Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BRAIN-UPLOADERZ! U R doing it Rong!

Here is an article on Pharyngula pointing out that extracting information from a brain to upload into a computer in order to replicate a persons memories and personality in a computer program is pretty much impossible:

And it quotes a guy called Gary Marcus who basically says in the foocha we'll be able to do it with our foocha tech.

But they're all arguing about the wrong thing.  To upload a brain you don't touch a filthy brain!  You stay away from that disgusting stuff.  After all, it's pink and squishy and pretty revolting even when pan fried in breadcrumbs.

No, what you do is, you video tape a person - constantly.  And then you get a neural net to observe the video and then construct new footage.  (Or would that be bittage instead of footage these days?)  And then, once it gets to the point that observers can't tell the difference between live footage of the human and fake footage generated by the neural net with some arbitary level of significance, you're done.  You have your uploaded human being.

Now some people might complain that I haven't really uploaded a human with this method, I've just created a very convincing, Turing test passing, simulcrum.  Well what do they think a human uploaded from a physical brain into a collection of zeros and ones will be, if not just a convincing simulcrum?  In fact, what do they think they are now?  We're just a bad copies of the person you were a year ago, and a better copy of the person we were yesterday or a minute ago.  And if it gets the job done, ie. replicates the human, what's the diff?  It's like complaining that my forgery of the Mona Lisa was done in watercolours instead of acrylic because somehow an acrylic copy would be more "authentic".

If you want your completely artifical brain upload that's meant to give you eternal life to be more "authentic" then don't use a machine.  Marry your brother or sister and raise some children with a lack of genetic diversity.  Or clone yourself.  Or just don't die.

(Admittedly that last one is tricky.  It always works until it doesn't.)

If people can't tell the difference between you and your image copying doppelganger, then for all practical porpoises it is you.  If no one can tell the difference between you and the copy made by a video watching neural net, why should anyone care which is which?  Sure, you can point out that it doesn't have a physical presence, but neither would brain scanned upload of you, and that often gets hand waved away by saying some amazing foocha technology will be able to give it a physical form indistinguishable to outside observers from your own.  There, done.  An exact copy of you as far as other people are concerned.  And if you think that's not a proper brain upload, then it will express that opinion to your friends and family just as convincingly as you would.  

So in conclusion:  Brain uploads - totally doable in the future once incredibly powerful, Turing test capable, neural nets are developd.  There's just no need to bother about the actual physical brain part. 

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

The World Has Passed Peak CO2 Emissions

Chinese coal imports from August to September are down 23% from the same period last year.  Imports are also down in India, Japan, and other countries.  World thermal coal demand appears to have peaked in 2013:

This means we are likely to now be past peak anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and we should now see decreasing emissions year on year from this point on. 

Unfortunately this doesn't mean we have past peak atmospheric CO2 concentration.  I'm afraid that will continue to rise until we have cut our emissions by roughly 80%. 

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Australians Doing Well Required To Buy Luxury Cars At Gunpoint

On the Australian Luxury Car Tax, Maserati General Manager Glen Sealey said, ‘It’s a discrimination against people who are doing well.’ And Porsche dealer Sean Lygo said, ‘…totally unfair to charge people 33 per cent for buying a car because they’ve done well’.

So apparently it's not discrimintation against people who spend more than the Luxury Car Tax threshold of $63,184 on a car, it's discrimination againt people have done well.  I wonder how that works?  Are Australians who do well required to buy a luxury car by law?  Do they have one issued to them based on their tax returns?  If I don't have a luxury car and I'm doing well will the police arrest me?

These are not very bright statements.  They are also suspiciously similar as if they both subscribe to the same newsletter.   And the guy from Porche doesn't even seem to know how the tax works.  It is not a 33% tax, it is 33% above the Luxury Car Tax threshhold, which means it will vary but I guess it would average around 8%.  Hardly an imposition given we tax junk food, something almost everyone buys at least sometimes at a 10% flat rate.  In fact, let's see if I can come up with a brilliant statement of my own, "The junk food tax is discrimination against people who waste money on junk."  Or maybe, "It is totally unfair to charge people 40% but really 10% for buying a mars bar simply because they couldn't be arsed to eat a piece of fruit."

Anyway, after reading their statements, I'm convinced we should get rid of the Luxury Car Tax and replace it with a much higher Wanker Tax.

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