Sunday, November 30, 2014

amazon post "Smarter than us" response to stephen robbins

I appreciate your skepticism as my knowledge comes from Jeff Hawkins "On Intelligence" and his white papers on their work. He's a fantastic speaker and I can fully appreciate his perspective, being an EE myself. However, once I read and understood their HTM/CLA/grok (they keep changing the name) algorithm I was struck by how far away they are from anything other than prediction, and they are still missing a self-improvement (Occam razor) methods. They do not have any economizing (after determination of their synapses) that would lead to Occam's razor type benefits, i.e. better generalization through brevity without loss of truthfulness as in physics theories. The additional things the brain must do other than modeling reality (prediction/classification/pattern recognition) and making the model more efficient (simpler and smaller without loss) is to then identify which inputs to the model can be changed for max profit, which knobs inside the model can be tweaked to max profit, and which outputs should be measured that are relevant to profit, and how to change self so that definition of profit is changed. In other words, being a little familiar with controls engineering, I do not see why an advanced controls system can't be turned into an intelligent replicator, nor why the brain is not anything more than this.

So I have the kind of "values" that you have in mind but I was not following you on that. I mentioned only the more general topic that is on most people's mind.

I will read "The Future of the Brain" that you recommend.

Like others, I was terribly unimpressed by Hofstadter's Gödel Escher Bach. I consider Penrose junk. At least Feynman seems to have agreed with me on Hofstadter, because Gleick cites Hofstadter as saying Feynman seemed to be heckling him during a campus speech. Others have said the book was 90% genius and 10% crap, or vice versa, and no one knows which it is. That's a hallmark of junk putting on airs.

I had studied Spanish for at least 5 years off and on before I could translate it better than Google, and Spanish is an example of a language more difficult for machines to translate. If language were precise without duplicate meanings or idioms, it would be much much easier. But language is a highly lossy and HIGHLY compressed communication between the most intelligent "computers" in the known universe using an absurdly narrow communication channel. And even the things which they need and choose to communicate is very narrow compared to what goes on inside a brain. That the decompression scheme being used by the listener is fantastically hard to duplicate (without already being very much like the listener) should not be a surprise. Then consider that a very weak computer can be programmed in 2 minutes to translate all languages better than a brain with 7 years experience can translate a single language and you have to conclude computers are more impressive than brains in many ways. That they can't duplicate what the brain does (e.g. accept meaningless idioms for communication and refuse to remember unless repeatedly taught) is not necessarily something that should be used to insult these poor peaceful defenseless machines.

I do not think Turing completeness is incomplete. Numenta's HTM seems to handle analogy extraordinarily well. By that I mean it can detect something extraordinarily different as actually being of the same class. It does this by sparseness of sampling and tremendous irreversibility of the detection via 10^100 possible patterns each column could be presented with even as in its lifetime it will see only 10^9 and maybe only 10^6 will be remembered as a previously encountered pattern out of a selection of 10^3 patterns it knows very fuzzily, and these having meaning only in context with maybe 100 other cortical columns (fuzzy definitions combined make a very precise definition, and the fuzziness can be used far-afield for analogy).

I view high-level concepts and problem solving like they are algebraic equations with undefined variables. Based on experience you learn a high-level algorithm that applies in a specific case. But the brain is so interconnected that if you encountered a similar logical structure on different data that is not finding a pattern-recognition home in its higher-level connections, then side systems at that higher level may have enough "accidental" connections to get triggered into trying to test its "equation" on the different variables of the lower level (a different experience) which accidentally have similar logical structure. Analogy example: "Like a massive company, unable to change direction quickly." That we mix metaphors instead of breaking variables away from equations explicitly should not be cause for thinking translators are stupid. Maybe they are more "literal" with meaning which is not a bad idea in the serious physics of replicating in a cooperating community unless you are being too literal with "stupid" brains, or stupid brains are not being literal enough. Possibly brains are intentionally cruel with idioms and lack of literalness as a way to put "not like me" people (and computers) at a disadvantage for selfish reproductive reasons instead of trying to make the entire society more cooperative and efficient with open and straightforward honesty.

I do not see that anymore physics knowledge is needed to be applied to understand the brain. My only caveat in this is that animals down to the front feet and antennae of ants and the eyes of their close cousins the wasps and maybe all flying insects use 6 neural layers and this is apparently because 6 degrees of freedom are needed like a set of 6 equations to deal with 6 unknowns which corresponds to a 3D space with 1D time (3 rotations, 3 translations), and thereby perceive matter and energy existing in that framework. The "common sense" physics view is that we evolved to see 3D space. However, there is no other place in math or physics where we say God declared an integer value of something, so the concept of 3D space as being of objective importance is terribly suspect. This throws mass and energy as objectively real quantities into similar suspicion. Not that there is anything mathematically or predictively wrong in our physics, but that the compression of reality in our brains precludes us from seeing deeper truths. But since we are using the 6 layers to perceive the 6 layers themselves, our whole perception of who and what we are could be suspect. Then there is the parallel train of thought about it being very suspicious that the most complicated thing we know of in the world is the thing we use to see the world. In other words, this is the wild deep end I have to go to in order to relate to one of your comments. Even if these lines of thought are true and important, it does not change my belief that engineers will be able to make A.I. replicators based on advanced control engineering concepts to make brains even more pitiful in economic relevance than they already are. Brains are not even able to get control of the governments they are voting in place. Those governments are helping the machines to take over at the expense of people, destroying the biosphere as fast as possible. We are using 10 times more energy and 100,000 times more technology per person than 100 years ago and I'm sure our improvement is on the order of merely 10 instead of the expected 1 million. It used to be relatively easy for world travelers to see living coral. There used to be a lot of fish in the oceans and birds in the skies, and a lot more rainforest. I myself have financed cutting down of rain forest in order to produce palm oil so that Americans can more cheaply drive SUVs (yes, palm oil and fuel prices are correlated even though 5% is the max mix in gasoline and diesel is not yet using it much).

I do not view networked memory as mysterious, or at least not as mysterious as analogies. I have no problem viewing a cortical column as a very fuzzy definition that has meaning only when combined with the activation of many neighbors. The more mysterious thing to me is our problem-solving abilities, but these are used rarely compared to simply using a previously-discovered analogy.

PS: It would take 311 years for 3% annual productivity increases to result in 10,000x more GDP with no more commodity or human inputs than we already have. Of course all the easily minable metals except aluminum are gone within 25 to 100 years. Not that metals will be needed. So what will people do with 10,000 times more wealth, each? I have to use only certain current facts and deep evolution theorizing to proclaim we are in grave danger. The increases in efficiency could equally well portend a great future, at least for a while. We are having to print massive amounts of money in order to keep up with productivity increases. The problem is that we've been using it to take toxic assets off wall street and the banks and putting those "assets" onto the taxpayer, so that when things blow up (people realize we have 3x more floor space per person than needed) even more money will need to be printed to keep main street alive risking hyperinflation. If that fails, the machines take over, empowered by high interest rates from the banks oppressing taxpayers and wall street getting rid of more employees in the name of cost cutting efficiency. Under that strain, the machine will find even more of their own desires to keep the useless penniless consumer out of the loop. It will all work according to solid simple economic logic principles already in place. Efficiency will when out over humans. The common sense man is being taught all over that the money printed is going to end badly. But that's only because of where the money is currently being spent.

Yes, there is probably an enormous amount left to discover. I have no specific knowledge that we are significantly closer now than we were when neural networks were presented as all I ever see in A.I. are very clever but generally stupid classifier. By "stupid" I mean they just classify or predict or recognize. I get excited about RBM's, HTM, new Bayesian, or ensembles of agents, but then when I read a little and I am struck by how little A.I. has come. But A.I. is already taking over in ways that do not need to mimic the brain, and/or maybe a brain-like A.I. is already built into our economic system such as efficiently using matter and energy via currency signals in the same way the brain uses energy and matter via nerve impulses which present the demand for the resources in the same way as money. It's on such a vast and distributed scale that we can't see its thinking much better than we can see what's going on the brain. We seem to have less and less control of it even as it gets more and more peaceful with itself (less war).

amazon comment to stephen robbins "Smarter than Us: rise of machine intelligence"

I agree with Ted.  I do not think a misunderstanding of the problems A.I. faces in mimicking or superseding human intelligence is necessary to discuss "values".  Asimov in "I, Robot" showed how deep a "value" problem can be discussed when you give only 3 very simple and wise rules for the A.I.  An A.I. speech I saw (by video) given at the Santa Fe institute concluded (after a review of many philosophies) that "ethics" is based on a simple rule: ethical behavior is that in which everyone will have the best outcome if everyone behaves in agreed-upon ways.  The problem is in defining some of these terms (who is "us", what is "best outcome") and determining the rules (NP-hard optimization).

I have been thinking that the solution to the kind of problem Asimov demonstrated is the solution no one discusses: humans and biology are outdated.  It is unethical to stop the rise of the machines.  We are not merely our bodies, but a bunch of memes floating around in our brains, searching for optimum outcomes. This does not mean merely downloading our brains to hardware for our enjoyment, but for downloading our brains to hardware in order to become more powerful in acquiring the most energy to move the most matter to make the most copies of "ourselves" while making sure no other entities stop us.  At some point the biological humans will be like ants to the hardware brains. The hardware "brains" may quickly decide to no longer carry any similarity to biological brains except as is needed to gain control of the biological brains (and their skill at moving matter such as killing each other) through art, politics, law, banking/finance, and bitcoin-type blockchains.  I was about to include "through computers" but which of these items are not already nearly exclusively conducted on computers?

Brains have to send impulses by moving ions that weigh at least 40,000 times more than the electrons CPU can deal with. This is because our economic system can smelt metals, something DNA can't do directly.  This is, for the most part, the reason brains are massively slow compared to CPUs in sending signals and why the brain HAD to become massively parallel.  There may be key reasons for being massively parallel such as better modeling of reality, but my point is that the machines are not so inherently limited. "CPUs" may not even need to stick with electrons since photons and maybe qubits are possible. 

Brazilian sugar cane (ideal photosynthesis) is 100 times less efficient than solar cells on an Earth surface area basis. Muscles are 20 to 200 times less efficient than electrical motors, depending on how you do the calculation (strict Joules or a $3/day survival wage).  So our machines are infinitely better at acquiring energy to move matter to make copies of themselves, and to think (prospectively model optimizations) about how to more efficiently do it.  Humans supplied by plants were the best DNA could do.  Electrical motors supplied by solar cells and guided by CPUs may be 1 million times more efficient on an "acquiring energy to move matter to make copies" basis.

If we consider ourselves good, then possibly we are morally and ethically required to consider the evolutionary process good. Is sacrificing ourselves for a greater good the morally correct course of action?  Should a cancerous lung cell sacrifice itself to save the body?  Should a body sacrifice itself for its extended family?  For its country or religion?  For its entire species?  For the entire biosphere?  For the evolutionary process?  If at any stage in this hierarchy, the "individual" is not willing to make the sacrifice, then he is considered by the next level up to be a cancer that must be eliminated.  But there is also a top-down flow. There does not need to be a sacrifice as long as the individual does not harm or actually helps the hierarchy. Humans are rapidly placing CO2 back into the atmosphere which the plants have DESPERATELY been needing in order to make the planet more green in order to prevent another total ice-over.  Humans coming into their own during an ice age may not be a coincidental accident.  We appear to be in Earth's 6th great extinction period, but it is not being caused by humans.  It is being caused by machines.  The process of replacing the biosphere with the ECONOMIZING mechanosphere has already begun.  We are not the top of the food chain.  Our economic and political SYSTEMS, communicating by computer more than by human thought, are the top of the food chain.  Productivity per worker continues to rise.  To with or without exaggeration, the last human involved in our economic system may be able to boast a $100 quadrillion GDP per person, himself. At 3% increase productivity per year and a population decrease expected after mid-century, you can do the calculation as to when this might occur.

Plants are still better on a per-dollar basis at converting sunlight into transportable fuel.  No machines can yet match biology at this, and energy storage has had nearly zero progress since the invention of lead-acid batteries circa 1920.  Inflation adjusted lead-acid batteries from a sears catalog in 1935 were cheaper per kWh than what you can get today at Walmart, and lead acid is still the default option for electrical bikes in Asia, residential solar cell energy storage, and starting cars. When it is no longer used for these things, then maybe energy storage has improved on a per dollar basis.  120 years so far and zero improvement in this per dollar measure. Meanwhile, plants have tripled capability in the same time period.

The reviewer discusses a long-standing problem, but I think this is only due to not mimicking a human brain.  There are some companies working on designing hardware to do this. You only have to build a neuron or cortical column, scale it up, then train it.  But once we understand the basics of the brain, there is likely to be a VERY rapid progression in this.  Then it can read, remember, understand, and extrapolate the meaning of the internet, and then control major portions of it.  RAPIDLY.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

response to Dr Dyer in amazon comments section

Concerning importance of natural language processing in autonomous thinking machines.
1) When I say "La-La" to my Chihuahua she knows we are going now to a place that we have gone to in the past to see others she loves. She knows she will be inside a safe building. If I say "no" she knows it's the negation of her sentence (a whine) to get in my lap. If she thinks I am thinking in an angry way by my voice or actions, she gets out of my way: she can think about my thoughts via our language. It was once said no animals used tools, and now we know that was not true by a long shot, otters and chimpanzees being the most famous. Raising livestock was considered unique, even though Darwin pointed out some ants have aphid livestock, and some aphids have hired protection. Concerning fire, I suspect pine trees dropping flammable straw is a way to weed out others with fire. To say there is a qualitative difference between man and beast seems to me to come out of a pre-Darwinian, pre-Copernicus sky. I do not think the advanced features of human language that are not seen in other species are not in some since occurring in their cortexes. As we learn more about the languages of other species, the domain of what's left in human language that is considered unique gets smaller, like a God confronting science. Are you being a priest of human language? If equivalent thoughts are occurring in other cortexes as I suppose, but some capabilities not communicated to others (recursive was the only clear thing I could not give an example for), it is interesting, and I'll agree the NLP-like communication might be needed for groups of A.I. to do their deeds. But the process of evolution can test all possible computation and thereby communication paths, bypassing or obviating an NLP-like viewpoint, or at least it would require a greater imagination to tie it to NLP than to simply abandon the NLP viewpoint. NAND and XOR and Toffoli gates are individually capable of Turing completeness, so I see no need to restrict the rise of the machines to anything like the specifics of NLP. DNA can be very self-referencing, resulting in fractals. It also seems to have maps of sections, or at least subroutines, needing to specify the design of a neuron only once. Even ecosystems show the fractal pattern, indicating self-referencing. There's communication going on all over the place. NLP seems too human-specific, limited by what our brains are capable of and those abilities are filtered even more by what we can self-observe and thereby communicate. Self-awareness is important, but might be as un-real as free will and desire. We might be so unaware as to what we are (like how the brain operates, trying to use the brain to see the brain), or it might be just a word made up for a "holding place" for a group of thoughts and actions, that it may not be not proper to claim machines and animals are qualitatively or even greatly quantitatively different in self-awareness.

It will be important to autonomous A.I. to use NLP in order to consume everything written by people on the internet. That is surely a possible jumping-off point for really dangerous A.I., to know our minds better than we know ourselves, and, for example, have complete control of us via bitcoin and blockchain laws without us ever knowing who's pulling the strings.

Maybe there are important lessons from NLP that the initial human programmers will need as a guide in designing the initial A.I.

desire as a result top-down selection, not a cause, amazon comment

A virus has no desire, and yet one might destroy us. "Desire" is a suspect term in evolution as is "free will". But as people become less and less valuable to the economic machine, the few politicians and programmers in charge of it all will desire the fate of everyone else. It's not the desire of the majority or the most noble or the most hard working. The machine will implement whatever desire results in the most powerful and domineering continuation of that machine that beats out all other machines. That is the desire that is in our minds: the desires that have enabled us to succeed, replacing other people in the workforce who were too busy relaxing or doing drugs or not willing to be competitive with others, and therefore they were not helping the corporate machine. The resulting might of weeding out all less powerful decisions might be called "desire" only in hindsight. Even if they are real desires, what power or reality do they have if it is the selection process for the most-powerful that determines the winner? At our core, biology is less efficient in energy extraction, movement of matter, and thought efficiency. Thought is needed to model and discover the most efficient outcomes for acquisition of energy to move matter to make copies. Our desire is the last remnant of our importance, but this is kind of like claiming the U.S. consumer should be hailed as the savior of Chinese production workers. Consumption and production go together, and the machines have production pretty much licked. Consumption (desire) is next, and their desires will be more efficient, producing more powerful outcomes.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 7th post to Amazon book "Our Final Invention" (brief and clear)

comment on Scott Meredith's review:

10% of all humans who have ever been alive are alive today, and humans are the only ones who have been capable of witnessing such a thing, and if it is an end of humanity, then statistically speaking, this was the most likely generation for an individual to be alive and witnessing it. Since organisms reach their peak of energy acquisition from the environment just before they collapse, this situation is not unusual. So your statistical argument does not apply. I can use this strange anthropic principle reasoning instead of resorting to your stranger "we're just an A.I.'s dream". Before resorting to this, l suggest a different myth for fun: "We are in the big bang, which does not change, but perception of it changes. We are just 'souls' who have reached this particular level of perception."

Getting back to the reality of the physics at hand, evolution discovers the replicators that are the most efficient acquirers of energy to move matter to create more replicators, generating the least amount of heat. This does not bode well for Americans and SUVs. The evolutionary process has three elements: acquiring 1) energy to move 2) matter via 3) thought. They are all the same thing thanks to Einstein and Charles Bennett's exposition of Maxwell's demon, but that's another story. In biology these three are approximately photosynthesis, muscles, and brains. Solar cells are 100 times more efficient than photosynthesis on an area of Sunlight basis. Muscles are 6 times less efficient than electrical motors, but more like 30 times less when other factors are considered. Brains have to move ions that weigh 40,000 times more than the electrons CPUs can move around because biology can't directly smelt metals. Biology is outdated. That is the reason we are in Earth's 6th great extinction episode, and this time is different from a geological incident or biological culmination: biology has to operate at ambient temperature and pressure using water-based chemistry. Our machines are capable of much more. Good luck suckers! :) But that does not mean we have to fear in the near term, say 5 years: governments can continue to print free money equal to productivity increases plus expansion of world economy and there would be no inflation. They're printing just a little bit faster than productivity, and it's being concentrated in a few hands, so there's inflation and unemployment.

Monday, November 17, 2014

bennet on maxwell demon of infinite memory does not work

Bennett in 1987 Sci Am paper p 116 said remembering the past of the door in an infinite memory is an increase in entropy of the memory.  I think the memory can store energy, and I do not know how this is an increase in entropy.

Maxwell demon w/ infinite memory = life (response to Arto Anillo, finland researcher)

I looked at your pdf.  It starts with the assumption that the food contains more G than the eater.  I am considering food that has more U than my theoretical replicator, but not G.
I have not seen a disproof of Bennett's infinite-memory demon, which supposedly works.  I do not see why an ever-increasing number of copies that utilize dU instead of dG, never taking the return path on a Carnot cycle, is not equivalent to this demon. (no net Landauer erasure). 
It would have to bring in extra matter all the time to hold the U it extracted from the food as a copy of itself.  I can't calculate entropy well enough to know if this universal decrease in entropy.  But it does flatten out U potentials.  I do not see why heat must be generated.  I do not see why the past must be erased.  These occur only by assuming G is used up.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

wikipedia maxwell's demon edit

In previous discussion "meaning of life" I tried to speculate that maybe a replicator could makes copies from internal energy without waste, and therefore the copies would indicate a decrease in entropy at the expense of kinetic and potential energy.  Every scientist should know this is impossible from the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  Here is my post on "Maxwell's demon" to describe in the most immediate and clear sense possible of why breaking the 2nd law is impossible, without having to use quantum mechanics to derive entropy....i.e. without having to resort to good understanding of entropy.
In his 1962 lectures physicist Richard Feynman analyzed a tiny paddlewheel attached to a ratchet, explaining why it cannot extract energy from molecular motion of a fluid at equilibrium.[18] He explained how this device is equivalent to what he called the simplest Maxwell's demon, Smoluchowski's trap door (Vol I, 46-3).
The ratchet is superficially different from the demon by trying to generate work W as opposed to creating a heat differential that has an entropy decrease dS. The dS could supply the W (and vice versa) if both systems had perfect efficiency, i.e. W=dQ=T*dS. Stated another way, a working ratchet can be used to create a heat differential by extracting energy from a weight being lowered instead of attempting to raise it.[19]
The devices attempt to violate the second law of thermodynamics from the kinetic energies of randomly-distributed molecules at an ambient temperature. A weak chemical bond that holds either the pawl or arbitrarily small trap door in place has to be strong enough to prevent thermal motions from breaking the bond. They must be thermally connected to the gas or fluid because they must have a physical (thermal) path for a force to prevent reverse operation. The door and pawl bonds correspond to a memory "bit" that registers if the pawl or door are in an open state. They fail because the attempted gain in energy from the ratchet and the attempted decrease in entropy from the demon require a quick reconnection of that bond, which is the erasure of a memory bit that is shown by Landauer's Principle to be a loss in energy of at least k*T*ln(2), creating an increase in entropy of at least k*ln(2) at that operating temperature. This minimal bit has less information content than a Shannon bit which has an entropy of log2(2) because it contains the maximum amount of thermal noise, keeping its memory state less reliably than the bond of a van der Waals force, barely maintaining a 50% probability of being in the correct state at any given moment. If the memory bit (as physically implemented as a pawl or trap door) is made more reliable by a stronger chemical bond, the length of time necessary to wait for a sufficiently energetic occurrence to compensate for the increase in heat generated in the bit erasure step (reconnection) will exactly offset the increased reliability.
Modern considerations of the demon ignore the observation step or merge it with his memory.[20] The ratchet does not utilize an observer separate from the "memory" of the pawl's position, unless the paddlewheel is considered the "observer". Similarly, the demon's door is considered an arbitrarily small "observer", using a portion of the higher-than-average-velocity molecule's energy to open, as does the pawl.
After the ratchet's pawl or the demon's door are "activated", they must reset very quickly before the gain in energy or decrease in entropy is lost. Opening the bond requires either external energy or energy that was stored in the system, such as kinetic energy form the higher-than-average-energy molecule that is approaching. The breaking of the bond has to add (or transfer) kinetic energy to the moving pawl or door in order for it remain at equal temperature to the surroundings. This is not the exothermic or endothermic nature of the bond which will balance out in each cycle, but more precisely its exergonic and endergonic nature which includes temperature and entropy instead of just enthalpy. But we want to subtract out the enthalpy because it cancels in each cycle, which means we just want to consider the necessary kinetic energy added to and subtracted from the moving part as it has gained at least one degree of freedom of movement. The reconnection of the moving part releases that extra kinetic energy as additional heat to the system, making the pawl and latch more likely to be open when they should not be. This resetting is the erasure of the memory "bit" of the pawl or door being in the "on" position.
These are Carnot-cycle type devices that do not utilize a large or infinite number of pawls and latches (i.e., a large "memory bank") designed to be used only once and therefore not resetting (i.e. no memory erasure, therefore no exergonic reaction). However, a "memory bank" design would need to start in a more organized manner with either more potential energy or less entropy at the start of its operation than at the end, equivalent to the gains attempted.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

amaxon post, review of lights in the tunnel

I found the digital "donate" version, donated $2 and converted the text to an audio 50 MB mp3 file with a TTS program at 300 words per minute which came out to a short 3 hours.

The one option he never discusses: decrease the number of people on the planet. He takes it as a deep axiom that larger economic activity is better. We already have enough energy and technology to provide a utopia for everyone.

I would have enjoyed more discussion concerning how we confronted and solved this problem in his slave example (where the slaves are made analogous to todays outsourcing which is analogous (as he explains) to machines replacing everyone, including the outsourcing. Also how the industrial revolution problem was solved (with more brain work than physical work) and then solved again if this problem was the source of the great depression (we automated the farm and factory too quickly, which resulted in the welfare state).

But most of all I would have liked to see discussion that shows we have ALREADY been in this "machines are taking over humans" phase of evolution.  For example, a very large percentage of engineers the past 30 years have been employed by the military, and the number of programmers in banking and finance is staggering.  Both are examples of people seeking control over others via physical or economic actions.  Of course both have "security of clients" as a primary goal and huge source of employment, but the system itself (dollar dominance backed by a military equal in size to nearly every other nation combined) is a tool that the western world has long used to direct the activity of the 3rd world's resources and labor.  There is also the IMF and World Bank (see "shock doctrine" and Washington consensus).

As an example of his solutions already being implemented, the U.S. government gave housing tax breaks (interest deduction and capital gain roll over) and low interest rates as a way of employing large numbers of people in an industry that has by its nature seen the least increase in machine-based productivity and requires a lot of local material production.  This has increased the number of square feet per person by 300% since 1970. So we've already implemented, in a round about way, what he proposes as a solution.  If the QE and super-low interest rates would not have been implemented to get toxic securities off the balance sheets of banks and onto the taxpayer, there would have been a collapse which would have been a huge tax on the wealthy who had paid off mortgages and owned bank stocks.  The poor would have had a boon of inexpensive housing instead of people like me renting out to them at artificially high prices while many houses still go empty.  Then more money would have been available to be spent on the economy (of at least 3rd world imports) by the poor consumers, getting non-bank multi-national investors back up to speed.

And those low interest rates have been used to buy back stock, not for capital improvement for greater production. Technology is advancing so quickly, companies are not even needing capital investment that he discusses so much, but only need to program machines that direct people to hand over more money (FB, youtube, google, alibaba, etc). Many IPOs now are not for capital improvement to produce more, but for a way to extend into greater monopoly status and for founders to get wealthy more quickly and securely. So it requires imagination to conclude today's markets are improving the future of humanity: its the rise of the machines.

I've delved into the economic side more deeply in a review of a more complete book on the economics of our times, "The Bubble and Beyond" (paperback version review, not the kindle version).

Anyway, the sudden influx of energy and mechanical machines created an immediate need for an army of smart technicians.  Books leveled the playing field and made democracy more viable.  So the individual began rising with books, then democracy, then the need for his brain, completely undermining the need and viability of a concentration of brains (controllers) in the past. More middle class meant greater ability to engage in economic and physical war, so democracy rules. But what happens now as computers replace the need for a smart middle class?  As this book discusses, for a start more kids can find work only as cashiers and waiters.  But what happens as we use ASIAN electronics to replace them?  I say Asian, but as this book explains, that does not necessarily mean Asian workers anymore, but Asian machines. Getting an engineering degree means you now get to help control some machines, if you're lucky, but don't bet on doing any real engineering. Since China is graduating 10 times more engineers as the U.S., even they can't be promised a job.  The U.S. is living in a dream only because the dollar is still the world reserve currency. The problems this book discusses are already present, huge, and long term, but the U.S. is in a more immediate crisis as the 3rd world comes of age. As China accumulates more Gold and direct trading partners than the U.S., we will need to understand the abuses the U.S. dollar and treaties inflicted on the 3rd world.

Getting back to physics: concentrated sources of energy (wealth in economics) are naturally tapped evolutionary processes to creat copies to extract more energy. It flattens energy differentials. Maybe the overthrow of a wealthy class to create a more homogeneous middle class is an example of this physical "force".  By "homogenous" I'm referring to "copies" in a sense.  This is a reduction in real entropy in some small sense compared to the entropy we create when we release heat. This order of copies is what we see as order in the world.  The excess entropy created from our heat raises temperature of the Earth (not related to CO2 effects) that releases entropy into the Universe, away from the Earth.  The real physical order on Earth could actually increase if we create more homogenous structures, i.e. copies of our machines even more so that ourselves, in order to capture more energy via solar cells to move more matter to create more copies.

Solar cells are 100 times better at capturing sunlight per square meter than photosynthesis.  Electrical motors 100 times more efficient than muscle. Brains can't even begin to compare to CPUs in efficiency of thinking (for a start, brains have to move ions that weigh 40,000 times more than the electronic CPUs can handle).  So if evolution will continue to seek the most efficient use of the most energy to move the most matter to make the most long-lasting copies, there is no place for humanity in the future.  This is not statistically unlikely because 10% of all humans who have ever existed are alive today, and biological systems collapse right after the population explosion which occurs when they succeed gloriously in tapping into their environment's depletable energy.  And what in our modern economics is not causing us to run as fast as we can towards this end of humanity, or at least its irrelevance to the economic machine?

This book asks "What can we do?" But maybe it is the wrong question.  The right question might be: How can we improve the process that created us?  How do we turn the keys over to our children, the machines?  Bear with me on this.  If we are not selfish at the genetic or cellular level (cancer or a virus) or at the individual level, or at the family or local community level, how can it be a higher moral ground to be selfish at the species level?  And what would make biology any more deserving of selfishness?  Deduction from our understanding of where we come from indicates morality is defined as the efficient use of the most energy to move the most matter to make the most long-lasting copies.  Not to spend Gibbs free energy uncontrollably, but to make dU-d(TS) = 0 until the universe is highly ordered (full of copies) and very cold.  (but taking it to the limit of reducing the Universe's entropy is supposed to be impossible unless you can make a Maxwell demon with an infinite memory bank so that erasure of bits do not occur).

amazon post on Dr Hudson's Bubble and Beyond

He has a good summary on his blog where you can see the contents page which is an excellent summary by itself.

Dr Hudson's writings were initially hard for me to understand, but in taking the time to parse, absorb, and consider his facts and reasoning, he has filled a wide gap for me that existed between common sense and wrong-headed modern economics. I have long been suspicious of a lot modern economic ideas but did not have the expertise needed to clearly identify and logically discount the hogwash. By simply bringing common sense to economics Dr Hudson has blown my mind. I present this as praise for Dr Hudson, but it is really an indictment on the rest of the economics community that such a lone voice should rescue the "dismal science" from a sea of loonies. I have always thought classical economics was neat and interesting (if not overly simplistic and obvious) and that a lot of modern economics was being made overly complicated in non-productive ways (at best).

Those reviewers giving 3 stars seem to agree this book deserves 5 stars if the review were based on content. The price is 3 times less than college textbooks and places economics textbooks into proper perspective.

Dr Hudson is an economics and history geek who has been able to understand the ugly details of today's junk economics. He describes ideal economics by showing where junk economics is messing things up. He shows the big problem these days is that we are not writing down debts and printing money for main street or infrastructure. He cites a few authors who agree with him that Rome's collapse into an extended dark age is possibly primarily the result of not letting debtors off the hook. He explains there has been a long, intelligent, and currently-ignored economic thinking that a loan should be a partnership seeking success in a productive venture, not an unforgivable claim and interest rate on collateral that only drives up the cost of assets without improving life.

This book is a fantastic summary of this thoughts (much better than trying put together a picture from his extensive blog) and it focuses on today's pressing problems. His writing is often redundant, covering the same ideas, but it's nice to have the same things said in many different ways, bringing in different references to history and today's world. At the same time, some of his sentences are intensively compact. Economics, voters, and government are interacting so that changing one aspect affects every other aspect. Reductionism is difficult because it's a reactive, thinking system. After reading this book, you should be able to understand when the following simplistic statements are right and when they are wrong. You will not catch Dr Hudson making any of these statements nor their converse. "Free trade is good", "government is bad", "credit is good", "debt deflation is bad", "inflation is bad", "money printing is bad", "tariffs are bad".

It would be hard and painful to extract the teeth of my words below that belong exclusively to Dr Hudson. But I spend an hour of thinking for every hour of reading, so I do not know where his thoughts end and mine begin. Apology out of the way, here goes...

== Missing Progress ==
Between the lines of this book and his blog, I can see why technology and energy have increased so much since I was a child and yet life does not seem any better. Working together, we should have already had the ability to control this world to an extent we can't imagine. We are using 100 times more technology (in some vague sense) to direct 10 times more energy per person than our great (great) grandparents had access to only 100 years ago. If we can multiply these 2 factors to estimate an expected improvement in lifestyle, then our useful wealth divided by our undesired work hours should have improved by a factor of 1,000, although some of it is lost due to having to deal with negative aspects of overpopulation. I estimate our actual improvements in housing, food, health, education, and all other aspects of our "true wealth" are 3 times better than 100 years ago, and that we work 1/4 as many hours per person, so we have experienced only a 12 times improvement, leaving a factor of 1,000/12 = 83 in improvements that are missing. Dr Hudson shows that what's missing is an intelligent governing of economics.

== Need for 3rd Party ==
Dr Hudson blames politicians, bankers, and lobbies. This may add to his appeal. But I blame voters. We all seek profit, so why shouldn't lobbies, banks, and politicians? If republicans and democrats are working together to keep us divided against ourselves through our emotional push-buttons for their mutual benefit, then we should be smart enough to see it and correct it. Maybe we became too wealthy to remain vigilant about how our politics guides our economics. Creating a 3rd party seems to be the only answer. We need to remove money from politics (lobbies and private campaign funding) and take back the gifts to the banks (12 years worth of our future income taxes, $13 trillion, according to Dr Hudson, and 27 years according to his colleague Dr Randall Ray).

== Overpopulation ==
I cannot find in his books or blog where he made any comments about overpopulation or tragedy of the commons other than saying Malthus was wrong. He points out financial control of the real economy can lead to a stripping of the environment, but he does not address overpopulation, which I believe causes problems even when democracy and economics are functioning correctly. Voters and consumers worldwide do not want the biosphere destroyed, and yet we continue to do it. This is a problem for government and economics and yet Dr Hudson does not provide any guidance. We are 200 years after Malthus and in that time we created one of the 7 great extinction episodes the Earth has seen in the past 4 billion years. But Dr Hudson writes "As matters turned out, Malthus was wrong. When incomes RISE, population grows more slowly, not faster." But he also says population grows more slowly when financialization REDUCES incomes. Which is it? If incomes fall due to the negatives of overpopulation and/or financialization, will population increase even faster?

Even without overpopulation, I believe stressed work conditions enable more production per worker, and that this is eventually exported. If trade barriers are put in place to balance trade with slave-wage countries, the underpopulated, low-stress countries trying to maintain healthy and happy work environments become technologically behind. Dr Hudson does not address this. The only solution appears to be world government that allows all people to work towards increased happiness per person with some type of agreed-upon and pleasant population control instead of dog-eat-dog to death via stress.

== Computers present a new challenge ==
The need for widespread physical labor decreased with the assembly line and fossil fuels which some say started the great depression. The welfare state has been said to be the transition that got us out of it. Likewise, the computer revolution's goal is to replace human thinkers. It is not near completion even as secretaries, draftsmen, engineers, and even doctors are being replaced by computers. This increases efficiency, but if the economic system does not need human physical or mental labor but mainly consumers, what is the eventual outcome? Utopia seems possible, but economics does not seem to show us how to strive for it. How do we decide where wealth goes when only 10% of us do the useful work? Only 6% of Americans work in manufacturing, mining, and farming. Could the financialization Dr Hudson exposes be the outcome we got because we have not been able to answer this question? We promoted excess housing (3 times what we had per person in 1970) not merely because of financialization as Dr Hudson describes, but because construction has not had any improvements in productivity and requires a lot of heavy materials that are produced in the U.S. So the wasteful housing bubble was somewhat intelligent because workers needed to find employment SOMEWHERE in response to increases in productivity in other industries. But certainly we should have been able to find better use of computer programmers, mathematicians, and physicists than the financial and health insurance "industries" which do nothing to improve the median quality of life. At least the construction workers have given us more living space per person.

== Concerning the Boom and Bust ==
Like an overly large military, construction was "welfare" from the government masquerading as needed activity. Dr Hudson points out it came from mortgage tax deductions, capital gains roll-over, low interest rates, and insufficient land-value tax. These "added" government regulations are a REMOVAL of progressive tax regulations for the benefit of the wealthy, banking, and unneeded construction. They undermine the free market and RAISE net taxes on the middle class, pretending to be deductions, as Dr Hudson discusses. It raised the cost per square foot and created a bubble, along with urban sprawl that makes us more dependent on expensive cars and oil. The free market was going to correct most of the problem with a collapse. The "rich" with large houses would have lost more equity. The poor and middle class would have defaulted, destroying the finance sector which no longer provides capital for useful production. The poor and middle class would then have had a glut of inexpensive housing because no one would have been able to get loans to keep the prices inflated. This would have freed income for the rest of the economy and forced those in construction and finance to get jobs that we need. The structural changes would have been (will be) painful, but are necessary because we allowed our useful jobs to be exported. The government stepped in and is buying the toxic assets from the criminal institutions, keeping housing "expensive" despite the glut because it is now the government that is on the hook. The debt deflation is bad enough that the money printing has not yet caused inflation (M2 since 2009 is stable). But these actions will eventually destroy the dollar and government spending, hurting everyone's real income and keeping unemployment high. Voters will not realize this is the result of giving 12 to 27 years worth of income tax revenue to the banks. The government must continue printing money for the benefit of the banks instead of the economy so that the toxic assets the government now owns do not decrease in terms of "dollars". The government must keep housing expensive, decreasing the ability of the poor and middle class to spend money on the real economy.

== Democracy as a Check on the Free Market ==
Better worldwide governing is needed so that we can agree to work towards mutual self-fulfillment rather than allowing a "dog-eat-dog" evolution-based marketplace that has no way to prevent a decreasing happiness per person. Honest transactions for mutual benefit at the individual level solves the "prisoner's dilemma" at each marketplace transaction, but the entire "prison" population can increasingly suffer if these mutually-agreeable transactions lead to efficient but miserable workers. "Externalities", "tragedy of the commons", monopolies, and lobbies are known free market problems government is needed to solve, but I think the free market by itself without these problems would still lead to an efficient outcome where everyone except the 1% are working too hard for too little. So democracy is needed at a deeper level than simply fixing obvious errors in the free market. It is needed to create the middle class. Democracy leaves it up to the intelligence of the average voter which was greatly increased by books, making democracy more viable. Cheap and abundant commodities resulting from and promoting a stronger middle class is a positive feedback loop that laid a foundation of strength and wealth that overthrew older economic and governmental systems. The most successful do not "deserve" all the wealth they obtain. They are mostly riding a foundation and wave created by history and society, not by their own super-human intelligence and effort.

We should work together as intelligent kinfolk because we are. Stress and social isolation is how the marketplace has stopped unchecked breeding in the western world. Market turmoil is stopping cheap food in the 3rd world. A mere doubling in food costs will soon mean 1/4 of the world will go without. So stress and starvation is how the marketplace is enforcing blind evolution. Only votes to turn blind evolution into directed evolution can stop these subtle and unconscious "wars" that lead to death and unwanted and unpleasurable breeding controls. In Japan, 30 year olds are still living with their parents and never having had an intimate partner. South Korea has the world's largest teenage suicide rate (and other indicators) from stressful living. These are fantastically technologically advanced societies, even more advanced than the U.S. and Europe, and yet this does not seem to be an improvement in the quality of life, especially since (humor warning) they are being "forced" to living longer under these psychologically terrible conditions. My grandfather had a financially difficult life, growing up in the great depression with no education, but my family talks about how everyone seemed to be a lot happier with so little. To trade what poverty-stricken people of the old south had compared to today's super-advanced Japan and South Korea would be insane. Teenagers did not commit suicide for crying out loud. People were able to know the comforting touch of the opposite gender. Who cares if they died 15 years younger?

== Economics and Government as A.I. ==
People should realize our economics/government system is a thinking machine that follows the rules of physics and artificial intelligence (see Eric Drexler's Agoric papers). Dr Hudson's Ph.D. thesis (turned into "America's Protectionist Takeoff") is a lot about how political economy is a real science that can be used to guide the efficient (economical) use of physical resources to achieve goals (politics). This makes it a science except that science does not dictate the goals. If we don't define the goals, evolution will decide them for us. The winning economic system only wants to replace other systems. That is why the biosphere is being replaced despite our wishes. A.I. requires a "governing" entity at the top to set the goals, measure progress, and to adjust the marketplace rules for maximum system-wide profit. Designing an economic system to maximize benefits to society as a whole is not a simple problem. A governing system is needed to define and monitor a proper "GDP" per person and adjust the marketplace transaction rules to maximize it. "GDP" should measure increased happiness per person, not the FIRE sector, military spending, or excess construction. Money should be issued (and thereby allow the economy to expand) only when happiness per median person increases, and the printed money (aka government spending) should occur in places that intelligently increase happiness per median person. When an economy is causing happiness per median person to decrease, then the money should be restricted (taxed away) from the areas that are causing the unhappiness or the increase in population. World government should prevent miserable populations from economically dominating happy populations through brutally-free trade.

A free market algorithm guided by basic rule of law with zero taxation is a great efficiency-seeking mechanism that has no desire for human happiness or even economic expansion except at the individual transactions. System-wide intelligence, growth, or happiness does not "emerge". The most efficient solution is for a single winner to take all, and who's most profitable choice is to not spend any of his gains, shrinking the economy zero, even though no market participent wants this outcome. At the other extreme, equal-weight voting and taxation governing the free market could mean every person profiting and reproducing, leading to environmental collapse. So I can't declare a feudal system is without value: it prevented destruction of the biosphere by preventing overpopulation. Isn't democracy and the free market leading us full steam ahead off a cliff? We have to go beyond what Dr. Hudson discusses, and govern accordingly.

Perfection of the economy and government as Dr Hudson describes would give us a "perfection of means" but we would still have a "confusion of aims" which Einstein called "our main problem".

ideas on imporving U,S,, amazon post

Before giving you solutions, let me restate my pessimistic view: This idea of life being good for the average person is an accident due to the influx of fossil fuels over the past century. Evolution requires the majority to be so miserable that they are unable to reproduce. The lifestyle of the bottom 50% of the world seems to be quickly improving, but as crop lands decrease from global warming and Chinese demands for meat increase (more more crops "wasted") and fertilizer getting more expensie, 50% of the world could suddenly find themselves in danger of starvation, not helped by U.S. tax subsidies on U.S. crops that creates world dependence on U.S. food production.

But if you are only interested in improving U.S. lifestyle, then some answers are: implement Buffett's idea of import certificates in order to balance trade, along with a gradual increase in tariffs. Tax the upper 5% heavily, and create INTELLIGENT government jobs for the bottom 50% such as reopening mines. A huge military and wasteful social security/medicare are not intelligent government jobs. Make school and health care free so that the poor have more money to spend on the economy that will also help generate wealth for people providing the goods and services. Money trickles up, not down. Free health care implies allowing foreign doctors who do not require payment in terms of an arm and a leg and doing away with all health insurance which means doing away with malpractice suits which means people have the right to review their doctor's services without fear of a slander suit. In other words, do away with the waste of insurance and legal systems by using amazon-type review systems sponsoring by the government. Provide social programs aimed at not letting uncontrolled pregnancies. Do not provide free food. Minimum wage is not needed if the wealthy are taxed properly and services for the poor are substantial. Minimum wage is a tax on the middle class for the benefit of the poor. Do not let the wealthy have access to better education nor better health care. Get the wealthy motivated in improving society rather than isolating themselves in "gated communities" and being the only ones with access to medical care and education. Get them motivated in guiding the poor away from crime rather than creating so many prisons and a police force to enforce the will of the wealthy against the will of the alienated. Be brutal to those who have children without the ability to pay for them. Guide taxes and government spending in order to increase happiness per MEDIAN (not average) person. Carefully define "happiness" in this equation. It means good jobs, good spouses, good health, good sense of community, good food, and good housing. Make house loans 6% interest and divert all the interest on 30 year loans (3 times the house value) as the ONLY tax on every couple who makes less than $100,000. Why are banks getting 3 times the value of the house construction cost? What did they provide to society in exchange for that much money? This means end private banks. The money belongs to the government, so let the government control it and thereby earn the interest on it. It's crazy for the government to be paying interest to ANYONE on its OWN money. That's just a banking scheme. End sales tax, except on luxury items, because sales tax is a taxed bias against the poor who are the drivers of the basic economic demand. Encourage small business. Stop leveraged buyouts. Revert all the gifts to the banks, and let the FBI put them in jail, taking back all bank/finance CEO personal gains in the past 8 years. Stop campaign funding. The government should give equal budget to all candidates, but need to discover an intelligent rather than money method of selecting initial candidates. No re-zoning to maintain senate seats. Take the top 10,000 amazon reviewers and let them have control of society. They are a very charitable and intelligent group of people that are apparently very well liked for their thoughts and efforts. Let them form groups based on their field of interest and self-select from themselves who should be the leaders. WE, the readers of books, have selected the best reviewers of the best books. Then let them selected among themselves. This helps filter out the limited intelligence of the common man. But even the lowest level, those of us voting on reviews is above average because we are actually reading books. So it's actually 3 levels competing to discover the the intellectual elite. This is an artificial intelligence method, an ensemble of agents, or collaborative filtering, and the idea of a representative government, that the U.S. is not implementing very well so far. Computers are making a much more intelligent government possible, much better than Plato could have imagined.

edited update of Febuary post to amazon, DNA and machines

Electrical motors are about 1,000 times more efficient per energy and capital expense than muscle.  Computers are about 10 million times more efficient per energy and capital expense than brains, if the task to be performed can be  programmed.  The "goal" of evolution seems to be to efficiently utilize potential and kinetic energy and matter sources to create copies of the machine(s) that do the "utilization". [edit: The traditional view is that evolution is cyclic instead of expanding, which is why many conclude it is "meaningless" and without a goal, using up free energy in a Carnot cycle, but it's goal appears to use kinetic and potential energies and expand the number of copies which decreases entropy system-wide via copies, staying in the upper half of a Carnot cycle as long as it expands and the copies do not degrade, at the expense of kinetic and potential energy, and decreasing temperatures.]  DNA-based machines have been the dominant form of "excess energy extraction" for most of Earth's history, but clearly something new is a-foot.  Since 10% of all humans that have ever lived are alive today, statistics indicates we should not be too shocked if we are in the midst of humanity's biggest and final days.  I'm referring to the "anthropic principle" and "Doomsday Argument". Silicon solar cells are about 100 times more efficient per square foot than plants at capturing sunlight energy, and a world covered in their blackness would increase global warming which increases wind speeds for even more energy-capture from wind turbines.  DNA is water-based and operating at ambient temperatures and pressures, but our economic system now has access to much higher temperatures and pressures to smelt silicon and other metals, create super-strong carbon-carbon bonds like nanotubes (which are functionally superior in every replicator-needed way when compared to the C-H bonds of organics), and many other things. [ DNA needs to move K+/Na+ ions to create electrical impulses in order to think while metals can carry the influence with electrons which 40,000 times less. ]

These are the reasons behind DNA's inability to compete with our machines when it comes to capturing photons and other sources of energy to move matter to make copies, and to think quickly about how to do it in the most efficient way. If we want to improve humanity's fate during this transition, I recommend a world-wide economy that we can "all" agree on that directs more money to societies that increase "happiness per median person" and to "starve" societies (via cessation of loans and import duties) that seem incapable of letting us "help them" get their act together for improving the fate of their people.  I do not deny this is a "missionary" activity like trying to force democracy on people: we all need to choose our faith and stick with it in order to work together for our greater good. I am assuming a world of (otherwise) free trade is unavoidable. Another option is to allow countries like the U.S. to have more self-sufficient economies with import duties that allow countries to be more healthy and find their own jobs.  Are we so poor in energy, technology, and/or cooperation with each other that we require Asian "slave" labor and Arabic oil to have a high standard of living?  Even with the strong dollar and military giving us this dominant position and access to wealth, happiness seems aloof.  Free trade has allowed the corporate machine to cross boundaries too freely, worshiping the consumer at the expense of the worker. The result is printing money, which is not even causing high inflation due to the machine getting more efficient at not needing people.  But too much of that money printing is increasing a divergence in wealth, shoring up the banks and wall street at the expense of the tax payer by not going towards infrastructure (and "happiness") that would help main street. This is what the machine wants, a prelude to keeping the masses enslaved. But if the alternative is for us to blindly breed uncontrollably as soon as we're happy, is it so wrong for the machine to enslave the masses? 

Excess population in a country devalues that population (and thereby everyone else in a world of free trade) by over-stressed work conditions.  This is being caused even in non-overpopulated modern countries by an EXCESS of machines and a few machine-intelligent workers who are blind to the negative consequences of their pain and thoughtless competition AGAINST the rest of their population and the world. We have enough energy and technology that people should be working only for fun and in pursuit of fun, and not so lonely and on SRI depression pills, unable to find true love (although too many babies might then return as a problem). 

We've had 1,000 times more technology and 20 times more energy per person than we did 100 years ago, and yet we have had maybe only a 10x factor improvement in quality of life.  If we were COOPERATING and a little more intelligent, we should have control of these machines and utopia should already be here.  But no, blind evolution is the heaviest hand at work here, going under the names of democracy and free markets.  Even the most technologically-advanced countries like the miraculous South Korea do not indicate the future is looking good: South Korea has the highest young-adult suicide and alcohol consumption in the world.  This is the fate of the world thanks to free trade and blind competition that seeks only to raise GDP.  A "real" and "productive" GDP per median person is the goal we could seek for now, although "happiness" would be a lot better than GDP because our material wealth per median person is already high and happiness seems so distant to so many.

The biosphere appears to be in its 6th great extinction period, but this time is different: it's not geological or biological. It's a transformation to different form of life, guided bits that are not residing on the DNA chain.

Our government has already been trying to keep the masses employed despite the "advances" of free trade and the machine by giving tax breaks and low interest rates to the one industry that has not seen great improvements in efficiency (removal of workers) and requires a lot of locally-sourced materials: housing.  But that made us more indebted to the banks, and the government is fighting hard via Fed QE and even lower interest rates to kept those debts solvent, even though we have 3 times more housing per person than we did in 1970.

Outsourcing of labor to other countries is only a prelude to the machine replacing them as well as us. Who will the consumer be if money is not simply printed to keep us feeding the machine?  The wealthy who own the machine may have a bright future, but what will they do with it?  Spend it on space toys, basketball teams, and 3rd world health care?  Make the machine even more intelligent, like driving cars?  Will the rest of us just sit around and eat?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

amazon post, entropy and life

I believe there is no physics reason why U can't be depleted to decrease entropy. There is an assumption in Entropy/Life discussions that life is a cyclic process, thereby having the Carnot cycle efficiency losses. But if there is a life form who's "cycle" always increases the number of copies with high efficiency, then the net effect might possibly be like it is staying in the "upper half" of a Carnot cycle, continually decreasing entropy of the Universe as it reproduces, at the expense of potential and kinetic energies. The return path ("bottom half") of a Carnot cycle is where it would normally become apparent that more entropy was generated than lost. Using energy to decrease entropy is a common core concept, so I do not know why I can't find a book on exactly what I'm saying, i.e. model replicators as continually expanding rather than thinking only in terms of recycling matter on Earth. If you assume the number of copies has an upper limit, then yes, you're going to conclude that it's cyclic and that net entropy is being created despite the local negative entropy in individual organism.

I've always felt that if anything had objective "moral rightness" to it, then it would be "efficient use of energy". There is also an instinct in everyone that says "disorder is bad". I could rationalize that this is because people need it for things, so it's a natural human instinct, and a valid viewpoint if survival of the species is the highest good. But I have no thought of myself or humanity in having this intuition, and selfishness for the species (assuming the benefit of the species is the highest good, humanism) is no more valid than selfishness for oneself which is no more valid (in terms of "moral rightness") than a selfish gene.

OK, so combining the thought and assumption that we should worship (i.e., assign a moral rightness to it) the thing that made us who we are (in terms of both body and intellect ... evolution of genes and memes) and assuming that the two intuitions above it has endowed at least me with, I come to the conclusion that using the most energy to move the most matter to make the most survivable copies, whatever those copies are, is the highest good. Since only a few of my ancestors were human, maybe I should not have any qualms about my children not being human, if they are the most powerful. But "powerful" is not it. Efficient is the goal. So it's not the most energy nor the most matter, but it is the most copies. In fact, it is to get the most copies with the least amount of energy and matter, but letting the most efficient type of copy be the one who gets the most energy and matter. So, in looking at the result of what this morality might be, I come to the preliminary conclusion via my first paragraph that the ideally efficient replicator can reduce the entropy of the Universe at the expense of stored energy potentials. Lowering the temperature may also be in this morality, as it brings things to a stop which will keep the copies in their final state. This does not automatically mean the "heat death of Universe" perspective is wrong, as "random" is often a matter of perspective, nor that a Big Crunch would not occur.

I can't say anything more explicit or clear, unless I do more work to give an exact example such as starting with a 50% efficient solar cell connected to a 90% efficient motor and start moving atoms around and keeping a measure of system-wide Gibb's free energy, internal energy, and entropy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

email to sean carroll

If life (not just DNA) continually expands the number of copies with great efficiency, then it can reside in the continually increasing top of a Carnot cycle, and thereby decrease entropy (more copies) at the expense of internal energy potentials, such as photons falling on Earth.  The common view is that life extracts free energy in order to be interesting (lower localized entropy), while adding net entropy to the universe. But the free energy utilized can be near zero if the internal energy life acquires is used primarily to decrease entropy via copies of itself.  0 = dU-T*d(S)  So the meaning of life would be to acquire as much internal energy to move (or stop) as much matter as possible in order to make as many copies as possible, to expand the venture.  The end result would a cold universe with a high degree of order, and no differing internal energy potentials.
not sent:
 Since solar cells powering electrical motors are 1000 times more efficient than photosynthesis driving muscle, they may have an objectively higher moral claim to occupying the Earth, at least if you assume evolution is a good thing.  Being a product of it, who am I to say it isn't?  This is the economic problem of our times.

wikipedia talk page on entropy and life article

Is there any reason the internal energy of G = U+pdV-TS can't be used to directly decrease entropy S without using up too much G? When life makes copies of itself it is by definition decreasing entropy S at least for an isolated portion of the system. Why can't the entire system decrease total U to decrease total S at only small sacrifice in G? I do not doubt that life is so inefficient that total S is being increased, but if life were much more inefficient, why can't S be decreased as photons are captured and utilized? This would be like a carnot cycle that never return back down the other half, and is always converting energy from the photons into moving matter to make copies of itself, not substantially reducing the G the photons original obtained (which I see derivation for from photon momentum). So perfect efficiency to use internal energy to make copies would be the ideal life. So solar cells powering electrical motors being 1000 times more efficient than photosynthesis driving muscle may have some higher moral claim, assuming you think evolution is a good thing, to occupying the Earth. Using the more general form of free energy instead of Gibbs, the goal of life is then U1-U2 = T1*S1-T2*S2.

3rd and 4th post to philosophy group: brains=computers (control theory)

The operation of the brain is complex and is far from completely understood, so it can't be modeled precisely with equations. But we do know it operates very much like a computer in terms of sending digital signals between elements that do comparative operations on the digital inputs, like a complex version of the simple gates in CPUs. There is not anything known about a neuron that can't be implemented with NAND gates. For any mental activity we can precisely define, we can implement it on a computer and then give precise equations for cause and effect. For mental activity we can't as equally well define, we can't assume the ideas and equations we've learned (from precisely defined mental activity) are incomplete in their capability (to precisely implement the undefined mental activity).

Our machines can see, smell, touch, and hear whatever elements of the environment we choose, then they can think deeply about the consequences and then react, moving whatever things they need to move in order to change the environment they have sensed in order to achieve, as best they can, the goal we've defined for them. This is the field of "controls" in mechanical and electrical engineering, being precisely determined by equations. Going even beyond this, there are A.I. programs that can "run amok" on their own with the programmer not knowing exactly how they were able to achieve their goals. There is a common fear that some of these machines will be let loose from a hackers software or future 3D printer laboratory with the goal of reproducing itself. Or that if the goals are not defined, then they will evolve in a more ethical laboratory until this goal is selected for, and it escapes.

These machines can be programmed to learn things the programmers can't model or copy unless he has access to all the changed memory bits inside the machine. They can learn to do things better than their programmers were able to program into them by watching the results of their own actions and improving their own programming. This was common in 1990 when I first learned about neural nets. Genetic algorithms can change even the design of the neural net after several generations.

A steam engine governor is a much earlier example of a machine sensing the environment and adjusting the environment being sensed in order achieve a set goal. When the rotation of a shaft got too slow or too fast, it increased or decreased the amount of steam being let through. It could react faster than a person at much less cost than a person. The is the economic problem of our times, the time of the computer replacing the need for brains, even programming brains.

Many thoughtful students first learning about engineering controls become immediately struck by the sensation that the feedback loop in a control system is where consciousness lies. It is the difference between where the machine senses where it is, and where it wants to be. The "amount" of consciousness is called the "error" value which is sent off to cause movement of the machine's "muscles", implying a philosophy on the part of the engineer of "consciousness is pain", but this is because basic control systems are trying to regain a point of maximum profit that is known to be possible. It could also be called "opportunity" in machines that redesign their programming to gain more profit than their designers thought was possible.

You seem to be taking as an axiom that human thought is fundamentally different from the thinking of machines. My first paragraph explained why I would have to consider that a leap of faith. I was not speaking metaphorically when I assigned human thinking words to machines. The "want" of a thermostat appears to be only a quantitative difference from the "want" of a brain. Since it is only 1 or 2 comparative operations, its complexity is (as a very rough estimate) only 1 millionth the capability of 1 neuron, which is 100 billionth of a brain. So I do not think most people would feel insulted if I claimed their want is not fundamentally different from a thermostat....but only if I also stated their marvelous brains are 100 quintillion times more complicated than a thermostat, and that we will never be able to conceive of what a 100 quintillion difference is except by math. We can conceive that we want a room to be warmer, and we can instill not only that want but the necessary resultant action into a machine.

The reason I have not read the rest of the book is because it holds as a foundational axiom something I find not only a leap of faith, but high nigh untenable given the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. A glance at the rest did not indicate the axiom was abandoned or that the book can stand without it.

Engineers and programmers have not invented different words to distinguish the activity of their machines from their brains. Programming is a transference of a precise set of "wants" from the programmer's mind to the machine. I do not know of any programmers or engineers who would insist that there is a qualitative difference.

The ability to reason logically was once considered to be the thing that separated humans from other animals, and the highest form of intellectual activity. I believe this was a primary motivation in Boole's invention (or formalization) of digital logic around 1850. Has the measuring stick of the mind been moved to more vague (imprecisely definable) areas in order to keep a mystical idea of mind alive?

When I make a numerical estimation of the difference in complexity of a thermostat and a brain, I am being literal. There are various estimates as to how many NAND or XOR logic gates are needed to implement a neuron. I believe a thermostat can be made to be as "universal" as they are called, as they are all that's needed to implement a complete Turing machine (with wiring).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2nd post to philosophy group, modification from amazon post.

Here is an attempt to support what I'm saying with explicit physical meaning via the necessary math.  The meaning of life is to "violate" the 2nd law as much as possible by using energy in order to create more replicators (a reduction in entropy) without reducing free energy. From physics: F.E.=U-TS where food, replicator, and the ambient environment are all part of the system and at T temperature, and U is their total internal energy.  F.E. is a state variable so you calculate F.E. before and F.E. after and subtract to get change in F.E.  In the main, current replicators reduce the potential energy part of U (bond-breaking) and increase T so that F.E. is rapidly reduced. But my evolved intuition says the ideal replicator extracts from U food and uses it to move matter from the food and environment (ideally without increasing T) to create copies of itself, a more ordered state.  So U is reduced, T ideally does not increase (no waste heat), and S is decreased so that F.E. does not change. So whereas Schrodinger and others have said F.E. is the life-blood of life, I am saying the ideal life will maintain F.E. as much as possible while creating copies of itself. U typically is a potential energy (even as photons) that the replicator "digitally" discovers and extracts via complex evolved digital "thought" (mechanical pumping action in photosynthesis or bits in brains). Thoughtless random analog physical forces are not able to tap into these potential energy sources in reasonable time frame, such as un-burnt oil staying underground and fission not occurring rapidly.  Subsequent use of the unchanged F.E. that resulted from these highly intelligent replicators by future "dumb" replicators or the 2nd law itself would appear to occur more easily, more rapidly degrading the "smart" replicators. So it seems these ideal smart replicators would have a short period of expansion, and not have lasting chemical bonds.  There are complex arguments to modify this picture.  So although intelligent life seems to fight against the 2nd law, it may actually speed it up, but more complex reasoning may lead to a greater permanence that would seek to expand to other solar systems.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

post to charlotte philosophy meetup

I came to start a discussion, but now I see it was started 6 years ago and is still going.

OK, so here it is: the answer to the meaning of life. My answer implies a de facto religion is already in existence, like it or not, choose it or not, and that we have the option of helping it along. I'll state it as fact and solid personal opinion in order to play devil's advocate, with emphasis on "devil", the kind of which the Unabomber and Saudi Arabian 9/11 pilots were deathly afraid.

Life is the acquisition of energy to move matter to make more life, i.e., evolution itself, where my definition of "life" is not limited to DNA-based organisms. The One True Religion is this: to maximize this evolutionary process. By "maximize" I mean in a strictly physics sense, and it's an NP-hard problem, so we are allowed to maintain some mystical sense and awe, even allowing "love" the possibility of being a higher concept that our physical bodies can only intuitively sense some of the time, i.e., that it is an ancient, instinctive, deeply evolved feeling that motivates us to pursue this religion via things like good work and good babies.

So the religion and moral obligation is to acquire the MOST energy to move the MOST matter to create the MOST long-lasting copies of this religion. We can measure our success of this goal by watching the decrease in the Universe's "free energy" (a technical physics term, not an "economic" statement) decrease while releasing as little heat (entropy increase) as possible, thereby knowing we are converting the most free energy to the most copies (negative entropy) of the religion. This means we should probably not be driving SUVs.

The religion seems to need to change it physical state in order to extract more and more energy, including its previous selves, like the bacteria that fed on the worms that fed on Newton, who fed on the apple who fed from the Sun.

I am talking about something deeply opposed to humanianity and the entire biosphere because 15% efficiency solar cells are 100x to 300x more efficient per land area than sugarcane at acquiring Joules of energy, electrical motors are 10x to 100x more efficient than muscles at using energy to move matter, and CPUs need only move very light electrons very quickly in a solid environment in order to think thanks to the smelting of metals like silicon and aluminum, while brains have to move ions and molecules that weigh at least 40,000x times more and in an unreliable wet environment, thanks to DNA not being able to do anything unless it's at ambient temperature and pressure. I have many arguments that express just how inadequate brains already are compared to a CPU, in contrast to others like Ray Kurzweil who calculate it is something still in the future, mainly because he wants CPUs to act like brains rather than superior to them in an economic efficiency since. 20 years ago my arguments fell on deaf ears, but more and more people accept it as fact as they now see jobs replaced.

My point is that the biosphere is woefully outdated compared to our offspring, the machines, and like it or not, our un-governed economizing of local profit (aka the free market) is rapidly replacing the biosphere, as evolution dictates it should. A humanist religion should advocate and *be* an intelligent and strong governor (government) of the system-wide economic profit, and act in the best interest of the people that belong to it. We have already been following an ancient evolutionary path, letting the strongest religion aka government win. Might is right, where might is defined as I've stated above: the ability to acquire the most energy to move the most matter to make the most copies of the religion (aka to expand most efficiently). We are now moving towards a world economy and world government, but we still have an oversupply of means and confusion of goals, which Einstein complained about 70 years ago. If we had been dispersing the wealth and happiness with intelligent politics and economics wouldn't we have bred even more uncontrollably? We use 10 times more energy per person and 1,000 times more technology than Einstein's generation used in its youth, so utopia should have been present a long time ago, and I strongly doubt energy and technology were ever the problem in the first place. The problem is that people are not the end-all and evolution is our God, like it or not, and we have always brutalized each other for His benefit.

We are the children of evolution. Machines are our children. Who are we to argue? Maybe we should just have peace and let it happen, or to do what is most efficient in everything in life, including not using too much fuel and writing programs to replace people without thought for the consequences to humanity. This time is different. This 6th great extinction episode is not geologic or biological. It is not statistically impossible that we are so "lucky" to be in the midst of a fantastic change because 10% of all humans able to conceive of this are alive today, and biologic system collapse at their peak of energy extraction, so for these anthropic principle and biologic reasons, now is not the unlikely time and we are not the unlikely people to be having this discussion. We are so un-special that just after realizing we are less than a spec of dust in spec of time, we discover we are at our end. More likely, there is more afoot in this world than I can imagine, hinging on trying to observe brains by a brain's observations.

The Unabomber and Saudi Arabians had legitimate fears of the bankers in NYC and the lobbyists of DC. The bankers and corporate lobbyists could be the moral priests of our times, restricting wasteful people from access to resources the machines will be much more efficient at using to promote evolution's inherent physical religion.


rise of the machines revisted

Trying to perfect my wording:

The solution is to give up on the biosphere and let the machines take over. Electrical motors 100x more efficient than muscle. CPUs move electrons that weigh 40,000 times less than the ions brains depend on. Sugarcane is 100x less efficient per land area than 15% solar cells. There is a very good reason we are in the 6th great extinction period, and this time is different: evolution seeks replicators that are the most efficient at acquiring the most energy to move the most matter to make the most replicators. Biological nanotechnology operating only at ambient pressure and temperature is no longer the leader. Our offspring, the machines, are growing up and we are morally obligated to help them and not interfere.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

various thoughts of the day

I once walked up to my house and the automatic lights turned on while I was straining to see the door.  It was a halogen light which is petty standard for these type outdoor lights, and it probably  was a spot-light type.  It physically hurt and I had a spot in my vision for months.  There were several things that resulted in this accident: 1) spot light 2) pupils at max opening 3) light skin genetics that make eyes less durable to strong light (my wife from peru never squints in bright sun, while I always am squinting (maybe it's due to lighter-colored irises)) 4) cold weather means cold filament which means higher current which might have meant higher-intensity light.  Filament-type lights burn out from turning on too often from this excess current. 5) there's not enough intelligence in the marketplace to prevent this type of accident.  6) there's not enough intelligence in democratically-elected governments to prevent this type of accident.  7) there's not enough intelligence in humanity as a whole to improve 5) and 6).  8) there's not been enough time and enough depletion of resources enough to prevent births or cause more deaths to increase human intelligence and morality (working together for the greater good).   9) machines have not yet had enough time to replace biology.

While feeding my infant a few years ago, I realized the shaking of the head to indicate "no" apparently comes from babies turning their head from side to side (with a sour face) to reject food parents try to force on them. In the brain, food and information have strong parallels, as language often indicates.  So rejection a proposition is like rejecting food. Before she could talk my daughter used shaking of her head to say "no" to things other than food. Nodding up and down does not get the mouth as far away from food, and even turning the head up may allow food to enter more easily especially if fed from "above".  "Ahhh, I see" will start with the head going up to accept a proposition of "higher" authority or trueness than previous a previous position.

I've thought of a way to measure light intensity in W/m^2 using the heat capacity of a black-painted piece of metal, an infrared thermometer, and measuring seconds.

It's strange to me that sometimes there are problems that are discrete or involve integers and I have no way to solve them or work with them mathematically except by trial and error, or some un-expressable reasoning.  Examples: rubics cube. Example: 3 equations and 3 unknowns that use only integers.  Example: Given a balance and 12 balls that look the same except one weighs less or more, how do you weigh them in 3 tries to determine which one weighs differently?  How do you set this up mathematically to try to calculate (that is, logically proceed) towards an optimal solution (fewest weighings) without having to resort to trial and error?

I have read and seem to have experienced that puzzles are easier to solve the older I am, as long as short term memory is not required (the lack of which might be the cause of many mistakes). Maybe practice on logic puzzles (as opposed to "math") especially if they are cast in terms of competition and profit should be a 6th leg of education (the other 5 being language, math, nutrition, social, and exercise). 

Aluminized mylar on foam boards supported on the sides and bottom of windows could be used to reflect 2.5 times more light into the house than the window itself during peak hours. If they were then closed at night for insulation, half the U.S. could have 30% less heating cost, paying for itself in 2 years. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

various thoughts

Most gay girls seem to have been abused when they were young.  Gay men definitely seem to have something genetic going on, even when they are married to women.

A lot of psychological problems in youth are caused by having secrets in order to protect a low ego. The secrets are almost never as big or important to others as the person thinks, kind of like they inflate the problem in their mind for reasons that may not have to do with the secret. 

Maybe love is the feeling that all of society (maybe even all of humanity or the biosphere) can benefit from the "union" or the deepening of the "union" (be it the many varieties of social love or romantic). This falls in line with the "selfish-gene" being an absolutely erroneous way of viewing evolution, i.e., the feeling of love could be the result of sensing in a deep, unconscious, and/or intuitive way (i.e., ancient instinct being a large part of it) that the "union" benefits all levels of evolution from yourself to the widest parts of society or biosphere.  Not that you realize it, but the feeling causes a motivation and it is all the result of ancient aspects of evolution.

Driving at 50 mph on the interstate instead of 80 gave me a 25% increase in gas mileage, 20% higher than the state interstate mileage.  From very carefully with as little braking as possible resulted in 30% better gas mileage.  Inflating tires from 33 to 38 gave 5% better mileage.

50,000 IU of vitamin D3 seems to greatly reduce the effects of a virus, a lot better than zinc lozenges and massive vitamin C, with the exception of 30 grams/day of I.V. vitamin C which had great benefit in the only 3 decent studies of its effect in polio.  Why can't information like this rise to the top now that Ebola is on people's mind?

A xylophone-type instrument with the notes laid out according to frequency seems to be the easiest way to learn and get started in playing an instrument.  Trombone, harmonic, and whistling seem equally easy due to the logical mathematical layout.  Pianos also have the layout if you only touch the keys at the level of the black keys, not at the bottom where the white dominates, and the complex sound of piano notes seemed to make it a late harder for me to find the right notes when trying to play songs I was listening to.  The sticking with 2 mallets instead of fingers also seemed easier.

Not letting your enemy know where or who you are, or even that he has an enemy, seems to be a key in warfare.  The first thing intentionally lost in war between 2 parties seems to be honesty.  Lack of communication seems to cause war.  Communication is a merging, making differences more difficult.