Thanks to a recommendation from Dandelion Mané, I recently read “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” by Yuval Noah Harari. Both books are wonderful breaths of fresh air and perspective. “Sapiens” is organized as a history of the species Homo Sapiens, tracing from our evolutionary separation from other primates through the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, through the rest of history to the present. From this historical background, “Homo Deus” attempts to extrapolate into the future, in particular asking how our morality and goals will evolve with technology.
The Long Now Foundation is a wonderful organization advocating for long term thinking. Specifically, by long term they mean the next ten thousand years:
The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996 to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common.
I make weird typos when writing. Sometimes I substitute an entirely different word in place of the correct one; otherwise times I simply a word. Both kind of typos are more common than misspelling a word, indicating that the typo mechanism is operating at a higher level than the spelling or typing itself.
This parallels some of the intuition people have about deep neural networks, which is backed up by pretty pictures of what different neurons see.
(This is an expanded version of a Facebook comment, because Jeremy asked.)
Recently I came across an article about opposition to housing development in San Francisco. The headline positions of everyone involved are uninteresting: housing advocates want more affordable housing, housing developers want less. The really interesting bit is more subtle: at one point the developer says they’re still trying to figure out what the community wants and is immediately booed.
I am writing this in Mac OS X, having momentarily given up getting Linux satisfactorily configured on my laptop. So, in the spirit of escapist fantasy and cracking nuts using sledgehammers, I am going to write about what a world with strong AI would be like. Warning: I am in a very lazy, rambling mood.
Say we get strong AI. This means we understand intelligence sufficiently to be able to replicate it digitally.