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Slaughtering Sacred Cows

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Many people are aware of something of particular interest to them which conventional wisdom gets badly wrong but assume that one thing is all that really needs to be fixed while the status quo is otherwise fine. Once you escape your silo and start seriously looking around, it becomes obvious that most things you take for granted are pretty much stuffed too. This presentation to CVAF highlights a few of them and argues that adversary systems are no longer fit for purpose.

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Slaughtering Sacred Cows

  1. 1. Slaughtering Sacred Cows most things you take for granted are pretty much stuffed too Tony Smith Central Victorian Atheists & Freethinkers 16 October 2019
  2. 2. the land was invaded and people who weren’t here were killed Myron Lysenko Woodend Poet 1 August 2016
  3. 3. Beyond Adversarial Kororoit Institute Presentation to #NELAugh EES IAC Cover of two September presentations Informed Dissentno secrets and no need for secrets
  4. 4. We are already in the thrall of a vast, world-spanning machine that, due to errors in its foundational programming, has developed a disdain for human beings, is working to make them irrelevant, and resists all attempts to bring it back under control. It is not yet intelligent or autonomous, and it still depends on its partnership with humans, but it grows more powerful and more independent every day. We are engaged in a battle for the soul of this machine, and we are losing. Systems we have built to serve us no longer do so, and we don’t know how to stop them. If you think I’m talking about Google, or Facebook, or some shadowy program run by the government, you’d be wrong. I’m talking about something we refer to as “the market.” To understand how the market, that cornerstone of capitalism, is on its way to becoming that long-feared rogue Al, enemy to humanity, we first need to review some things about artificial intelligence. And then we need to understand how financial markets (often colloquially, and inaccurately, referred to simply as “Wall Street”) have become a machine that its creators no longer fully understand, and how the goals and operation of that machine have become radically disconnected from the market of real goods and services that it was originally created to support. (my emphases) Tim O'Reilly's concluding paragraphs to his introductory section of the final chapter (11) of setting out the problematic exposed by Occupy. I've had increasing overlap with O'Reilly's involvements including internet technologies and open source from around 2000, though without his continuing immersion in the high peak of triumphalism that is Silicon Valley.
  5. 5. Figure 4 from Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics [1933], with Tim O’Reilly’s annotations from 2012 essay Language is a Map. Korzybski argued that many psychological and social aberrations can be seen as problems with language, observed “the map is not the territory”, and developed General Semantics, a field O’Reilly found via George Simon and Easlan Institute.
  6. 6. Diary 21st October 2008: B-Heptomino proto spaceship in b3/s023 (…) quick once over on other Generations CAs which left LOTE as the most interesting (…) 22nd: r-Pentonimo seed reveals (at least) one persistent puffer based on the same proto spaceship nose, producing a large lozenge overnight in 20K+ gens on Golly 31st: monitoring Golly running my 8 seed each time I call home 1st November: Make initial post to Golly list. (…) Rerun on the MacBook the vital period I had been asleep through on the iMac. It is beyond amazing. Some cellular automata “demonstrate creative synergy between even deterministic chaos and emergent order” Live presentation featured 5 minute animation of original emergence of first track-laying engine observed under Generations 345/3/6, aka LOTE, cellular automata rule, viewable at: https://vimeo.com/225496441
  7. 7. Too Funny for Words Abstractions, Category Errors, Epistemic Cuts Life on an Active Planet The Two-edged Sword Multiple Paths to Emergence Constraints and Degrees of Freedom Birds and Others Interweb to Facebook Better than Out of Control Information, Maps and Territories Urban Hydrology out of Sight Going Down with the Egg Basket Self-organising, Adaptive Codification and Communication Exploiting a Dissipating Gradient: creaming, trickle down Dystopian Utopias and Science Fiction Towards Healthy General Knowledge The Inside View: knowing when you're dreaming Verbal Blindness Accepting Cosmological Responsibility SUPERVENIENCEhow emergent minds and money seize power over matter
  8. 8. Civilisations are cultures that create cities, communities that consume everything around them and then themselves. Tyson Yunkaporta Are we walking the Ant Road?
  9. 9. The Map is not the Territory
  10. 10. Parasitism by Language at heart of the Problem
  11. 11. Adversarial “Justice” or just Revenge?
  12. 12. Is Evolution more by Deprecation than by Innovation? Evidence that deletions are a significant driver of evolution has been so persuasive that suggestions have even been made that bacteria and archaea originated as freed eukaryotic organelles. While that seems likely a bridge too far, a quarter century ago during masters studies, the early commercial internet focussed me on thoughts of Metaselection for Evolutionary Innovation. The central thesis of this essay is that an extended history of variation and selection will ‘metaselect’ for capacity to innovate. As evidence for this thesis we include the biochemical evidence for complex dynamics of the eukaryotic genome and the paleontological evidence for extinction events being the dominant selector of higher taxa. From that evidence it will be argued that it is useful to describe a significant portion of the sources of evolutionary variation as ‘innovation’, albeit with the obligatory disclaimers about teleological implications. Old analogies into the social and cognitive domains will be reexamined, especially their consequent implications of optimality, and new ones based on metaselection for innovation will be explored. To those ends it will be necessary to confront some of the combinatorial mathematics of possibilities and actualities, as well as to examine the limits of applicability of evolutionary epistemology. By way of conclusion this essay will note possible barriers to invoking innovation as a component of recent speculations on cosmological evolution.
  13. 13. Loving Life to Death
  14. 14. Mythologies of Leadership and Governance
  15. 15. Gaming Government Procurement
  16. 16. Masters of Business Administration Governance Non Government Organisations Outsourcing Share Options Commercial in Confidence Key Performance Indicators Chief Executive Officers Contracts American Hegemony Hollywood Military Industrial Complex Aerospace Industry Harvard MBA Externalities Creative Accounting Lawyers Legislating Make Work Bankers Financing Profit Margins Compound Interest Consumer Churn/Credit Minimum Wage Compulsory Insurance Accreditation Level Playing Field
  17. 17. National Broadband Network Around 1984 authored a feature article on Networking for Australian Micro Computerworld which led to invitation to lead full day professional development event on same subject While completing a MSc course and Why The Web? involved in series of consultancies on education technology policy, one of which was for the Broadband Services Expert Group
  18. 18. Money can’t be Saved Why Are Rich People So Mean? The Spanish word aislar means both “to insulate” and “to isolate,” which is what most of us do when we get more money. We buy a car so we can stop taking the bus. We move out of the apartment with all those noisy neighbors into a house behind a wall. We stay in expensive, quiet hotels rather than the funky guest houses we used to frequent. We use money to insulate ourselves from the risk, noise, inconvenience. But the insulation comes at the price of isolation. Our comfort requires that we cut ourselves off from chance encounters, new music, unfamiliar laughter, fresh air, and random interaction with strangers. Researchers have concluded again and again that the single most reliable predictor of happiness is feeling embedded in a community. In the 1920s, around 5 percent of Americans lived alone. Today, more than a quarter do—the highest levels ever, according to the Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the use of antidepressants has increased over 400 percent in just the past twenty years and abuse of pain medication is a growing epidemic. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, but those trends aren’t unrelated. Maybe it’s time to ask some impertinent questions about formerly unquestionable aspirations, such as comfort, wealth, and power. Christopher Ryan, WIRED 26 September 2019 Tim O’Reilly, again: “technology is being used for cost reduction rather than to empower people and to reach for the stars not because that is what technology wants, but because it is what the legal and financial system we have built demands.” “(M)any of the companies in the technology industry we are part of were playing by very different rules. They were not getting paid by exchanging goods and services with customers, but by persuading investors to give them money.” “These companies, often sold for billions of dollars, are valued not based on some multiple of their sales, profits, or cash flows, but for expectations of what they might become, promoted like fake news in a market of attention.” Citing Bill Janeway: “the object of speculation is the financial representation of one of those fundamental technological innovations— canals, railroads, electrification, automobiles, airplanes, computers, the Internet— deployment of which at scale transforms the market economy.” “George Goodman, a financial writer who published under the pseudonym Adam Smith, calls this ‘supermoney.’ (…) Supermoney is at the heart of today’s growing financial inequality. Most people exchange their goods and services for ordinary money; a lucky few get paid in supermoney.”
  19. 19. Nothing is more Dangerous than too much Safety
  20. 20. Heritage & Environmental Protection
  21. 21. Attention Deficit Disorder
  22. 22. Then in the 1990’s the revolution in *non-equilibrium thermodynamics* began with the development of the fluctuation theorems, and people realized quickly that electron and proton transfer reactions weren’t odd exceptions to the thermodynamic/ kinetic divide but instead they were just the only reactions simple enough that the reaction coordinate in *phase space* could be identified with a single, 1D distance in *real space,* and this is basically what allowed (chemistry Nobel laureate Rudy) Marcus to develop his theory for electron transfer without the use of the theory of measure spaces. Phase space or configuration space for a point-particle with no internal structure can be mapped directly to real space but can’t for systems that have internal parts that can also change configuration—I think it’s possible that this same simplification also allowed quantum field theory to get off the ground in the early days. Anyway, at least as early as the ’00s there was a community of researchers in non-equilibrium thermodynamics that understood that Marcus theory was a simplification of non-equilibrium thermodynamics that you can get away with in the special limit- case that the geodesic between initial and final states in the phase space of the reaction corresponds to a single distance in real space that can easily be measured and controllably varied while the reaction rate is simultaneously measured. Extending Marcus theory to chemistry in general requires that this real distance be replaced with the path length of the shortest phase- space trajectory that leads from reactants to products, and if the phase space has lots of structure, i.e. it is “rugged” with lots of local extrema, then this can be a huge pain that isn’t at all practical, but the path-length in phase space is what determines reaction rates for all reactions in general, and when it happens to correspond to a physical distance that represents a case where the non-eq analysis of the reaction is simple and a Marcus-like expression will accurately predict the rate. Joseph Brisendine to EDU-talk 11 October 2019 Liquid Solid Matter
  23. 23. Murray Darling Basin Nature Glenelg Trust Mark Bachmann
  24. 24. Anti– Toxic Waste Alliance
  25. 25. Disrupting Recreational Drug Supply
  26. 26. Holocene as Geological epoch Anthropocene
  27. 27. Child Protection Racket
  28. 28. Cultural Guidance before Fledging
  29. 29. Health & Aged Care Industries
  30. 30. From ABC South West Vic Key points: • For the past 30 years, short-tailed shearwaters, known as mutton birds, have arrived at an island near Port Fairy,Victoria, in late September • So far, only a handful of the migratory birds have turned up, out of a usual colony of 40,000 • Climate variability or food availability in the northern hemisphere may have delayed the birds’ arrival For the past 30 years, the south-westVictorian population has arrived at Griffiths Island, near Port Fairy, a day either side of September 22. Birds, Fish & the Insect Apocalypse
  31. 31. Housing in Flammable Cladding
  32. 32. Early August in Melbourne Meanwhile in Tasmania
  33. 33. Colonial v Indigenous From all directions, the commentariat still demand singular cause and singular remedy, refusing to even admit that we live in an extravagantly multifactorial world, or that it is humans with a colonial mentality and our creations which have assumed disproportionate agency while minimising our responsibility. For over thirty years, I’ve been trying to find what might be “Beyond Democracy: the prospect of an informed age” but now we have the imagined transparency in spades, that colonial mentality either fears its potential or actively amplifies those fears in narrow self interest. Increasingly other species are communicating an awareness that their continuance demands working with humanity, but linguistically-colonised humanists remain blind to the need to welcome those others to the conversation. So we continue to indiscriminately destroy things far more admirable than anything we can create in our moment of “economic” delusion.
  34. 34. Having connected exploring the potential of microcomputers in the early ’80s, Bill Hall and I linked up again mid noughties after independently landing in complex systems. CVAF introduced us to Lynne Kelly whose thesis answered separate open questions in significant individual areas of interest. I’ve long preached “we have more to learn from them than they have from us” and now need to generalise “them” to “the other” to reflect linguistic obscurity. Fifty plus millennia ago the leading edge of humanity organised the most ambitious invasion ever attempted, colonising a land of marsupials and monotremes that had also hosted songbird diversification. Those first people pioneered what Tim Flannery called “future eating” then soon enough established a more respectful relationship with the land and each other. Government is a protection racket primarily interested in its own jobs and growth, even the best intentioned members losing touch as their diaries take control of their time.
  35. 35. Suggestions! Questions? Bovine eunuchs reflecting on Campaspe opposite Botanic Gardens on detour en route Kyneton CVAF 19 November 2014
  36. 36. Spelling out the embedded links Tim O’Reilly’s 2012 essay Language is a Map https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20121029141916-16553-language-is-a-map/ My 1993 essay Metaselection for Evolutionary Innovation http://www.meme.com.au/theoria/metaselection.html My 1995 MSc research paper Why The Web? http://www.meme.com.au/papers/WTW/ Christopher Ryan’s 2019 article Why Are Rich People So Mean? https://www.wired.com/story/why-are-rich-people-so-mean/ Joseph Brisendine’s 2019 post to EDU-talk re thermodynamics and kinetics https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/edu-talk/IKthfv161Qs/N6GRXV1qAgAJ Mark Bachmann’s Nature Glenelg Trust http://natureglenelg.org.au Tasmanian Jamie Graham-Blair is decolonising environmentalism to save the planet https://i-d.vice.com/amp/en_au/article/8xzz7g/indigenous-activist-decolonising- environmentalism