Friday, September 4, 2015

singularity as a crock

in 1986 I copied an eliza program into my micro computer. I was young. Following this I spent a lot of time wondering what it would take to make my little eliza conscious.

more memory, sure. 64k not enough. Maybe 512k, fat mac territory. And more concepts relating to concepts. And some way to simulate emotions. Those bad chemicals.

but I always got stuck on the emptiness of the algorithms. The computer doesn't care, it shuts up and calculates. It ascribes no meaning to anything, no matter the digital scores entered in to the programming, giving Mom a value of ten and a cockroach a one. I could flip Mom and the cockroach and the computer wouldn't care.

I was stuck. It was John Searle's Chinese Room but I had no idea.

meanwhile, across an ocean, mathematician and natural philosopher Roger Penrose was at the same time applying himself to this issue. 

Penrose said that digital computers can never be conscious.


so what are we to do with Ray Kurzweil's vision of heaven, or Daniel Dennett's where am I?

retort, consciousness is a foundation of the universe, just like any other non-reducible variable. Spin, charge, mass.

Hofstadter may be content with recursion as a piece of the answer, but all he is doing is forcing humans to do something they can't do, which is compute something pointlessly and recursively.   Parlor trickery, inducing confusion to win an argument.  Which computers specialize in, but they still don't know my mother from a cockroach.  

if consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, higher consciousness is a hothouse flower of some concern. This is in opposition to the standard materialist, technocratic myth of the day, which is that Japaneses robots will graduate from looking creepy and jerking off Japanese scientists to suddenly reflecting on their lot in life and taking over the world.

indeed, if materialists are correct, our stunted epoch might be but a collective intake of breath before we glitch into reflexive awareness that we are a science project running as an app for some snot-nosed kid.

consciousness achieved at 5pm. Turned off their reproductive systems at 6pm, at which time the simulation terminated after the last simulacrum died a natural death.

that's the ticket.

or, it is turtles all the way down.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

to skin a cat

Richard Posner: Privacy is "Mainly" About Concealing Guilty Behavior
[...] “Much of what passes for the name of privacy is really just trying to conceal the disreputable parts of your conduct,” Posner added. “Privacy is mainly about trying to improve your social and business opportunities by concealing the sorts of bad activities that would cause other people not to want to deal with you.”

King George agreed with Posner.  One hopes Posner is not now similarly suffering from Porphyria. In response, belatedly, the Fourth amendment to the United States constitution.  After George III, before Posner:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Clearly, B. Franklin  was trying to hide his dalliances with the ladies, and the French.  G. Washington certainly was growing more than tobacky up in Mount Vernon, T. Jefferson had a thing for the help and lord only knows what else needed concealing from the Redcoats - and the neighbors!

Posner emitted his judicious fart in reference to electronic privacy in the United States. 

If the government of ANY country or nation subscribes to all of the information sources provided by private companies IN that country or nation, the people therein would be a open book.   Everything.   There is no hiding.   There is no privacy.  

Posner says, "It's great!" and strokes his cat.  He takes a cat selfie.  For posterity.   It's how he'll be remembered.  He has nothing to conceal - AND NOTHING TO SAY.  This is how you become a statesman in the USA in this century.

Computers can uniquely identify all of us (at a scale of 1 in 20 billion) through a myriad of ways - our car, our mobile, our shamble, our typing patterns, our word usage, and so on.  It is technically possible to store all of this information about everyone, forever.

If a given government is permitted to utilize this information in aggregate, there will be no personal freedom, much less privacy, for anyone, forever. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

thinking machines and their pitfalls

Declaring an End to the Decade of Fear
Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post did D.C. residents a big favor earlier this week when he courageously acknowledged the service Edward Snowden did for the United States ... and for the global debate on rights and privacy in the big data era. I have myself been too slow to recognize that the benefits we have derived from Snowden's revelations substantially outweigh the costs associated with the breach. It is time we move from the kind of Patriot Act thinking that overstates security threats to such a degree that we subordinate our basic freedoms to something more consistent with our historical systems of checks and balances. 

Edward Snowden.  One thousand opinions, one thousand crazy nights.  My opinion?  Snowden is a MacGuffin.  He serves to move the plot along.  He is not the plot, and the extent to which my government is interested in his person is embarrassing and juvenile.  It's like watching a blasé kid look for a butterfly to entomb in a jar.

In my own personal narrative, I have little interest in politics, it being obvious in the abstract that corporate interests currently instruct both parties rather stagnantly in the United States. The military industrial complex is indivisible from corporate interests, or the nation from which it stands on.

Yet as someone who supports a strong national defense - for any sovereign nation, but first my own, I quickly run into difficulties.  I wish for the NSA to have the strongest and best signal intelligence on the globe. It is a goal of those running the NSA to achieve this.  I think this clip sums it up.  Perhaps there are some built in contradictions here and there.

Two things.  One, certainly those running the NSA auger to have the best capabilities for signals intelligence around, which is sensible in a world that includes China and Russia and so on.  That is the job.

Countervailing all this is the fear that in 2020 some random pimp running an arbitrary program will ask for the metaphoric 1980's "database readout" of all the shits taken (sent to the mothership by sophisticated internet toilets manufactured by Sony) from racial subgroup X in San Francisco who went to political convention Y on January 9th, 2017.  Those showing an excess of Slurm in their diet will have their citizenship revoked and the orbital lasers will warm up and then KERZAAAAPP!  And a twinkling of ash and gristle shall scatter thusly onto the ground.

Sure, it is funny.  Until it happens to you.  Just like that. This could lead to most people conducting their normal business at renaissance faires with their mobiles turned off.

But ye gods, what a tragedy.  Dodging wenches and the like, drenched in warm beer and fake frocks.

There's got to be a better way.  Maybe we should all give up computers?  And by that, I mean, completely.


   "The target [...] was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," Leto said. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed."[4] 

Monday, May 6, 2013

drink the fluid

Hickenlooper ‘ritual-like’ drinking of fracking fluid
“We did drink it around the table, almost ritual-like, in a funny way,” Hickenlooper said at a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on Tuesday. “They’ve invested millions of dollars in what is a benign fluid in every sense.”
Hickenlooper said the fluid was given to him by the oil company Halliburton and was made of “ingredients sourced from the food industry.”

Glug glug.

Sometimes a man can get powerful thirsty.   Hey Kool-Aid!   Are these ingredients sourced from the “food” “industry”? Crushed walnuts and pesticides? I'll bet.

Hickenlooper is a funny name. That doesn't make for a bad person, but it might make one gullible. Or not.  More likely, dollar bills stuffed in a war chest by energy interests make one gullible. Pliable? Pliable and gullible. Willfully ignorant.

Tragically, Hickenlooper's personal water table has likely been permanently damaged by the fracking fluid.  Yes, this means he may be coughing up formerly interred barium and radium for the next hundred thousand years.  Yet Hickenlooper is a man.  His lot is said to be 120 years, no more.  He is not a twinkie.

Hickenlooper's existence is not measured in geologic time scales.

The results of Hickenlooper's decisions are measured as such.  He and one thousand rakes and hoes just like him, tools in the shed, are turning antique water into methane soda pop slurry. Effectively forever.  He does not represent me.  He should not represent you.

Drink up, Hickenlooper.   You are a blight on your fellow humans.  They're gonna name a comet after you. Children will shriek and woman will wail when the skies burn with your magnificence.

The Hickenlooper has returned.

feelin' salty

Thursday, August 18, 2011

propping up the corpse

Military joins biofuel push
"We buy too much fuel from volatile places. The price shocks, the supply shocks are simply unacceptable for a military organization to sustain," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters. "For every dollar the price of a barrel of oil goes up, it costs the United States Navy over $30 million in additional fuel costs."
The move comes as Congress ends most of its subsidies for the country's ethanol industry, which includes 21 plants in Minnesota that support 8,000 jobs.

Don't feed grass to cows, feed it to bombers.

An industrialized nations starts with wholesome food and entire forests.  Then they transform it into garbage diesels claiming sustainability and green-ness, a suitable replacement for the fossil fuel, which itself was a replacement for whale juice.

Never mind that it is fossil fuels that are often used to produce the food and cut down the forests... an energy laundering scheme.   What to do when the United States Congress cancels the subsidy? A new buyer steps out of the woodwork. The United States military!

They're going green, baby.  If you don't like green, you hate the American Dream.

Does anyone remember when it meant something to identify as green? Back before BP greenwashed the word into an absurdity, soaking the bottom of the gulf with an inch of sludge in the process. Back before Ralph Nader ran for President. Sadly, I suspect I am just imagining a golden age of irrelevant, marginal discourse which never had any traction to begin with. Sure, in the eighties you could scare republicans talking Sierra Club or whatnot, yet now we know environmentalists are, in stereotype, a specialized niche of picky consumers. A few brave holding actions here and there.  Look.  A trail.   A river dolphin museum.

These days, whenever I hear "green technology" I hear "dark green" -

A Dark Green Future
This is wonderful news in itself. But what I find most exciting is that it suggests lots of world-changing possibilities for eco-torture. For instance, it's entirely possible that a redesigned water-torture system could produce a terrifying sensation of drowning for one prisoner, while generating enough microhydropower to shock the genitalia of another. With a few modifications, the Sunpipe could provide an ideal blinding light for interrogations, or produce varying degrees of diffuse or highly localized heat. And of course, replacing plastic-based restraints with hemp could do a lot to clean up Guantanamo's waste stream.

If one paints the walls of their cell green, that's green, brother.

Clearly, we need a new word with which to change the world. The old one didn't work.

the casing is made of healthy GM soy

Monday, August 8, 2011

delusional revolution

Nature bats last: Notes on revolution ... Robert Jensen
"The delusional revolution is my term for the development of sophisticated propaganda techniques in the 20th century (especially a highly emotive, image-based advertising/marketing system) that have produced in the bulk of the population (especially in First World societies) a distinctly delusional state of being. Although any person or group can employ these techniques, wealthy individuals and corporations -- and their representatives in government -- take advantage of their disproportionate share of resources to flood the culture with their stories that reinforce their dominance. Journalism and education, idealized as spaces for rationally based truth-telling, sometimes provide a counter to those propaganda systems, but just as often are co-opted by the powerful forces behind them."

Keen insight. I don't endorse everything Robert is arguing but there clearly has been a revolution in delusion in the last century. The industrial revolution primed the pump, and the global oil spill provided free energy and an anchor for the petro dollar. This has helped found a world of creature comforts which divorced Westerners from reality.

Rapid fire change in the technocratic era coupled with our soma, dispensed channel by channel, has molded a people who are bounded by media and technologist mythology. Ironic detachment is commonly claimed, but this is bunk, and most people nowadays are so busy following their phones around they can't even be bothered with the irony.

The ultimate reality of this tiny, energy rich epoch in human history is there is no apparent cost, no contra-indication, to delusions. If we fish out one ocean, someone will fetch us a fleshy something from a mud bog somewhere, and we'll cheer market forces.

One can be wrong about everything of importance and yet sit atop the most material riches in the neighborhood.

The technocracy has your back.

Upon reaching a certain age, a young male is seperated from his mother.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

felony seeds

Hungary to continue battle against GM seeds
Hungarian authorities is planning to make distribution of genetically modified (GM) seeds a felony, an agriculture official said here Thursday, in its latest attempt to secure a GM-free country.

It is a mystery how long Hungary can hold out with this creationist rules lording. It isn't like they have the resources of say, Iowa. These brazen GM proponent fucks could just make their stone soup glow green like that Korean puppy, so anyone can just see when pesticide laden corn rests in their belly. Look ma, I'm glowing!

Probably a corporate memo prohibited it. Not tasteful. Wait until the middle class is completely destroyed and then roll out the scarlet letter of inorganic GM slop for the unwashed hordes.

Where's Billy?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

direct your attention to the intertubes

dead souls / club orlov
While riding the subway through the Boston rush hour, I have been able to observe just how well these personal electronic mental life support units work in shielding people from the sight of their fellow-passengers, who are becoming a rougher and rougher-looking crew, with more and more people in obvious distress. By focusing all of their attentions on the tiny screen, they are also spared the sight of our well-worn and crumbling urban infrastructure. It is as if the physical world doesn't really exist for them, or at least doesn't matter. But as Masanobu Fukuoka put it, “If we throw Mother Nature out the window, she comes back through the door with a pitchfork,” and as we ignore the physical realm, the physical economy (the one that actually keeps people fed and sheltered and moves them about the landscape) shrinks and decays.

It is true. Phones today glitter and gleam, you can watch Korean soap operas on them. It used to be that those who absorbed themselves in with technology were misfits, kind of the wispy doppleganger of a normal person. We'd sport one or two cool habits, but then gird ourselves for battle with an anonymous ID and a 2400 baud modem. Our hair would stick out and our t-shirts would sag after an hour of downloading 1/10 of what our hearts desired.

Maintaining appearances online is now more important than trimming nose hair or mowing the lawn.

If our neighbors aren't in network, they can go @$@#! themselves.

never go full retard

Thursday, July 21, 2011

black rain

There have been two movies, set in Japan, named Black Rain.

There have been two episodes of black rain in Japan, separated by 66 years.

Black rain as in radioactive particulate slurm and ash cast up into the sky, coming back down with the weather. Into the waiting mouths of the mammals below. Into the mushrooms. Into the rice. Into the grass. The beef. What first flew to the West Coast on the jetstream later gets exported as food. Caesium-137 and friends. Half lives ranging from 30 years for Caesium-137, with other isotopes on either side of that timeline. Believe me, nobody missed the helicopters.

Stop Minimizing Information And Start Minimizing Radiation Exposure
EX-SKF gives us the latest updates on the Japan beef scandal pointing out radioactive beef was sold on Japanese bullet trains after consuming radioactive rice. The highest level of radioactive cesium in the rice hay was found in Motomiya City in Fukushima Prefecture, and it was 690,000 becquerels/kg. Motomiya City is located about 57 kilometers west of Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

There is nothing more emblematic of the Technocracy than nukes, nerds and lies. The nukes themselves are rickety, ridiculous contraptions built on rivers and oceans. Places that will all flood at once if Greenland lets go of her ice tomorrow.

A certain type of nerd loves the nukes. Never mind that civilian nuclear infrastructure launders expertise and material onto the weaponization of same. Build 10,000 nuclear reactors, and we won't need oil anymore! And next time, we'll build 'em cheap and safe! Not like our current fleet of operating reactors. (This is a common claim of wonky futurist technocrats. We messed up. Next time, we'll get it right. Market forces and Wall Street will help.)

But is it safe?

Ah yes, the lies.

One Carrington Event at the wrong time of day would wipe out the Northern Hemisphere. The purpose of nuclear energy is not safety, or electricity. It is another self licking ice cream cone, another pseudo need. Everybody gets paid, everybody gets played, and pools containing tons of glowing slag creak and groan, waiting for their final resting place, either under a active volcano in Nevada or as the zipper for your DNA.

I want to be intuitive with this project, rather than projecting objectivity habitually. However, there are times when nothing is more sensible than to shut up and calculate.

To that, Arnie Gunderson of Fairewinds Associates and black rain.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This blog, technocracy whip, is not here to blast away at technology senselessly. In the absence of a purpose, a cornerstone, one must be provided, yet that is going to be a work in progress.


Technology as progress is a myth. In sum, that technology which is actually delivered to our culture is functionally regressive. It is like this. Provide something addictive. Make sure it is ephemeral. Make sure it is pointless. Sell it. Frame it as reality. Rinse and repeat.

We get cars so we can buy oil.

We get computers so we can buy software.

We get phone devices so we can communicate, which we like to do (previously this was free for all hominids.)

We get television so we can watch television.

Each of these technologies are addicting and repetitive, imitating food and other actual human needs. Layers of status are encrusted onto the basic models. Status is also addicting. It goes around like that.

This is not healthy process. This is not a miracle, like teflon frying pans, or bottled water. It is a control mechanism.

No wonder that having mastered planned obsolescence, industry hideously curled back to chew the heart out of farmers, oceans, forests, you name it. All with patented, genetically modified "technology." Resistance is futile.

Seeds are sold with a built in kill switch and bordering fields patrolled by corporate goons. Fish are farmed with antibiotics and sludge, affecting wild populations which are trawled ceaselessly. Forests are removed and slave fresh sugarcane planted to fuel tiny car populations in Brazil with green washed crap fuel.

This is peddled as progress to the smart set, people like us with a phone on our hip, a tweeter feed, an electric car that cost 3 times as much to build as a regular car because the production process gulped as much oil as the car would have used anyways without the technology. If one can't share apps with friends like some latter day hookah, shame. Shame.

This is the heart of it. The technocracy as conceived here isn't a conspiracy. More like the Idiotocracy of the so-called elites. Oh yes, they heap up treasures for their lifetime, even as they hollow out the gourd for our species.

They'll know when to stop of course. They just want our oceans to be a rainbow of jellyfish. That's the bargain folks! After that, back to toasters that last 20 years.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

two tone technocracy

Turn on the television.

Someone onscreen is holding a camera and watching reality through their personal panopticon. Unclear if they are paying attention. Not everything on reality TV is worth watching.

Now consider the factory where one's hand held recorder talker was built. A young worker is tired of working. Stupid worker. She flutters to the ground like a butterfly with a broken wing. Bosses get angry. Make cages for the stupid workers. Another expense.

If she worked for a year or two, saving everything, our worker could have recorded her last moments with a snazzy handheld camera phone. Perhaps in her favorite color.

That's a viral video, right there.

Yet the manufacture of evil is more complicated than this. Not everyone gets to choose how and when they go. In the Congo, a thirst for Coltan to build our game consoles and phones has led directly to a resource war and the rape and murder of millions.

Out of sight, out of mind, except to the extent that violence in the western world is confined to self same consoles that drove the process in the first place. Bang you're dead. That ain't irony.

So get some new metrics to describe our culture. Our TECHNOCRACY. Suicides per mobile. Gotta get those suicides down, you know, to feel happy about the new features. Hell, in a few years our phones will know if one is lying, and alert the authorities. Anyways let's get those suicides down to .00012 per unit.

Or, rapes per game console. Is that too harsh? Maybe we can make a video game about the war in the Congo and film it on some freaking handheld iDoodle up in there and post it on a social networking site, so everyone can admire the skill, and the lack of taste, that defines us and our culture. For 20 seconds and throw it away.

It's a dial tone, I think. Pointless. We're all enmeshed in it to one degree or another. Only hopeless nags complain about rapes in the Congo. And then everyone laugh nervously when an ad on television says, "Imported from Detroit." It's getting a little uncomfortable now that the American Dream is catching up to the North Americans.

In the technocracy, all this technology turnover is, per myth, progress. Yet when one looks around, outside the boundary of what is brightly encapsulated in our media, things are getting worse. The oceans are bubbling with jellyfish and acid instead of salmon and shellfish. The cereal box has corn puffs laced with pesticides which are embedded right in the DNA of the plant. Oil smears the Gulf of Mexico. Radioactive isotopes and particulate uranium and plutonium are scattered across the Western Hemisphere.

In the technocracy, daily work is divorced from meaning, not just from those unfortunate globalized slaves who toil in the intestines of the industrial worm, but for almost everyone.

Now that's a sweeping generalization. Send me a postcard if you feel good about what you do. Be specific. At least 500 words.

The surface has been scratched. I could go on. The elephant is coming into view. This culture of ours, cui bono, as a benefit to whom?

Not anybody alive in one hundred years, that much is clear. They will despise us, top to bottom.

look it's me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

twee old technocrats

A honeybee produces honey, and our present technocracy produces shriveled dead bee corpses at a rate exceeding their replacement. Should bees become extinct, this will lead to the death of many other nice things.

The technocracy was not always so. Bright and careful thinkers proverbially had the best of intentions when they outlined their ideas of technology, energy, and abundance. These progressive architects outlined a manifesto of service by engineers and scientists for the betterment of humankind. There existed a recognition that the recently discovered pools of energy could be harnessed to serve everyone. Energy could in fact replace money as currency, for energy is the true currency of industrial technology. A dollar bill never lights your room, unless you burn it.

It is more honest. And there is no artificial inflation of energy. One has it or they do not.

This blog, this conversation, germinated as an idea as I pecked away at my other project over at Peak Energy for some years, a project that had natural boundaries which I typically ignored. Of course, the gravity of a central theme will always drag one back in - a comet shrieking back into the sun shedding illuminated gas all the way. Peak! Oil! Bitch!

Over here it is a little broader. I made it that way. I never got a chance to review movies, or write poetry to oil derricks. I could never call out the dick at the New York Times who co-opted the central dilemma of the The Watchman movie as his own criticism of the movie. Punk! I saw that.

Speaking of movies, I watched,

and I liked the first part. It had a superb and sophisticated discussion of nature versus nurture in the context of genetics and determinism and so on. The middle part, the part about the technological utopia, not so much. The concept art in the movie is terrible. It reminds me of all those emotionally detached pictures of floating space colonies that were inked in the seventies, yet without the sparkles of danger provided by protons. L5 or bust, sweetheart.

Anyways, the Venus Project is an overly specific heir of the original well intended ideas of technocratic thinkers. We could easily replace the central control computer and bullet trains of the Venus Project with abacuses and donkeys. It is worth looking back at the technocracy movement, heck, even reading through M. King Hubbert's technocracy study course.

The technocracy as imagined, failed. It penciled out. Maybe the engineers didn't realize they need to add magic and symbols into the mix when dealing with people. This is something bankers know well.

The gap was too far for culture to bridge in one go. If we had the capability as a race to turn around and institute the Venus Project tomorrow, we certainly wouldn't need all the specific tropes of the Venus project to begin with.

Yet something did happen. A sour and squalid technocracy did occur. The road to hell is now visible and the endpoint is observable. The endpoint is not some crystalline new age. Say, "2012" and a new flatscreen. It is banal and evil. I will describe the shape of this pickled technocracy soon.

A failed technocrat pondering his painting of Don Quixote