19 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2016
    1. Against the Day is the rise of the Pynchon empire. The CoC heads off to Chicago, where Raymond Pynchon & Co. will start up in 1895. There is a George M. Pynchon and George M. Pynchon Jr., the sort that finds yachting to their liking, living in high style (possibly up in Scarsdale, but definately in a neighborhood of similar per-capita income level. The Pynchons of Old New York were a family right out of 'The Great Gatsby'. Doubtless there's a non-fictional Gatsby, whose tale would un-skein the whole tapestry. Maybe that elusive admixture of the Corporate and the Criminal would one day rise to the top? Who knows? So much of the evidence appears to be missing. . . .

      This is brilliant.

  2. Feb 2016
    1. For example, I got the great idea to link my social bot designed to assess the “temperature” of online communities up to a piece of hardware designed to produce heat. I didn’t think to cap my assessment of the communities and so when my bot stumbled upon a super vibrant space and offered back a quantitative measure intended to signal that the community was “hot,” another piece of my code interpreted this to mean: jack the temperature up the whole way. I was holding that hardware and burnt myself. Dumb. And totally, 100% my fault.

      "Give a bot a heat gun" seems like the worst idea possible.

    2. Bots are first and foremost technical systems, but they are derived from social values and exert power into social systems.

      This is very important to keep in mind. "Bots exert power into social systems."

    3. Bots are tools, designed by people and organizations to automate processes and enable them to do something technically, socially, politically, or economically

      Interesting that danah sees all bots as tools, including art bots! She'd probably categorize those as things that do something "socially"

    1. Al-Ghazali launched a philosophical critique against Neoplatonic-influenced early Islamic philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Ibn Sina. In response to the philosophers' claim that the created order is governed by secondary efficient causes (God being, as it were, the Primary and Final Cause in an ontological and logical sense), Ghazali argues that what we observe as regularity in nature based presumably upon some natural law is actually a kind of constant and continual regularity. There is no independent necessitation of change and becoming, other than what God has ordained.

      God as a source of secondary causes, not just a prime mover. Probability/chance, tychism

    1. In general, laypeople tend to think of creativity as something mystical and unexplainable. But what this means to an artificial-intelligence (AI) researcher is that there seems to be no algorithm behind the creative process. Our premise here is that such an algorithm must exist, in principle.

      This only holds if you have a mechanistic, reductive, positivist view of the universe. An occasionalist (for example) would not take that to be true.

    1. It was chance plus a greater interest in chains than e.g. in Latin grammer that made him see the chain. It was accidental groping which led him to balance the chain on the bar. It was imitation which suggested the construction of a pulley and the purpose of making an elevator arose rather as a result than a cause of activit

      Chance + imitation = originality, maybe? This seems similar to my randomness + templates = art thing!

    2. There is no accident either in world of nature or of thought, but what we call chance is always the encounter of factors of which our plans are unaware with out own end.

      Chance defined as an externality.

    3. In defining invention I assume without discussion both that there is nothing absolutely the same twice and nothing absolutely disconnected from the past. What we mean by invention must be, therefore, a relatively significant variation.

      Invention is variation, not pure novelty.


    1. “The man of little imagination mayplod along doing about what is expected of him . . . thousands of iri-descent opportunities open for a moment like a rainbow before him,but he sees only the dust in the road.”

      It's about being open to chance: chance is always there and we usually don't even see it. We need to be observant.

    2. Cabot realizes that she is treading dangerous philosophic ground—the chasm of relativism and nihilism gapes below.

      Just like me. This is something that critics (rightly) charge me with a lot! And probably something worth addressing in the book.

    3. Cabot writes: “When wesay that the Truth or the law holds unchanged in spite of incessant varia-tion in manifestation we are separating form from content. We put thelaw so far off from this changing manifestations that it cannot be hurt. Inso doing, we find that it is too remote to be a source of heat.”

      Wow. I love the implicit attack on separating form from content, too.

    4. Cabot writes that contin-gency’s ability to affect habitual purposes is due “primarily to the fact thatevery idea or plan we form is vague, it is a frame to hold a thousand dif-ferent pictures.... this looseness of indefiniteness of any plan whichmight be considered a lack, is the center of radiating opportunity

      The lack as the "center of radiating opportunity", wow

    5. Cabot seems to make a similar move to the extent that she insiststhat every theory will fall short in its ability to anticipate the swerve ofnature. She writes that Darwin complained about his plant specimens,exclaiming, “the little beggars are doing exactly what I don’t want themto!” Cabot suggests that the scientist ought to have appreciated this sortof irregularity since it is precisely the deviation from the rule of inher-ited traits that provides the variability by which adaptive selection oper-ates. The fact that “the beggars” defied his expectations was also thefactor “that led Darwin to (the) truly original discoveries” of naturalselection and variation.33There may “be no accident either in the worldof nature or of thought,” but for Cabot accident is actual and causallysignificant in the encounter betweennature and thought. This is theregion where human purposes arise and grow.

      I need to think more about this bit about accident being significant where nature and thought meet...

    6. Additionally, he begins to explorethe conditions by which individuals maintain fruitful relations with thechance spontaneity of the world. This is the point that Cabot willextend in her writing. As she underscores, this is not some abstractproblem but an immediate and pressing issue of how human beings areto act rightly and meaningfully in ever-changing circumstances. Andthey are ever-changing: we are continually confronted by the newnessand growth that emerge in our immediate situations and in our widercommunities. Peirce seems to suggest, but not state explicitly, that weforego the chanceof acting rightly precisely at the point that we disre-gard, or simply overlook, the novelty that we encounter. In such cases,our habits and conventions are out of kilter with our surroundings andlead us further from the harmonious growth that only our encounterswith novelty can afford.

      So embracing chance is the key to acting harmoniously with a world where chance is a real entity.


    1. This is to say that the truth value of the proposition is contingent upon the truth values of the sentences which comprise it. Contingent propositions depend on the facts, whereas analytic propositions are true without regard to any facts about which they speak.

      Contingency is where the rubber meets the road.

    1. Peirce goes on to list four common barriers to inquiry: (1) Assertion of absolute certainty; (2) maintaining that something is absolutely unknowable; (3) maintaining that something is absolutely inexplicable because absolutely basic or ultimate; (4) holding that perfect exactitude is possible, especially such as to quite preclude unusual and anomalous phenomena. To refuse absolute theoretical certainty is the heart of fallibilism, which Peirce unfolds into refusals to set up any of the listed barriers. Peirce elsewhere argues (1897) that logic's presupposition of fallibilism leads at length to the view that chance and continuity are very real (tychism and synechism).[101]


    1. In my own research, as I mentioned in the introduction, I wanted to find a way by which I could compare surrealist poetry with some other poetry that could not possibly have an unconscious and would not be subject to conscious control. The results clearly showed the computer poetry to have a far greater incidence of latent sexual content than the comparable surrealists’ poems. I must admit to being astonished at first with these findings. This further supports the scientific evidence that Freud’s notion of the unconscious is a myth. A coincidental product of this research was to further the postmodern investigation into meaning and authorial intent by reducing human inten-tional control, especially as author, to a minimum.

      Holy moly!


  3. Jan 2016