Why Computers Won’t Make Themselves Smarter 为什么计算机不会使自己更聪明?

The technique of having a compiler compile itself is known as bootstrapping, & it’s been employed since the nineteen-sixties. Optimizing compilers have come a long way since then, so the differences between a CompilerZero & a CompilerTwo can be much bigger than they used to be, but all of that progress was achieved by human programmers rather than by compilers improving themselves. &, although compilers are very different from artificial-intelligence programs, they offer a useful precedent for thinking about the idea of an intelligence explosion, because they are computer programs that generate other computer programs, & because when they do so optimization is often a priority.

So now we’ve got a human-equivalent A.I. that is spending a hundred person-years on a single task. What kind of results can we expect it to achieve? Suppose this A.I. could write & debug a thousand lines of code per day, which is a prodigious level of productivity. At that rate, a century would be almost enough time for it to single-handedly write Windows XP, which supposedly consisted of forty-five million lines of code. That’s an impressive accomplishment, but a far cry from its being able to write an A.I. more intelligent than itself. Creating a smarter A.I. requires more than the ability to write good code; it would require a major breakthrough in A.I. research, & that’s not something an average computer programmer is guaranteed to achieve, no matter how much time you give them.

There is one context in which I think recursive self-improvement is a meaningful concept, & it’s when we consider the capabilities of human civilization as a whole. Note that this is different from individual intelligence. There’s no reason to believe that humans born ten thousand years ago were any less intelligent than humans born today; they had exactly the same ability to learn as we do. But, nowadays, we have ten thousand years of technological advances at our disposal, & those technologies aren’t just physical—they’re also cognitive.

Simple tools make it possible to create complex ones; this is just as true for cognitive tools as it is for physical ones. Humanity has developed thousands of such tools throughout history, ranging from double-entry bookkeeping to the Cartesian coördinate system. So, even though we aren’t more intelligent than we used to be, we have at our disposal a wider range of cognitive tools, which, in turn, enable us to invent even more powerful tools.
This is how recursive self-improvement takes place—not at the level of individuals but at the level of human civilization as a whole. I wouldn’t say that Isaac Newton made himself more intelligent when he invented calculus; he must have been mighty intelligent in order to invent it in the first place. Calculus enabled him to solve certain problems that he couldn’t solve before, but he was not the biggest beneficiary of his invention—the rest of humanity was. Those who came after Newton benefitted from calculus in two ways: in the short term, they could solve problems that they couldn’t solve before; in the long term, they could build on Newton’s work & devise other, even more powerful mathematical techniques.
拓展:

Surfing on Kelly Slater’s Machine-Made Wave
在凯利 · 斯莱特的机器制造的波浪上冲浪

如何记住你读过的书?

我们阅读书籍的原因之一是,书籍提供了丰富的细节,使我们能够看到作者的世界,并与他们一起去旅行。我们的大脑不仅可以了解作者的想法,还可以了解他们关于如何生活的结论何时可能成功,何时可能失败(这要归功于作者分享的大量关于其经验和思维过程的细节)。

书籍进入我们的生活时并不是一张白纸。每次我们拿起一本书时,其内容必须与我们已经认为自己知道的内容相竞争。为书和它所包含的潜在智慧腾出空间,需要你在阅读时提出问题并进行反思。

在选择书籍方面没有任何规则。我们不必阅读畅销书,或经典之作,或其他人都赞不绝口的书。这不是学校,没有必读书目。事实上,读别人不读的东西会有好处,因为你会获得别人没有的知识和见解。专注于一些书籍的组合。1)经得起时间的考验;2)激起你的兴趣;或3)挑战你。

最好的记笔记技巧是适合你并容易坚持的那一种。虽然互联网上有数以百计的系统,但你需要从其中选择一个,并加以调整,直到你拥有自己的系统。有些人喜欢在索引卡或通俗读物中记录笔记;有些人则喜欢数字系统。如果你经常写作,笔记就特别有用,尽管每个人(不仅仅是作家)都能从做笔记中受益。

空白页的方法是有效的,因为它为你的大脑提供了动力,并向你展示了你正在学习的内容。当你第一次用空白纸开始阅读时,你不得不搜索你的记忆,并将你对某一主题的了解(或你认为你了解的)写在纸上。当你阅读时,你会看到你的知识在增长。如果你对某本书或某个主题一无所知,不要担心。你可以借用作者的脚手架来让你开始。在下一次阅读之前,回顾你的 “白纸”,不仅可以回忆起脚手架和关键的想法,还可以提高你的记忆力,并将想法联系起来。当你读完这本书后,把这一页放进一个活页夹。每隔几个月复习一次活页夹。这对建立深入的流畅性和跨学科的思想联系至关重要。另一个有效的技巧是,在开始记笔记时,对每一章写一个简短的总结,并抄写任何有意义的段落或短语。如果你不确定如何简化你的想法,可以想象有人拍拍你的肩膀,让你解释你刚读完的章节。

正如阿瑟-叔本华曾经写道:”一个人永远不可能读太少的坏书,也不可能读太多的好书:坏书是智力的毒药;它们会摧毁人的思想。” 生命太短暂了,无法完成一本坏书。你需要做到无情无义。不要让沉没成本使你愧疚,浪费你的时间。

Teaching others is a powerful way to embed information in your mind. Upon completing a book, grab the nearest (willing) person & tell them about what you have learned. You’ll have to remove or explain the jargon, describe why this information has meaning, & walk them through the author’s logic. It sounds simple. After you try it the first time, you’ll realize it’s not easy.

How Books & Television Affect Your Brain Differently, According to Science 根据科学,书籍和电视是如何不同地影响你的大脑的

There are also long-term effects from reading books. Reading keeps your mind alert & delays cognitive decline in elders. Research even found that Alzheimer’s is 2.5 times less likely to appear in elderly people who read regularly, while TV was presented as a risk factor.
读书也有长期的影响。阅读可以让你的大脑保持警觉,延缓老年人认知能力的衰退。研究甚至发现,经常阅读的老年人患老年痴呆症的可能性要低2.5倍,而电视是一个危险因素。
Six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent, according to researchers at the University of Sussex. Reading beat out other relaxing activities, including listening to music (61 percent), drinking tea or coffee (54 percent), & taking a walk (42 percent).
根据萨塞克斯大学的研究,6分钟的阅读可以减少68% 的压力水平。阅读打败了其他放松活动,包括听音乐(61%) ,喝茶或咖啡(54%) ,散步(42%)。

Here are a few reasons why paper books are better:
以下是为什么纸质书更好的几个原因:

  • Readers who use paper books have an 使用纸质书的读者 easier time remembering 更容易记起来 the content than tablet readers. Traditional books provide a sense of progress as readers flip through the pages, along with greater immersion (i.e. you can’t click away from your book), which is key to absorbing information. 比平板电脑读者的内容。传统书籍在读者快速浏览书页时提供了一种进步的感觉,同时也提供了更多的沉浸感(也就是说,你不能离开你的书) ,这是吸收信息的关键
  • Light from e-readers interferes with sleeping patterns, while paper books actually help you sleep better. 电子阅读器的灯光会干扰睡眠模式,而纸质书籍实际上能帮助你睡得更好
  • Using electronic devices such as e-readers is linked to higher stress & depression levels. Traditional books, on the other hand, help reduce stress. 使用诸如电子阅读器之类的电子设备会导致更高的压力和抑郁水平。另一方面,传统书籍有助于减轻压力

注:这里作者说的我比较赞同,前两天文石nova3给卖了哈哈哈,相比较纸质书体验差距还是太多了。

Edward Snowden 爱德华·斯诺登的Newsletter

链接:Edward Snowden - Continuing Ed — with Edward Snowden
每周通讯 No.56

如何更好地预测未来

人们对未来容易判断错误的第一个原因是,他们在对某件事情形成观点之前只用了大约五分钟时间来研究它
人们未能看清未来的第二个主要原因是,这与他们对世界的理解相悖,没有着眼未来
人们不能看到未来的第三个主要原因是,未来挑战了他们的权力地位
人们搞不清楚预测的第四个主要原因是,他们误把自己观点当成现实
人们弄错未来的第五个原因是,对未来完全缺乏耐心

三个原则可以帮助我们更好地洞察未来:
耐心。Patience.
持续观察。Observe, don’t interpret.
不要将现在的解决方案嫁接到未来的问题之上。Don’t graft today’s solutions onto tomorrow’s problems.

Epicurus & the atheist’s guide to happiness 伊壁鸠鲁和无神论者的幸福指南

Epicurus, himself, believed that pleasure was defined as the satisfying of a desire, such as when we drink a glass of water when we’re really thirsty. But, he also argued that desires themselves were painful since they, by definition, meant longing & anguish. Thirst is a desire, & we don’t like being thirsty. True contentment, then, could not come from creating & indulging pointless wants but must instead come from minimizing desire altogether. What would be the point of setting ourselves new targets? These are just new desires that we must make efforts to satisfy. Thus, minimizing pain meant minimizing desires, & the bare minimum desires were those required to live.

Given that Epicureans were determined to maximize pleasure & minimize pain, they developed a series of rituals & routines designed to help. One of the best known (not least because we’ve lost so much written by the Epicureans) was the so-called “Four Part Remedy.” These were four principles they believed we ought to accept so that we might find solace & be rid of existential & spiritual pain:
1. Don’t fear God.
2. Don’t worry about death.
3. What is good is easy to get.
4. What is terrible is easy to endure.

Psychological shift is about recognizing that life doesn’t need to be as complicated as we make it. At the end of the day, we’re just animals with basic needs. We have the tools necessary to satisfy our desires, but when we don’t, we have huge reservoirs of strength & resilience capable of enduring it all. Failing that, we still have nothing to fear because there is nothing to fear about death. When we’re alive, death is nowhere near; when we’re dead, we won’t care.
Practical, modern, & straightforward, Epicurus offers a valuable insight to life. It’s existential comfort for the materialists & atheists. It’s happiness in four lines.

少即是多的历史

包豪斯的功能性,以解决问题为导向,简约的风格被称为“国际风格”它与 De Stijl 艺术家所追求的“普遍”概念有很多共同之处: 两者都试图从结构中去除所有无关的装饰,只留下基本元素。它们应当真正具有普遍性,以便它们的美丽能够克服国家一级的敌意或个人一级的差异,并触及每个民族的基本面。

拓展:设计:少即是多的起源与意义

深泽直人无意识设计的理论剖析及操作指南

深泽直人的无意识设计可以分成如下三个角度:
A. Action Affordance 动作与功能可见性
B. Action Stimulation 动作的激发
C. Emotion Stimulation 情绪的激发

在发现问题的阶段,我们的着眼点大致可以如思考的角度分成 动作与功能可见性、动作的激发 和 情绪的激发,那么对应设计调研的角度,也应该对应成为三个角度进行,分别是:行为的观察(或 可观察到的行为),完成这一设计与其他动作相关或类似的动作 以及 人与物的情感关联。
由于设计调研的侧重产生差异,那么在设计概念生成阶段也会站在三个角度:行为、行动触发 以及 情感实现。这里说起来比较容易,但是对于设计师来说,需要有一定的对于设计的积累和思考,才能够有一些自己的理解,特别是情感线路的设计,由于情感最难把握所以这条路线最难做到。换句话说,情感线路的设计几乎与移情设计的大致思维类似了。

未成年人游戏禁令背后,被忽视的少数群体

The space between our heads

One amazing thing about language is the sheer fluidity with which it allows us to manage such everyday episodes of joining forces & parting ways. It is literally the most versatile brain-to-brain interface we have: a nimble, negotiable system that enables people with separate bodies to achieve joint agency without giving up behavioural flexibility & social accountability. So before we throw out language because of its supposedly low data rate, let’s look a bit more closely at the ways in which it helps us calibrate minds, coordinate bodies & distribute agency. There are two features of language that make it especially useful in human interaction: selection & negotiation.

The agency-distributing powers of interactive language are largely independent of its modality: they are certainly not limited to the spoken, face-to-face version of language that happens to be its most prevalent form today. Writing, for one, shows that at least some aspects of language can be reduced to a visual code, though it has long come with a loss of immediacy & interactivity that is only now being remedied. A better example is the veritable diversity of sign languages used by deaf communities across the globe: impressive proof that the full richness & complexity of interactive language can be realised without a single sound.

Adding a feedback opportunity like that seems a simple design choice, but it radically changes the nature of the system. By opening up the Receiver’s actions to semi-public scrutiny, it enables a rudimentary form of negotiation & so points towards exactly the kind of back-&-forth that makes natural languages so flexible & error-robust. As input-output systems become more versatile & allow higher data rates, we can expect similar advances on the selection front, allowing us to select a wider range of signals than just binary choices or cursor movements. Of course, this wider range of choices inevitably also implies more degrees of freedom in interpretation, more room for ambiguity, & a greater need for quick ways to calibrate understandings. Which brings us full circle to something like language: a sophisticated intermediary that combines the powers of selection & negotiation. Soon enough we would rediscover the uses of ambiguity, & the joy of finishing each others’ sentences.

Why Were So Many Running World Records Broken During the Pandemic?

Hey.com:如果你没有观点,你就不值得关注

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