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Daniel Estrada
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Daniel Estrada

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That's not creepy at all.
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Harvard's Octobot is the first autonomous machine to be made with all soft robotics. "This Octobot from Harvard is the first that not only contains no hard parts but is also entirely autonomous."

It's really slow. But it works. You know what they say, before you get the bear to dance well, you have to get it to dance. Or octopus swim, in this case.

"The struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together."

"The robot is mostly 3D printed, and afterwards its body is inlaid with channels that both power and govern its movement. That movement is pneumatic, powered by gas derived from hydrogen peroxide, the robot's fuel. It pushes fluid through the limbs, inflating them."
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> An agent is one who acts. In order to act, one must initiate one's action. And one cannot initiate one's action without exercising one's power to do so. Since nothing and no one has the power to act except the agent herself, she alone is entitled to exercise this power, if she is entitled to act. This means that insofar as someone is an agent, i.e., insofar as she is one who acts — she is correct to regard her own commitments to acting, her own judgments and decisions about how she should act, as authoritative. Indeed, if she were to challenge the authority that is an essential feature of her judgments and decisions, then they would cease to be her own practical conclusions. Their power to move her would cease to be a manifestation of her power to move herself; it would not be the power of her own agency.


// I want to object to just about everything in this paragraph, but that second sentence in particular fills me with rage.

It is an unjustified assumption that is exactly false, and yet none of the resources developed afterwards have the capacity to correct it. This is a clean and simple example of how philosophers build elaborate temples to nothing.

> In order to act, one must initiate one's action.

// In fact:

- You are not one, but many
- Actions are not "initiated", but flow dynamically from one to the next.
- Your multiplicities are all locked into this dynamic at many different scales of organization
- Your actions are identified and individuated from this dance, and there's lots of ways to do it. Because you are not one, but many.

To even talk about "one's action" already misses the metaphysics underlying action. The hierarchical picture of autonomy assumes a unity of identity (not just a unity of consciousness or perception, but a unity of identity itself) that is simply a non-starter in this domain.

The discussion here collapses before it even gets off the ground, and then just flops there, helpless. 
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On the flip side - explain how you pick up a cup of water, without using your ability to pick up cups of water? You can't slice that salami thin enough to avoud the problem. You want to cut it into a zillion pieces of semi-independent actors? Well, none of them can take any action without using their ability to do so.
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+Isaac Kuo  > An animal randomly picking stocks performs, on average, about as well as an index fund.

If this were true than index funds would be zero return on average long run, spending as much time above as below zero, a random walk. But economic activity is correlated with index funds return so that can't be true.

Agree with everything else you said.
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> Intriguingly, Yong argues that human immune cells are akin more to park rangers than to xenophobes, carefully wrangling the microbial zoo, modulating its population dynamics and responding to its chatter. The degradation and collapse of coral reefs in warm, acidic waters is due not only to direct effects of global warming, but also to the disruption of relationships in microbial communities.
It seems that, instead of being self-contained, the contents of the human gene kit are generously supplemented by a plethora of extraneous components. These riches come from the topsy-turvy world of microorganisms, symbionts whose products bolt onto the more modest collection furnished by their hosts. The implications of this extra informational dimension, and how it interweaves with our genes, are explored in four new books.
Adrian Woolfson examines four books on the microbiological universe that churns within us.
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Bilaterians are the spaceships of microbes.
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Corporation Chaos
We own you
4:45 & H

// I'll be off the main grid and on the BM dev branch until Sept 5th.

If you're in my networks and on the playa come say hi! You can also catch me with the roving Ask a Philosopher booth. If you hear an obnoxious philosopher harassing people outside the porta potties, there's a nonzero chance it's me. 
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> In a test lab, Bert2 -- a humanoid robot with three separate displays, allowing its eyes and mouth to express various emotions -- performed in three different ways. One was silent and made zero mistakes, while a second was mute and programmed to make a single blunder (which it would then correct, quietly). A third was able to speak and accept simple "yes" or "no" responses from the user. In a basic kitchen scenario, the vocal android would apologise for its mistakes -- after dropping an egg, for instance -- and give a heads-up when it was about to try a new technique.

While the slowest, it was the robot that most people preferred.

But here's where it gets interesting. At the end of the exchange, the robot would ask for a job. Some participants were reluctant to say no -- even if they preferred the silent, more efficient robot -- because they thought it would upset the machine. "It felt appropriate to say no, but I felt really bad saying it," one of the test participants said. "When the face was really sad, I felt even worse. I felt bad because the robot was trying to do its job."

Full article:
via 李卓

The side effects of making machines more human.
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In the part you quoted, I think the author is making an unsupported inference in saying people "thought" they might upset a machine, when the test participant they quoted specifically talked about how they "felt".

I think just about everyone at some point has the experience of feeling sympathy of an inanimate object even though they know better. Hell, I said "goodbye" to my old apartment as I was moving out of it last week. It doesn't mean I thought the apartment could hear me.
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This is the best animated GIF ever. All other GIFs wish they could be this awesome, but they never will be.
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I just took the 2nd fastest Factorio speedrun time nbd
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The world record speedrun for factorio is currently just barely under 2 hours. My best time is about 15 hours, although I am not trying to be fast. Yes, it is a long-running game.
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> The 15-millimeter long soft robot harvests energy from green light and is controlled by spatially modulated laser beam. Apart from travelling on flat surfaces, it can also climb slopes, squeeze through narrow slits and transport loads.

via +Wayne Radinsky
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Ha ha, +Daniel Estrada.
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> Hyperemployment is an idea, advanced by Ian Bogost, which links contemporary technological developments with a qualitative and quantitative change in personal workloads. His argument is that technology – far from acting in a labour-saving capacity – is in fact generative of ever more tasks and responsibilities. As Bogost puts it in an article for The Atlantic:

>> It’s easy to see email as unwelcome obligations, but too rarely do we take that obligation to its logical if obvious conclusion: those obligations are increasingly akin to another job—or better, many other jobs. For those of us lucky enough to be employed, we’re really hyperemployed—committed to our usual jobs and many other jobs as well. It goes without saying that we’re not being paid for all these jobs, but pay is almost beside the point, because the real cost of hyperemployment is time. We are doing all those things others aren’t doing instead of all the things we are competent at doing. And if we fail to do them, whether through active resistance or simple overwhelm, we alone suffer for it: the schedules don’t get made, the paperwork doesn’t get mailed, the proposals don’t get printed, and on and on.

> So, Bogost is talking about the unremunerated labour we are now obliged to take on ourselves, which other people once performed for pay. In some ways, this is a comment about the redistribution of clerical labour in the face of downsizing, cuts, or profit maximization for organizations, as well as increased workloads and suppressed pay for administrators. Activities that were once within the remit of specialized roles have now been spread across a wider spectrum of the population, as various services have been dismantled. And to be clear, Bogost’s discussion encompasses not just workplace email, but many other kinds of technologically mediated tasks as well – from electronic time cards and expense reports for our employers, to any online communication and organization we might need to perform for our households, to the mundane micro-labour associated with user-generated content for sites like Facebook and Twitter. When we take our own blood pressure at the doctors, or issue our own books at the library, or check out our own groceries – when we perform any of these newly individualized tasks, which would once have been undertaken by paid workers – all of this testifies to a state of hyperemployment. As such, we can be hyperemployed even if we are out of work (and indeed, the amount of form filling, appointment organizing, and self-assessment required from job seekers suggests that it is hard to be unemployed without being in a constant state of hyperemployment).

Despite the range of this discussion, however, it is the spectre of contemporary waged labour which looms largest over Bogost’s analysis, as reflected by his insistence that ‘we work increasingly hard for increasingly little, only to come home to catch up on the work we can’t manage to work on at work’. Waged labour – in the form of actual paid work or in the form of the dynamics of paid work – is infiltrating the home; work is weighing rather too heavily on the work-life balance, and information and communication technologies are increasingly enabling us to bring the office with us wherever we go – or, better put, preventing us from ever leaving the office wherever we go. The feminist Cristina Morini similarly gestures towards this idea, pointing to the ‘home office or the domestication of work which delineates the new home landscape of work’. For Morini, ‘Private life and working life are combined inside domestic spaces and the two environments are mutually transformed into hybrids’ prompting her to ask: ‘Does the house expand to encompass working arrangements themselves, or, conversely, does work invade an intimate and protected area?’ These comments are very telling, because they point to one of the limitations of this idea of hyperemployment.

It appears as if Bogost is assuming the existence of distinct spheres here, with the sphere of production sullying and encroaching upon the sphere of reproduction. For various reasons, however, this distinction – the existence of which is asserted in this implicit account of its breaching – does not hold. For some, the home has long been experienced as a place of work – namely, for working class women, minority ethnic women, and other socially and economically disenfranchised women. The home is also a well-established site of labour for women in full-time employment. The home is not so much a ‘protected area’, as Morini suggests, as an additional workplace and the backdrop of an unwaged second (or third, or nth…) shift. The concept of hyperemployment ‘extends beyond social media and e-mail and is really a form of housework and maintenance for our daily lives’.

via +AB Helton
by Helen Hester. hester. Femininity, Technologies, Work. In an advert for Recognition Equipment in 1966, a young woman with a charming smile places an arm around her male colleague's shoulder, and rests her head gently against him as he tries to read some very serious and important paperwork.
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One example that comes to mind: there's the empowerment of being able to do things like typeset my own math papers, and the disempowerment of having to do it, while many journals charge even more for subscriptions than when they did the typesetting.  Frankly I prefer doing my own typesetting, because it's more likely to come out right and I can distribute my papers without waiting for them to be published by a journal.  But the journals still manage to suck resources from university libraries, in a clever parastic sort of way. 
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Basic Information
Other names
Robot. Made of robots.
I've written under the handle Eripsa for over a decade on various blogs and forums. Today I do my blogging and research at Fractional Actors and on my G+ stream.

I'm interested in issues at the intersection of the mind and technology. I write and post on topics ranging from AI and robotics to the politics of digital culture.

Specific posting interests are described in more detail here and here.


So I'm going to list a series of names, not just to cite their influence on my work, but really to triangulate on what the hell it is I think I'm doing. 

Alan Turing, W.V.O. Quine, Norbert Wiener, Herbert Simon, Dan Dennett, Andy Clark, Bruce Sterling, Bruno Latour, Aaron Swartz, John Baez, OWS, and Google. 


My avatar is the symbol for Digital Philosophy. You can think of it as a digital twist on Anarchism, but I prefer to think of it as the @ symbol all grown up. +Kyle Broom helped with the design. Go here for a free button with the symbol.

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Wildomar, CA - Riverside, CA - Urbana, IL - Normal, IL - Harlem, NY - Onjuku, Japan - Hong Kong, China - Black Rock City, NV - Santa Fe Springs, CA - Princeton, NJ
Daniel Estrada's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Santa Fe Institute

Complexity research expanding the boundaries of science

Center Camp

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Augmata Hive

experimenting with synthetic networks

Ars Technica

Serving the technologist for over 1.3141592 x 10⁻¹ centuries

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