Thursday, November 13th 2014


Zurge Kloffen Folger

Wednesday, November 12th 2014

Superhub AI & the Automation of the Human Elite

Tuesday, November 11th 2014

My friend Emlyn asked me an interesting question a while back: "What does the elite do and can it be automated?"

It got me thinking. (Thanks for the great conversation and many good ideas Emlyn!)

(UPDATE: Here are Emlyn's thoughts on a related topic.)

When some people talk about elites they imagine venal cigar-chomping fat-cats sitting in distant board rooms plotting to carve up the spoils. Others imagine noble captains of industry steering the pretty-shit-but-better-than-anything-else-we've-tried market system to a better place. Others split the elite up into those who "deserve" what they have (because they did something for it) and those who inherited it (just lucked into it). Some see a modern noble class (which can be good or bad depending on what you think of "nobles"). Some see a military industrial complex. Some see the elites as the Great and Good, and a the hierarchy they sit on top of as a hierarchy of "merit" - where everybody gets what they deserve. Some see systematic repression and exploitation by people insulated from the consequences of their actions). Some see a group of clever people who look after important matters the masses can't be trusted to grok. Some just see an arbitrary system of control they want to be part of or rebel against.

And so on.

As long as hierarchies are a feature of a social system, elites are inevitable. The question turns into: why hierarchies?

Late Last Night in the High Country

Monday, November 10th 2014

Magic Sam, "Sam's Boogie".

Todd Snider doing his classic "Late Last Night":

Check out the guitar antics at 2:03. That is how you rock 'n' roll.

Leftover Salmon doing "High Country":

Del McCoury Band at Hill Country stage at Old Settlers Music Festival:

The Source of a Great Deal of My Stupidity

Saturday, November 8th 2014

I have sticky ear-wax. It builds up over time and I gradually go deaf. Then I get it removed.

If I test my hearing at "maximum wax build up" I am quite hard of hearing. (I find myself asking people to repeat sentences, for instance. High frequencies do missing.)

After the wax is cleared I hear all sorts of new sounds. Mostly high frequency sounds; scrunches, crunches, whines, whistles, hisses, etc.

After a few days my brain adjusts and it all seems normal.

(Until the wax builds up again!)

But I'm not that aware of my hearing declining. My brain seems to compensate for my lack of hearing by drawing on memories from less waxy aural experiences.

As I become less able to hear, predicting what I think I might be hearing by associating a given experience with previous experiences becomes more important; it allows me to (mostly) unconsciously fill in the gaps.

In some ways you might say I become more and more reliant on some process akin to, perhaps, a Markov chain to generate an illusion of hearing things I used to hear but no longer actually hear.


Friday, November 7th 2014


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