Culture – Case Against AI

I was ‘inspired’ to write this article because I read the botifesto “How To Think About Bots”. As I thought the ‘botifesto’ was too pro-bot, I wanted to write an article that takes the anti-bot approach. However, halfway through writing this blog post, I realized that the botifesto…wasn’t written by a bot. In fact, most pro-bot articles have been hand-written by human beings. This is not at all a demonstration of the power of AI; after all, humans have written optimistic proclamations about the future since the dawn of time.

If I am to demonstrate that AI is a threat, I have to also demonstrate that AI can be a threat, and to do that, I have to show what machines are currently capable of doing (in the hopes of provoking a hostile reaction).

So this blog post has been generated by a robot. I have provided all the content, but an algorithm (“Prolefeed”) is responsible for arranging the content in a manner that will please the reader. Here is the source code. And as you browse through it, think of what else can be automated away with a little human creativity. And think whether said automation would be a good thing.

For example, robots are very good at writing 9-page textbooks. Now, I understand that some textbooks can be dry and boring. But it is hard to say that they are not “creative enterprises”.

Here’s a dystopian idea. The term “creative enterprise” is a euphemism to refer to “any activity that cannot be routinely automated away yet”. Any task that we declare ‘a creative expression of the human experience’ will be seen as ‘dull busywork’ as soon as we invent a bot.

Now, some people may argue that these algorithms are not examples of “intelligence”. The obvious conclusion must be that hiring people, beating people at Go, and playing Super Mario must also not be tasks that require intelligence.

Source: Culture – Case Against AI

Terms of service agreements are destroying the concept of ownership for digital goods — Quartz

When you purchase a book from a bookstore your rights to that particular stack of paper are pretty intuitive. … Those intuitions about ownership fall apart when we talk about our digital things. … That’s because your rights to those digital things are filtered through a maze of intellectual property law and limited by the fine print that you agree to when you buy them.

Using contracts to make an end-run around property law predates the web.

You may own your car but the software required to drive it is more like a song you listen to while driving, it’s only licensed to you.

By proxy, the companies creating these products are deciding what we are and are not allowed to do.

Source: Terms of service agreements are destroying the concept of ownership for digital goods — Quartz

For the love of trees: The ancestors are not among us

Terms like ‘basal’, ‘early-diverging’, and ‘first-branching’ reflect persistent misconceptions about evolution and phylogenies

Moreover, the use of basal and similar terms perpetuates a large suite of misconceptions about how evolution works. So in order to communicate effectively and accurately about evolution, we must also communicate effectively and accurately about trees.

Source: For the love of trees: The ancestors are not among us

Pixels and voxels, the long answer – Retronator Magazine – Medium

There are two main ways of representing graphics on computers: vector and raster. Vector graphics describe the image with mathematical equations, usually representing things such as lines, curves and shapes. Raster graphics instead describe the image as an array of color values that are positioned one after the other into a grid pattern. The second distinction in computer graphics is between representing 2D and 3D space.

the reason why I explained the vector/raster, 2D/3D nature is that on our modern displays, every graphics type eventually ends up being displayed as a 2D raster image.

The reason we care about this in a pixel art magazine is that we can use these types of transforms to create modern styles of pixel art that use art assets from non-pixel art quadrants.

Source: Pixels and voxels, the long answer – Retronator Magazine – Medium

Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species – YouTube

There are really two fundamental paths. History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event. I do not have an immediate doomsday prophecy, but eventually history suggests that there will be some doomsday event. The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization and a multi-planet species, which I hope you would agree that is the right way to go. Yes?