Book review: To Be A Machine

  criticism life_extension transhumanism book_review anthropology outsiders observers conferences ai grinding cryonics

It seems like everybody is reviewing the book To Be A Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell, and most of the book reviews are, to be frank, kind of pants.  The mainstream book reviewers seem to have read only the first and last chapters and make light (at best) or a joke (at worst) of the life's work of people who are actually doing the work in some parts of the medical profession instead of just playing "Won't it be nice when..." on Slack channels and Facebook.  A …

Read more...

Deep learning gone wild, direct neural interface techniques, and hardware acceleration of neural networks.

  deep_learning neural_networks action_movies dmca bladerunner encoding direct_neural_interface neural_dust neural_lace tensor google hardware neuromorphic_processing AI

There is a graphic novel that is near and dear to my hearts by Warren Ellis called Planetary, the tagline of which is "It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way." This first article immediately made me go back and reread that graphic novel...

The field of deep learning has been around for just a short period of time insofar as computer science is concerned. To put it in a nutshell deep learning systems are software systems which attempt to model highly complex datasets in abstract ways using multiple layers of other machine learning and nonlinear processing algorithms stacked …

Read more...

Semi-autonomous software agents: Practical applications.

  ai api code events evolution exocortex github history huginn languages personal programming software software_agents technology

In the last post in this series I talked about the origins of my exocortex and a few of the things I do with it. In this post I'm going to dive a little deeper into what my exocortex does for me and how it's laid out.

My agent networks ("scenarios" in the terminology of Huginn) are collections of specialized agents which each carry out one function (like requesting a web page or logging into an XMPP server to send a message). Those agents communicate by sending events to one another; those events take the form of structured, packaged pieces …

Read more...

Semi-autonomous software agents: A personal perspective.

  ai evolution exocortex history languages personal programming software software_agents technology

So, after going on for a good while about software agents you're probably wondering why I have such an interest in them. I started experimenting with my own software agents in the fall of 1996 when I first started undergrad. When I went away to college I finally had an actual network connection for the first time in my life (where I grew up the only access I had was through dialup) and I wanted to abuse it. Not in the way that the rest of my classmates were but to do things I actually had an interest in. So …

Read more...

Semi-autonomous agents: What are they, exactly?

  101 agents ai definitions development exocortex overview processes software tasks

This post is intended to be the first in a series of long form articles (how many, I don't yet know) on the topic of semi-autonomous software agents, a technology that I've been using fairly heavily for just shy of twenty years in my everyday life. My goals are to explain what they are, go over the history of agents as a technology, discuss how I started working with them between 1996e.v. and 2000e.v., and explain a little of what I do with them in my everyday life. I will also, near the end of the series, discuss …

Read more...

Machine learning going from merely unnerving to scary.

  ai chess children conceptnet deep_learning iq learning machine_learning manual_dexterity neural_networks reasoning semantic_reasoning software

It seems like you can't go a day with any exposure to media without hearing about machine learning, or developing software which isn't designed to do anything in particular but is capable of teaching itself to carry out tasks tasks and make educated predictions based upon its training and data already available to it. If you've ever had to deal with a speech recognition system, bought something off of Amazon that you didn't know existed (but seemed really interesting at the time), or used a search engine you've interacted with a machine learning system of some kind. That said, here's …

Read more...

DefCon 23: Presentation notes

  ai anti_reverse_engineering biotech brainwallets cars cryptocurrency ctf darpa defcon drones gps hacking human_condition jeep_cherokee las_vegas links lulz metadata notes osint outlines passwords presentations programming psychological_warfare reverse_eng

Here and behind the cut are the notes I took at DefCon 23. They are necessarily incomplete because they're notes, and I refer you to the speakers' presentations and eventually video recordings for the whole story.

Applied Intelligence: Using Information That's Not There - Michael Schrenk

  • Knowing your operations and resources
  • More effective and efficient
  • Competitive intelligence
  • What's happening outside of your business
  • Know your competitors and markets
  • Collect, analyze, and apply external data
  • There is a professional association of people who do competitive intelligence
  • Applied intelligence is actionable and changes what you do
  • Most is useless unless you develop it …
Read more...

A 3D printed laser cutter, aerosol solar cells, and reversing neural networks.

  ai image_recognition laser_cutters microfacture nanotechnology neural_networks open_source power_generation projects solar

3D printers are great for making things, including more of themselves. The first really accessible 3D printer, the RepRap was designed to be buildable from locally sourceable components - metal rods, bolds, screws, and wires, and the rest can be run off on another 3D printer. There is even a variant called the JunkStrap which, as the name implies, involves repurposing electromechanical junk for basic components. There are other useful shop tools which don't necessarily have open source equivalents, though, like laser cutters for precisely cutting, carving, and etching solid materials. Lasers are finicky beasts - they require lots of power, they …

Read more...

Large scale neurosimulation.

  agi ai computers hpc nengo neural_networks neuromorphic_processing simulation spaun

For those of you who watch the tech field, you've no doubt heard of Ray Kurzweil, the inventor, technologist, and futurist who's been promulgating the "The Singularity is near!" meme since the 1980's. Love him or hate him, he's a brilliant man who's invented some fantastic, practical things. One of the things he talks about a great deal is how strong AI, which many now refer to as Artificial General Intelligence (i.e., human-like intelligence and sapience) is just a few years away, and he cites Moore's Law as evidence of this. Of course, a lot of people think he's …

Read more...

My obligatory "Cyberpunk is passe'" post.

  ai corporation cyberpunk future implants internet life military politics society space surveillance technology vr war

In the past couple of weeks it's become something of a fad to post about the genre of cyberpunk becoming somewhat passe'. We now live in the twenty-first century, where much of the fiction that my generation grew up reading was ostensibly set. We don't have flying cars or jetpacks. We don't really have food pills, either, but the nutrient and protein shakes that you can buy in the cold case of just about every convenience store these days (or the frankly awful tasting energy drinks that are popular with the younger set) aren't that far off. We do have …

Read more...