‘Two hands are a lot’ — we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos…

‘This is possibly the single largest design flaw contributing to the bad Nash equilibrium in which … many governments are stuck. Every individual high-functioning competent person knows they can’t make much difference by being one more face in that crowd.’ Eliezer Yudkowsky, AI expert, LessWrong etc. ‘[M]uch of our intellectual elite who think they have […]

On the referendum #33: High performance government, ‘cognitive technologies’, Michael Nielsen, Bret Victor, & ‘Seeing Rooms’

On the referendum #33: High performance government, ‘cognitive technologies’, Michael Nielsen, Bret Victor, & ‘Seeing Rooms’

‘People, ideas, machines — in that order!’ Colonel Boyd. ‘The main thing that’s needed is simply the recognition of how important seeing is, and the will to do something about it.’ Bret Victor. ‘[T]he transfer of an entirely new and quite different framework for thinking about, designing, and using information systems … is immensely more […]

Complexity and prediction VI: a model predicts the frequency and severity of interstate wars, ‘a profound mystery for which we have no explanation’

Complexity and prediction VI: a model predicts the frequency and severity of interstate wars, ‘a profound mystery for which we have no explanation’

I spend a lot of time these days reading papers on prediction from different fields looking for connections between methods. This is an interesting paper: On the frequency and severity of interstate wars, 2019. ‘Lewis Fry Richardson argued that the frequency and severity of deadly conflicts of all kinds, from homicides to interstate wars and everything […]

On the referendum #31: Project Maven, procurement, lollapalooza results & nuclear/AGI safety

On the referendum #31: Project Maven, procurement, lollapalooza results & nuclear/AGI safety

‘People, ideas, machines — in that order!’ Colonel Boyd ‘[R]ational systems exhibit universal drives towards self-protection, resource acquisition, replication and efficiency. Those drives will lead to anti-social and dangerous behaviour if not explicitly countered. The current computing infrastructure would be very vulnerable to unconstrained systems with these drives.’ Omohundro. ‘For progress there is no cure…’ […]

#29 On the referendum & #4c on Expertise: On the ARPA/PARC ‘Dream Machine’, science funding, high performance, and UK national strategy

Post-Brexit Britain should be considering the intersection of 1) ARPA/PARC-style science research and ‘systems management’ for managing complex projects with 2) the reform of government institutions so that high performance teams — with different education/training (‘Tetlock processes’) and tools (including data science and visualisations of interactive models of complex systems) — can make ‘better decisions […]

On the referendum #28: Some interesting stuff on AI/ML with, hopefully, implications for post-May/Hammond decisions

Here are a few interesting recent papers I’ve read over the past few months. Bear in mind that Shane Legg, co-founder and chief scientist of Deep Mind, said publicly a few years ago that there’s a 50% probability that we will achieve human level AI by 2028 and a 90% probability by 2050. Given all […]

Effective action #4b: ‘Expertise’, prediction and noise, from the NHS killing people to Brexit

In part A I looked at extreme sports as some background to the question of true expertise and the crucial nature of fast high quality feedback. This blog looks at studies comparing expertise in many fields over decades, including work by Tetlock and Kahneman, and problems like — why people don’t learn to use even […]

On the referendum #25: a letter to Tory MPs & donors on the Brexit shambles

[NB. As has become usual, whenever I write something critical about an aspect of Brexit, Remain-supporting media like the FT/Economist/Guardian etc portray this dishonestly as a general statement about Brexit. So for example, below I say that the Government ‘irretrievably botched’ the process of preparing to be a ‘third country’ under EU law in line […]

Effective action #4a: ‘Expertise’ from fighting and physics to economics, politics and government

‘We learn most when we have the most to lose.’ Michael Nielsen, author of the brilliant book Reinventing Discovery. ‘There isn’t one novel thought in all of how Berkshire [Hathaway] is run. It’s all about … exploiting unrecognized simplicities…Warren [Buffett] and I aren’t prodigies.We can’t play chess blindfolded or be concert pianists. But the results […]