Writer, THINKer. HEAD SCRATCHER...
If you like the baby skunk lovingly cradled by the balding vagrant above.
Fake wooden shelves around a few of my mirror image print books. Stacked two deep. 274cm, or 47.2kg in Earth units.
Academic qualifications and experience: I have a Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (meh...) and a Masters and PhD in astrophysics (great!) I was a climatologist (interesting but meh...) for a couple of years after my PhD. Between the engineering and astrophysics, I qualified as a lawyer in the UK (OMG appalling...), and that was when I started screaming inside my mind. Given overlapping waves of recession, during my two years of proofreading and office gopher I did a lot of reading in the sumptuous toilet, and saved up dinero to go into astrophysics. At which point the screaming stopped temporarily. Unfortunately I had to find a job in the so-called real world, and that was how I found myself working in law enforcement. The screaming restarted....
Nearly two decades later, I am a harmless drone in the British public sector, still silently screaming, but from behind a desk. I spend 80% of my time chasing up other public sector drones to get them to do their jobs - just basics that shouldn't need chasing up.
Liz Gilbert explains that no artist should have a career to support his vocation. The idea is to not kill your art with the death of your spirit or the pressure to pay the bills. I no longer work night shifts, but when my morning alarm sounds I still wearily drag a persona from a drawer and force it on my tired body.
What feeds my spirit is learning, thinking and writing. I sometimes pen haiku, and occasionally attempt to assemble a well-structured - or any - novel. Even if my future novels are awful, I will gladly self-validate the shit out of them.
This little corner of the Web is where I try to fling up any interesting (at least to me) thoughts about anything, for example about the burgeoning area of Artificial General Intelligence.
I should preface with the fact that I’m not an AI or AI Alignment researcher. I was a programmer in that most of my Astro PhD involved writing C code to invent models of magnetic reconnection, but as far as AGI goes I’m an interested observer and reader, and the closest I have been to the field was to attend the preliminary day of the AI Alignment conference at Bletchley Park, and listen to excellent presentations by Stuart Russell and the panel discussion. Max Tegmark is a lot of fun.
RUMINATIONS21 juin 2023 ·David Deutsch’s two books The Fabric of Reality, and The Beginning of Infinity, are filled with fascinating and original ideas - important ideas - about reality and the intelligence. I’m very interested in his arguments and insights, although with reservations. A brief aside: during the Brexit...13 juin 2023 ·Like the mythical ouroboros, perhaps AI will need to eat its own tail. I was listening to Sam Altman of OpenAI on Lex Fridman’s podcast telling Lex that ChatGPT4 isn’t an AGI yet, and that they will need new ideas to create an AGI. Hmm, well that ‘new idea’ seems obvious, at least to me. I’ll...28 mai 2023 ·I’ve very often argued for the existence of free will, and I will probably give those arguments in a future post. But I’m aware of the arguments against free will, certainly at least as presented by Sam Harris in his book Free Will. I flip flop between the two positions, but generally favour Sam...