31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Automation and Early Computation, Social Inequaltiy

Haldane did not foresee the computer, the most potent agent of social change during the last fifty years. He expected his Daedalus, destroyer of gods and of men, to be a biologist. Instead, the Daedalus of this century turned out to be John von Neumann, the mathematician who consciously pushed mankind into the era of computers. Von Neumann knew well what he was doing. Soon after the end of the second world war, he started the Princeton computer project. Like Haldane's Daedalus, he had dreams ...
  1  notes
30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Dumbing Down Science

'Dumbing down' is a very different kind of threat to scientific sensibility. The 'Public Understanding of Science' movement, provoked in America by the Soviet Union's triumphant entry into the space race and driven today, at least in Britain, by public alarm over a decline in applications for science places at universities, is going demotic. 'Science Weeks' and 'Science Fortnights' betray an anxiety among scientists to be loved. Funny hats and larky voices proclaim that science is fun, fun, f...
  1  notes
14 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 The Problem of Machine-Aggregated Knowledge

he nuts and bolts of artificial-intelligence research can often be more usefully interpreted without the concept of AI at all. For example, in 2011, IBM scientists unveiled a “question answering” machine that is designed to play the TV quiz show Jeopardy. Suppose IBM had dispensed with the theatrics, and declared it had done Google one better and come up with a new phrase-based search engine. This framing of exactly the same technology would have gained IBM’s team as much (deserved) rec...
  1  notes

If an AI works by aggregating the works of the sum total of human knowledge, should the humans that discovered that knowledge be compensated? Science works the same way, but ideas remain free.

08 AUG 2013 by ideonexus

 New Money is Created with Promises

Ordinary people can help create new money by making promises. You constrain the future by making a plan, and a promise to keep to it. Money is created in response, because in making that promise you have created value. New money is created to represent that value. This is why it is possible for banks to fall apart when people don’t pay their mortgages back. Banks sell assets that are partially made of the future intents of borrowers. When borrowers do something other than promised, those as...
Folksonomies: economics society good will
Folksonomies: economics society good will
  1  notes

Promises of the future grow the economy and create new wealth, making the economy an expanding universe.

24 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Information Aggregation as Oppression

More and more ordinary people are thrust into a winner-take-all economy. It is a 21st century reprise of the Horatio Alger stories from the 19th century. A token few will find success on Kickstarter or YouTube, while overall wealth is ever more concentrated and social mobility rots. Social media sharers can make all the noise they want, but they forfeit the real wealth and clout needed to be politically powerful. Real wealth and clout instead concentrate ever more on the shrinking island occ...
  1  notes

Provocative idea from Lanier that by contributing to social networking sites and financial aggregates we are enslaving ourselves for other's gain.

13 APR 2012 by ideonexus

 What It Means to be a Scientist

In reality, scientists are just people like you and me. Most of us don't wear lab coats (I don't) or work with bubbling beakers or sparking van de Graf generators (unless they are chemists or physicists who actually work with that equipment). Most scientists are not geniuses either. It is true that, on average, scientists tend to be better educated than the typical person on the street, but that education is a necessity to learn all the information that allows a scientist to make discoveries....
  1  notes

It's not about how they dress or their education, but their adherence to the scientific method.

03 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 The Unverified Things We Believe

But then I began to think, what else is there that we believe? (And I thought then about the witch doctors, and how easy it would have been to cheek on them by noticing that nothing really worked.) So I found things that even more people believe, such as that we have some knowledge of how to educate. There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you'll see the reading scores keep going down--or hardly going up in spite of the fact that we c...
Folksonomies: science pseudo-science
Folksonomies: science pseudo-science
  1  notes

There are things we believe, such as pedagogical theories, that are far more damaging than new age ideas.