Friday, July 31, 2015

Ray Kurzweil's How To Create a Mind

I've been reading Ray Kurzweil's newest book from 2012.  I know I am not a distinguished reviewer, but I've worked in the same field and I have some overlapping experience.  

I don't write extensive reviews because in the end it is down to the reader to judge and you are the one with the least experience on the subject matter. You will either take my word for it or you won't. If I am to make an impression I will do so by making a few short sharp points. To make a longer point I may as well write my own book.

I will make a three point complaint.

The first point is that the title of the book demonstrates he did not deliver an honest and complete description of a mind.  His title contains three disingenuities at the same time. He does not describe how to make a complete mind. He does not describe the one secret of human thought. He does not know the secret of a human mind, his title seems to be a publishing exaggeration for sales.  In the book once you've read it you would notice he claims to predict when a human mind - ready computer system will act consciously. He is basing it on extrapolating his known computing elements. He is estimating we will be at a complete mind when we reach enough pattern recognizers. I will go into my complaints in greater detail below.  Suffice to say that his claims are not proven.

Here is the simple way to tell if he knows how to create a mind. If he knows a valuable secret like artificial intelligence, then why would he sell it to everyone to copy for $17? Why would he need to write a book about it?  He does know a great deal but not the key pieces. No one does.

The exaggerations made in this regurgitated book are an embarrassment for any serious academic.  He has forgotten his roots, and has not done a credible job of completing the design for human thought as he claims.  He estimates but that like any other supposition, extrapolation, and so on is just a guess. He believes his educated guess is worth more, but he does not underline where his assumptions might be wrong. He is confident in his guesses. But guesses are not sufficient, and his design is not proven.

The second point is that his main theory does not deliver a complete human mind.  His approach, that a human brain is predominantly a pattern recognition system in the neocortex, and that by putting enough neocortex together at the right processing speed will make a human mind is just as misguided as many other incomplete theories.

His approach is equivalent to making a car out of all the parts we understand, like getting a box full of  40,000 parts and you know about 30,000 of them, and you assemble them like a copied car sitting in the drive way and expect it will drive.  Now suppose that you didn't get tires in your box of parts so you substitute another kind of tire made from glass.  You install the glass tires and try to drive. They look the same and they roll the same so they are close enough, right?

Even if you got the engine to work without understanding physics, when you drive and it can't turn or accelerate or brake because you don't understand friction have you really duplicated a car?  That is the hallmark of a scientific model that does not account for understanding of all the important principles involved in a complex model. When someone makes a model that is an approximation it works well over a smaller region of the original, sometimes it won't work at all and it fails in unexplained ways.  An approximation is not equivalent, it is approximately equivalent.

My third complaint is that he discards the reality that we don't know the artificial intelligence principle, like the Bernoulli effect for aviation. He claims that since we know how the neocortex works with lego blocks of pattern recognizers then it's only a matter of collecting enough of them to make a mind. Even his approach is close to my car from a box of part analogy. But what if the missing pieces are the critical ones?  It is my supposition is that we don't have the final missing piece. Not the missing link, but the missing principle that explains all of brain functions and also the abstracted brain and its ways to learn, extrapolate, be creative, and so on. 

Without the missing piece, it might be forever before we can replicate a human mind.

In sum, while he presents some interesting new information along with some regurgitated elements of older books, and some truly disturbing parts when he is either product promoting ad nauseum for his speech recognition work, or he is claiming cyborg future vision in the final chapter, he does not deliver what he claims. This book is not that useful despite all the reputation he holds. If you want a better book that explains a less ambitious portion of the brain, then read David Marr's Vision as his book does cover the entire abstracted organization and purpose of the human vision system. It does not claim to know all the vision system but it does provide you with a solution. It does not claim more than it delivers and it will outlast the final understanding of the seeing brain.

Federal Conservatives picking corporate winners & losers against core conservative principles

The federal conservatives are resorting to bribery of Ontario, against the core principle of conservative economic theory to let the markets decide,

in an obvious attempt to win an election.  This is the same behavior they complained about when the liberals bribed the automotive industry with funding.

Remember 2005?

" The first Gomery report, released November 1, 2005, had found a "culture of entitlement" to exist within the Government."

They are funding Honda and Toyota, which are Japanese corporations. They refused to give guarantees to GM and Ford that had better deals from Mexico. 

Conservatives are even resorting to disproportionate funding towards pro-conservative areas.

At the same time as science funding cuts, the kind of funding that creates jobs from new innovation, is cut they are throwing money at less innovative auto companies in a desperate entitled effort to sway the public with bribery.

Time for a new government!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't ban useful robots from helping soldiers.

A group of concerned scientists, researchers and academics, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, have warned that a military artificial intelligence arms race could soon develop if preventative measures are not taken.

With all due respect, these people don't work in the field so their opinion isn't as wizened nor as educated about the state of the art in robotics and artificial intelligence as they presume to be.

We are a LONG ways away from autonomous killer robots.

Autonomy is not solved.  Artificial Intelligence is not solved.  That's research speak for we don't know how to make them work. We don't know how to do either with mastery.

Here is the analogy I use.  In aviation, all flying objects work on the Bernoulli principle.  All wings develop lift from the Bernoulli effect.  All propellers develop thrust from the same effect. It doesn't matter about Wright brothers versus stealth fighters, they all work on the SAME core principle.  That is the key piece needed to make it all work.

In AI and robotics, we have not discovered the equivalent of the Bernoulli effect.  If we don't have that missing key piece, it doesn't matter how fast we make a computer, the result is still a stupid robot.

Don't let people take away useful robots from soldiers, ones that have no plans to be autonomous, by lying to you about a phantom threat.

And if you want to know how I know, go look at my Linkedin page.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Donald Trump is the anti-Kennedy

While some may believe in a Christ and an anti-Christ, I believe that Donald Trump is a polar opposite of one of the greatest US presidents: John Kennedy.

Kennedy was articulate, thoughtful, hopeful, charismatic, encouraging, inspiring, cunning, brave, resolute, intolerant to religion, independent, and willing to make progress against the forces that keep the people down.

To read a really good narrative of Kennedy, read this essay.

Donald Trump is none of those.

He embodies all the worst qualities in a leadership candidate. He is selfish, cowardly, offensive, arrogant, blunt, opinionated, divisive, moronic, ignorant, undiplomatic, and seeks to impose his ideals on people.

Donald Trump is the anti-Kennedy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Science is cool: NASA's Mercury Messenger images

NASA's Messenger mission has made some incredible images of Mercury over it's lifetime.   Find them here.

Here is NASA's description:

 The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the solar system's innermost planet. In the mission's more than four years of orbital operations, MESSENGER has acquired over 250,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER's highly successful orbital mission is about to come to an end, as the spacecraft runs out of propellant and the force of solar gravity causes it to impact the surface of Mercury near the end of April 2015.

Interesting to note; the messenger spacecraft spent over 3 years in orbit collecting data. Imagine a crewed spacecraft lasting 3 years in space over Mercury!

The fact is that unmanned space craft have incredible working lives collecting more data than a human mission could ever accomplish. To think of exploring using humans might seem reasonable but it's a romantic idea not a practical one. Sending a robot makes more sense and accomplishes more per kg than a human crewed mission ever would.  While people like a human interest story, we would explore more of the universe faster using robots.

Messenger died 30 April 2015.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hillary Clinton knows better than you; except she doesn't and made stupid serious mistakes.

Washington (CNN)The inspector general for the intelligence community has informed members of Congress that some material Hillary Clinton emailed from her private server contained classified information, but it was not identified that way.
Because it was not identified, it is unclear whether Clinton realized she was potentially compromising classified information.
The IG reviewed a "limited sampling" of her emails and among those 40 reviewed found that "four contained classified [intelligence community] information," wrote the IG Charles McCullough in a letter to Congress.

Hillary Clinton emails contained classified information.

Of course Hillary Clinton ran her own email server; it was the perfect means to cover up her classified work and her personal dealings from scrutiny. She thinks she doesn't have to follow the rules, follow information classification rules, and certainly doesn't have to expose her donor favour list to public scrutiny.

Perhaps instead of spending time writing a self-serving "hype manual" - a book that is neither an autobiography nor a history, she should have read the state department rules

Instead, the person that divulged classified information has decided to declare there was no wrong. She says she didn't send classified information. Well, that's settled then.

Here is what the report says:

Four of theemails were identified for review by the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), which is the Bureau with relevant subject matter expertise; two of the documents were substantively duplicates of each other. NEA consulted with the Office of the Legal Adviser regarding FOIA exemptions that were potentiallyavailable, including B1 (§1.4 (d) of E.O. 13526) and B5. NEA decided, consistentwith the Attorney General’s 2009 FOIA guidance, to redact certain limited information under exemption B5 which reflected deliberations among policy officials. Two other documents were proposed for possible upgradewhich
involved equites of other agencies. In one document, the Department of Defense decided not to seek a classification upgrade. The other document, which contained an FBI equity, could have been redacted under exemption 1, pursuant to §1.4 (d) of E.O.13526, or exemption 7, as law enforcement information.
This says she divulged information from the military (DOD) and FBI, which are not her organizations, that included classified in nature- regardless of what the state department information might think. That was 4 emails from a tiny sample size.  That means, most likely with 30,000 emails, there is a lot more chance she expose classified information.
This is a serious breach of security, this is perhaps a criminal offence.  This is not a joke nor an attack by political enemies. This is a self-inflicted problem due to arrogance and hubris. 
This isn't even the worst problem. She is hiding all the personal interactions from donor nations. People that turned around and gave millions to her foundation.  This is the bigger problem for a president. How bought and paid for is Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Liberals are treacherous

Proof that Liberals are treacherous. Dmitri Soudas is now a Liberal.   Soudas was a key member of the Conservative party. Soudas was the executive director of the Conservative Party of Canada. He was PM Harper's bag man. He is not a valuable policy wonk he is a low level functionary.

Liberals would take in disloyal opportunist Conservative bag men in a bid for power. The only reason is to exploit secrets and learn strategies. There is no honour in stealing unhappy and supposedly politically different members from the ruling party. The only reason is political expediency.

The Liberals have not learned their lessons about principles and purpose.  They will do anything, say anything, hire anyone, exploit anything to win.  They are not out for Canadians. They are out for themselves.

I plan to vote for the NDP.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Christian values squashing freedom by federal Conservative dogma

When a government is dogmatic about stupid ideals it is obvious to all they are not executing their mandate as they should.

The government is not supposed to operate in regulating personal freedoms. It is supposed to operate the frameworks that runs society. 

Vice is allowed by the law and the will of the people.  Alcohol is legal. Smoking is legal. Gambling is legal. The christian right wing wouldn't dare trying to repeal gambling, drinking, or smoking- they know there are not enough voters left that would vote for them afterwards.

Marijuana may be addictive product but it is also a personal freedom to use it. This right has been suppressed by the christian moralists in western countries for too long. It is not their right to dictate morals to the rest of society.  That has also become an obsolete concept.  When churches hide paedophiles and abuse people, and deny involvement they have lost any moral authority they claim to have.

Drinking can be addictive. Gambling can be addictive.  Smoking can be addictive.  So why exactly does the government reject marijuana?  Why are they wasting tax dollars to "educate" the people? They are spending another million dollars to try and change people's minds? Does that seem like enough money to do that and a serious attempt? It looks like a face-saving waste of time.

Our health minister was "outraged" that the Supreme Court ruled pot oil was legal given the sloppy law the Conservatives wrote and enacted. If she is mad maybe she should have taken more time crafting the law.

Instead, they would waste time, money, and effort trying to tell people that marijuana is bad. They are trying to tell another lie to convince people not to want what they want.  That is not the workings of a conservative government. The conservatives argue with mayors yet don't sit on a panel of governments to come up with standardized rules for marijuana dispensaries for across the country.  They are dragged kicking and screaming against the supreme court's ruling rather than teaming up to save tax dollars. They leave it to mayors and cities to work through it on their own. If Vancouver did what the federal government told them it's very likely you could get pot outside a school but not alcohol nor tobacco.  Does that make sense?

This behavior is the playbook of a dogmatic people that refuse to change with the times. They are dead set against changing and yet can't see that the people are already past their viewpoint.

The fact is that regulated marijuana and pot oil are products that people want and they generate tax revenue that can be used to help the rest of society. There is no good reason why it is MORE of an addictive danger than drinking, smoking, and gambling and yet the government taxes and regulates all those vices!

We are a capitalist nation, and people could profit legally from selling a product. What is the excuse why it can't be so? There are no excuses other than religious dogma. No other group sees this as a problem.

So when a government promises to balance the budget by 2015 and at the same time holds onto outdated and ridiculous dogma that is hurting our economy. This belief is not allowing capitalism to work properly.

To hold onto an outdated belief so strongly that you risk breaking your promise of a balanced budget shows just how poorly you listen to the people and how poorly you take advantage of opportunities. Another cardinal sin in a capitalist society.  They have a way to make more money and yet they refuse to do so.

They won't go into deficit to save a recession, they won't do what's needed to make sure there is positive growth, but they will hold onto dogma about marijuana.  They have stopped governing and instead are dictating personal choice. That is fascist dogma. Do as we say because we know better than you. Do as we say because you have to believe the same things we do. Don't do what we don't agree with or we will stop working with you and work against you.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Islam, in Thursdays' attackers own words,

This life is that test, he wrote, "designed to separate the inhabitants of Paradise from the inhabitants of Hellfire."

What this middle American, with all the advantages and none of the hardship, did was realize all the nasty puppetry of Islam meant and he suddenly accepted it. He suddenly volunteered to become a weapon and kill and die  and waste his life for nothing.  To join the void and take people with him.

The fact that DAESH / ISIS encourages these faithful MUSLIMS to attack non-believers  with rocks and bash our heads in may speed up attacks. But without a caliphate MUSLIMS will still sporadically rampage against western society is the problem.

Islam is a script for terror. We need to treat it as such. All it requires is puppet willimg to be evil and manipulate fools and willing human robots to follow it.

Religion poisons everything and Islam is the worst one; it encourages evil all justified by an imaginary mandate. This man wasted his life for nothing and worse ruined other families all to perpetuate babyish nonsense.

It makes smart people instinctual and stupid. It subjugates masses and destroys the works of reason. It is a ticking time bomb and we can't live with it any longer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

University of Arizona Biosphere 2

I toured the biosphere 2 experiment  near Tucson Arizona last weekend. I thought it was an impressive structure and an important advancement for understanding.

This experiment sealed people inside to live on a very strict diet - meat once a week - and proved that a closed system could work for long periods.  The original experiment is long gone and now the massive building is run by the university of Arizona investigating water return from sloped areas called the LEO project.

I would encourage you to go check it out. Even if you dream of an interstellar colony rather than earth science it is a good approximation for what that would be like.  Tour cost was $20 and we came on 2 for 1 tour day.  I recommend the tour and Claudio the tour guide is an original player in the original experiment.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Death to Israel is a Nazi sentiment

One of these was Nazi propaganda.
The other was a cheap copy from Saudi Arabia.

Should anyone take propaganda advice  from the Nazis? What does this say of Islamic propaganda? What does this say of anyone that secretly or openly supports Nazi ideals?

It's ironic that had Nazi Germany defeated the Allies and went on to conquer Europe and Africa, you can be sure Aryan dominance would have eradicated Arabs in due course. By eradicate I mean round them up and ship them to empty gas chambers for an extermination so beyond the worst ISIS death camp just like all the inferior races under Nazi doctrine. Turning their skin into lamp shades and stealing their gold teeth.  ISIS has no idea how amateur they are compared  to Nazis savagery yet comparable in beliefs about Jews.

The ideology may be different but fascism is fascism and we shouldn't hide from evil.

Radical Islamists should be exported to the caliphate

The caliphate has provided the west with a unique opportunity to export all radical Islam adherents unto the caliphate.

If they are brave enough to take up arms for Islam then they should be allowed to fulfill that desire. That is the definition of freedom. They should be free to live in a state they want. Since these values are incompatible with freedom from religion then they should be sent to the caliphate so they can live the way they want and we are free from their religious dogma.

We should not be stopping them from going, we should stop them from returning.

Any Islamic extremist caught advocating, plotting, conducting terror in the west should be transported to the caliphate border and dropped off. If that is what they believe then that is where they should live.

Egomaniac and a decentralized information dissemination network

When you are trying to create and operate a global free  information disestablishmentarian exchange network furled by brave whistle blowers and run by anonymous volunteers it pays to not be an egomaniac.

Otherwise your sociopathy tends to get in the way of the good you are trying to do.

Greece should get graduated debt relief

The two polar outcomes of debt forgiveness and contract default are neither painless nor productive for society.

Instead a middle path should be taken.   Greece should be given a graduated decrease in debt load.

Example. Greece pays back 10 % debt in a year then the amount is decreased by 15 to 20 %. Over time it decreases by more so long as they keep paying the amount is accelerated to zero.  It's not the full amount and it's not zero.

In this way Greeks feel they can pay down debt and not lose hope.  And creditors get more from Greece than default and collapse of the economy that is needed to generate money.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Meaning versus Value

People should spend the most amount of time understanding the definitions of words.

People should spend the least amount of time understanding the meaning of words.

One brings understanding, the other reduces confusion. A world armed with more knowledge and less misinterpretation will be happier and calmer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Clinton coronation

Hillary Clinton doesn't want to win an election, she wants to be acclaimed by default.  She doesn't want to defeat opponents fair and square. She doesn't want to answer pointed questions and admit where she has done poorly. She doesn't want to explain her bad decisions, her conflict of interests, her immoral dealing with other nations, her debts to foreign donors.

She expects the people to be lied to and accept her anyways.  This belief is the hallmark of a royal coronation.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pay your kids for good marks

If you want young kids to associate good marks performance with academics then you need to reward them in the way a capitalist society rewards anyone.

I pay my kids for every A and every improved mark as if its an A and depending on ability modify the A scale for each kid's ability. So a weaker student can still get rewarded and link performance with benefit.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Greek PM is smart and desperate over Euro bailout

The Greek PM Tsirpas is caught between creditors and a hard place. It's obvious the IMF and ECB are playing hardball negotiations to avoid more European nations defaulting on loans.  That's what's really going on. They aren't afraid of Grexit. They are afraid of a knock-on effect of other nations defaulting given Greece got a good deal or wasn't forced to pay off debt. So Europe is making an example of Greece.  Too many European nations have tried to balance their books on other nations in the EU. That is the practice the ECB, EU, and IMF are trying to punish so that fewer local politicians try to steal from the rest of the union.

Consider that the EU wants to expand into central Europe and those nations might try the same thing as Ireland, Greece, and so on given their economies are weak as well. The EU is balancing on a knife edge when it comes to finances.

It's ironic that Germany started two world wars and yet was given a repayment scheme that they could afford and pay back; which they did last decade if I recall. Greece has started no war, bailed out Germany in the past,  and while they were stupid with money they are being asked to accept a payment scheme that can't possibly work.

This is the larger reality. Greece is never getting a good deal.

So the PM is stuck between his people and creditors.

Instead of asking his people on bailout terms he is asking them the better question: do you want to stay in Europe or not?

Because if the Greek people want to stay in Europe, then they must accept what their European creditors want. So if they vote yes then they can't turn around and refuse to accept all the cuts and reforms that are expected can they? Then PM Tsirpas can impose harsh policies and the people must accept them since they voted to stay in.

But if they don't want to be part of Europe, then the Greeks must face all the problems of sovereignty and going it alone. Then PM Tsirpas is forcing the Greek people to accept that and deal with all the problems of a new currency and

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Does America deserve Donald Trump?

With all the news and attention turning to Donald Trump, I wonder aloud does America really want what he has to offer?

For those that have followed my America: schizophrenic empire series of posts, you might not see the connection between Trump for President and America policy overseas.  Or domestic policy.

The facts as I see them are; one, Donald Trump embodies all that is wrong with America in one single person, he is arrogant, petty, brash, anti-intellectual, overconfident and underpowered, vane, narcissistic, cheap, greedy, deluded, and also better than everyone else at "the military".  He doesn't care about other countries unless he can steal their resources or bomb the hell out of them. He is the 1% that treat the rest of society like refuse and exploit every benefit that high priced lawyers can provide. He was given his first fortune and for some reason people still trust him with money.  He is an absurdity within an enigma.

He may wear his beliefs on his sleeve but don't worry he'll get a maid to clean that right up.

But he also embodies what  a large frustrated poorly educated and easily lead portion of the American people aspire to be.  They want to be like him, they want his wealth and they want his problems.  They want America to swagger around and cause problems.  They want to start wars, they hate socialists yet take from the government.

People thought George Bush II was a fluke.  He is no fluke.  Donald Trump is George Bush III with all the sneakiness and without the charisma.  He's what George Bush I wanted as a son.

Two, if the people elect Trump then they deserve every last nightmare he will bring down upon them.

From Obama to Trump would demonstrate complete my argument that America is the schizophrenic empire.