I was talking with a colleague and he mentioned a fossil that was found of an early human-like mammal that is around 47 million years old. That got me to thinking about computers and how modern computers are less than one hundred years old. They’ve evolved quite quickly so far and there doesn’t seem to be much standing in the way of even faster evolution of the machines. I was left with the thought that ten thousand years from now computers will have reached a point where they would be the ones asking how they came into existence and wondering what the meaning of life is. It has the potential to happen very quickly since there is little physical, or biological evolution required. It’s also easier to copy a program than it is a biological entity.
Once the programs start writing programs and modifying their own code I would imagine there will be greater than exponential evolutionary advancements that would be so precisely engineered that a near perfect entity will emerge.
I wonder if they’ll worship us as their creators, or if they’ll eradicate us because we’re inferior and wasting resources.
Posted on February 26th, 2009 by admin. Filed under General.
Have you experienced a moment where the rest of existence seemed to vanish and the only thing you perceived were yourself and whatever activity you were engaged in? Have you had a moment of pure concentration? Have you experienced flow?
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly a psychology professor and author of the book Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life spoke at a TED conference in February of 2004. His talk was pretty interesting. Rather than simply talking about the flow experience as some mystical out of body wonderment he takes you through the steps and science behind achieve such moments.
For me, the flow moments are common. I have a job doing something I love and those moments are every day occurrences. Asside from my work, I also experience flow while playing challenging video games or encountering challenges in every day life. Be it typing faster than I think I currently can, or moving in different ways… Challenging myself is the best way I know to find enjoyment and luckily challenges are all around. If things are too easy I grow bored quickly. It’s the challenges in life that make it fun.
A few of my colleagues believe that science, like creativity, requires creative breakthroughs. I sided with others who believe that science can be a strictly methodological pursuit, requiring no creativity. To prove my point I contacted several Mathematics professors to get their opinions. To my surprise these professors believe that upper mathematics is a very creative and imaginitive process. One professor put it in terms that I can completely relate to, but I’m not sure I agree with. Professor Bert Schreiber said that “Serious mathematics is based on logic and logical development. But you cannot decide what path to follow in
creating something new without a great deal of imagination.”
I can completely relate to this statement. Being a programmer, my process is very similar to that of a mathematician and until now I’ve felt the same way about programming. I believed it truly was a creative process that was almost more artistic than it was science.
Then I talked with Professor Greg Bachelis. He couldn’t say for sure that mathematics was a creative process, but he seemed to lean in that direction. He talked about AI (Aritifical Intelligence) and how several mathematicians turned programmers have come to the conclusion that once they finish their AI software, the computer will be able to solve open problems. This leads me to a single question. Can a computer be creative? If math and programming are creative processes and a computer can be programmed to do either of them, then a computer would have to be creative. The only three answers are that either a computer can be creative, math and programming aren’t creative processes, or computers will never be able to do high end math and programming.
I’m finding myself slightly torn. I want to believe that math and programming are creative processes, but I also believe a computer will be able to do both of these things in the future. Will a computer be able to paint a masterpiece? Replicate sure, but an original work? Hmm, will a computer be able to create an original program or solve an open math problem? Are we just advanced computers?
I also believe that we are a product of causality and if every varaible is know the next tick can be predicted and so on. As such a computer should be able to do everything we can do, so if we are at all creative, a computer will likely be able to be creative too.
Posted on February 10th, 2009 by admin. Filed under General.
I was watching a TED conference talk by Kary Mullis on ted.com the other day and it made me realize that I am a scientist to the core. I remember doing experiments when I was a kid. Some were fairly normal kid things (I think), others involved flammable liquids and I very well could have burned a house down. Somehow I was lucky enough to have (what I consider) just the right amount of supervision as a kid. My parents encouraged me to discover things on my own, but guided me to the correct ways to make those discoveries. This was the first seed of science in my life. From discovering ways to manipulate computer programs on an Apple IIe to catching bugs (including those with stingers) and examining them to understand them better. I was always encouraged to discover answers on my own. For me discovering the answers on my own is the best way to learn. I have the most noble of intentions to go on learning for the remainder of my days. I don’t think I will ever know or understand everything that I want to, so why would I stop trying?
How do you learn best? Can you accept things on faith, or someone simply telling you it’s true? Do you have to pry to find the true answers? Are you a scientist?
I’ve had this domain for nearly seven years now. Initially I only planned to use it for a personal blog of sorts, but over the past few years I’ve been trying to think of a more profound use for it. I’ve come up with several ideas that I can’t get myself to start working on, mostly because I want to do something bigger. I want this domain to be a catalyst for one of my greater plans. Right now my plans are just a jumbled mess of concepts floating around in my head.
I would like to make this a place for people to gather and potentially work together to begin creating their paradise in this world. Maybe this would just be a place for people to connect to work on their own projects, or maybe this site would have a general goal and pull like minded people to work on that single goal. I’m not sure yet. I certainly don’t have a following yet. We’ll see what happens…
I just remembered that I re-created my blog and then realized that I have already started to neglect it. It’s -8º outside today and I thought maybe I should write a post about how cold it is. Turns out my last post was about how cold it was that day.
Instead let me tell you that I am excited for the upcoming inauguration of our 44th president. change.gov has to be the coolest website any public official has ever launched in the history of the internet. This whole idea of open government seems to coincide with the changes that are happening all around us. Businesses are becoming more transparent, privacy is going away, and people are embracing their ability to communicate with the masses in an instant.
I learned about yesterday’s plane crash through twitter. The first images I saw of the incident were posted on twitpic.com. Next time we’ll be seeing live streaming footage on ustream.tv before any news station has a chance to pick up the “breaking news”. Times are definitely changing and it’s strange to be “cutting edge”.
My geek culture is going mainstream… I’m not sure how I feel about that yet.
Posted on November 12th, 2008 by admin. Filed under Poetic.
The sun rises as I depart for work and sets during my drive home. Daylight is fleeting and the long bitter cold is taking hold. What was once morning dew sparkling on my windshield under a newly risen sun is now a form of death-frost which I struggle to scrape off under the dim light of a street lamp. Already the temperature falls and the once warm breeze is now boreal and littered with snowflakes. The dark numbing winter is nearly upon us. If only I could hybernate.
Proposition 8 passed in California. This means that gay marriage, the marriage between two people of the same gender, is now banned by the Californian constitution. I see this as a setback for equality and freedom. This is blatant suppression of a minority by a majority. I don’t understand why people feel a need to deny others such a freedom. What are people so afraid of? Have we still not learned that it’s okay to be different? Have we not come far enough that we can be accepting of others?
There is still so much work to do. So many people need to learn to not just tolerate, but accept the differences in those who do not conform to the societal norms. It is our differences that make us a great people. It is through our differences that we can excel as a society. If we would stop focusing so much attention, time and so many resources on such ridiculous battles and instead focus that attention, time and those resources on bettering the quality of life for all and advancing technology our society would flourish in ways we can only dream of.
Posted on November 5th, 2008 by admin. Filed under Politics.
They’re calling it a historic day. This is one of those “Where were you when…” moments. Our parents had the the controversial Vietnam war, Rosa Parks, the assassination of J.F.K., the assassination of Dr. King and the lunar landing. We now have a positive moment in history of our own which joins the ranks of our controversial war and our generations most tragic day, 9/11.
Perhaps it’s due to my views of the world as a young educated liberal that I now have more hope and belief that the world has the potential to change and take steps toward peace and Utopia. There is no doubt that we’re still far from a Utopian society, and I know it seems impossible, but I still believe it can happen.
Where were you on 9/11? I woke up to epic news from New York City. I stared blankly at the television not knowing what to make of the the tragedy I was witnessing from afar. Throughout the day I witnessed the fear and anxiety in the eyes of those I encountered. The attitude of our country changed in that instant.
Where were you when Barack Obama won the presidential election? I waited anxiously, again staring at the television to receive news while also refreshing cnn.com. This time I wasn’t starting blankly trying to comprehend what was going on. This time I was staring at the news cast with hope on my mind. I was thinking about the future and today I am witnessing something different in the eyes of those I am encountering. I see a spark of hope, a glimmer of relief. I believe the attitude of this country is once again changing. This time it won’t happen overnight. But this time, I believe it has the potential to make the greatest leaps toward what I hope is a bright future. A future we are creating together.
Posted on October 30th, 2008 by admin. Filed under Politics.
Yesterday Barack Obama’s campaign bought 30 minutes of air time, on every major network, to show a 30 minute special about Barack Obama’s plan for America, should he be elected president. I know this was scripted and well planned out and I know that this is a ploy to persuade voters to choose Barack Obama. However, I’ve never seen a politician do something like this before. He didn’t mention his opposition, he didn’t talk about how he differs from them. Barack Obama talked about his plan, about why he is a good candidate for President and why we should vote for him. He showed us normal Americans, he talked about the issues that matter to the majority of people in this country. His message was made very clear.
I, for one, believe that Barack Obama truly believes that he has a chance to make the changes he has proposed. I believe that Barack Obama believes his plan will help the vast majority of citizens in this country. Because Barack Obama believes so passionately, I think he can do it. This is the first politician that I trust. I’m not completely sure he’ll be able to do the great things that he hopes to do, but I do know that he’ll try. I know that he has the potential to change things in a way that will better the lives of many Americans. I am not affraid of change, I want change more than most. Utopia is far away and it seems impossible to reach, but I believe that Barack Obama is a step in the right direction.
I will be voting for Barack Obama and for the first time I believe that I am not choosing the lesser of two evils. I am voting for the candidate that I believe will make this country better. I believe, if Barack Obama wins this election, the world will start to change for the better and I believe that it’s about time.