Guest Blogging at Sentient Developments

I am guest blogging over at George’s place. I will contribute 5 posts over the course of this month.

I started off with a post on animal welfare, and will probably devote a couple more posts to the topic over the next few weeks. I would write more about it here, but the near-universal disregard for animal welfare and hyper-masculine meat enthusiasm is so appalling that my faith in humanity’s essential goodness is severely shaken when I read comments on it.

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Bookstore Open

I created an Amazon bookstore for this blog, which has some of my favorite books and a few I haven’t read but have heard good things about and will read soon. (Like the Hume.)

As far as books you might not have, Moral Machines is really good, as is House of Cards, which gives psychology and psychotherapy a spanking. Robyn Dawes is one of my favorite thinkers in the field of heuristics and biases. I will never forget how impressed I was when I read his paper about how simple mathematical models outperformed doctors on diagnosing a variety of medical problems. In the experiments, doctors were consistently overconfident and overweighted certain variables even they knew very well those variables were not that relevant. It also changed my opinion about the feasibility of AI — most people are not aware of this literature and would probably think that a multi-exabyte human would routinely outperform a kilobyte-sized model, though that isn’t the case in many domains.

In my opinion, the field of …

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The Accelerating Future Family of Sites

Did you know? Accelerating Future is not just this blog where I rant about futuristic topics, it is a domain… a domain of several interesting blogs and sites. Blogs written by my friends Tom, Steven, and Jeriaska. Also, there’s the Accelerating Future People Database, put together by Jeriaska, and a small database of papers by the intellectual powerhouse known as Michael Vassar. Other interesting things are in the works, as always, and if you want to accelerate their fruition, don’t hesitate to donate by clicking the little bit of text under where it says “support” in the sidebar.

Particularly, in recent months we’ve seen a lot of postings by Jeriaska at the Future Current blog, including transcripts of many talks at the Global Catastrophic Risks Conference, AGI-08, Aging 2008, you name it. On the sidebar there are also links to videos of all these events. I can say with some authority that the significance of these gatherings to the future of …

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Bloggingheads.tv Interview — Horgan and Yudkowsky

On Saturday, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Research Fellow at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI), talked to John Horgan, science writer and author of works like Rational Mysticism and a recent piece in the IEEE Spectrum critical of near-term AI. The video discussion took place on Bloggingheads.tv, a video site co-founded by Robert Wright, author of Nonzero and The Moral Animal.

Some of the interview is funny and light-hearted. But overall, I thought this one had major problems. They talk past each other, and invest insufficient effort in directly addressing each other’s concerns.

Horgan thinks that those working towards human-equivalent AI are loonies and essentially religious, and Yudkowsky goes off on tangents and rationality sermons far more frequently than is appropriate. On the SIAI blog entry regarding the interview, Horgan says, in reference to the possibility of talking with other people from the organization, “I’m sure we can have a more coherent, constructive conversation than the one between me and Eliezer”. Translation: the interview was incoherent and unconstructive.

Summary of first twenty …

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San Francisco Transhumanists?

Are there any transhumanists living in San Francisco who would be willing to open up their home for a meeting of the Bay Area Transhumanist Association? Our usual gracious host is on an extended vacation. I asked the list, but no one stepped forward. We’d prefer a house or a large flat, attendance would be in the 30-50 range. My Sunset apartment is a little small for this number.

Thank you for your support. Many interesting things are in the works with transhumanists.

Email me. (Click my image on the left sidebar for email.) We can always meet ahead of time for coffee to get acquainted.

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Accelerating Future on Attack of the Show

Andres Colon of Thoughtware.tv just wrote to inform me that this blog was covered on Tele-Vision, specifically G4.TV’s Attack of the Show. I didn’t catch it, so use this thread as a place to post your information or reactions if you did.

First TV coverage ever! Yay!

Here it is:

Brief mention, but still. TeeVee! Can you spot the images from my blog integrated into the starting collage? Can you? My images are there! You see them!

I love how it plays the rock-y music as it zooms in on my boring-ass header. (I kinda like it that way, to scare away people just looking for entertainment.) “Intellectual” site — hm, that’s interesting. Aerogel is not a metal, lol. It’s practically the physical opposite of a metal — setting records for low density and its insulation ability. Maybe he meant material.

The coolest thing in the clip is the collage at the beginning where it shows the mecha I posted. Did anyone else just laugh at this? TV is so funny, the way the …

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What is the Point of this Blog?

What is the point of this blog?

1. To provide an outlet for me to post random things I think of, 2. To create a forum to bring together a wider group of transhumanists, 3. To legitimize the topics of discussion in the eyes of the wider Internet, 4. To get current transhumanists more energized about our cause, 5. To bring more futurist-oriented intellectuals into the transhumanist fold.

Thought I would lay out the reasons, to make them more clear.

What is this blog not for? I don’t write it to provide easy-to-digest intellectual entertainment and gadget fetishism, because that’s what news outlets like WIRED and popular blogs like Engadget already do. It’s not to post news items and add a sentence or two of commentary. It’s not to tell you about my other interests that have nothing to do with transhumanism or futurism. It’s about an unfiltered look at philosophy, emerging technologies, and their relevance to the present and future of humanity.

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Announcing: Arthropleura Blog

One branch of science I am fascinated by is paleontology. As stated in my previous post, I find it hard to understand and appreciate the natural world without knowledge of the evolutionary relationships between extant species. Also, I just think it’s cool.

Accordingly, I have started a paleontology blog, Arthropleura. From the about page:

Arthropleura is a paleontology blog by Michael Anissimov. It is named after Arthropleura, an 8-ft long relative of centipedes and millipedes that lived during the Carboniferous period. Arthropleura was the largest terrestrial invertebrate that ever lived.”

I doubt my posting on Arthropleura will be as frequent as it is on Accelerating Future. Certainly, I believe that paleontology carries less utilitarian weight than the ethics and pragmatics of emerging technologies, but I am interested enough in the field to start a blog devoted to it. If you’re interested in the subject, please subscribe.

When I become superintelligent, I will start a blog on every topic I’m interested in, even the most banal.

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