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Reasoning and Cogitation—by Individuals, by Social Groups, and by Societies

I am all but certain to never teach a course on: Reasoning—Indivdual, Social, and Societal. But if I were to teach such a course, would this be the best reading list? And if not these readings, what would be better replacements?

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Github: Licenses: "GNU LGPLv3: Permissions of this copyleft license are conditioned on making available complete source code of licensed works and modifications under the same license or the GNU GPLv3. Copyright and license notices must be preserved. Contributors provide an express grant of patent rights. However, a larger work using the licensed work through interfaces provided by the licensed work may be distributed under different terms and without source code for the larger work...

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Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: Weekend Reading

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"The principal control mechanism in factories... is based on programmable logic controllers, or PLCs.. introduced in 1968 to replace electromechanical relays. The 'coil' is still the principal abstraction unit used today, and PLCs are programmed as though they were a network of 24-volt electromechanical relays. Still": Rodney Brooks: The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions: "Overestimating and underestimating. Roy Amara was a cofounder of the Institute for the Future, in Palo Alto, the intellectual heart of Silicon Valley. He is best known for his adage now referred to as Amara’s Law: 'We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run'.... A great example... the U.S. Global Positioning System... nearly canceled again and again in the 1980s... first operational use for its intended purpose was in 1991 during Desert Storm; it took several more successes for the military to accept its utility....

Today GPS is in what Amara would call the long term, and the ways it is used were unimagined at first. My Series 2 Apple Watch... the technology synchronizes physics experiments across the globe... synchronizing the U.S. electrical grid... allows the high-frequency traders who really control the stock market to mostly avoid disastrous timing errors.... used by all our airplanes... used to track people out of prison on parole... determines which seed variant will be planted... tracks fleets of trucks and reports on driver performance. GPS started out with one goal, but it was a hard slog to get it working as well as was originally expected. Now it has seeped into so many aspects of our lives that we would not just be lost if it went away; we would be cold, hungry, and quite possibly dead....

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Cosma Shalizi: Machine Learning: Data, Models, Intelligence: Weekend Reading

Parcours robot boston boston dynamics Google Search

"The 'big data' point... huge opportunity... to really expand the data.... The 'machine learning' point... a tremendous opportunity to use more flexible models, which do a better job of capturing... reality. The 'AI' point is that artificial intelligence is the technology of the future, and always will be...": Cosma Shalizi: The Rise of Intelligent Economies and the Work of the IMF: "We've been asked to talk about AI and machine learning.... I do understand a bit about how you economists work, and it seems to me that there are three important points to make: a point about data, a point about models, and a point about intelligence. The... an opportunity, the second... an opportunity and a clarification, and the third... a clarification and a criticism—so you can tell I'm an academic by taking the privilege of ending on a note of skepticism and critique, rather than being inspirational...

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Preview of Quick What Time Is It

Marco Arment: Why It’s Hard to Read the Time on Infograph: "Across a wide variety of brands, styles, and price points, a few key design principles are clear: (1) The hour markers for 12 (and often 3/6/9) are more prominent. (2) The hour indices are much larger than the minute markings. (3) The hour hands nearly touch the hour indices. These all improve legibility...

...by making it as fast and easy as possible to know which hour is being indicated (and minimize the chance of an off-by-one error), first by orienting your eyes to the current rotation with the 12 marker, then by minimizing the distance between the hour hand and the indices it’s between. Apple Watch’s analog faces all fail to achieve these principles.... Infograph is similar, but even worse: its hour indices are more faint, it uses 30-second markings instead of minute markings, and its default Calendar display wipes out the top three indices. (At least you can tell which way is up.)... When it’s being used as Apple seems to intend, time-telling at a glance is so difficult that many people have actually suggested setting the digital time as the center complication, at which point the hands are just a nuisance and we should stop pretending it’s an analog face....

We’re three years and four generations into the Apple Watch, and almost every Watch owner I know still uses the same handful of “good” faces.... Modular.... Utility.... If you want indices instead of numerals—probably the most popular analog watch style in the world—I don’t think there is a good option.... And we’re restricted to the handful of good watch faces that Apple makes, because other developers aren’t allowed to make custom Watch faces.

The Apple Watch is an amazing feat of technology. It’s a computer. It can display anything. With no mechanical or physical limitations to hold us back, any watch-face design from anyone could plausibly be built, enabling a range of creativity, style, and usefulness that no single company could ever design on its own. But they won’t let us. In a time when personal expression and innovation in watch fashion should be booming, they’re instead being eroded, as everyone in the room is increasingly wearing the same watch with the same two faces. Open this door, Apple...

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I concur with Noah Smith here that the biggest dangers of machine learning, etc., are not on the labor but on the consumer side. They won't make us obsolete as producers. They could make us easier to grift as customers. Consider that nearly all of Silicon Valley these days is seeking not to make electrons get up and dance in circuits or to make circuits get up and dance in applications that accomplish tasks users wish done, but rather in trying to hack users' brains so their eyeballs will stay glued to screens: Noah Smith: Artificial Intelligence Still Isn’t All That Smart: "Machine learning will revolutionize white-collar jobs in much the same way that engines, electricity and machine tools revolutionized blue-collar jobs...

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This may, to some degree, be the growing pains of new technology. There were people who strongly objected to printing, on the grounds that the only way to truly grok a book was to copy it out word-for-word by hand. In their view, printing produced a bunch of shallow intellectual poseurs who would have only a surface and inadequate knowledge of the books that they had not really read but only skimmed (cf.: Elizabeth L. Eisenstein (1980): The Printing Press as an Agent of Change https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0521299551; Johannes Trithemius (1492): In Praise of Scribes https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0919026087). And Sokrates's attitude toward writing as a greatly inferior simulacrum and inadequate mimesis that could not create the true knowledge obtained through real dialogue is well known (cf.: Plato (370 BC): Phaedrus). Nevertheless, we believe that we have managed to adapt to printing and indeed to the creation of manuscript rather than just the oldest oral master-and-apprentice intellectual technologies. Perhaps we will find different things to be true once we will have trained our information-technology networks to be our servants as trusted information intermediaries and intellectual force multipliers, rather than (as they know are) the servants of the advertisers that pay them and thus that try to glue our eyeballs and attention to screens whether having our eyeballs and attention so-glued helps us become more like our best selves or not. But as of now the empirical evidence has become overwhelming: Susan Dynarski: For better learning in college lectures, lay down the laptop and pick up a pen: "When college students use computers or tablets during lecture, they learn less and earn worse grades. The evidence consists of a series of randomized trials, in both college classrooms and controlled laboratory settings...

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The very sharp Doug Rushkoff tries to recall tech to its utopian aspirations, rather than its current money-making reality. The fascinating thing is that tech is not very good in reality at money-making for anyone who is not the luckiest of lucky people—yet tech is very good at getting consumer surplus to users, who then use it to build utopia... or dystopia... depending: Doug Rushkoff: Survival of the Richest: "There was a brief moment, in the early 1990s, when the digital future felt open-ended and up for our invention...

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Sunday Morning Twitter: Functional Finance/A Better World Is Possible Tweeting...

Preview of Sunday Morning Twitter Functional Finance A Better World Is Possible Tweeting

A better world—a better twitter—is indeed possible...

Suresh Naidu: I will stake my fancy economics job on this: Nothing in @Ocasio2018's policy program is inconsistent with a 2018 understanding of economics.

Wojtek Kopczuk: I missed it before, by my favorite colleague to disagree with. Congratulations on tenure @snaidunl!

Suresh Naidu: Sigh you drew me out. Tell me which policy is infeasible and not addressing some market failure?

Wojtek Kopczuk: They are inconsistent with the government budget constraint. And her MMT support is definitely inconsistent with mainstream economics.

Suresh Naidu: MMT is totally consistent with lots of mainstream macro when the economy is demand constrained (and fiscal theory of the price level when its not). it is unfortunate its adherents dont see that. And budget constraints are endogenous.

Ivan Werning: What do you have in mind?

Suresh Naidu: Oh crap a real macroeconomist. I think stripped of mysticism, MMT is really boils down to "fiscal mutipliers greater than 1", which could be true in demand constrained economy.

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The Rise of the Robots: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

  • Very wise words from close to where the rubber meets the road about how the Rise of the Robots is likely to work out for the labor market over the next generation or so: Shane Greenstein: Adjusting to Autonomous Trucking: "Let’s come into contact with a grounded sense of the future.... Humans have invented tools for repetitive tasks, and some of those tools are becoming less expensive and more reliable...

  • The answer is: probably in the late 1960s: Joe McMahon: When was the last time all the computing power in the world equaled one iPhone?: "When was the last time all the computing power in the world equaled one iPhone?...

  • IMHO, the "long run" problems Martin discusses need to be postponed: we don't know enough about the future to even begin to think intelligently about them. The "medium run" problems, by contrast, deserve a lot of attention right now: Martin Wolf: Work in the age of intelligent machines: "How do you organise a society in which few people do anything economically productive?...

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Note to Self: Working on Today...:


CFP Panel on the Transparent Society: David Brin's Book Ten Years Later: Hoisted Ten Years Later

Panopticon Google Search

It is now 20 years since David Brin wrote The Transparent Society. Book holds up very well, all things considering: CFP Panel on the Transparent Society: David Brin's Book Ten Years Later: Michael Froomkin:

The Transparent Society Ten Years Later : This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of David Brin's controversial book, "The Transparent Society". The book argues that in the face of the explosion of sensors, cheap storage, and cheap data processing we should adopt strategies of vision over concealment. A world in which not just transactional information, but essentially all information about us will be collected, stored, and sorted is, Brin says, inevitable. The only issue left to be decided is who will have access to this information; he argues that freedom, and even some privacy, are more likely to flourish if everybody - not just elites - has access to this flood of data. The book remains controversial and much-talked-about. The panel will explore how Brin's claims hold up ten years later and whether (or how far) we're on the road to a Transparent Society.

Here is my presentation:

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Note to Self: I am pretty good at making sure Twitter does not seize my attention and hack my brain. But many other people are not. Platforms so that you can control aggregators.

How was it that Tim Berners-Lee's Open Web crushed the Walled Gardeners in the 1990s? And how have the Walled Gardeners made their comeback?

And what can be done?: Manton Reece (2014): Microblog Links: "Brent Simmons points to my post on microblogs and asks...

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The Rise of the Robots: Recent Must- and Should-Reads as of May 15, 2018

Il Quarto Stato

  • Another piece worrying that human beings are simply unequipped to deal with an advertising supported internet, in which money flows to those who hack your brain to glue your eyeballs to the screen: Ben Popken: As algorithms take over, YouTube's recommendations highlight a human problem: "A supercomputer playing chess against your mind to get you to keep watching...

  • OK, Ben: how do we write regulations that constrain aggregators that want to hack our brain and attention and empower platforms that enable us to accomplish what we prudently judge our purposes to be when we are in our best selves? How was it that printing managed to, eventually, generate a less-unhealthy public sphere? Young Habermas, where are you now that we need you?: Ben Thompson: Tech’s Two Philosophies: "Apple and Microsoft, the two 'bicycle of the mind” companies'... had broadly similar business models... platforms.

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Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2005): Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space

School of Athens

Weekend Reading: Teresa Nielsen Hayden (2005): Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space: "Getting online just gets easier and easier...

...It’s an inescapable truth that for some people, the most interesting way to participate in online discourse is to kick holes in the conversation. Others—many of them young, but some, alas, old enough to know better—have a sense of entitlement that leads them to believe that their having an opinion means the rest of us are obliged to listen to it. Still others plainly get off on verbally abusing others, and seek out conversations that will offer them opportunities to do so. And so on and so forth: the whole online bestiary:

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OK, Ben: how do we write regulations that constrain aggregators that want to hack our brain and attention and empower platforms that enable us to accomplish what we prudently judge our purposes to be when we are in our best selves? How was it that printing managed to, eventually, generate a less-unhealthy public sphere? Young Habermas, where are you now that we need you?: Ben Thompson: Tech’s Two Philosophies: "Apple and Microsoft, the two 'bicycle of the mind” companies'... had broadly similar business models... platforms...

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Exemplifying Equitable Growth: Mr. Google Serves Me a Baker's Half-Dozen from the WCEG Website, and What I Learn Thereby...

Equitable growth Google Search

Time to relaunch the Equitable Growth http://equitablegrowth.org website!

That makes this a good time to look back at what Equitable Growth does and has been doing over this past half decade. As I grow older, I become more and more and organizational realist: The Purpose of an organization is what it does, rather than what its mission statement says it is going to do or what it’s funders believe that their money is going to pay for. What the worker bees do determines what the organization does. What the planners and vision architects say does not determine what the organization does.

Thus I look for exemplars: What are the things on the current Equitable Growth website that exemplify what it does, or perhaps what it should do?

Let's ask Mr. Google:

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Intermediate Macroeconomics: Econ 101b: Spring 2018: U.C. Berkeley: Sample Final (DRAFT)

In a sense, closed book exams have been obsolete since 1500. You could argue before 1500 that people would often find themselves in situations in which they had to produce documents and write answer is calling on nothing but what they had currently running on their own wetware. Books, after all, were very expensive. At five pages an hour, figure it would take a month to produce one copy of a book, and that is only the direct, skilled labor required.

After 1500, however closed book exams made no sense—at least not without a theory of why acting like a medieval monk would in fact teach habits of mind and thought that would help us think and write in a world where people were surrounded almost always by their notes and their libraries.

And now, of course, the young ones are never without their smartphones.

So it is time for us professors to start writing exams that test and teach habits of thought relevant for a world in which you have rapid broadband access to the entire online library of humanity at nearly every instant.

Therefore this exam is open note, open book, and open smartphone—or whatever other device you wish to bring...

Only one form of information access is prohibited: direct two-way interaction with other Turing class entities). In case you are uncertain, here are examples of five examples of Turing class entities:

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Your Own Private Intellectual Elysium: Delong Morning Coffee Podcast

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By judiciously muting and blocking people you can create a truly useful individual Internet feed. The problem is that that does nothing to produce a truly useful functioning intellectual community. And that is what we really need...

Your Own Private Intellectual Elysium


Thx to Wavelength and the very interesting micro.blog http://delong.micro.blog/2018/04/21/your-own-private.html

Text: http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/creating-your-own-private-internet-intellectual-elysium.html


The Tech Boom and the Fate of Democracy: Ars Technica Live: Definitely Not My Morning Coffee

Definitely Not My Morning Coffee: Ars Technica Live: Annalee Newitz and Brad DeLong: The Tech Boom and the Fate of Democracy "Ars Technica Live #21... Filmed by Chris Schodt, produced by Justin Wolfson...

Annalee writes: "Last week, we had lots of questions about the fate of democracy in a world where the Internet feeds us propaganda faster than we can fact check it...

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Trump's Tariffs: DeLong Morning Coffee Podcast

1e07f4c60c.mp3Brad delong morning coffee Google Search

Last Wednesday night at Ars Technica LIVE! at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland—located beneath where the eight-lane Interstate 580 crosses the ten-lane California Highway 24—there were three demands from the People of the Internet Appearing in Meatspace for a return of the Morning Coffee podcast.

So why not?


Trump's Tariffs: DeLong Morning Coffee Podcast:

Why don’t Republican plutocrats, and the senators and representatives they have bought, recognize that plutocrats are not the allies of kleptocrats but rather the prey of kleptocracts?

Trump's Tariffs


RSS: http://delong.micro.blog/podcast.xml.

Thx to Wavelength and the very interesting micro.blog http://help.micro.blog/2018/microcasting/ http://delong.micro.blog/2018/04/15/trumps-tariffs-delong.html

Text: http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/04/trumps-tariffs.html


A Question About the Future of Work...

2018 HRBI Center for Responsible Business Berkeley Haas

Asked at: Berkeley Haas School Center for Responsible Business 2018 Microsoft Conference on Business, Technology, and Human Rights: The Future of Work: I think I understand why previous waves of technology have boosted the employment and wages of unskilled workers. It is because “unskilled” human work is a very hard AI problem. Thus enormous numbers of jobs have been created for humans—jobs that are in a sense drudgery, but necessary drudgery:

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Live from Rant Central: Charlie Stross has had it with you people—those of you people who abandon worldbuilding and the exploration of possible human civilizations different from ours in the future direction for spectacle, and warmed over Napoleonic or WWII stories in fancy future dress: Charlie Stross: Why I barely read SF these days: "Storytelling is about humanity and its endless introspective quest to understand its own existence and meaning...

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Should-Read: This piece by the interesting Geoffrey Pulham seems to start out non-optimally.

There is a difference between (1) true "AI" on the one hand and (2) successful voice/text interface to database search on the other. At the moment (2) is easy. And we should implement (2)—which requires that humans do a little bit of adjusting in order not to use "not", for figuring out within which superset of results any particular "not" is asking for the complement is genuinely hard, and does require true or nearly-true "AI".

Thus to solve Pulham's problem, all you have to do is ask two queries: (i) "Which UK papers are part of the Murdoch empire?"; (ii) "What are the major UK papers?"; take the complement of (i) within (ii) and you immediately get a completely serviceable and useful answer to your question.

That you need to do two rather than one query is because Google has not set itself up to produce short lists as possible answers to (ii) and (i), and then subtract (i) from (ii), and that the reason that it has not done that is a hard AI problem rather than the brute-force-and-massive-ignorance word-frequency-plus-internet-attention that is Google shtick.

But what amazes me is that Google can get so close—not that "true AI" is really hard.

And maybe that is Pelham's real point:

Geoffrey Pulham (2013): Why Are We Still Waiting for Natural Language Processing?: "Try typing this, or any question with roughly the same meaning, into the Google search box... http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2013/05/09/natural-language-processing/

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The 17 Berkeley Classes in Our Largest Lecture Hall This Fall...

Increased CS course demand leads to overflowing auditorium The Daily Californian

The 17 classes in Berkeley's largest lecture hall: Wheeler Auditorium Classes: Fall 2017:

Computer Science, etc.: 9:

  • COMPSCI-STAT C8: Foundations of Data Science
  • COMPSCI 61A: The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
  • COMPSCI 61B: Data Structures
  • COMPSCI 61C: Great Ideas of Computer Architecture (Machine Structures)
  • COMPSCI 70: Discrete Mathematics and Probability Theory
  • COMPSCI 170: Efficient Algorithms and Intractable Problems
  • COMPSCI 186/286: Introduction to Database Systems
  • ELENG 16A: Designing Information Devices and Systems I
  • ELENG 16B: Designing Information Devices and Systems II

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Do "They" Really Say: "Technological Progress Is Slowing Down"?

Apple

Consider the 256 GB memory iPhone X: Implemented in vacuum tubes in 1957, the transistors in an iPhoneX alone would have:

  • cost 150 trillion of today's dollars: one and a half times today's global annual product
  • taken up a hundred-story square building 300 meters high, and 3 kilometers long and wide
  • drawn 150 terawatts of power—30 times the world's current generating capacity

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Data Science, Computer Literacy, and the Skill of Writing with a Fine Chancery Hand...

2017 08 30 More than a Few Words About Computer Literacy in the Twenty First Century

About a month and a half ago I decided that there was really no place in any of my classes for my "what you really ought to know about doing economics" lecture http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/07/how-to-think-like-an-economist-if-that-is-you-wish-to.html: it would be either incomprehensible (because students would not understand it) or unnecessary (because students would already know it).

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Live from Berkeley: Making Textbooks & Course Readers Affordable: Berkeley on the Leading Edge: "Friday, October 27, 2017 :: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. :: Environmental Design Library Atrium http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/environmental-design-library: Can students afford to take your class?...

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