Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Economic transcendence and the singularity

with 41 comments

The singularity is the time in the future when computer intelligence becomes more capable than human intelligence. By definition, this means that computers would be able to do any work that humans normally do, and robots powered by singularity-level computing power would make human labor superfluous and there would be an infinite amount of goods and services for humans to consume (because robot would build more robots), limited only by the planet’s available resources.

However, economic transcendence could also happen before the singularity happens. Computer automation could still make most human jobs unnecessary even if the computers aren’t more intelligent than humans. For example, self-driving cars will put the 3 million people (1% of the population) who work as drivers out of work, even though the self-driving cars themselves aren’t as smart as humans.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 12, 2017 at EST am

Steam stops accepting bitcoin

with 18 comments

Warning: Don’t take anything in this post as advice to sell bitcoin. My advice on this stuff is always wrong. I thought bitcoin was overpriced when it was worth one-tenth of what it’s trading for today. Boy was I wrong about that!

As you may know, Steam is a computer game download service. Until today, they accepted bitcoin, and because gamers tend to strongly overlap with the kind of tech nerds who love the idea of bitcoin, if it makes sense for any legitimate business to take bitcoin, it would be Steam.

However, even though bitcoin is supposed to be a way to transact electronically without the unconscionable fees of credit card companies, the reality is that bitcoin is more expensive than credit cards and Paypal. So it turns out that, right now, bitcoin has not practical legal uses. It’s only a speculative gamble that the price will keep going up, or a way for criminals to transact online without their transactions subject to tracking or confiscation by law enforcement.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 7, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Something I once wrote about Microsoft

with 85 comments

Microsoft dominates software, but it’s hard to see what value Microsoft actually created. The company only exists because IBM made a really dumb decision to give Microsoft ownership of the operating system instead of developing it in-house or with consultants who signed contracts giving all intellectual property rights to IBM. This is not a mistake that any big company will ever make again, I guarantee you that.

Nearly everything Microsoft sells has been copied or purchased from other business entities. The idea for Windows was copied from Apple and Xerox. Excel was copied from Lotus which was copied from Visicalc. Microsoft is able to dominate all application software because they dominate the operating system, and Microsoft dominates the operating system because Microsoft was first, and Microsoft was first because IBM was stupid and because Bill Gates’ mother knew some top executives at IBM. If anything, Microsoft has actually destroyed value by using its dominant marketing position to make its own software the standard, even though a lot of their software sucked in comparison to their competitors. I call this value creation suppression.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 22, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Economics, Technology

One more vinyl record sold

with 133 comments

I bought, for my Jewish mother, the Bing Crosby Christmas album. The limited edition (but still not sold out) vinyl LP was reissued three years ago.

I don’t know how she’ll take it. She loves Bing Crosby’s Christmas songs. And she’s too technologically incompetent to even listen to a CD, so vinyl is the way to go. But she also feels that it’s a sacrilege to Judaism to have anything that says “Christmas” in the house. For her, being Jewish doesn’t mean that you believe in the Torah and the Talmud but you don’t believe in the Gospels. Being Jewish means that you don’t celebrate Christmas.

With the most notable exception of Silent Night, most of Bing’s Christmas songs are about celebrating the holiday of Christmas rather than about celebrating the birth Christ. His most famous song ever, White Christmas, was composed and written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant from Russia. (What’s the chance of any of our recent Muslim immigrants writing a famous Christmas song?)

My favorite song on the album, Silver Bells, was written and composed by two Jewish guys, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. Christmas would be a much less musical holiday without the Jews.

* * *

So as usual, anti-Semites are blaming Jews for something, in this case secularizing Christmas music. Sorry, Jewish composers and lyricists are just writing the songs that GENTILES want to hear.

The most famous religious Christmas song of the 20th century, Do You Hear What I Hear, was co-written by a Jewish woman, Gloria Shayne Baker.

And the other most famous religious Christmas song of the 20th century, Little Drummer Boy, was popularized by Harry Moses Simeone who was Jewish.

Because Jews, on average, have 15 points higher IQ than white gentiles (according to a book I once read by H.J.Eysenck), they are a lot better are songwriting. It’s not a conspiracy folks. It’s talent.

* * *

Commenter Yakov writes: “Jews aren’t allowed to write or sing Christmas songs and should’ve never written any. That is a very disgusting transgression on the part of the Jews. Very, very disgusting. Bach wrote beautiful church music, but any Christian music written by Jews is an abomination.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 22, 2017 at EST am

Vinyl revival update

with 16 comments

9+ million new vinyl album sales may sound like a lot, but it’s actually a pretty tiny number. Many of the buyers have probably made multiple vinyl album purchases, so probably less than 1% of the people in the U.S. and U.K. have bought a vinyl record this year.

The biggest seller this year is a Beatles album, so the primary driver for vinyl is nostalgia for how things were. Maybe people think that you can recapture some of the magic if you listen to the Beatles the same way people listened to them 50 years ago.

That vinyl is 14% of all physical albums sales shows just how far sales of physical albums have fallen. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve bought a CD since 2008 when I bought the last Al Stewart studio album. I really can’t remember anything else I’ve physically bought. But maybe, back when there were still CD stores and there was still a Borders with a big collection of CDs, I might have impulsively purchased something I don’t remember buying. It’s kind of sad that there are no stores like that anymore.

I intend to visit my parents this weekend, and will take advantage of that to play a vinyl record from my meager collection of old eighties albums that are still at their house. I will definitely play Three Sides Live by Genesis, the best album they ever made, and one for which I have not been able to obtain the digital version for free and don’t wish to buy the CD (yes, it’s not available for sale as mp3 files).

About two years ago, I set up a stereo system for them by utilizing an old turntable they had, buying a pre-amp, and a set of Logitech powered speakers. And then I had to buy a storage thing from Ikea to house all of the old vinyl albums. Those things take up a lot of space, and they are also very heavy. Not practical at all. A single 3TB portable hard drive can hold 5 tons of music. (Assuming 300MB of music weighs a pound in vinyl format.)

It’s the only way my technologically challenged parents will listen to music. Initially I bought the speakers and tried to convince them to plug an iPad or a laptop computer into them, but that totally baffled them.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 21, 2017 at EST pm

Should I write more about the singularity?

with 47 comments

This is a topic I’ve avoided. Why? It’s kind of creepy. And I don’t know as much about it as other people, so why not stick to my areas of expertise like HBD and proles?

The singularity will happen once AI becomes good enough to replace computer programmers. At that point in time, AI can start programming itself to become better, and do this a lot faster than human programmers have ever been able to. The result will be a rapid and massive increase in the intelligence of AI, instead of the slow and plodding progress we are used it. Within a short time, AI will be massively more intelligent than any human. AI will be able to control robot workers and make all human work obsolete.

What happens after that?

For starters, does the AI develop its own free will (with the possibility that it may not be benevolent towards humans), or will the AI simply be a slave to its human creators even though it may be thousands, millions, or even billions times smarter? Will the first organization to create and own a singularity-level AI become the ruler of the world?

Will super-smart AI a billion times smarter than the smartest human be able to figure out the secrets of biology and develop methods to end aging and death, making humans immortal? AI could also custom design a new biological species that’s superior to humans in every possible way.

This singularity stuff is pretty mind-blowing, it’s a lot easier to write about Donald Trump.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 20, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Colonize Alaska

with 60 comments

People talk about colonizing other planets, but it’s a lot easier to colonize Alaska (that is if you are a U.S. citizen) which is still so empty that you can still live off the grid and never see any other humans, if that’s what you want. It may be cold in Alaska, but it’s a hell of a lot warmer than Mars, plus there’s water and an infinite supply of breathable air.

Citizens of Canada and Russia are luckier, there’s so much empty land in northern Canada and Siberia. If you live in the United Kingdom, you might consider colonizing the Falkland Islands.

* * *

Land on the Alaska Peninsula (a place with surprisingly mild winters) can be had for $2,500/acre, so if you just want to own a lot of land, in a place that’s remote but not insanely inhospitable, that’s a pretty good place to go.

Building a house on the land, or a road to get to your house, is a lot more expensive than the land itself.

* * *

Actually, land in Maine is just as cheap if not cheaper, and you can drive to places when you need supplies, or even get stuff delivered by UPS truck.

So the Alaska idea doesn’t really make any sense. The problem is that everyone wants to live in New York City. If you want to live in the country, even in the continental U.S., land is cheap.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 20, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Conservatives and the big corporations who hate them

with 32 comments

More evidence that big corporations hate conservatives. (Twitter, market cap of $14.8 billion, removes the blue checkmark from tweeters whose politics liberals don’t like.)

But conservatives in Congress are fighting tooth and nail to lower the taxes of the big corporations which hate conservatives.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 16, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Technology

Programming AI to be politically correct

PerezHBD writes in a comment:

AI is just pattern recognition and the most ambitious AI projects that have been unleashed in to the wild were all shut down because AI is so virulently racist. The only way to stop AI from being racist is to manually brick it in regards to a whole host of topics which produces a less racist AI, but also a stupider one that will be out thought by China’s non-bricked AI machines.

I don’t see why AI can’t be programmed to be politically correct. PC is just a bunch of rules, and knowing when to give an answer to humans that’s different from the truth. In fact, AI could be much better at being politically correct than humans, computers would have a much better grasp of the rules and never make any mistakes.

However, in order to create such programming, the programmers have to be aware that political correctness is a set of rules which overrides truthful observation. But I think that could be figured out in order to avoid lawsuits and bad PR.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 22, 2017 at EST pm

Posted in Technology

AI and the future of censorship

One of the reasons why the internet has become such a bastion of free speech is that there is such a massively huge volume of stuff on the internet that it’s impossible for human censors to censor everything (even though Facebook has been trying by hiring thousands of human censors).

The future of censorship is AI-based, and it’s very scary indeed. Once AI can be trained to detect “racist” writings, it can go through the billions of postings on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and delete everything “racist.” Google could even put this technology into Gmail, thus preventing you from sending or receiving any email that’s deemed “racist.”

Today we live in a bubble of free speech, but it’s a temporary bubble.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 21, 2017 at EST am

Posted in Technology

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