Saturday 2012-01-14

The Most Human Human by Brian Christian

Ever go fishing and you catch a fish small enough so you can reel it in before it's exhausted? You take the hook out of it and put it into a bucket where it spends the last few moments of its life trying to breathe.

It seems to only know that to get more air, it has to swim forward, so it flops around madly. As an 8-year-old, this can be funny to watch; you start cheering for the fish, 'come on, just relax and breathe, you can do it.' They never make it, so it just becomes sad, and you don't really want to look into the bucket anymore.

Likewise, this book ends up being an object lesson in scarcity: what happens when the world around you changes and you have to adapt?

In the art world, painters used to have a monopoly on 2d images. Then photography arrived and a whole bunch of them avoided that competition by generating non-realistic works.

Computers are scarcity-killers for whatever tasks can be automated. Christian will apparently keep responding to this by trying to flopping around harder. Maybe one day, he'll figure out a different way.

I think the odd fetishization of analytical thinking, and the concomitant denigration of the creatural -- that is, animal -- and embodied aspect of life is something we'd do well to leave behind.
-- The Migratory Soul
You can almost think of the rise of AI not as an infection or cancer of the job market -- the disease is efficiency -- but as a kind of maggot therapy: it consumes only those portions that are no longer human, restoring us to health.
-- Site-Specificity vs Pure Technique
it was "like watching an extremely large and powerful predator get torn to pieces by an even larger and more powerful predator."
-- Getting Out of Book
( Deep Blue vs Kasparov )
conversations between pairs of signers, as Rochester Institute of Technology research Jonathan Schull observed, "involve more continuous simultaneous and overlapping signing among interlocutors" than spoken conversations.
-- Barging In
"An explosion in a shingle factory."
-- Julian Street on Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, Not Staying Intact
"He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living hand to mouth."
-- Goethe, High Surprised
I prefer to think of the long-term future of AI as neither heaven nor hell but a kind of purgatory: the place where flawed, good-hearted go to be purified -- and tested -- and to come out better on the other side.
-- Conclusion
They immediately unplugged Deep Blue, dismantled it, and boxed up the logs they'd promised to make public.
-- Conclusion
( and where are your chat logs? ;)