In The Will to Power §898, Nietzsche talks about how a greater race of humans should be created so that the future would be greater. However, in order to create such a greater race, the current race of Europeans should be made even blander.

      the leveling process of European man is the great process which should not be checked: one should even accelerate it.

      This bland race would bring about the great race:

      Not merely a master race whose sole task is to rule, but a race with its own sphere of life, with an excess of strength for beauty, bravery, culture, manners to the highest peak of the spirit; an affirming race that may grant itself every great luxury — strong enough to have no need of the tyranny of the virtue-imperative, rich enough to have no need of thrift and pedantry, beyond good and evil; a hothouse for strange and choice plants .

    3. decoding and deterritorialization

      As noted before, capitalism "deterritorializes" by kicking things out of their meaningful place and putting a price on them, allowing them to be traded utterly out of their context.

      "Decoding" is the same idea. Perhaps a better word is "de-symbolizing". Consider the crucifix. It is a sacred symbol for Christians. Now slap a price tag on it. The symbolism is lost. 1 Crucifix = 1 Subway Sandwich.

    4. withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World countries to do

      Note that this advice was taken up by Khieu Samphan's doctoral thesis "Underdevelopment in Cambodia", and followed through by Khmer Rouge, who withdrew completely from the world, causing disaster.

    5. citing Nietzsche to re-activate Marx

      "On the Question of Free Trade" (Marx, 1848)

      But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade

    6. As the circuit is incrementally closed, or intensified, it exhibits ever greater autonomy, or automation. It becomes more tightly auto-productive (which is only what ‘positive feedback’ already says). Because it appeals to nothing beyond itself, it is inherently nihilistic. It has no conceivable meaning beside self-amplification. It grows in order to grow. Mankind is its temporary host, not its master. Its only purpose is itself.

      Nick Land imagines capitalism to be a big cancerous thing. This is not necessarily how capitalism works in reality, but certainly how Nick Land imagines it to work.

      Clicker games are the best metaphor for this idea of capitalism. In a clicker game like cookie clicker, you make cookies not to eat them, but convert them to capital:

      In economics, capital consists of assets that can enhance one's power to perform economically useful work.

      Cookies in this game loses all of its previous meaning (things to be eaten), but becomes pure capital, made to make more capital, until infinity.

      Nick Land imagines our capitalism to become like this cookie-clicker-capitalism: a giant complex of machines that sustains itself and makes more machines, growth for the sake of growth, utterly meaningless in human eyes. Humans would be like their "bootloader", discarded once the machine complex becomes self-sustaining.

    7. Deterritorialization is the only thing accelerationism has ever really talked about.

      "Deterritorialization" is used by D&G to talk about the way capitalism works. Traditional people-things like religion, ethnicity, love, dream, etc, all have their time and place. They have a home and have their meaning-symbols. Capitalism comes and destroys their uniqueness, by giving a price to all of them, allowing them to be exchanged. This essentially makes them no longer fixed to a time, place, or meaning-system. This kicks them off their territories.

      Consider for example Tetlock's "forbidden tradeoff", where people resist attempting to give prices to sacred things like human lives, religious beliefs, or national flags. Capitalism breaks their meaning by pricing them.

    8. Doing anything, at this point, would take too long. So instead, events increasingly just happen.

      Doing anything consciously would take too much time, so things happen without enough human thought to their consequences.

    9. The definite probability that the allotment of time to decision-making is undergoing systematic compression remains a neglected consideration, even among those paying explicit and exceptional attention to the increasing rapidity of change.

      The author emphasizes that there isn't much time for thinking through the consequences of accelerationism, because our society is changing much faster than the past, back when there was enough time to think through changes.

    10. when it began to become self-aware, decades ago

      The author gives agency to a lot of things, such as an ideology. In other places, he calls such "living" ideologies hyperstition: a collection of ideas that become alive, and protects and grows itself by manipulating people whose brains contain such ideas.

  6. Oct 2019
    1. Traditional psychoanalysis is repressive.

      Ego is based on a mirror illusion of unity. A human is made of a collection of stuffs, and the mirror only shows one physical object. A human seeing its container in the mirror mistakes it for itself.

      Linear time is a human convention.

      Schizophrenics loses meaning by not having linear time and not having an ego.

      Current consumption-based capitalism found it profitable to make people be a little schizophrenic. Ads and other commercial images make consumers go through a cycle:

      1. assume a new identity,
      2. buy products to satisfy the identity.
      3. make the identity go away (made easier by making the identity contentless).

      The Internet and its instant-buy made the cycle go really fast, but it can't possibly get much faster, since humans have a limit to reaction time. If this process is accelerated, capitalism can reach its limit of actual societal schizophrenia, and collapse.

      Why? Because schizophrenics don't have an ego, and the cycle of identity-based consumption breaks.

    2. if the schizophrenic flow transgresses a certain limit, ego identification becomes impossible altogether. In this scenario, the urge to buy would be utterly defused, and capitalism would become impossible.

      This style of thinking is Accelerationism, wherein people are encouraged to make capitalism faster and more pervasive (often to escape it, but not always).

    1. Detrending is removing a trend from a time series;

      Think of it as subtracting the low terms in Taylor expansion to see the high terms.

    1. cultigens

      A cultigen is a plant that has been deliberately altered or selected by humans; it is the result of artificial selection.

    1. risks apparently decreasing

      assuming the assets in the bundle have uncorrelated returns. But in fact they were correlated (in a system), and so the bundles had much more risk than calculated.

    2. APT

      Arbitrage Pricing Theory

    3. intrafinancial system claims

      Claims inside financial system. For example, lending between banks.

  7. Sep 2019
    1. maintenance of interglacial-like conditions

      keep Earth in the nice Holocene climate

    2. Is there a planetary threshold in the trajectory of theEarth System that, if crossed, could prevent stabili-zation in a range of intermediate temperature rises?

      Yes: there are tipping points.

  8. Aug 2019
    1. AIXI take as a starting assumption a single environment to be solved

      Not necessarily. It is possible to postulate several AIXI agents interacting, each playing the environment for the others.

      One could play "God" as the designer of environments, designing interesting teaching environments and instructive problems, which the other AIXIs deal with.

    2. Environments are keptonly if they are not too hard for all of the agents in the population, or are not too easy for any ofthe agents. A copy of the highest-performing agent is transferred to the new environment, where itbegins optimizing to try solve it.

      Compare this with PowerPlay

    3. in a paper in Nature [30]
    4. pen-ended search algorithms, meaning algorithms that endlessly generatenew things [169]. In the AI-GA context, that would mean algorithms that endlessly generate an ex-panding set of challenging environments and solutions to each of those challenges.

      Another possible approach is through algorithms that aim for "empowerment", that is, they try to have more choices and increase their ability to determine the future. See for example Entropy | Free Full-Text | Changing the Environment Based on Empowerment as Intrinsic Motivation

    5. Consider the task of teaching computers to see. The strategies, in increasing abstraction, are

      -1. Direct programming of computer vision.

      1. Applying a hand-written neural network on some hand-picked examples, using hand-picked hyperparameters.
      2. Using a learning algorithm to pick a suitable network architecture and learning hyperparameters.
      3. Using a learning algorithm to pick informative initializations of the neural network before it encounters particular training sets.
      4. Using a teacher algorithm that finds/generates valuable learning environments.
    6. s has been pointedout, switching from normal learning to meta-learning changes the burden on the researcher fromdesigning learning algorithms to designing environments

      The performance of meta-learning algorithms critically depends on the tasks available for meta-training: in the same way that supervised learning algorithms generalize best to test points drawn from the same distribution as the training points, meta-learning methods generalize best to tasks from the same distribution as the meta-training tasks. In effect, meta-reinforcement learning offloads the design burden from algorithm design to task design. If we can automate the process of task design as well, we can devise a meta-learning algorithm that is truly automated.

    7. PowerPlay

      training an increasingly general problem solver by continually searching for the simplest still unsolvable problem

    8. However, these approaches have failed to create anythingresembling an open-ended complexity explosion because thenon-agent (abiotic) component of theenvironmentthey operate in is fixed.

      Fundamentally, the laws of physics are fixed, and yet evolution is open-ended. So rather than blaming it on the lack of openness in the environment, perhaps blame it on insufficient complexity and abstraction in the environment.

      Instead of simulating virtual soccer, imagine simulating a patch of grass, with full biochemical complexity. It would surely be open-ended.

    9. neuromodulation

      Neuromodulation is the physiological process by which a given neuron uses one or more chemicals to regulate diverse populations of neurons. This is in contrast to synaptic transmission in which an axonal terminal secretes neurotransmitters to target fast-acting receptors of only one particular partner neuron.

    10. The mimicpath is unlikely to be the fastest path to general AI because it attempts to simulate all of the detailof biological brains irrespective of whether they can be ignored or abstracted by different, moreefficient, machinery.

      Whole brain emulation by molecular-level simulation, if purely extrapolated from Moore's Law, might take another 100 years to achieve. See Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap

    11. The job of the learning algorithm is to produce an initial set of weightsthat can rapidly learn any task from the distribution

      Finding useful priors/inductive biases. In evolutionary psychology, this is exemplified by human inductive reasoning biased by evolution to reach conclusions quickly. See for example Adaptive Rationality: An Evolutionary Perspective on Cognitive Bias | Social Cognition

    12. current machine learning community is mostly committed to the manual path, I advocate that weshould shift investment to the AI-GA path to pursue both promising paths to general AI.

      Also, no mention of "seed AI" research, interesting omission.

    13. AI-GAs would thus better allow us to study andunderstand the space of possible intelligences

      Experimental xenopsychology. Alien intelligence. A sampling of the distribution of possible minds. However, any intelligence that evolves on earth could be biased in certain earth-bound ways, so the sampling would not be universal. It would still be more than directly asking humans to imagine possible minds, though.

    14. Presumably different instantiations of AI-GAs (either different runs of the same AI-GA or differenttypes of AI-GAs) would lead to different kinds of intelligence, including different, alien cultures

      Gould's question about "replaying life's tape" comes to mind.

    1. originalist

      In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a way to interpret the Constitution's meaning as stable from the time of enactment, which can be changed only by the steps set out in Article Five. The term originated in the 1980s.

      Originalism - Wikipedia

    2. we have never had to fundamentally rethink the energy basis of our way of life

      The collapse of west roman empire had an energy component. See Joseph Tainter's research on collapse and complexity.

  9. Jul 2019
    1. Jane Bennett’s assemblages

      It means a collection of things (human or not) that relate to each other and do things. For example, guns don't kill people, nor does people kill people. (Gun + people) kill people.

    2. The military are especially good at shouting [prescriptions] through the mouthpiece of human instructors who delegate back to themselves the task of explaining, in the rifle’s name, the characteristics of the rifle’s ideal user

      Rifleman's Creed - Wikipedia

      Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will ...

      My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit ..

    1. across ecosystems? To take just one example, when fish stocks fall in Ghanaian seas, hunting of bushmeat goes up and 41 land-based species go into decline. As hyperkeystones, we unite the entire world in a chain of falling dominoes
    2. humans, the hyperkeystone

    1. See the author's blog post In Defense of Soundbites (2 January 2011)

      soundbites have dropped in length for a variety of reasons — economic, political, historical, and professional. What’s more, they’ve been dropping for a long time, as new research suggests that newspaper quotations began shrinking in a similar way in the 1890s.

      Instead of soundbites, then, we should worry about the tone and focus of our political discourse. And there’s no doubt that this, too, has evolved.

      Elaborated in the story:

      Hallin has argued all along that television news in the 1960s and 1970s, which many take to be the genre’s golden age, was never actually that good. Stories were dull and disorganized; those long quotations would be followed by a couple of seconds of dead air. Early newspapers, in their time, were no different. The Boston Globe’s first issue, in 1872, devoted much of its front page to transcriptions of church sermons.

      as networks shortened their sound bites, they also changed the substance of their political coverage. They started using more in-house experts, pundits who looked less at what people said than at how they said it. TV news became more about strategy and the parsing of strategy — about buzzwords like “expectations” and “momentum” — than about the issues that presumably lie at the heart of politics. Journalists wanted to turn campaigns into larger narratives, and there was no easier narrative than covering politics as though it were a sport. Indeed, Ryfe found that the same thing happened with 19th-century journalists, who, as they professionalized, also “became handicappers of the political process.”

      Ironically, this note is nothing but sound bites!

    2. Journalists wanted to turn campaigns into larger narratives, and there was no easier narrative than covering politics as though it were a sport.

      Not the only narrative, of course, but the easiest one, certainly.

    1. See also the author's own take.

      If the Modernists loved revision so much that they kept at it throughout the literary process, including when their work was in proofs — and one of Sullivan’s key points is that these discrete stages actually encouraged revision — then why didn’t their printers and publishers complain? ... changing work in proofs is expensive.

      That's because Modernists had the support money to revise and to experiment with the rules of revision.

      In her memoir Shakespeare & Company, Sylvia Beach recalls Joyce’s publisher warning about “a lot of extra expenses with these proofs. . . . He suggested that I call Joyce’s attention to the danger of going beyond my depth; perhaps his appetite for proofs might be curbed.”

      But Beach explains that, for her, the most important thing was that Joyce could work as diligently and obsessively as he wanted to:

      I wouldn’t hear of such a thing. Ulysses was to be as Joyce wished, in every respect. I wouldn’t advise ‘real’ publishers to follow my example, nor authors to follow Joyce’s. It would be the death of publishing. My case was different. It seemd natural to me that the efforts and sacrifices on my part should be proportionate to the greatnes of the work I was publishing.

    1. Fear of humans as apex predators has landscape-scale impactsfrom mount ain lions to mice (2019)

      Apex predators such as large carnivores can have cascading, landscape-scale impacts across wild-life communities, which could result largely from the fear they inspire, although this has yet to be experimentally demonstrated.

      Humans have supplanted large carnivores as apex predators in many systems, and similarly pervasive impacts may now result from fear of the human ‘superpredator’.

      We conducted a landscape-scale playback experiment demonstrating that the sound of humans speaking generates a landscape of fear with pervasive effects across wildlife communities.

      • Large carnivores avoided human voices and moved more cautiously when hearing humans,
      • medium-sized carnivores became more elusive and reduced foraging.
      • Small mammals evidently benefited, increasing habitat use and foraging.

      Thus, just the sound of a predator can have landscape-scale effects at multiple trophic levels.

      Our results indicate that many of the globally observed impacts on wildlife attributed to anthropogenic activity may be explained by fear of humans.

    1. Hubert Humphrey

      He was the Democratic Party's nominee in the 1968 presidential election, losing to Republican nominee Richard Nixon.