Brief, Thoughts

Why Machines need Life ? / Pourquoi les Machines ont besoin de la Vie?

French version below + sujet aussi important que cool

I recently started to consider an interstellar survival of the machines alone as the most probable scenario for what will be left of us in the long term, given there are no reason to think that Humanity will one day inhabit autonomously a place which is not the Earth.
In extenso this means therefore the true narrative of Life is to be the booting process of a congregations of thousand years old robots adapted to conditions that wouldn’t allow Life and to cross the space on timescales longer than the whole Human History that they’ll have embbeded in their own circuits beyond the confines of our galaxy.

But it recently came to me a consideration that makes this whole schema of thoughts collapses as a beneficial and durable outcome of the Life on Earth.

To keep being, machines have to replace defective parts, to maintain, to update and to grow with the amount of data their process are generating.
But there are no new part without a system to think, to design, to obtain the raw materials, to produce, to route and to recycle this new part.
But there are no such system without fire as those process are requiring energy and minerals working.
But there are no fire without oxygenated air and dried organic materials.
But there are no dried organic materials without Life.

This means that, the day Life will perish, that’s the immortality of machines that will disappear with.
Would they also boot the production of something transcending their end if we get to make them at least as humans as we are?

Addendum: after discussing this topic with friends, we couldn’t pinpoint any part of the process of making electronic components that required explicit fire instead of heat. Similarly for taking off and landing which can use abundant hydrogen instead of hydrocarbons.
There might be missing a clear view on the process dependent of fossil materials, but a priori robots shouldn’t be that much dependent from Life…

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Je m’étais récemment mis à considérer la survie interstellaire de la machine seule comme scénario le plus probable de ce qu’il restera de nous à long terme, partant qu’il n’y a aucune raison de penser à ce jour que l’Humanité habitera de façon autonome un endroit qui n’est pas la Terre.
In extenso cela signifie que le véritable narratif de la vie c’est d’être le processus d’amorçage d’une congrégation de robots millénaires adaptés à des conditions qui ne permettraient pas la vie et traversant l’espace sur des durées plus longues que l’Histoire Humaine qu’ils embarqueraient dans leurs circuits jusqu’aux confins de la galaxie.

Or il m’est récemment venu une considération qui fait s’effondrer ce schéma de pensées comme une issue favorable et durable à la vie terrestre.

Pour continuer d’être, les machines devront remplacer leurs parties défectueuses, se maintenir à jour et croître avec les données que leurs processus génèrent.
Or, il n’y a pas de nouvelle pièce sans système pour penser, concevoir, obtenir les matières premières, produire, acheminer et retraiter cette nouvelle pièce.
Or il n’y a pas de tel système sans feu car ces processus requièrent de l’énergie et le travail de minerais.
Or il n’y a pas de feu sans un air oxygéné et de la matière organique sèche.
Or il n’y a pas de matière organique sèche sans vie.

Cela signifie que, le jour où la vie périra, c’est l’immortalité des machines qui disparaîtra avec elle.
Est-ce qu’elles aussi amorceront la production de quelque chose transcendant leur fin si nous parvenons à les rendre au moins aussi humaines que nous?

Addendum: après en avoir discuté avec des amis, nous ne pouvions relever de partie du processus de fabrication de composants électroniques qui requérait explicitement la présence de feu, plutôt que de chaleur. Pareillement pour le décollage et l’atterrissage qui peuvent utiliser l’hydrogène, abondant, plutôt que les hydrocarbures.
Il manque sans doute une vision claire des procédés dépendants des matières fossiles, mais a priori les robots ne seraient pas si dépendants de la Vie que ça…

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Inspiration on the dependence between fire and Life
Inspiration sur la dépendance entre le feu et la Vie

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Mon immense coup de cœur du moment c’est Etienne Klein: un homme à l’esprit travaillé et aux intuitions façonnées avec la rigueur des grands professeurs. C’est un régal de l’entendre et ça m’aide à gagner confiance dans mes recherches de l’écouter présenter le raisonnement de grands hommes du passé.

Et puis, ces derniers temps, il traite bien plus de la diffusion de la connaissance scientifique du point de vue pédagogique après les immenses cafouillages de la pandémie covid. Dans l’intervention ci-dessous, Il soulève d’ailleurs des questions de société très intéressantes face à l’éducation aux savoirs scientifiques, à l’usage de la raison verbale et à la compréhension de la recherche scientifique par les masses.

C’est un véritable combat face à la désinformation et je trouve dommage qu’on soulève davantage les foules dans la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique que dans la lutte face à la désinformation (l’intox, l’effet Dunning-Kruger, les biais cognitifs, etc.).
Pour la préservation des valeurs qui nous permettent de faire société, et parce que l’appauvrissement financier et le déficit éducatif qui vont résulter de la situation présente auront un impact encore plus lourd si on les passe sous silence, je ne peux que fortement appuyer sa démarche et propager son message.
Je vous invite donc très chaleureusement à au moins prendre conscience du problème en écoutant cette excellente, et encore très récente, intervention du professeur de sciences, vulgarisateur et philosophe Etienne Klein.

La structure, et non la diffusion, de la connaissance étant dans mon credo, je me suis pris à penser après cette intervention riche et plaisante. Je réfléchissais à une éducation par l’usage d’un paradigme langagier (pas uniquement) polysémique et par l’usage d’un autre paradigme langagier strictement monosémique.
Car on ne peut détruire la polysémie sans détruire la pensée poétique, et on ne peut la généraliser sans détruire la pensée scientifique. L’usage des deux en bon contexte me semble être ce qui est le plus pertinent.

Je crois que le monde se porterait mieux si chaque individu pouvait s’exprimer dans ces deux paradigmes langagiers, même s’il ne sort pas du cadre du langage verbal naturel. Cela offrirait des perspectives nécessaires à une meilleure compréhension du monde dès le plus jeune âge, alors qu’une conception limitée de son environnement en limite également l’analyse et la lecture, mais également un premier apprentissage de l’usage de différents paradigmes de perception et de réflexion.

Dans la continuité de cette approche duale de l’information, repenser aussi la façon dont la Presse présente ses sujets serait intéressant.
L’information, débarrassée de ses meta-informations, ne peut être analysée, jugée et sous-pesée; un article de presse seul, ou une séquence du JT, est rarement suffisant pour fournir quelque chose d’à la fois pertinent, complet et correct. Le journaliste fournit de l’information, par moment erronée ou trop succincte, qu’on ne peut que choisir de croire. Le journalisme ne produit pas les sources des études, les variances des moyennes, les faits scientifiques exacts, l’analyse des raisonnements, la re-contextualisation Historique, etc. Rien qui offre matière à se sentir suffisamment informé sur un sujet, on devrait dire que nous sommes “alertés” par la presse et qu’elle nous laisse en loisible de déterminer la justesse de cette alarme.
Et l’approche reposant sur une mitigation entre le point de vue du spécialiste et celui de l’homme de la rue pour traiter un sujet est un terrible désastre. On fournit aux deux une information indigeste qui ne correspond aux besoins de personne.

Il faut considérer que, sur tout sujet, un individu est badaud ou expert.
Dès lors, un bon traitement médiatique devrait posséder une explication pour les badauds, de préférence en langage naturel et très vulgarisée sans être fausse, et une explication pour les experts avec des des termes et des éléments méticuleusement choisis pour être compris partiellement ou totalement par les individus concernés.

Ainsi, je m’attends à ne pas comprendre le vocabulaire et le fond de problèmes sur des sujets comme la régulation des espèces invasives dans les articles qui toucheront chasseurs, gardes forestiers, eco-recenseurs, employés du ministère de l’écologie, etc. Mais la section réservée aux badauds me suffira pour avoir une vue à haut-niveau sur un sujet qui ne me concerne pas directement et sur lequel je peux peu de choses.
En revanche, si l’on fait une découverte mathématique intéressante, j’espère en lire les formules et principes dans le résumé destiné aux experts car l’article parlera davantage à ma curiosité.

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And, in case you wondered, that’s my “I’m alive and still working on Serf” post. There were some great improvements during this long absence, but it’s still an ongoing thing ;D

Brief, SERF

Dead Man’s Switch

Hi everyone, long time no see! So here it’s time to debrief a bit about what I was up to and what about the other blog threads I let on pause for a while.

First, I’m really glad to announce that I made a good use of that second lockdown by putting together everything Serf-related (even TreeAlgebra, MetaMesa, LabAware, BrainFarm, openBrainTer,…). This means that they’ll be new material for MetaMesa but I’m not sure how to release it yet.

But the real point is to realize a synthesis that won’t be easily lost.
Life is stupidly short, it has never been designed for people to accumulate knowledge and work on long-term projects; that’s a commodity of modern society and long lifespan. Truth is, a virus or a car could take your life the next day and every long term progression will be lost with it.

As I’m living in the fear of dying anytime, I made such an ambitious project (with this blog as a corollary) to give to my last breath the satesficit of having brought something worth it and meaningful with it. As the risk of death, or being unable to complete this project, is real; I decided to realize some sort of fail-safe which consists of a 2.7GB PDF containing 1604 pages of raw notes messily organized and badly formatted (the pleasure of working with LaTeX from so many sources).

This document is in a mix of French and English, it’s not sorted by themes and could be really hard to understand as I still need to produce a cleaner version (but it’ll come in the long run). Although I have some hopes that publishing it will prevent these notes to become fully lost if anything happens; like there’ll be hope for someone to maybe take over and extract the most interesting bits out of it.
It will be published here in 20years from now on, unless I decide to unschedule it but, even if I get to make a clean version, I doubt to ever remove those notes from publication.
This constitute my “dead man’s switch”.

What about other threads ?

It seems I’m gaining more regular readers those days. Meaning if I keep posting “in a rush” before getting to sleep and rework it the next day because one of my sentence isn’t intelligible or I’m missing the cover picture of the post, the readers who will get them “fresh” will also have a more drafty version of the post. (it even happened that I rewrote almost completely a post the next day)

But this blog is also a raw thoughts realm where I try to keep my pleasure of “open brainstorming” instead of “closed reworking”.
I mean I’m starting to feel compel to be more parsimonious and rigorous in this exercise, to better show what I’m capable of, but that’ll reduce my pleasure and my productivity far from the initial lean philosophy of “build it first, fix it later”.

The thread on LYFE, for instance, has 3 drafts pending and I can’t figure out how to get back on it. I’ll probably need to better understand the Gray-Scott model and to give some thoughts on why removing metabolism, which defaults to only one-loop, the homeostasis one, instead of 2 opposite feedback loops, is an ok model. (in signal processing, you can do a lot of weird stuff, but biological models have a lot of constraints preventing you to play with scales of values)

As I said in the previous paragraph, the Meta-Mesa topic really evolved well those last months and I’d be glad to publish something about it but it’s also part of the work I need to put in synthesis and clean up of my raw notes PDF.
Let’s see how this go but, going forward with this document, I’ll probably have old and new topics to publish about in the coming months or years.

Well… That’s it for now! If you want to see more about that dead man’s switch, let’s meet here in 2040! (don’t forget to program the reminder in your robot butler or your talking self-flying car, obviously)

Brief, Lyfe, Thoughts

My Take on LYFE Part I: Expectations and Hype

So I still need to write down the next Meta/Mesa post from my notes, as this tool is still intriguing to me; but my interest shifted incredibly fast after reading this article (in French) which refers to the article Defining Lyfe in the Universe: From Three Privileged Functions to Four Pillars.

So, you know me; strong, sudden and powerful hype that doesn’t last (especially after I wrote a post about a given topic). BUT… this publication is fresh, extremely cool, and people will keep talking about it in the coming years (no joke, check the stats below)

LYFE article: impact progress since publication

Therefore, what is that LYFE (pronounced “Loife”) about?

In short, it is a functional theory of life as well as most general form (Life being a subset of Lyfe) that rests on those 4 functions:

  • Autocatalysis
  • Homeostasis
  • Dissipation
  • Learning

From those, they predict theoretical form of “lyfes” that “life” hasn’t produced. For instance, here below a mechanotroph organism that uses mechanical energy extracted from a fluid to produce ATP similarly to photosynthesis in the green leaves of our plants.

Theoretic mechanotroph organism

In short, it theorizes that a Gray-Scott model that could learn would be a living creature (validating all 4 functions therefore being an instance of Lyfe)

Simulation of a Gray-Scott model

As any engineer, I did learn statistical thermodynamics and I am still fascinated by Boltzmann work, but there’s nothing I could bring that David Louapre, Stuart Bartlett or Michael Wong wouldn’t put on the table (actually, I couldn’t bring anything at all on the avenue crossing thermodynamics and biology if it’s not neuron-related)

But that’s perfectly fine because I am looking at it on a totally different perspective!
I’d like to review their work step-by-step on this blog and produce a translation to computer science based on information theory (which obeys similar laws to thermodynamic… or the other way around) in order to theorize what would make a software component “alyve” (Y can’t wayt for the result!)

And, as my blog is about raw thoughts and freedom of speech, I’ll put some here about the main functions:

  • Learning might be an expandable function/category as I don’t believe just putting some Hebbian rule there would encompass the whole concept of learning
  • The most obvious parallel to algorithm is a Boltzmann machine, but temperature is there a metaheuristic parameter that correspond more to internal state than to processed data
  • Dissipation is not clear to me yet; I believe any running instance should be considered a dissipative system
  • Autocatalysis is the one that gives me to most trouble to put in the context of information system. Would it be like a function that spawns threads as it runs? How does it saturate in our case? Should we consider something like a charge of tasks (sensors, actuators or programs) to be processed?
  • Homeostasis might be the easiest starting point; it should be simulable with a Proportional-Integrative controller in a closed loop system, and is also linked to what dissipation and autocatalysis will apply
  • Could the Gray-Scott model be used to spawn naturally multi-agent systems?

Gosh seems so cool! I can’t wait to start!
Oh wait… I still need to send CV to find a new job… If anyone has heard about a cool researcher/PhD candidate position, that would help :’)

Brief, Thoughts

The wel-maneered paradigm: a raw thought

In a well-maneered paradigm, well-éducated bots are educated to minimize their “non-compliant” responses to that paradigm.
Minimizing it offers more availability to process more paradigms for non-compliances. Those extra paradigms cannot be disconnected or unslotted, they have to keep living or their processing power will shift towards more present paradigms.
Minimizing processing power for low-utility paradigms allows to reallocate the processing power to high-utility paradigms. This processing power is instanteanous and parallel, such as multicores that couldn’t virtualize by acceleration.

The second assumption is; the tasks are ordered by vital importance (as per selective evolution, or other mecanisms). That way, if a task requires a sudden rush of processing powers, it might not only takes it from available ones, but also from less vital tasks; causing a “lose of focus”.

Let’s assume a disturbance in our well-maneered paradigm. We introduce an ill-educated bot.
Practically, our bots are communicators in both direction with internal state space. Under this, there are many internal states evolving according to the input and internal loops values and observed or (internally) executed transitions.

The consequence is to cause an overload of the well-educated bots. As the well-maneered paradigm of the bot is different, assuming it is consistent to be formalized/stated, its behavior will cause a lot of responses to the well-educated bots [zone]. This will make a lose of focus, and might trigger agressive behavior as continued interruption is weakening other tasks performance provision. (reject of the bot in order to re-establish the main focus)
The other consequence, if the disturbance persists, is the lessening of the non-compliant answers. This enlarges the current well-maneered paradigm to less distinguish between these.
[fight, flight or adapt]

Although, some sort of distinguishment might provide disturbance as another paradigm to integrate?

Brief, Thoughts

The Curious Task of Computation

There are really 2 shapes of reality:

The physical world, with its realm of mysterious relations and this weird capacity to be the same for all of us, and the sensory world, which is a really intimate experience extremely difficult to describe (especially if you don’t share much DNA with us Humans).

As we’re not that good to make something objective out of the physical world with our subjective senses, we elaborated Physics; as a way to describe the physical world based on how it act upon itself. Meaning we can only correlate physical events with other physical events; building models made of wavelengths and energies. Things that have no meaning to our sensory world.

From the second one, we elaborated psychology; as a way to describe the sensory world based on other sensing agents. Meaning we try to correlate ideas based on interpreted experiences and derive models. Similarly, it’s the sensory world acting upon itself, but with the extra difficulty of accounting for a variety of opaque sensory worlds. Even if the architecture is genetically similar, we cannot see what’s inside or understand it from the physical world perspective.

And, in-between, as a way to match those really odds worlds, there’s the curious task computation. This domain is a way to match bidirectionally physical events with sensory events; to have the information from the physical bit to an intelligible idea or function, then back to the bit.

Giving this, my point is a question you should ask yourself:
Are we really filling the objective we gave ourselves?

 

Addendum: this is inspired, but different, than Hayek’s analysis in “The Sensory Order”. In his approach, he talks about “orders” instead of “worlds” used in this article.
Comparatively, in Serf Layer, the “physical world” is “perception” and the “sensory world” is “interpretation”. Which I believe is much more intuitive to expose them functionally. But Hayek wrote this in a much different era where computers were still a post-war secret and the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was a recent book.

Brief, Thoughts

The curious crusade of today

It seems today that social networks are the vehicles to a complete nihilistic approach of the information that expands because it can only do so. Here’s my reasoning;

In 2019, everything that is neither too violent or pornographic can, and probably will, be seen. The “rule 34” is even a way to refer to that idea of content explosion. Which is awesome, considering Humanity always had limited communication as a well-established fact.

Then you have the special case of what is “shocking”. If there’s a strong consensus over violence and porn, though the threshold differs from an individual to another, the consensus fall a part when points of view differ.
Atheists are more tolerant to blasphemies, nudists are more tolerant to nakedness, war victims are less tolerant to violence, etc. According to who we are, we don’t expect the same content in the same way; some “alarms” might be triggered more easily.

Except that it’s a case of the past.
What gets to buzz is not really what is the most enjoyable, but what creates debates and polarization. But, when the controversy is about showing something or not, the ban camp already lost. As the polemic will grow, the interest in the information that needed to be hidden is now buzzing (the Streisand effect).

Finally, you cannot fight for censorship in this new connected age; it just makes it worst.
Then, does it mean that no sensitivity should be spared?
Some people can be really hurt by opinions aimed at their believes or communities, but they will have to avoid what shocks them and hold their griefs, to avoid igniting the social networks. Whatever are you true believes, censorship worldwide seems good to decline until disappearance, because it simply became obsolete.

But, then, nihilism will become the apparent norm; as the only way to communicate. Kids will grow in constant nihilism, some becoming culturally passionless and extremely tolerant to content. Is that a good thing ?

Eventually, politically correct will shrink our domains of communication, and it will sort itself by having no matter for communication?

Brief, SERF

Bye openBrainTer

I’m slowly, but surely, transferring the remains of openBrainTer to Serf.

Damn that trial project was 4 years ago; it feels like going through the basics again, as the idea was already there. An open framework to develop a brain for your computer; openBrainTer (I might suck at naming softwares).  Except I now have a much deeper idea of what needs to be done.

I always skipped the FXML implementation part in openBrainTer, not willing to rethink everything within new standards. As I’m learning back JavaFX, I started without even considering doing otherwise than FXML. That’s a neat way to split your project in MVC, and I like to be able to add a css layer on top of it ^^

If you’ve never tried JavaFX before; just go for it! It gives you a lot of power and freedom over your UI; it makes your application shinny and helps you do better design for better UX.