attribute: Phillie Casablanca

A step into 2016

A new year starts, and new, or rather old, questions re-emerge.

What should be the focus of this year? Or, perhaps, I would be better to ask, "will I find a focus this year?".
While I have managed to sporadically learn and do.

A long time friend passed away this passed year, and before passing we had several discussions around finding something "worth doing".

He came to the following key focal points in life while bored in the hospital:

- Understanding by doing
- Remove barriers to happiness
- self-reflection is required for self improvement
- creation is better than consumption
- people are more important than property or profits
- Learning is good

These points struck close to home with me, probably because we've grown together through many lunch time and after work discussions.
I like to think we were both heading toward a "way" that allows us to give more back to this world.

Richard Feynman's quote, "I can't understand what I cannot create", always struck a chord with me, and I feel that the above "understanding by doing" is tackling the same area. And "creation is better than consumption" covers this a bit as well, but pulls in some concern for the current "consumption" oriented culture we currently exist in. I struggle with this as well.

Regarding happiness, my belief has been that happiness cannot exist without sadness. I understand the desire to want to be happy and help make other's happy, but I wonder if it's not a zero sum game. Meaning that your past sadness is payment for your current happiness. At the same time however, I understand that a simple smile from a stranger can brighten your day. From the "a smile can change the world" perspective, perhaps the little things can add up to push the balance in happiness' favor, but it can be hard to see their effect.

It saddens me to think that it takes tragedy to initiate a re-evaluation of priorities. Hopefully, I will be able to harness this tragedy before it fades, and make a lasting change for the better. Can I take these axioms and refine them so that they can offer a guidepost to look to when I get lost? I hope so.

monkut // Jan. 7, 2016 // 3:36 a.m.

AI and the future of work?

I wonder where our jobs will be in 10 to 20 years.
Techniques in Machine Learning and understanding of pattern classification are continuing to improve, and processing power continues to get cheaper, when will it be cheaper to throw a computer at a problem? As it becomes easier to apply ML to optimization problems, the human optimizers will gradually be replaced by the machines. When they get replaced, the value of "knowing" and "understanding" a system will decline. With "knowing" devalued, where does that leave us. Will "thinking" be lost? I suppose it's the same worry repeated by each generation. Books, radio, television, each new technology, when introduced, raises concerns and prophecies of the decline of civilization.

The rise of the machines began with the industrial revolution, or really with the beginning of tool making.
These initial paradigm shifts threatened the laborer. Allowing more and more of the population to shift from manual labor to "thought" or "knowledge" work, speeding the advancement of knowledge. With the rise of machine learning, however, it is the "knowledge" work that is threatened. Marking a shift from "thought" work, to where? As we move our focus from knowledge and understanding, where will our minds go? Will we turn into merely consumers of AI productions, gradually falling more and more into poverty? Or, will the the AI, or various AIs, have mercy on us, keep production costs low, and allow us to step closer to utopia?

Are there precautions that we can take, and if so what would they be?

monkut // Sept. 26, 2015 // 3:02 a.m.

"Dark Matter & Dark Energy" a misunderstanding?

I'm re-watching Lawrence M. Krauss's Cosmology Hakunetsu Kyoshitsu, and he discusses dark mater/energy and the expanding universe.

I wonder if the concepts of dark energy and dark matter are only a misunderstanding of "space".
As Einstein taught us gravity is a warping of space caused by matter.

"Warping" has been a bit of red herring for me, as it is often described as a flat sheet with small an large "ball" placed on it, and when you put the small ball down it is "attracted" to the larger due to the indention of the sheet. This is a warping, but it reality, I think it may be more accurate to describe it as a compression of space.

In other words, a mass has a compressing effect on the space around it.

Now the common belief seems to be that space is a separate "entity" from matter. I think it may be this belief that has lead us to the concepts of "dark matter & energy".

However, what if energy/matter are interlinked with space. In effect a quantity of matter is linked with a quantity of space. So that multiple quantities of matter at the same location would increase the "density" of space for that area.

How does this apply to the expanding universe and dark matter/energy?
What if the "empty" space between galaxies is not as "full of space" than we currently think.
Without space to "hold" galaxies together, perhaps they would expand and accelerate away from each other. Much like when you take gum, stretch it and let half drop to the ground. As the gum streches and less and less of it hold it to the other half it begins to accelerate toward the ground.

It's probably simple to test this idea with maths... but not simple enough for me, at least at this moment...
Maybe some day I'll take a look at the numbers...

monkut // March 28, 2015 // 12:33 p.m.

The chord of existence

What are we?

We exist, but only we can fully "know" our existence.

We interact. And through these interactions we live.

Our being is like a complex collection of strings, playing the "chord" of you.
When we meet and interact there are moments where our strings resonate with the other.
You will never have full resonance, the state where every string is played the same,
but the more strings in tune with the other the stronger your connection.

Your chord is not static, but changes slightly when a resonance is struck.
When a change occurs, you, in effect, carry a part of the other, and the other becomes a little bit of you.

When you don't physically share the same space as another, you ring out alone.
At this moment, to the rest of the world, your chord is silent. And in effect you are dead.
At that moment, only you are aware of your existence.

However, parts of you continue to sound.
They are the parts that are carried by the changes you've made in the others you've resonated with.
This is the echo of you.

Your existence continues through this echo.
Keep tuning, and searching for those that may help you find a better tone.

monkut // Jan. 31, 2015 // 12:11 p.m.


Everyone is searching.

Some are better than others.
It's not how that matters, only that you do.
Help where you can.

There is no end

Enjoy the journey.

monkut // Jan. 21, 2015 // 3:44 a.m.