Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Big Bang (your mom) Theory

While reading about theoretical particle physics (a few these theories are currently under experimentation at the LHC) and, in particular, neutrinos, I started to get a bit hypomanic. This happens from time to time and, this time, I came up with a (probably bogus) theory pertaining to the Big Bang and the multiverse.


Here's a disclaimer before I get started: I haven't taken any physics classes since I was 17, and just about everything I know about particle and quantum physics were taught to me by, well, myself. So don't take this too seriously. It's mostly just a fun train of thought I thought I'd share.

Here's a synopsis of my theory:

  • Chronological cause and effect aren't the original catalysts of the Big Bang because the Big Bang (effect) required a cause. This cause, in turn, required a cause itself. And thus, we enter into a problem: thinking of the Big Bang as the initial cause of the universe is places us squarely in a logical infinite loop; it's a paradox with no solution.


  • There must be some other way to account for the existence of our universe.


  • Implicate order is another process that might lead to an effect without a chronologically preceding cause. The concept was introduced by David Bohm, and elaborated upon by Stephen Hawking, among others.


  • There are certain theoretical conditions in Einstein's theory of relativity that allow for objects traveling at velocities surpassing the speed of light that allow for matter to travel backwards in time.


  • neutrino is a particle theorized to have the ability to travel at these kinds of speeds.


  • If we can harness the neutrino's theorized ability to send information back in time, attaching, through quantum teleportation, an information-carrier to a neutrino, this new universe could inherit—through our intentional manipulations of the data being sent back in time—the initial cause required to make the Big Bang (or infinitely other universes). We would thereby create our own universe through future technologies.


  • Our universe, in turn, may have been caused by yet another universe created through the same process. This would support the possibility that there is a non-finite number of alternate universes existing within the same multi-dimensional space.



This theory does not, however, imply that we were created by an alternate universe: the possibilities are infinite, and the answers lie in the future.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Singularity Video

A little ditty I came across during one of my manic internet search sessions:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

AI and the Evolution of Human Mores

To Whom It May Concern at the Singularity Institute,

Perhaps half an hour ago, I came across one of your blog posts.  It was entitled: 

Interview with New Singularity Institute Research Fellow Luke Muehlhauser: September 2011.

At some point during my reading, I thought of an idea pertaining to the programming of AI morality (let me admit here that I have virtually no programming experience, save for the work I did with Integrated Stat 9, an Econometrics program I used as an undergraduate at Tufts University.

The article referred to a number of potential pitfalls, one of which is as follows:

2)  Instilling the capacity for moral/ethical analysis requires not only the reconciliation of more than 7 billion contemporary unique viewpoints, but also the consideration as to whether the morality and ethical perspectives of today's population is necessarily the ideal model from which to base the moral/ethical analysis performed by tomorrow's AI.

I believe that, with respect to the former, neural networking and/or multivariate analysis will do the trick.

The latter issue presents a more difficult challenge, but I have an idea that may help to solve the dilemma:

The outcomes of moral/ethical analysis depend upon the programmed perspective from which the AI makes the analysis.  Obviously, relying solely upon the guidelines consistent with those of ancient Egypt would produce an output divergent from that which we'd see if we were to rely upon those elucidated by the Code of Hammurabi; these, in turn,  would diverge from those of ancient Sparta, which would diverge from those of ancient Athens.  Each of these would diverge from the outputs commiserate with English Common Law, which in turn would differ from those of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution of the United States, its amendments, and U.S. case law.  Each of these would necessarily diverge from contemporary moral/ethical analysis.

With the dynamic history of human thought, a question arises: how are we to reconcile these inconsistencies?

I surmise that we must instantiate a model a dynamic moral/ethical model that analyzes historical cases, provides us with current mores, and extrapolates those of the future.  Now, how might this be accomplished?

There are a multitude of means by which such a model might be created but, in the time I've had since reading your blog post, I've come up with the following system:

Since history provides us with myriad examples of situations requiring decisions based upon knowable circumstances, we have the ability to record the situations from which these decisions arose, as well as the outcomes of these situations.  This would provide us with a historical framework from which each decision spawned.  Using multivariate analysis, we can determine the most relevant variables contemporary to the decision, as well as the relative importance of each of these variables.  Once our model's r^2 is as high as it can be (that is, once our regression curve gives us as accurate outcomes at the points along the curve as we can achieve) given our desire to minimize its variance, we can then extrapolate the likely evolution of humanity's moral/ethical decision-making processes with an eye towards the future.  With this model, we could then simulate the contemporaneous "ideal" decisions given the circumstances from which they are derived.  To evaluate the quality of the multivariate function our analysis produces, we can then compare our simulations of "ideal" outcomes with the actual ones, evaluating both the subjective quality of these decisions and their ramifications with respect to the evolution of our model.  We might also choose a number chronological points at which hypothetical decisions are to be made and predict the expected outcomes of these situations.

Once the model is deemed satisfactory, we could then use it to actually make court decisions and/or case law based on our expectations for contemporary mores.  This would not only make the outcomes consistent with the history of human morality/ethics, but it would also ensure that court decisions that reflect the evolutionary forces that shape moral/ethical decisions, reduce public dissent with respect to those decisions enacted, and prevent potentially regressive legal precedent spawning from the limited number of perspectives now involved in the decision-making process (a la the Supreme Court of the United States).

Many might suggest that pure democracy would render such a model superfluous, and the claim would have some validity: after all, whenever a legal decision concerning the population at large is made, it will necessarily be a contemporary decision, reflecting contemporary values.  I would counter that leaving these decisions to we the people who, despite all claims that we are rational animals, are also prone to the influence of emotions, which replaces logicality with illogicality, rationality with irrationality, allowing for the undue influence of current but transient sentiment on our decision-making process (one can point to the temporary increase in American nationalism and the discontinuous spike in  support for unprecedented infringements of individuals' rights to privacy, new and radical surveillance measures, and unethical legislation.

I have very little idea as to the Singularity Institute's influence on policy initiatives, but as the technological singularity approaches, more credence will be given to Singularitarian foresight.  Thus, if this idea circulates among us and, eventually, the public at large, we might find ourselves capable of influencing, in a positive manner, the future of human civilization.


The Omega Point

Monday, May 23, 2011

From a Conversation I had Online:

  1. 2º What's the difference between a subjectively perfect simulation of an emotion and a subjetivecly perfect "reality" of an emotion?

    3ª Do you think that reality is superdeterministic, then? How can exist free will in that scenario? Only way around that problem that I can think of is postulating the existence of strong emergence properties in complex systems
    Also: the problem of apparent quantum uncertainty, which can act as that randomizing effect you are talking about

    4ºUmmm...superintelligent in what sense? Mathematically? Socially? Technologically? Emotionally?
    Are you thinking in God, V.A.L.I.S, Jane (Ender's, of course)? Or Cassanova, maybe?

    By the way, are you a sci-fi nutty, like myself? Just curiosity
    If so, can you recomend me some fine reading that have some connections to these issues?

    Some of my favourites, albeit dated, are :
    Snow Crash/Diamond age, N. Stephenson
    Schismatrix/ Distracction, B. Sterling
    Fairyland, P. McAuley
    Some old sagas like Hyperion Cantos/Dune saga
    Almost all from Charlie Stross (who on a side note, confessed me by email that he is an old b/tard, lol)

    5ºShort answer: yep
    Have you read Promethea, from A. Moore? has an awfull lot to do with this, or any of his rants about the "ideaspace"
    Interesting shit

    6ª I can't see how. By almost definition, advanced societies care for the weak, which effectively invalidates darwinist selection.
    Indeed, people in most developed countries reproduced less, and inside developed countries, succesful people have fewer children (measuring succes in a monetary/intelectual way, as is the case nowadays...)
  2. psklNew

    2* Can't say I'm really sure what the difference would be, but I suspect that any difference would be unobservable, making the difference pragmatically irrelevant.

    3* I guess you could say that I do think that the universe is superdeterministic. I was always going to write this sentence, given my brain chemistry and my environment. At the same time, it feels as though I chose to write that sentence. The difference between free will and superdeterminism, I think, may be a matter of perspective more than anything else.

    4*I think we can agree that there are multiple kinds of intelligence: mathematical/analytical, creative, emotional, social, etc. If something possessed these kinds of intelligences to a degree that is superhuman, I'd call it a superintelligence. However, I'm not sure that's what's required of something to be a superintelligence. If an entity possesses superhuman capacities in any realm of intelligence, I think, we might be able to call it superintelligent, even if that superintelligence is limited to a specific subset of that which might be called "intelligence."

    I haven't read a lot of sci fi, unfortunately. Most of what I know about these topics comes from reading Wikipedia articles. However, I have read Neuromancer, which is about an AI's attempt to possess intelligence greater than is allowed by the Turing Police. It's a good read, though I bet you've already read it.

    I've of course read Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Shadow of the Hegemon, but who hasn't?

    5* Haven't read it yet. Which of the books you mentioned would you suggest should be the first I read?

    6* While it's true that in developed countries, we care for the weak and thus make Darwinist selection a weaker process, I believe that there still is selection for good traits. It's kind of like good marijuana, if I may make the comparison. Most weed is swag, cross-bread with numerous strains to the point that its characteristics are generic and bland. However, stronger/better/more potent strains are bread with each other (much like how one doctor will often marry another), making the strain contain better traits than the vast majority of its peers. I think the same can be said of humans with desirable traits.

    It is concerning that the people least likely to reproduce, however, are precisely the people whose traits are most desirable. This doesn't help notions of continued Darwinist selection in the slightest. Have you seen the movie Idiocracy? It's a comedy, but it's about that phenomenon.

    One way these trends can be combated in the near future will, I think, be through genetic manipulation and gene therapy, as long as it becomes available to most of the public rather than just the rich and powerful.

Chardin and Christogenesis


A radius and a tangent to a circle.
The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). For the sake of simplicity, Teilhard visualizes the universe as a single spiral galaxy, whose nucleus isself-reflective (turned in upon itself) and plays the role of a conscious observer,quantum-mechanically orchestrating the rest of the "galaxy."
The logarithmic spiral of gravitational in-formation. The closer to the in-formational spiral's centre, the steeper the love-energy's turning in upon itself—self-reflection, consciousness, traditionally symbolized by the Ouroboros serpent. After their encounter with the Serpent, Adam and Eve became self-conscious and began to cover their genitals with fig leaves. Thus, theOuroboros (as well as a scorpion, stinging its own head) is a symbol of mankind itself.[14]
The Ouroboros is a symbol of mankind itself. (Allegoria della vita umana, by Guido Cagnacci (1601–63))
Teilhard visualizes the universe as a galaxy-like[15] gravitational flux (a flux of "love-energy"), whose spiral motion has two components—theradial and the tangential. To reflect the ascent to higher quality, Teilhard makes the evolutionary spiral funnel-shaped:
Hence forward we can and must break away from this view which lacks depth. We have no longer the crawling 'sine curve', but the spiral which springs upward as it turns.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
In accordance with the minimum total potential energy principle, the "spiral galaxy" converts its particles' gravitational potential energy into theirkinetic energy and their gravitational binding energy. The product of the kinetic and binding energies is maximal at the gravitational centre of the "galaxy."
Thus, the narrow top of the funnel-shaped spiral is the point of the minimum gravitational potential energy (the point of the "Great Stability") and, simultaneously, the point of the maximum organized complexity—the seemingly paradoxical and fragile synthesis of the particles' kinetic energy (temperature, disorganized complexity) and their gravitational binding energy (organizedness):
In Omega we have in the first place the principle we needed to explain both the persistent march of things towards greater consciousness, and the paradoxical solidity of what is most fragile. Contrary to the appearances still admitted by physics, the Great Stability is not at the bottom in the infra-elementary sphere, but at the top in the ultra-synthetic sphere. It is thus entirely by its tangential envelope that the world goes on dissipating itself in a chance way into matter. By its radial nucleus it finds its shape and its natural consistency in gravitating against the tide of probability towards a divine focus of mind which draws it onward. Thus something in the cosmos escapes from entropy, and does so more and more.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
Self-reflection (consciousness) is, literally, the turning in of a flux of love-energy upon itself:
reflection (Anatomy) the bending back of a structure or part upon itself.
Reflection Collins English Dictionary
From our experimental point of view, reflection is, as the word indicates, the power acquired by a consciousness to turn in upon itself, to take possession of itself as of an object endowed with its own particular consistence and value: no longer merely to know oneself; no longer merely to know, but to know that one knows. <...>
And we are happy to admit that the birth of intelligence corresponds to a turning in upon itself, not only of the nervous system, but of the whole being.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
The closer to the evolutionary spiral's centre, the steeper the curve's turning in upon itself (i.e., the higher the love-energy flux's self-reflection, consciousness).
Being the centre of the cosmic spiral flux of love-energy, mankind orchestrates the universe, functioning as a collective Christ:
One might say that, by virtue of human reflection (both individual and collective), evolution, overflowing the physico-chemical organisation of bodies, turns back upon itself and thereby reinforces itself (see note following) with a new organising power vastly concentric to the first—the cognitive organisation of the universe. To think the world (as physics is beginning to realise) is not merely to register it but to confer upon it a form of unity it would otherwise (i.e. without being thought) be without.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
Having reached the limit of its complexity, the collective Christ—mankind—will undergo a demographic collapse; all of mankind's universe-orchestrating power will become concentrated in the single survivor, who will be automatically promoted to the rank of Christ personal:
Are we to foresee man seeking to fulfil himself collectively upon himself, or personally on a greater than himself? Refusal or acceptance of Omega? <...> Universal love would only vivify and detach finally a fraction of the noosphere so as to consummate it—the part which decided to ‘cross the threshold’, to get outside itself into the other. <...>
The death of the materially exhausted planet; the split of the noosphere, divided on the form to be given to its unity; and simultaneously (endowing the event with all its significance and with all its value) the liberation of that percentage of the universe which, across time, space and evil, will have succeeded in laboriously synthesising itself to the very end. Not an indefinite progress, which is an hypothesis contradicted by the convergent nature of noogenesis, but an ecstasy transcending the dimensions and the framework of the visible universe. <...>
However convergent it be, evolution cannot attain to fulfilment on earth except through a point of dissociation. With this we are introduced to a fantastic and inevitable event which now begins to take shape in our perspective, the event which comes nearer with every day that passes: the end of all life on our globe, the death of the planet, the ultimate phase of the phenomenon of man. <...>
The end of the world: the wholesale internal introversion upon itself of the noosphere, which has simultaneously reached the uttermost limit of its complexity and its centrality.
The end of the world: the overthrow of equilibrium, detaching the mind, fulfilled at last, from its material matrix, so that it will henceforth rest with all its weight on God-Omega.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
An orchestra with multiple conductors cannot produce anything but an incoherent cacophony. When the number of the conductors becomes reduced to a single man, the orchestra shifts from cacophony to symphony, turning into the conductor's "extended body." Analogously, when the universe is quantum-mechanically orchestrated by billions of human observers, it is incoherent (objective)—every part exists by itself, obeying the principle of localityHaving become orchestrated by a single human observer (Christ personal), the universe will shed its incoherence (objectivity) and turn into the observer's "cosmic body":
Christ has a cosmic body that extends throughout the universe.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de ♦ Cosmic Life 1916
Through the incarnation, God descended into nature in order to super-animate and take it back to him.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de ♦ Mysticism of Science 1939

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era

I recently came across this 1993 paper by Vernor Vinge, one of the preeminent technological singularity scholars.  Happy reading.