Underlinings (#49)

Rohit Gupta on the world-historic confluence into AlphaGo:

Dutch computer scientist John Tromp noted that comparing Go to chess is “not even like comparing the size of the universe with the nucleus of an atom”. As the game progresses, the smallest error made in this dynamic universe of Yin and Yang can magnify surreptitiously into an irreversible cataclysm. A butterfly flutters its wings, slaves mutiny on a ship, corporations go bankrupt, the Soviet Union breaks apart, a black asteroid strikes the earth and dinosaurs go extinct. […] Artificial intelligence too, like this ancient boardgame, goes back to the very dawn of human civilisation. A Roman tutorial on rhetoric for orators called Ad Herennium (86-82 BC) says this about memorisation technique, “…and now we will speak of the artificial memory.” Many Greeks, including Socrates, were against the invention of the written word, because they feared it would destroy the ability of human beings to remember. Millennia later, the rise of computers has released the art of memory like a gigantic djinn from Aladdin’s lamp, just as telescopes opened up the horizons of astronomy. …

Synthetic Cosmogenesis

… a toy version:

The universe begins with a single input, an arbitrary numerical seed — the phone number of one of the programmers. That number is mathematically mutated into more seeds by a cascading series of algorithms — a computerized pseudo-randomness generator. The seeds will determine the characteristics of each game element. Machines, of course, are incapable of true randomness, so the numbers produced appear random only because the processes that create them are too complex for the human mind to comprehend.


Underlinings (#41)

From Peter Watts’ Blindsight (p.261), on dark interspecies cryptographic game-theory:

Hurt them.
It may take a while to figure out how. Some may shrink from fire, others from fire, others from toxic gas or liquid. Some creatures may be invulnerable to blowtorches and grenades, but shriek in terror at the threat of ultrasonic sound. You have to experiment; and when you discover just the right stimulus, the optimum balance between pain and injury, you must inflict it without the remorse.
You leave them an escape hatch, of course. That’s the very point of the exercise: give one of your subjects the means to end the pain, but give the other the information required to use it. To one you might present a single shape, while showing the other a whole selection. The pain will stop when the being with the menu chooses the item its partner has seen. So let the games begin. Watch your subjects squirm. If — when — they trip the off switch, you’ll know at least some of the information they exchanged; and if you record everything that passed between the, you’ll start to get some idea of how they exchanged it.
Whe they solve one puzzle, give them a new one. Mix things up. Switch their roles. See how they do at circles versus squares. Try them out on factorials and Fibonnacis. Continue until Rosetta Stone results.
This is how you communicate wuith a fellow intelligence: You hurt it, and keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the speech from the screams.