Singularity

Andrey Nikolayevich’s Rule

There is another, even deeper reason for our inclination to narrate, and it is not psychological. It has to do with the effect of order on information storage and retrieval in any system, and it’s worth explaining because of what is considered the central problem of probability and information theory.

The first problem is that information is costly to obtain.

The second problem is that information is also  costly to store–like real state in NYC. The more orderly, less random, patterned, and narratized a series of words and symbols, the easier to store that series in one’s mind or jot it down in a book so your grandchildren can read it someday.

Finally, information is costly to manipulate and retrieve.

With so many brain cells–one hundred billion–the attic is quite large, so the difficulties probably do not arise from storage-capacity limitations, but maybe just indexing problems. Your conscious, or working memory, the one you’re using to read this line and make sense of their meaning, is considerably smaller than the attic. Consider that your memory  has difficulty holding a mere seven digit long phone number.

Consider a collection of words glued together  to constitute a 500-page book. If the words are purely random, picked up from the dictionary in an unpredictable way, you’ll not be able to summarize, transfer, or reduce the dimensions of that book without loosing something significant from it. You need a 100.000 words to carry the exact message of a random 100.000 words with you on your next trip to Siberia.

Now consider the opposite: a book filled with the repetition of the following sentence: “The chairman of [insert here your company name] is a lucky fellow who happened to be in the right place at the right time and claims credit for the company’s success, without making a single allowance for luck”. The entire book can be accurately compressed, as I just did, in 34 words, out of 100.000; you could accurately reproduce with total fidelity out of such a kernel.

By finding the pattern, the logic of the series, you no longer need to memorize it all. You just store the pattern. And, as we can see here, the pattern is obviously more compact than then raw information. You looked to the book and found a rule. It is along these lines that the great probabilist Andrey Nikolayevich Kolmorogov defined the  degree of randomness; it is called “Kolmorogov complexity“.

— Nassim N. Taleb, The Black Swan
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On the Plumage of birds

Before discovery of Australia, people in the Old World were convinced that all swans were white, an unassailable belief as it seems completely confirmed by empirical evidence.

The sighting of the first black swan might have been an interesting surprise for a few orninthologists, but that is not where the significance of the story lies. It ilustrates a severe limitation to our edge. One single observation can invalidate a general statement derived from millennia of confirmatory sightings of millions of swans.

All you need is one single black bird.

…What we call a black swan is an event with the following three attributes.

First, is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outliers status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact , making it explainable and predictable.

— The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

It’s been quite some time since my last blog, and here I am again. This time I found in a book of economics to one more time show a property of technology. The unpredictability of the future is in part caused by the fast pace of changes, and by the fact that it gets faster every year.

Our mind (the physical part), as well as our mentality (the intellectual side), needs time to adapt to change, and from a certain point, we tend to believe that the old is better., –in other words, we get old — ignoring the evolutionary nature of change.
We’re are always adapting, and it’s been like that for the last centuries. In fact, our capacity to adapt is vital to our survival as species in such a hostile environment.

And from our evolutionary capacity, technology grows and evolves.

But I’d rather say that the point here is predictability. The capacity to foreseen with accuracy near term events. The capacity to use it to promote even further evolution, breaking paradigms at the same time creating conditions for improvement.

Flying cars, cyborg humans, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous connection, instant response are still part of our dream of a future, though much more reachable then ever. What surprises our predictive capacity are limitation of data processing, or the uncertainty factor. At some point, we have to abstract. We have to assume premises to make valid conclusions. And reality is a dynamic environment, moving to every side at every time. An uncontrollable number of variables is in place.

Soon artificial intelligence processing capacity of a single device will overcome the human brain in taking effective, good decisions, considering complex problems. In fact, machines will be better decision makers, risk takers than a regular person, like you and I.

In another time span, the same device will have processing power equivalent to all human brains combined, taking the decision making process to another level, as well as our belief and understanding of our own nature.
Are you ready for that?

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Theories of the Brane

String Theory is the dominant approach right now, and it has some success already, but the question is whether it will develop to the stage where we can actually solve problems that can be tested observationally.If we can’t bridge the gap between this ten dimensional theory and anything that we can observe, it will grind to halt.

In most versions of string theory, the extra dimensions above the normal three are all wrapped up very tightly, so that each point in our ordinary space is like a tightly wrapped origami in six dimensions. We see just three dimensions, the rest are invisible to us because they are wrapped up very tightly.

If you look at a needle, it looks like a one dimensional object from a long distance, but really it’s three dimensional.

Likewise, the extra dimensions could be seen if you looked at things very closely. Space on a very tiny scale is grainy and complicated–its smoothness is an illusion of the large scale.

That’s the conventional view in this string theories.

An idea which has become popular in the last two or three years is that not all extra dimensions are wrapped up–that there might be at least one extra dimension that exists on a large scale. Raman Sundrun and I (Lisa Randal) have developed this idea in our work on branes.

According to this theory, there could be other universes, perhaps separated from us by just a microscopic distance; however that distance is measured in some fourth spacial dimension, of which we are not aware.  Because we are imprisoned in our three dimension, we can’t directly detect these other universes.

Lisa Randal on Theories of the Brane

The Universe, Edge.org

@edge

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Earth

Why is called Earth if it’s almost entirely covered by water?

Because it is mainly a huge rock that travels along the space, with lots of water in its surface.

There’s water in the ground, water in the air, coming from clouds that brings rain, water everywhere, but in its core, under the lava and magma and dust that shape our mother’s personality, Earth is a rock, and Water is the biggest living thing surviving in this huge, vast and hostile universe we live in.

Everything else that lives on earth depends on Water, in a way or another, to exist. Water is THE holy grail when thinking about life in the known world. No philosophy, no limits, no fun, no power without Water everyday of life. You need Water. You are made of water.

Water rules at the face of Mother Earth, and so we, Humans, think we’re in control of our lives. Our ecosystem is in danger, our existence is in danger. Life is spread everywhere over Mother Earth, from underground to skies, from the bottom of the ocean to the vast cities of reefs that keep the balance of life possible. We now have to sacrifice ourselves in order to give back what we’ve taken in excess from our planet. Humans are known to be super predators.

What if God, the Sun, solves to burn with more intense, and by mistake literally fries all the water in this rocky planet?
Taking away all life that exists only in this remote corner of the galaxy. Our water would get dry at the pan this world would become, making living miserable, unbearable and then impossible. There’s no water at Venus and Mars, and so there’s no conditions to life exist with current level of technology.

What if water gets scarce?
Becoming something to be traded at black markets at poor countries, making life extremely hard and restricted.

Maybe Mother Earth doesn’t care for Humans. They are here today, they have to make their way in order to survive. It was always like that.
Evolution is a must for everything here. There’s a whole ecosystem trying to survive on its back.

Water is probably the deep root of a soul that survives trying to make life viable for many different species along billions of years.

Water loves life. We owe her all our respect.

We were right in calling the planet Earth.
Water needs Earth to exist as much as everything else.
Earth doesn’t need anyone.
It is used to survive in the middle (figuratively) of a hostile universe in front of a gigantic, power star.
Some name it God, some name it Sun.

Earth grew up alone, a long, long time ago, and it’ll die some day, as well as Sun and Water.

Guess who’ll die first?

Meet Mother Nature

This beautiful film made by Conservation International is part of a broader campaign, where nature shows its beauties in a personal matter, as the living creature it is.

Pay attention to the message and keep in mind Evolution is a path, not an end

Keep’n Mind

All great achievements require time.

Woody Allen

“Some people want to achieve immortality through their work or descendants.
I intend to achieve immortality by not dying”

–Woody Allen

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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The Three Laws of Technology

When a scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly rigth.

When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

The only way of discovering the limits of possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Any suficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

— Arthur C. Clarke’s three laws of technology

The Age of Intelligent Machines, Ray Kurzweil

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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

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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