artificial intelligence

The Narrative Fallacy

“You were able to see luck and separate cause and effect because of your Eastern Orthodox Mediterranean heritage.” And he was so convincing that, for a minute, I agreed with his interpretation.

We like stories, we like to summarize, and we like to simplify, i.e., to reduce the dimension of matters. The first of the problems of human nature that we examine… is what I call the narrative fallacy. The fallacy is associated with our vulnerability to overinterpretation and our predilection for compact stories over raw truths. It severely distorts our mental representation of the world; it is particularly acute when it comes to the rare event.

The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship, upon them. Explanations bind facts together. They make them all more easily remembered; they help them make more sense.
Where this propensity can go wrong is when it increases our impression of understanding.

The problem of narrative, although extensively studied in one of its versions by psychologists, is not so “psychological” something about the way disciplines are designed masks the point that it is more generally a problem of information. While narrative comes from an ingrained biological need to reduce dimensionallity, robots would prone to the same process of reduction.

Information wants to be reduced.

— Nassim N. Taleb, The Black Swan

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Interesting to see that simplification lead to misunderstanding. Though makes a lot of sense, is so common and usual that, for some time during my teenager years, I thought that some of the inefficiencies found in my country were there due to the lack of sophistication of the Portuguese speakers thinking. For instance, Portuguese speaking countries are not the most developed, innovative places. May not be the worst of all, they still lack a lot of true good will, fair judgement and excellence during execution, specially in the public sector. We’re lazy, and we’re recognized for that (I feel shamed about it, just register). But it probably has little to do with the idiom per se, and more with the structure and organization of human brain, apart from society and government organization. You can change laws quickly, but it takes a lot more to change culture and collective behavior.

After all, we tend to create comfort zones, we tend to overvalue simplifications instead of true, deep and complex understanding. Again, thought it was an under developed societies’ trait. Not the case.

What really draw my attention was the fact that information wants to be reduced. In a general observation, makes sense. It makes even more sense considering all the abstraction we care everyday without questioning: car engines and urban pollution, water usage and scarcity, waste disposal and public health, government spending and citizens real needs. If we were able to track all this information at the lower level of granularity, life would be so complicated, so complex, that we would end up the way… we are. This considering the current mindset.

To understand what engine pollutes less, to chose it despite of its higher price, sound logical but not practical. To take care of water usage and consumption while not in a severe water rationing, is to much effort for everyday tasks. To carefully dispose waste and dump it correctly, ensuring its destiny far from our home, sounds too much of a task.
After all, why are governments there for?

But I don’t mean to be politically correct nor fair, I’m interested in the fact that we carry forward small mistakes bind in (wrong) facts and preconceived interpretations, and we do it for the sake of simplification, of easy understanding, of massification. Sounds like a huge breach to be explored by neutral, objective and powerful, Artificial Intelligence, as we sound very obsolete for such a long time.

25 Life Lessons from Albert #Einstein

1. Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.

2. Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

3. Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

4. If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

5. A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.

6. Love is a better teacher than duty.

7. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

8. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

9. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

10. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

11. It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.

12. Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

13. Force always attracts men of low morality.

14. Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.

15. A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.

16. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

17. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

18. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

19. Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.

20. Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

21. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

22. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

23. Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

24. Information is not knowledge.

25. Never lose a holy curiosity.

— Credits to avmedia.info/blog

einstein

The life cycle of a technology

I Precursor

II Invention

III Development

IV Maturity

V Pretenders

VI Obsolescence

VII Antiquity

Subjective Experience

“The objective reality is the reality of the outside observer observing the process.

If we observe the development of an individual, salient events happen very quickly at first,

but later on milestones are more spread out, so we say time is slowing down.

The subjective experience, however, is the experience of the process itself,

assuming, of course, that the process is conscious.”

— Ray Kurzweil

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Einstein on paradigms

“We can’t solve problems by using thesame kind

of thinking we used when we created them.”

–Albert Einstein

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I found this citation in a course related to sustainability and innovation.

This quote has a lot to do with the paragidm shift ideas mentioned here, here and here.

And this is the basic understanding to comprehend the theory of exponential returns that lead to singularity.

We are living amidst a revolution.

Content is the King

Semantics, the study of meaning. Is part of the linguistics focussed on sense and meaning of language or symbols of language.  It is the study of interpretation of signs or symbols as used by agents or groups within particular circumstances and contexts. Semantics asks, how sense and meaning of complex concepts can be derived from simple concepts based on the rules of syntax. The semantics of a message depends on its context and pragmatics.

Syntax, as in grammatics denotes the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages.
In formal Languages, syntax is just a set of rules, by which well formed expressions can be created from a fundamental set of symbols, or alphabet. In computer science, syntax defines the normative structure of data.

Context denotes the surrounding in an expression. Its relationship with surrounding expressions and further related elements.
Contexts denotes all elements of any sort of communication that define the interpretation of the communicated content, general, personal or social content.

Pragmatics reflects the intention by which the language is used to communicate a message. In linguistics pragmatics denotes the study of applying language in different situations. It also denotes the intended purpose of the speaker. Pragmatics studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning.

Experience considers all information that you have learned and put in context with the world you are living in.

big-data

Mind Theory

…the desire to find there three psychic agencies had been sparked by a diagram Freud published in the course of summarizing his new structural theory of mind, which he developed in the decade 1923 to 1933. That new theory maintained his earlier distinction between conscious and unconscious mental functions, but it added three interacting psychic agencies: the ego, the id, and the superego. Freud saw consciousness as the surface of the mental apparatus. Much of our mental function is submerged below that surface, Freud argued, just as the bulk of an iceberg is submerged below the surface of the ocean. The deeper a mental function lies below the surface, the less accessible it is to consciousness. freudstructconsc-2 Psychoanalysis provided a way of digging down to the buried mental strata, the preconscious and the unconscious components of the personality. Picture of Freud’s structural theory

freudstructconsc

What gave Freud’s new model a dramatic turn was the three interacting psychic agencies. Freud did not define the ego, the id and the superego as either conscious or unconscious, but as differing in cognitive style, goal and function. According to Freud’s structural theory, the ego (the “I”, or autobiographical self) is the executive agency, and it has both a conscious and an unconscious component. The conscious component is in direct contact with the external world through the sensory apparatus for sight, sound, and touch; it is concerned with perception, reasoning, the planning of actions, and the experiencing of pleasure and pain. In their work, Hartmann, Kris, and Lowestein emphasized that this conflict-free component of the ego operates logically and is guided in its actions by the reality principle. The unconscious component of the ego is concerned with psycological defenses (repression, denial, sublimation), the mechanism whereby the ego inhibits, channels, and redirect both the sexual and the aggressive instinctual drives of the id, the second psychic agency. The id (the “it”), a term that Freud borrowed from Nietszche, is totally unconscious. It is not governed by the hedonistic principle of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. According to Freud, represents the primitive mind of the infants and is the only mental structure present at birth. The superego, the third governor, is the unconscious moral agency, the embodiment of our aspirations. Extracted from: In the Search of Memory, Eric Kandel

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Eric R. Kandel

Changing perspective

Well, well, well, it’s always time to think about change, eventhough change is not an easy thing, it is inevitable, and is happening all the time, despite efforts from established forces, economic and social forces, to make their predictions valid, evolution is an unquestionable path. Will always be.

If you believe that changes are harder that ever, believe me, you’re wrong. In fact, things are changing faster and faster at every year, and even if society cannot make the hard changes to improve life quality, this changes are also in course, propelled by every little change that happens every time.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about technology. Yes, technology, the ultimate expression of change and the spring that pushes us ahead. When a child, I always felt that I had to surpass the success of my parents, because I started from where they dropped me, where they “ended”. And even if they did not end at all (my mother is still a very productive person), I was somehow right. It’s not easy to overcome a smart person as my beloved mother, but it is a natural path, once I started learning things from a point she presented me.
To say, I started from a point they put me. And my kids, our kids, are doing the same to surpass our logic in the very near future.

They are different because they live in a different world than the one I lived when their age.

No one can stop evolution, or even control it. Even if the economical and legal models try to interrupt disruption through questionable laws, people will organize themselves craving for change. To me it sounds like the new technologies that are somehow supporting the Digital Era at the beginning of the 21st century.

Once again, huge changes won’t be easy, disruption is also a pain, but a new paradigm solve old problems as well as bring to light new ones.

So, don’t be afraid, don’t be negative, keep believing in things you love, be honest with yourself, seek the best balance between collective and personal welfare, because inevitably technology will change it somehow. It has nothing to do with actual standards, priests, politicians or regulators. They will pass away. It has more to do with science, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, robotics, genetics and life reengineering.

Evolution is a recursive algorithm. Old people fear the new. Keep dreaming, this is a virtual world.

virtual-girl

Google’s Self-Driving Car – the future of Singapore roads

“For future generations, humans driving cars will be a ridiculous thing,”
— Sebastian Thrun, Google Engeneer

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By Russell Ang

Case Study: The Google self-driving car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for robotic cars.  The project is currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View.

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A Nudge is the capacity to influence a decision.

{Infinite Loop} Begin;

When you get a new cell phone, for example, you have a series of choices to make. The fancier the phone, the more of this choices you face, from the background, to the ring sound, to the number of times it rings before the caller is sent to the voice mail.

The manufacturer has picked one option as the default option for each of this choices.

Research shows that whatever the default choices are, people stick with them, even when the stakes are much higher than choosing the noise your phone makes when it rings.

Two important lessons can be drawn from this research. First, never underestimate the power of inertia. Second, that power can be harnessed. If private companies or public officials think that one policy produces better outcome, they can greatly influence the outcome by choosing it as a default.

As we will…

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