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The Tangent, Derail, and Argument Thread

Train Dodger

Choo Choo
Translation: you have no idea whatsoever what you're talking about, what such technology might look like, but your entire perception of it is dictated by scifi and you want to propose political systems based around that vision. But then, you can rest easy knowing that your perception of AI is just as realistic as your perception of anarchism as a viable political system: not at all.

This discussion is not even political science for dummies or administration explained to toddlers: you want utopia and you heard a cool scifi concept that some snake oil peddlers tell you will surely cause utopia or apocalypse, so you go full speed on it... Could be AI, could be anarchism, could be whatever buzzword and you'd say the same thing.
That’s what it takes to have an entrepreneurial spirit, Rufus. Steve Jobs hardly knew a damn thing about computers before he met Wozniak, but he still ran a successful company that made them. Do you know why? Because he was the ultimate snake oil peddler. He knew how to take an idea ordinary people would love, describe it, and get experts to create it for him. Donald Trump became president of the United States even though his knowledge of our history was so rudimentary that he didn’t even know what the flag of the United States actually means.

Expertise is a good thing to have, but it is not a requirement for success. Not when you can lean on others for it. There’s another fantastic Mikhail Bakunin quote that illustrates this perfectly:

“Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognize no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such an individual, I have no absolute faith in any person. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my undertakings; it would immediately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others.” -Mikhail Bakunin

I’m not a programmer, I’m not particularly good at math, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how we might go about creating such a thing as an Administrative AI, but I can describe what it might hypothetically look like if someone did create it, and that is enough.
 

t-dugong

Purveyor of Silliness, Esq.
Ugh, don't compare Jobs with Trump. Heck, I wouldn't call Trump an entrepeneur myself. Dude's a soft boiled Mafia wannabe who conned his way into most of everything he did.
 

Rufus Shinra

Well-known member
That’s what it takes to have an entrepreneurial spirit, Rufus. Steve Jobs hardly knew a damn thing about computers before he met Wozniak, but he still ran a successful company that made them. Do you know why? Because he was the ultimate snake oil peddler. He knew how to take an idea ordinary people would love, describe it, and get experts to create it for him. Donald Trump became president of the United States even though his knowledge of our history was so rudimentary that didn’t even know what the flag of the United States actually means.
... for fuck's... you do realize that you are arguing for system you describe as being so superior to everything while being based on giving absolute power to something you admit not understanding in any way, hoping to make shit up as you go?

I think I need to be blunt here: that's why you will never be an engineer, and I really hope noone's life will ever be entrusted to your caring hands. ESPECIALLY when it comes to politics. Trump is a fucking bad example to emulate, as are all the fuckers who had no idea what they were doing but rode on convincing millions they opened the way to perfection. We had a few of those assholes here, these "entrepreneurs" of politics who explained to the crowds how everything would go just fine. Our continent burned and we got millions of dead because of people doing what you propose doing in politics. So, now, go back to bed, get yourself a Mountain Dew and stop talking about politics.

Really. Just stop.
 

Train Dodger

Choo Choo
Ugh, don't compare Jobs with Trump. Heck, I wouldn't call Trump an entrepeneur myself. Dude's a soft boiled Mafia wannabe who conned his way into most of everything he did.
Most successful people in business are soft-boiled Mafia wannabes who conned their way into most everything they did. That’s why Neoliberalism, the current world order, is such a travesty. People already place their faith in con-men, and then they turn around and deny it. Finance is the religion of our world order. You literally have people sitting around, describing “market sentiment” like it were a creature unto itself as opposed to the product of collective action, and treating abstract products of speculation as though they were real things with a firmness and solidity that they lack in reality.

... for fuck's... you do realize that you are arguing for system you describe as being so superior to everything while being based on giving absolute power to something you admit not understanding in any way, hoping to make shit up as you go?

I think I need to be blunt here: that's why you will never be an engineer, and I really hope noone's life will ever be entrusted to your caring hands. ESPECIALLY when it comes to politics. Trump is a fucking bad example to emulate, as are all the fuckers who had no idea what they were doing but rode on convincing millions they opened the way to perfection. We had a few of those assholes here, these "entrepreneurs" of politics who explained to the crowds how everything would go just fine. Our continent burned and we got millions of dead because of people doing what you propose doing in politics. So, now, go back to bed, get yourself a Mountain Dew and stop talking about politics.

Really. Just stop.
Oh, so what you’re saying is that technocracy is good and that experts should rule instead of con-men and charlatans? Good, let’s start immediately.

You want to whine about the inexpertise and imprecision of these people, Rufus, but I don’t see any scientists and engineers stepping up to the plate to actually campaign for public office and take their place. That’s because politics isn’t a job for smart people. It’s a job for stupid people who bark like dogs at the masses, and smart people continually allow themselves to be ruled by that sort of person without much complaint.
 

Rufus Shinra

Well-known member
Oh, so what you’re saying is that technocracy is good and that experts should rule instead of con-men and charlatans? Good, let’s start immediately.
So you have complete reading comprehension failure.
You want to whine about the inexpertise and imprecision of these people, Rufus, but I don’t see any scientists and engineers stepping up to the plate to actually campaign for public office and take their place. That’s because politics isn’t a job for smart people. It’s a job for stupid people who bark like dogs at the masses, and smart people continually allow themselves to be ruled by that sort of person without much complaint.
I have a secret for you, lad: administration and politics do not require the same skills and knowledge base as engineering and scientific research. Stop putting engineers and researchers on a pedestal as magical priests who solve all problems with equations like in bad science fiction. Hell, you probably have no idea what state administration entails in real life, no more than you do about scientific research.
 

Train Dodger

Choo Choo
I have a secret for you, lad: administration and politics do not require the same skills and knowledge base as engineering and scientific research. Stop putting engineers and researchers on a pedestal as magical priests who solve all problems with equations like in bad science fiction. Hell, you probably have no idea what state administration entails in real life, no more than you do about scientific research.
I do know that state administration is filled with excess bodies. Morons invent red tape to stream across everything, and then they inflate their departments with people—a great managerial glut—to navigate the maze that they, themselves, created. I work in public transportation, and even though our service has remained mostly the same for 50 years, in the same time period, our number of managers has increased by ten times. A whole order of magnitude. They don’t do any more than the people they replaced. Each one of them does one-tenth the work for the same pay and same hours. That’s why much of our time at work these days is spent idle. If we are idle at work for such long periods, would we not be better off if we simply weren’t at work at all? However, I digress.

It appears to me that a lot of humanity’s future hinges on our acceptance that climate change and resource depletion are inevitable facts of life, and if we do not act to avert catastrophe, millions will die. In other words, scientists and engineers—while hardly being omniscient—have laid out our future for us and described, essentially, a policy to follow. Whether or not people actually follow it depends on a number of factors, but the biggest stumbling block for preventing climate change is the simple fact that so much of our GDP relies on petroleum products, petroleum energy, and petroleum-based transportation. The scientists scream “Stop using fossil fuels!” However, the policy-makers have giants like Enron twisting their ear saying “Keep using fossil fuels, I need my retirement bonus.” Who do they trust? Who are the politicians supposed to believe? Scientists or businessmen? Well, the businessmen pay the bills, so they have veto power. Therefore, society keeps chugging along off a cliff as usual. That’s neoliberalism in a nutshell.

We already have a priestly caste of investment bankers and CEOs. That’s, like... even worse sci-fi than if we literally had techpriests.
 

Rufus Shinra

Well-known member
I do know that state administration is filled with excess bodies. Morons invent red tape to stream across everything, and then they inflate their departments with people—a great managerial glut—to navigate the maze that they, themselves, created. I work in public transportation, and even though our service has remained mostly the same for 50 years, in the same time period, our number of managers has increased by ten times. A whole order of magnitude. They don’t do any more than the people they replaced. Each one of them does one-tenth the work for the same pay and same hours. That’s why much of our time at work these days is spent idle. If we are idle at work for such long periods, would we not be better off if we simply weren’t at work at all? However, I digress.
Wow, so full of certainties propagated by the media and your pop culture. Impressive, you make for an excellent model of sheep, easily-led.
It appears to me that a lot of humanity’s future hinges on our acceptance that climate change and resource depletion are inevitable facts of life, and if we do not act to avert catastrophe, millions will die. In other words, scientists and engineers—while hardly being omniscient—have laid out our future for us and described, essentially, a policy to follow. Whether or not people actually follow it depends on a number of factors, but the biggest stumbling block for preventing climate change is the simple fact that so much of our GDP relies on petroleum products, petroleum energy, and petroleum-based transportation. The scientists scream “Stop using fossil fuels!” However, the policy-makers have giants like Enron twisting their ear saying “Keep using fossil fuels, I need my retirement bonus.” Who do they trust? Who are the politicians supposed to believe? Scientists or businessmen? Well, the businessmen pay the bills, so they have veto power. Therefore, society keeps chugging along off a cliff as usual. That’s neoliberalism in a nutshell.
And now we go for the oversimplification and the manicheism. I hope you do realize that by switching a few names here and there, we get right to the people you hate? There's no thinking, not even an attempt at understanding the complexity of a situation. No, everything is simple, you see: there are good people and bad people. We need to put the good people in power and deal with the bad people who happen to have massive influence and who are inherently bad for the good folks so that we can secure the future of our nat...

Yes, I've heard these lines here and there.
 

Heliostorm

Well-known member
But, say we do. Say we figure out unified field theory and unite gravity with all the other forces in a coherent model of the universe. Let's say we discover every last fundamental particle and conceivable unit of matter that can possibly exist according to the laws of our universe. What then? Where do we go from there? What is left to discover? I'm not saying there would be nothing, I'm just saying that we might hit a wall along the way, one that will take a lot of effort and resources to climb over.
There are infinite possible ways in which those things can be arranged, so I find it unlikely. The laws of physics are impossible to complete; at best, we can hope that the things we don't know aren't important.

Even then, it doesn't really matter. Stasis is still death in the long run. The ultimate reason that it's the adaptable species that survives is simply because there are things in the universe that we cannot control, things that can kill us, and since we cannot control them we must adapt to them in order to survive.

It's not inconceivable that something like that could happen. The power of the human brain is estimated at 1 ExaFLOP (a very fuzzy estimate; the structure of living brains is so fundamentally different from digital computers, there's no real comparison that can be made between the two).
It's not. This is a common misunderstanding. Those ridiculously high estimates are actually estimates of how much power it would take to simulate a human brain, which is a completely different thing from how much processing power the brain itself has. As anyone who's ever run a console emulator can tell you, it takes way more processing power to emulate a device at the hardware level with software than that device itself actually has.

I would actually bet that we surpassed the processing capacity of the human brain a long time ago. Working memory, the human consciousness's equivalent of RAM, has a size of like, 7 bytes. The amount of visual information that actually gets sent to consciousness can be measured in bits. This doesn't strike me as a computation system of tremendous power and speed.
 

Horton

Cat
Administrator
I do know that state administration is filled with excess bodies. Morons invent red tape to stream across everything, and then they inflate their departments with people
This is why people think you're an an-cap. :p
 

Horton

Cat
Administrator
This one has got some interesting formulae. @Horton, what do you make of this?
Somewhat skimmed the article.

But why in itself does the fact there's more researchers mean there's going to be necessarily more productivity per field? Is not the number going to be more so based on the demand itself for researchers in those types of industries with those companies having to keep on top of things, but would they not stop once hitting equilibrium once marginal decreasing returns make it cost ineffective to hire more scientists?

Looking at the graph and comparing it to the population, the number of researchers has increased by a factor of 20 since 1970 and the population has evidently not. So we can count a growth percentage wise being far in excess of what it once was. The paper doesn't seem to adjust it and that's slightly mistaken, though not super problematic.

We also know that the areas of knowledge have greatly increased at...a similar ratio.

So, if the areas of knowledge have increased and the number of researchers has increased at a similar rate, why exactly is the fact that productivity is at the level it is even news? There's basic human limits at place here that prevents people becoming a modern day polymath and that's simply a factor due to the sheer volume of papers + limited time we have. Even if you were to have a perfect memory, then unless you were a hyper fast reader (like one page per second) you're not becoming a modern day form of a Renascence Man.

Amusingly enough I've seen this attitude quite prevalent among libertarians. They think they can know everything and "specialisation is for insects" as Heinlein put it. Unfortunately for them, these days it's impossible. So not specialising in at least some areas and instead trying to become a polymath will likely just lead to a very shallow knowledge in a lot of areas.
 

Morphile

Well-known member
The thing with a modern polymath is that they'd have a huge emphasis on the math, able to quickly learn basically any subject of physics through mastery of the shared foundation. Less an expert in everything and more a journeyman in everything who knows how to quickly become an expert in anything. In terms of actual physics equations, there's not yet too much to be practically learnable in a human lifetime. The main barrier to a modern polymath is that nobody's organized the data in the ways necessary to make learning it all practical. There isn't a Big Book Of Physics Equations, they're scattered between thousands of papers and dozens of courses, and the main reason for this state of affairs is that the curricula can't keep up and we mostly need specialists to progress the practical aspects of specific areas.
 

Horton

Cat
Administrator
The thing with a modern polymath is that they'd have a huge emphasis on the math, able to quickly learn basically any subject of physics through mastery of the shared foundation. Less an expert in everything and more a journeyman in everything who knows how to quickly become an expert in anything. In terms of actual physics equations, there's not yet too much to be practically learnable in a human lifetime. The main barrier to a modern polymath is that nobody's organized the data in the ways necessary to make learning it all practical. There isn't a Big Book Of Physics Equations, they're scattered between thousands of papers and dozens of courses, and the main reason for this state of affairs is that the curricula can't keep up and we mostly need specialists to progress the practical aspects of specific areas.
oh lel

If you think learning a subject is "memorising equations", then you're not as smart as you think you are.
 

Rufus Shinra

Well-known member
oh lel

If you think learning a subject is "memorising equations", then you're not as smart as you think you are.
Heh heh, that's what people think when they watch Hollywood. Pro-tip, I haven't used anything more complex than additions and multiplications to get a bloody PhD in physics.

Most people not only ignore science, they ignore what science is and they ignore ignoring what science is. Which is why they barge in, full of certainty.
 

t-dugong

Purveyor of Silliness, Esq.
So, equations are the modern day equivalents of spells, eh?

/S
 

Train Dodger

Choo Choo
Heh heh, that's what people think when they watch Hollywood. Pro-tip, I haven't used anything more complex than additions and multiplications to get a bloody PhD in physics.

Most people not only ignore science, they ignore what science is and they ignore ignoring what science is. Which is why they barge in, full of certainty.
If I’m not mistaken, the most important part isn’t memorizing equations, it’s coming up with the systematic modes of thought that can be used to obtain new knowledge, which may or may not involve equations being used to describe the effects in detail. Think of the simplest aspects of physics, like Newton’s laws of motion. The equations for all of it came first from an intuitive grasp of how objects in motion and at rest react to one another. That is to say, in order to describe the world, one must first see it in action, through experiment and verification.

Science is a lot more complicated than people take it for. Experiment is all about isolating the effect you wish to verify. Some experimenters who engage in bad science don’t isolate all the variables enough, and then assume that their results have a specific cause, but they fail to recognize that the experiment’s results were tainted by an unrecognized, outside factor. A good example is mouse maze experiments. How many senses does a mouse have? How do they react to their environment? What do you have to do to disable each one of their senses? Is turning down the lights and playing white noise enough to blind them visually and acoustically? If you fail to take into account all the possibilities, you can get skewed results. It’s a process of elimination.

Does that sound about right, or am I off base?
 

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