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Brien Malone
Works at Clear Capital
Attended Tennessee Technological University
Lives in Roseville, CA
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Brien Malone

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The Neurologist Who Hacked His Brain—And Almost Lost His Mind - WIRED
Neurologist Phil Kennedy set out to build the ultimate brain-computer interface. In the process he almost lost his mind.
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Cautionary tale.
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Suzanne Vega's song Tom's Diner is a 90s staple, notable for being the song used by the creator of the ubiquitous MP3 format to fine tune his compression algorithm.
http://youtu.be/kXg5pOF2PvY

Sliding down the rabbit hole, I found this haunting echo of the song made up of the sounds lost by the compression algorithm. The video is fittingly made from the artifacts of the video compression algorithm. The result is not as musical as it is artistic.

https://vimeo.com/120153502

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+Larry Blumen and I had a discussion about how the brain represents numbers. Michael from the YouTube channel VSauce takes an interesting wander down that road... He mentions something Intuitive that I never considered. Logarithms.
(The whole talk is interesting, but jump to the 5:00 mark to cut to the chase.)
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Just beautiful... 

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Americans are "so sensitive" because we have lots of time. We aren't struggling for survival every minute of every day, so we have time to blame others for perceived injustice. Our always-on culture eliminates boredom, which has killed self-reflection time while enabling reactive monologues. In other words, Internet comments are about how this thing makes me feel right now.

Want to elevate the discourse on a youtube video? Institute a mandatory 2 day waiting period after viewing before commenting is allowed. Of course this is ridiculous, but imagine what would happen if this were possible. Trolls who seek low effort wins would fade as would the fire and forget knee jerk reactionists. Only those who care enough about a topic would return. Further, those who return would have sufficient time to mull over and refine their ideas before posting. 

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(A tl;dr post for phlosofizers)
The ambiguity of the question: "Do we have free will?" makes the linked survey pointless, but it is a great talking point.

I think looking for consensus among the interpretations of free will would be far more interesting.

On the surface, free will is the ability to make decisions free of coercion and compulsion, but coercion and compulsion by what? Other people? Biology? Prior experience? Environment?

Some think they possess free will because when faced with a situation similar to one they experienced in the past, they can make different choices. Some think they lack free will because when faced with the decision to drink or not drink alcohol, they are compelled to drink even though they know the outcome is self-destructive.

Some think the free will discussion has to start beyond repeated experiences.

For a given decision, if you could rewind time, effectively resetting the entire universe, would it even be possible to make a different decision? (I don't think it would) If not, does that imply a lack of free will?

A popular hypothesis says that individual universes exist in which every decision has been made. If that were true, it might mean that a different outcome is possible in a time-rewind. We would just follow a different path like a puck on a pachinko board. (I'm familiar with the observed quantum behavior behind this idea, but I'm not sold on this interpretation of a multiverse.)

You want to kill someone who infuriates you. Do you have free will because you choose not to act on that desire? Do you lack free will because you chose not to act on that desire because of legal consequences or a moral imperative? Do you have free will because you could choose to ignore the consequences and kill anyway?

If you walk outside without a jacket and it is -30°, your imminent death will compel you back inside. Is that the environment robbing you of free will under penalty of death? Do you have free will if you choose to die?

What if the agent was a despotic regime? A parent? Are these things compelling you to act or are they simply factors in making the decision? Is there a difference?

A more important question is: Why care? What is the point to having the answer to the free-will question?

Those who define free will by repeat-experience decision-making could use the no-free-will viewpoint as a reason to absolve criminal behavior or justify floating through life without making willful decisions. This is the domain of predestination (i.e. "My decisions don't matter.") and is counterproductive, in my opinion. On the flip side, belief in free-will for this group would be empowering.

Those who define free will by the time-rewind scenario are in a completely different arena. The no-free-will camp simply sees biological inevitability of the decision-making process. There is no absolution of decisions, just the recognition that we are the sum of our experiences and the product of what, how much and how often we eat and sleep, our individual biology and the messages we feed our brains. The free-will camp is similar, but takes a leap into more hypothetical territory.

These two definitions of free will are not exclusive. Both should be discussed. Finding a way to separate the two would be tremendously helpful. (PhD thesis anyone?)
Vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on this seminal question that has perplexed philosophers for millenia
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(I just made a bunch of edits to my mini thesis. )
Your take is that there isn't a universal standard, rather a personal interpretation?
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Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates: A Brief History of Everything in 8 minutes:
https://youtu.be/7KYTJ8tBoZ8
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What I find so interesting about this is that the learning mechanism is simple. It isn't making intuitive leaps or educated guesses, it is trying random things and adopting actions that improve fitness. I'm not belittling the accomplishment, I'm marveling that such a simple mechanism can 'learn'
 
Self-learning #ArtificialIntelligence completes one level of Super Mario in 34 attempts; various news outlets reported in June 2015. Here is the video, which inspired the reports: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv6UVOQ0F44

The Next Web wrote (14 June 2015): “MarI/O is a neural network that appears to be learning how to play Super Mario World by trial and error — just like you or I would. After playing the game for a bit, MarI/O learns which enemies do what (and when), then seems to decide on the best method for bypassing that enemy — just like you or I would.” http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/06/14/watch-this-learning-neural-network-annihilate-super-mario-world-with-ease/

Engadget wrote (17 June 2015): “Unlike other AI programs, MarI/O wasn't taught anything before jumping into the game -- it didn't even know that the end of the level was to its right -- instead, some simple parameters were set. The AI has a "fitness" level, which increases the further right the character reaches, and decreases when moving left. The AI knows that fitness is good, and so, once it figures out that moving right increases that stat, it's incentivized to continue doing so. ” http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/17/super-mario-world-self-learning-ai/

Mic.com wrote (15 June 2015): “On Saturday, programmer SethBling introduced the world to MarI/O, a Machine Learning program he created to play video games. There was one important tweak: Instead of being programmed to run the course perfectly, MarI/O had to learn how to play from scratch.” http://mic.com/articles/120657/this-computer-learned-super-mario-from-scratch-and-now-it-can-kick-your-ass

Vice Motherboard wrote (15 June 2015): “The program also recognizes when fitness tapers off (when Mario dies), and adds a mutation by making Mario jump or do something different on the next level generation. Essentially, it’s a machine version of evolution, making micro- or macro-adjustments as it needs to get through. ” http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-ai-used-neuroevolution-to-teach-itself-how-to-play-super-mario-world

See also: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2015/06/15/thankfully-mario-can-demystify-this-incredibly-important-fieldmachine-learning/

#MachineLearning
Perhaps it's that all the levels have simple, left-to-right objectives, or maybe it's just that they're so iconic, but for some reason older Mario games
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Here is an obscure arcade game with awesome music: Psychic 5
Also Raiden for PC track 9

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Did that just happen!? Awesome!!!!

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Need to understand a neuron to understand consciousness? Do you need to understand a water molecule to understand the tides? Yes and no. It is faster and easier to understand the behavior of macro systems by examining the system as a whole first. Once solid theories are established, they can be refined by information about how the individual elements behave. 
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Sr. Application Developer
Introduction
I am a life-long learner with deep interests in theoretical physics, astronomy, music, literature, robotics, computer science, mathematics, economics, history... in fact, what I'm most interested in is what I currently know nothing about. So, tell me something new!

I am a Solutions Architect with 20 years of IT experience. My primary focus is the full stack of web technologies, but I am also involved with Enterprise Software deployment and administration. (SharePoint, DAM, eLearning, eCommerce...etc.)


Education
  • Tennessee Technological University
    Computer Science, 1990 - 1992
  • University of Tennessee
    Computer Science, 1992 - 1993
  • University of Phoenix
    Business/eBusiness, 2006 - 2008
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Brien Blumen
Work
Occupation
Sr. Application Developer
Skills
Full stack web, MS-SQL Server Administration, MS Server Administration, Enterprise Software Integration Projects, IT Project Management, IT Department Management
Employment
  • Clear Capital
    Sr. Application Developer, 2014 - present
    ColdFusion / Java Development.
  • SuiteAmerica
    Sr Solutions Architect, 2013 - 2014
  • Gemological Institute of America
    Manager, Web Development (Solutions Architect), 2001 - 2013
  • PiNGPoNG.CoM
    Webmaster/Web Developer, 1999 - 2001
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Roseville, CA
Previously
Nashville - Cookeville - Knoxville - San Diego - Hong Kong - Phoenix
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