A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘intelligence

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomy reports on the possibility of a relatively nearby kilonova that seeded the solar nebula with heavy elements, including gold, as does Centauri Dreams.
  • The Buzz at the Toronto Public Library takes a look at books which later received video game adaptations.
  • D-Brief notes the happy news that, despite having relatively little genetic diversity, narwhals are doing well enough.
  • Imageo notes a recent shift in the centuries-long patterns of El Nino that might hint at some climate change disturbance.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the New York Times has retrieved Trump’s tax records for 1985-1994, and notes that he lost more than a billion dollars in that time frame.
  • JSTOR considers the question of why holography and holograms have not become accepted as high art.
  • Language Log shares, from Hong Kong, an advertisement with phonetic annotation of Cantonese.
  • Daniel Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if, as a Charlie Stross novel from 2008 imagined, we are now in a “post-attribution” era in which motives are effectively unfindable.
  • James Butler at the LRB Blog considers the sheer scale of the defeat of not just the Conservatives but Labour in British local government elections.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a paper suggesting that cooperativeness is more closely linked to intelligence than to conscientiousness.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the particular plight of women in the American prison system.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw takes a look at egging as an act of political protest.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the mysteries surrounding the early atmosphere of Mars. What was it made of that it retained enough heat to keep water liquid during the faint young Sun period?
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes the strength of the models of contemporary cosmology, despite occasional challenges.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the extent to which pan-Turkic sentiment is relevant to the Turkic nations of Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers arches, in his life and in language.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at the question of how far, exactly, the Pleiades star cluster is from Earth. It turns out this question breaks down into a lot of interesting secondary issues.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly starts an interesting discussion around the observation that so many people are uncomfortable with the details of their body.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the exciting evidence of cryovolcanism at Ceres.
  • The Crux reports on new suggestions that, although Neanderthals had bigger brains than Homo sapiens, Neanderthal brains were not thereby better brains.
  • D-Brief notes evidence that the ability of bats and dolphins to echolocate may ultimate derive from a shared gene governing their muscles.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes that astronomers have used data on the trajectory of ‘Oumuamua to suggest it may have come from one of four stars.
  • Far Outliers explores the Appalachian timber boom of the 1870s that created the economic preconditions for the famed feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.
  • Language Hat notes the unique whistling language prevailing among the Khasi people living in some isolated villages in the Indian state of Meghalaya.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicles, notes that the fastest-growing language in the United States is the Indian language of Telugu.
  • Jeremy Harding at the LRB Blog writes about the import of the recognition, by Macron, of the French state’s involvement in the murder of pro-Algerian independence activist Maurice Audin in 1958.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution praises the diaries of Mihail Sebastian, a Romanian Jewish intellectual alive during the Second World War
  • The New APPS Blog takes a look at the concept of the carnival from Bakhtin.
  • Gabrielle Bellot at NYR Daily considers the life of Elizabeth Bishop and Bishop’s relationship to loneliness.
  • Jason Davis at the Planetary Society Blog describes how CubeSats were paired with solar sails to create a Mars probe, Mars Cube One.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers some possible responses from the left to a conservative Supreme Court in the US.
  • Roads and Kingdoms takes a look at the challenges facing the street food of Xi’an.
  • Rocky Planet examines why, for decades, geologists mistakenly believed that the California ground was bulging pre-earthquake in Palmdale.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel examines how some objects called stars, like neutron stars and white dwarfs and brown dwarfs, actually are not stars.
  • Frank Jacobs at Strange Maps notes how China and Europe stand out as being particularly irreligious on a world map of atheism.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the instability that might be created in the North Caucasus by a border change between Chechnya and Ingushetia.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares some beautiful pictures of flowers from a garden in Palo Alto.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes new findings suggesting that the creation of cave art by early humans is product of the same skills that let early humans use language.
  • Davide Marchetti at Architectuul looks at some overlooked and neglected buildings in and around Rome.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains how Sirius was able to hide the brilliant Gaia 1 star cluster behind it.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at new procedures for streamlining the verification of new exoplanet detections.
  • Crooked Timber notes the remarkably successful and once-controversial eroticization of plant reproduction in the poems of Erasmus Darwin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes how an errant Confederate flag on a single nearly derailed the career of Otis Redding.
  • Detecting biosignatures from exoplanets, Bruce Dorminey notes, may require “fleets” of sensitive space-based telescopes.
  • Far Outliers looks at persecution of non-Shi’ite Muslims in Safavid Iran.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history of the enslavement of Native Americans in early colonial America, something often overlooked by later generations.
  • This video shared by Language Log, featuring two Amazon Echos repeating texts to each other and showing how these iterations change over time, is oddly fascinating.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis is quite clear about the good sense of Will Wilkinson’s point that controversy over “illegal” immigration is actually deeply connected to an exclusivist racism that imagines Hispanics to not be Americans.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks at the uses of the word “redemption”, particularly in the context of the Olympics.
  • The LRB Blog suggests Russiagate is becoming a matter of hysteria. I’m unconvinced, frankly.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing global sea level rise over the past decades.
  • Marginal Revolution makes a case for Americans to learn foreign languages on principle. As a Canadian who recently visited a decidedly Hispanic New York, I would add that Spanish, at least, is one language quite potentially useful to Americans in their own country.
  • Drew Rowsome writes about the striking photographs of Olivier Valsecchi.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories will be so sensitive that they will be able to detect black holes about to collide years in advance.
  • Towleroad lists festival highlights for New Orleans all over the year.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how recent changes to the Russian education system harming minority languages have inspired some Muslim populations to link their language to their religion.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case that Jeremy Corbyn, through his strength in the British House of Commons, is really the only potential Remainder who is in a position of power.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait shares stunning images, from Jupiter, of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, and analysis.
  • Hornet Stories notes that a reboot of 1980s animation classic She-Ra is coming to Netflix.
  • io9 carries reports suggesting that the new X-Men Dark Phoenix movie is going to have plenty of good female representation. Here’s to hoping. It also notes that the seminal George Lucas short film “Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB” is viewable for free online, but only for a short while.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting that IQ score, more than education, is the single biggest factor explaining why a person might become an inventor.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the alliance rightfully called “unholy” between religious militants and the military in Pakistan.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer explains how the strong social networks of Italian migrants in Argentina a century ago helped them eventually do better than native-born Argentines (and Spanish immigrants, too).
  • Roads and Kingdoms notes the simple joys of pupusas, Salvadoran tortillas, on a rainy day in Vancouver.
  • Towleroad reports on interesting research suggesting that gay men are more likely to have older brothers, even suggesting a possible biological mechanism for this.
  • Window on Eurasia notes reports of fights between Russian and Muslim students at Russian centres of higher education.

[NEWS] Two animal intelligence links: cetaceans, raccoons

  • Cetacean intelligence evolved under the same pressures as primate intelligence, and in the same ways. We are peers. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • Raccoons recently tested highly on a controlled test of their ingenuity and intelligence. A York study, of course. National Geographic reports.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[LINK] “Artificial Intelligence Gained Consciousness in 1991”

Inverse features Joe Carmichael’s interview with artificial intelligence pioneer Jürgen Schmidhuber, who claims that we’ve been making artificially intelligent programs since 1991. His argument actually does make a weird kind of sense, but I’m far from being an expert in the field. What do experts say?

You claim that some A.I.s are already conscious. Could you explain why?

I would like to claim we had little, rudimentary, conscious learning systems for at least 25 years. Back then, already, I proposed rather general learning systems consisting of two modules.

One of them, a recurrent network controller, learns to translate incoming data — such as video and pain signals from the pain sensors, and hunger information from the hunger sensors — into actions. For example, whenever the battery’s low, there’s negative numbers coming from the hunger sensors. The network learns to translate all these incoming inputs into action sequences that lead to success. For example, reach the charging station in time whenever the battery is low, but without bumping into obstacles such as chairs or tables, such that you don’t wake up these pain sensors.

The agent’s goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain until the end of its lifetime. This goal is very simple to specify, but it’s hard to achieve because you have to learn a lot. Consider a little baby, which has to learn for many years how the world works, and how to interact with it to achieve goals.

Since 1990, our agents have tried to do the same thing, using an additional recurrent network — an unsupervised module, which essentially tries to predict what is going to happen. It looks at all the actions ever executed, and all the observations coming in, and uses that experience to learn to predict the next thing given the history so far. Because it’s a recurrent network, it can learn to predict the future — to a certain extent — in the form of regularities, with something called predictive coding.

There’s much more at Inverse.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[LINK] @elfsternberg: “There’s no such thing as “without emotion.””

Elf Sternberg has written a smart essay about emotion, and what we are actually saying when we claim that we are unemotional, that we are beyond this and are purely rational.

When we say someone is “unemotional,” what we’re really saying is that they’re engaged in the privileged feelings of masculinity: pride, reserve, contentment. Act like it, because your peers already terrify you if you don’t.

Queer men like myself aren’t “more emotional;” we’re permitting ourselves a wider range of emotions than other men, because our status requires we either deal with the terror of stepping outside the box of performative masculinity, or surrender to the closet and its miseries. Black men aren’t “more emotional;” they’re acting outside of the emotional range white America would rather see from them (reserved and content with a lesser status), driven by a rage I can understand and with which I can empathize, if not feel as deeply as they do.

Consciousness is a quality we humans seem to possess in unique abundance. When we say, “I feel,” we’re expressing a conscious need at a conscious level, but we are feeling something all the time. Psychologists know this, advertisers know this. Politicians on the right know that making people fearful makes them want simple, authoritarian answers to their problems. It doesn’t even have to be a *political* fear; asking people to walk over a frightening bridge makes them more likely to favor authoritarian policies in a questionnaire administered later the same day!

All consciousness is driven by emotion. All of it, without fail. Jesse Lee Patterson’s man-shaped pack animals tearing into the weakling among them is pure, endocrinological emotion and nothing less. We are not thinking machines operating on pure rationality– and if we were, from where would our motives come? We are feeling machines that developed the capacity to think as our best tool, the one that put us at the top of the food chain, the one that keeps us there unless it leads to our crapping our own nest into an uninhabitable mess. Men who act “unemotional,” who claim their decisions aren’t driven by their feelings, are lying to you, and to themselves. What they’re really doing is performing a pantomime of fearlessness because they’re terrified of what would happen if they didn’t.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm