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 […]

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…’ […]

On the referendum #30: Genetics, genomics, predictions & ‘the Gretzky game’ — a chance for Britain to help the world

On the referendum #30: Genetics, genomics, predictions & ‘the Gretzky game’ — a chance for Britain to help the world

Britain could contribute huge value to the world by leveraging existing assets, including scientific talent and how the NHS is structured, to push the frontiers of a rapidly evolving scientific field — genomic prediction — that is revolutionising healthcare in ways that give Britain some natural advantages over Europe and America. We should plan for free […]

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 #24J: Collins, grandstanding, empty threats & the plan for a rematch against the public

The DCMS Select Committee has just sent me the following letter. Here is my official reply… Dear Damian et al As you know I agreed to give evidence. In April, I told you I could not do the date you suggested. On 12 April I suggested July. You ignored this for weeks. On 3 May […]

On the referendum 24I: new research on Facebook & ‘psychographic’ microtargeting

Summary: a short blog on a new paper casting doubt on claims re microtargeting using Facebook. The audience for conspiracy theories about microtargeting, Facebook and Brexit is large and includes a big subset of SW1 and a wider group (but much smaller than it thinks it is) that wants a rematch against the public. The audience […]

On the referendum #24H: Facebook, data science, technology, elections, and transparency

This blog has two short parts: A) a simple point about Wednesday’s committee hearing, B) some interesting evidence from a rare expert on the subject of data and campaigns, and a simple idea to improve regulation of elections. (And a PS. on hack Jane Merrick spreading more fake news.) There is a very short UPDATE […]

On the referendum #24: Global conspiracies and a Scooby Doo ending?

‘My feeling about Brexit was not anger at anybody else, it was anger at myself for not realising what was going on. I thought that all those Ukip people and those National Fronty people were in a little bubble. Then I thought: “Fuck, it was us, we were in the bubble, we didn’t notice it.” […]

Review of Allison’s book on US/China & nuclear destruction, and some connected thoughts on technology, the EU, and space

‘The combination of physics and politics could render the surface of the earth uninhabitable… [Technological progress] gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we have known them, cannot continue.’ John von Neumann, one of the 20th Century’s most important mathematicians, one of the […]