02 MAR 2021 by ideonexus

 The Danger of Black-Box Abstraction

When I was a graduate student, if you were going to convert some data or something like that, you would write the FORTRAN code to convert the data yourself. That’s how you would do it. Now there are these programs. There are these windows and you click. I .nd with my students all the time, they don’t know why something isn’t working. I’m like, well, did the data convert properly? Open the .le and look at it. It is so black box and it is going from the time when you knew how the data w...
Folksonomies: simulation abstraction
Folksonomies: simulation abstraction
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28 JAN 2021 by ideonexus

 Computing is Pop Culture without History

Binstock: You seem fastidious about always giving people credit for their work. Kay: Well, I'm an old-fashioned guy. And I also happen to believe in history. The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field. Binstock: You once referred to computing as pop culture. Kay: It is. Complete pop culture. I'm not against pop culture. Developed music, for instance, needs a pop culture. There's a tendency to over-develop. Brahms and Dvorak needed gypsy music ba...
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09 NOV 2019 by ideonexus

 A Quantum Game

Bell came up with “nonlocal” games, which require players to be at a distance from each other with no way to communicate. Each player answers a question. The players win or lose based on the compatibility of their answers. One such game is the magic square game. There are two players, Alice and Bob, each with a 3-by-3 grid. A referee tells Alice to fill out one particular row in the grid — say the second row — by putting either a 1 or a 0 in each box, such that the sum of the number...
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10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Null Move

Called the "null move" technique, it tells the engine to "pass" for one side. That is, to evaluate a position as if one player could make two moves in a row. If the position has not improved even after moving twice, then it can be assumed that the first move is a dud and can be quickly discarded from the search tree, reducing its size and making the search more efficient. Null moves were used in some of the earliest chess programs, including the Soviet Kaissa. It's elegant and a little ironic...
Folksonomies: algorithms
Folksonomies: algorithms
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31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Homo Laborans and Homo Faber

Homo Laborans sails in the sea of “making things” where work is an end in itself, and is dictated by the needs imposed by technology. Subjected to technology or pleasantly attracted by it, we are ‘Animal laborans’, as Arendt would say, being enslaved to the tasks we are immersed in by the will of technology. Our doing is comparable to the manual work of past industrial revolutions. Think, for example, of the smartest machines, which can alert their human handlers when they will need m...
Folksonomies: two cultures
Folksonomies: two cultures
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Shannon's Learning Mouse Theseus

Theseus was propelled by a pair of magnets, one embedded in its hollow core, and one moving freely beneath the maze. The mouse would begin its course, bump into a wall, sense that it had hit an obstacle with its “whiskers,” activate the right relay to attempt a new path, and then repeat the process until it hit its goal, a metallic piece of cheese. The relays stored the directions of the right path in “memory”: once the mouse had successfully navigated the maze by trial and error, it ...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Myth of the Solitary Villain

The more sophisticated and powerful a technology, the more people are needed to weaponize it. And the more people needed to weaponize it, the more societal controls work to defuse, or soften, or prevent harm from happening. I add one additional thought. Even if you had a budget to hire a team of scientists whose job it was to develop a species-extinguishing bio weapon, or to take down the internet to zero, you probably still couldn’t do it. That’s because hundreds of thousands of man-year...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Information Age has Increased Abstract Intelligence

Most dramatically, an increase in one kind of abstract intelligence is visible all over the world: mastery of digital technology. Cyberspace is the ultimate abstract realm, in which goals are achieved not by pushing matter around in space but by manipulating intangible symbols and patterns. When people were first confronted with digital interfaces in the 1970s, like videocassette recorders and ticket machines in new subway systems, they were baffled. It was a running joke of the 1980s that mo...
Folksonomies: intelligence iq
Folksonomies: intelligence iq
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16 APR 2018 by ideonexus

 Pianos Make Music Accessible Like Computers Make Math Acc...

Though it has become a naturalized part of music-making since the first one was built in 1710, the pianoforte (its name means "soft-loud") was a technical marvel for its time, a machine that changed music in ways that are hard to imagine. Computer pioneer Alan Kay once observed that any technological advance is "technology only for people who are born before it was invented,' and in the case of the piano, this applies to no one alive today. Seymour Papert, the MIT researcher, concluded, "That...
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10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 Applications for Simulated Worlds

Consider that applications of simulated worlds and simulated games to science and social science research are on the increase. Businesses build virtual worlds for commercial purposes. Scientists utilize video games to crowd-source solutions to protein folding, to invesfigate complexity theory and artificial life, to visualize the physics of black holes, and to research economic, social, and psychological behaviors. Call of Duty, Second Life, World of Warcraft—and the software that makes the...
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