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Gideon Rosenblatt
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Gideon Rosenblatt

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The Automation of the Publishing Industry

This is a new piece, a super in-depth look at the impact that automation has had on the publishing industry. There's lots of research in this one, as I dug into the actual impact that automation has had on newspaper, magazine and book publishers, as well as employment amongst writers, editors and other people in this industry. The results actually surprised me;  it's a more nuanced story than what I'd imagined. 

The other thing this piece does is look at what the automation of publishing is doing to the packaging of human knowledge, and how we are starting to see the early signs of a very new type of publishing, a wrapping of our information in a layer of artificial intelligence along the lines of Google Now and other virtual personal assistants. 

This piece was a lot of work and I'd like to get it to people in the publishing sector who might find it useful. If you know someone in that industry, and you find this piece interesting, please consider helping me get this to them. 

#automation   #publishing   #media   #ai  
An in-depth look at the automation of the publishing industry.
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“What I’m looking forward to is combining Google Earth with the kind of dynamic data coming out of Earth Engine—data on deforestation, floods, temperatures,” Moore says. “If you render that kind of information on Google Earth, it becomes a living, breathing dashboard of the planet. You can put in everyone’s hands, not just charts and graphs of what’s going on, but high-resolution information that’s sitting, almost literally, on the surface of the earth.” It’s like Askay’s work at the James Reserve. But on much larger scale.
Paired with AI and VR, Google Earth Will Change the Planet

virtual reality—as exhibited by headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard—is bringing a new level of fidelity and, indeed, realism to the kind of immersive digital experience offered by Google Earth. Today, using satellite imagery and street-level photos, Askay and Google are already building 3-D models of real-life places like Prague that you can visit from your desktop PC (see video at top). But in the near future, this experience will move into Oculus-like headsets, which can make you feel like you’re really there.
As Google Earth celebrates its 10th anniversary, it's evolving way beyond a way to find your house.
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William Bliss's profile photoGregory Esau's profile photoAlan Perry's profile photoAnu Gautam's profile photo
This is great
it's going to be a great benefit for all
you are heading for something
I actually wanted to initiate

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The Unconscious King

Interesting frame for the mind. I've been meditating a lot more recently, and I have to say that as I tune more and more into the thoughts that are going through my mind, it's quite clear that very little of it is conscious

The one Morsella and his colleagues came up with is something they call “Passive Frame Theory,” and their provocative idea goes like this: nearly all of your brain’s work is conducted in different lobes and regions at the unconscious level, completely without your knowledge. When the processing is done and there is a decision to make or a physical act to perform, that very small job is served up to the conscious mind, which executes the work and then flatters itself that it was in charge all the time.

The conscious you, in effect, is like a not terribly bright CEO, whose subordinates do all of the research, draft all of the documents, then lay them out and say, “Sign here, sir.” The CEO does—and takes the credit.

HT +Walter H Groth 

#unconscious   #mind  
Why You’re Pretty Much Unconscious All the Time
by Jeffrey Kluger - Time

In a new paper published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a group of researchers led by associate professor of psychology Ezequiel Morsella of San Francisco State University, took on the somewhat narrower question of exactly what consciousness is—and came up with a decidedly bleaker view: It’s pretty much nothing at all. Never mind the five characters controlling your thoughts, you barely control them. It’s the unconscious that’s really in charge.
A surprising new paper argues that consciousness is just a bit player in the human brain
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Jeffrey Boss's profile photoJulien Baboud's profile photoDaniel Estrada's profile photoM Edwards's profile photo
If consciousness is anything at all, and especially if it is an engineering problem to be solved, it we will come to understand it and solve it bottom up rather than top down. I doubt that philosophy has much light to shine here.

When engineering intelligence, it is probably best to just forget about consciousness altogether until some operational problem comes up that needs a consciousness-like function.

I suspect that engineered intelligences will become more conscious-like over time, just through accumulation and interaction of small implementations that solve particular problems.

If we reach the point where it becomes important to know whether or not a system is conscious (sentient, or whatever) for personal, social or political reasons, there is sure to be controversy, but I think the answer will come from our general willingness to accept artificial system consciousness on the basis of behavior rather than as meeting some set of techno-philosophical criteria.
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According to a new study by Elliott Campbell, a professor at the University of California, Merced, it is. In his research, he found that in fact, 90 percent of Americans could be fed entirely by food grown or raised within 100 miles of their homes.

Using data from a farmland-mapping project supported by the National Science Foundation and data about land productivity from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Campbell and his students at the university looked at the farms within a local radius of every American city. Next, they calculated how many calories the farms could produce and then estimated the percentage of the population that could be sustained entirely by food grown by those farms.
New farmland-mapping research shows the country’s surprising potential when it comes to eating more locally.
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Remember, vertical aquaponics is also local - you can grow anything indoors, so you can potentially grow anything anywhere. Which means less shipping involved.
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The company will invest $1 billion in the LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre in Denmark, which will have the sole purpose of finding and implementing new sustainable alternatives; they will hire 100 specialists to carry out the task.

What kind of material they will arrive at remains to be seen, and since there is no official definition of a sustainable material there are no technical guidelines to follow, but the company has developed some criteria for their own.
The company will spend $1 billion and employ a team of 100 to find a sustainable alternative.
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At Facebook, artificial intelligence researchers recently demonstrated a system that can read a summary of The Lord of The Rings, then answer questions about the books. Using a neural networking algorithm called Word2Vec, Google is teaching its machines to better understand the relationship between words posted across the Internet—a way of boosting Google Now, a digital assistant that seeks to instantly serve up the information you need at any given moment. Yann LeCun, who oversees Facebook’s AI work, calls natural language processing “the next frontier.”

... “This is similar to web search,” Socher says, “except you give the actual answer rather than just a bunch of links.”

The system does all this using what Socher calls “episodic memory.” If a neutral network is analogous to the cerebral cortex—the means of processing information—its episodic memory is something akin to hippocampus, which provides short-term memory in humans. In the example of the garden and the the milk, the system must “remember” that Daniel is in the garden before determining where the milk is. “You can’t do transitive reasoning without episodic memory,” Socher says.

#nlp   #machinelearning   #ai  
AI's next frontier: Machines that understand language

the AI startup MetaMind has published new research detailing a neural networking system that uses a kind of artificial short-term memory to answer a wide range of questions about a piece of natural language. According to MetaMind, the system can answer everything from very specific queries about what the text describes to more general questions like “What’s the sentiment of the text?” or “What’s the French translation?” The research, due to appear Wednesday at, a popular online repository for academic papers, echoes similar research from Facebook and Google, but it takes this work at step further.

“This is a very hot topic, on which the authors of this paper approach or pass the state-of-the-art results on several benchmarks,” says Yoshua Bengio, a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal who specializes in artificial intelligence and has reviewed the MetaMind paper. “Their architecture is also interesting in that it is aiming at something potentially very ambitious, trying to sequentially parse a large amount of facts—hopefully one day the whole of Wikipedia and more—in such a way, via a learned semantic representation, that one can answer questions about them.”
The AI startup MetaMind has published new research detailing a neural networking system that uses a kind of artificial short-term memory to answer a wide range of questions about a piece of natural language.
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"The Mind of the Dolphin," by John Lilly, Korzypski, & Chomsky, & Parenti about words, semantics, etc.
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An interesting idea:

What you’re left with is, instead of a car, a mobile space. Literally a platform, in the case of GM’s too-far-ahead-of-its-time Hy-wire concept. It sounds like marketing, but imagine for a moment that travel by car could become all about what you’re going to do along the way, instead of how long it takes to get there.

HT +michael barth 
Oleg Moskalensky's profile photoiPan Darius's profile photoPierre Sermanet's profile photoRaja Mitra (RM)'s profile photo
+Tyger AC Yep, that seems assertive ... But as on the animal kingdom, a sense of ownership - on some setups - could be required to deploy specialization of lines , then, what others have to do , you don't have to do ...

... and the items belongs to the most reliable managers because those are the most efficient on the distribution of energy/matter resources ... Therefore, the ownership from a domain is implicit by the activity, the observation of that activity and the outcomes ...

What Dramatically change contrasted to the actual standards is the sense of hierarchies about the activities , the ones who can give more are the ones with most status and hierarchy ... then, the education is embedded on the activity from the reliability of the outcomes with potentials for negentropy and emission of energy/matter ...

... The diversity is non imaginable by the actual standards from earth human population where the imaginative scenarios tends to be extensions from Fear bio-chemistries ... 
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One of the more creative applications of 3D printing I've seen lately: 

Teresa and Rudy run a design studio in Tucson. They create 3D art for film, album covers, and their own personal projects. 3D scanning, sculpting, and printing are central to their process. Their latest project, inspired by the cheap, plastic green army men figurines, evolved from their original plan, which was to transform the figures by putting them into unusual poses. However, as they began photographing local artists, business owners, and friends for the project, they realized that what they were building was a kind of cultural army.

Each time a new person came in, it became clear that the project was about emphasizing just how unique each member of the community was. “Every experience is different,” Rudy explained, “because each person is unique in their own way.” Among the 3D printed figures they’ve created thus far, there is a violinist, Serena Rose, who is absorbed in playing her instrument. A magician, Magic Kenny Bang! Bang! holds a rabbit in midair as though he’s just pulled it from a hat. A bartender, Barb Trujillo, mixes a martini in a silver shaker.


Teresa and Rudy Flores of Mosca Roja Studio in Tucson, Arizona wondered what would happen if they assembled an “army” of creative people--musicians, writers
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Very cool. 
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Algorithms train us to behave in particular ways by creating behavior modification feedback. Give us lots of likes or a plusses for certain types of social media posts, and we'll generally start churning out more of those kinds of posts. Now Amazon is proposing a new compensation system for its Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library: one that rewards authors based on how much of their books are actually read:

Like all systems, this one has its rules, rules that will undoubtedly impact the way that published content now gets generated, and this is one of the dangers of the current fusion now underway between writing and technology. 

Ursula K. Le Guin put it well recently when she noted that: "Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art."

In the meantime, Nicholas Carr bitingly breaks down for us, how to maximize your returns per word if you're an author. Oh, and yeah, goodbye poetry. You're too dense. 

When I first heard that Amazon was going to start paying its Kindle Unlimited authors according to the number of pages in their books that actually get read, I wondered whether there might be an opportunity for an apocalyptic intra-Amazon arbitrage scheme that would allow me to game the system and drain Jeff Bezos’s bank account. I thought I might be able to start publishing long books of computer-generated gibberish and then use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service to pay Third World readers to scroll through the pages at a pace that would register each page as having been read. If I could pay the Turkers a fraction of a penny less to look at a page than Amazon paid me for the “read” page, I’d be able to get really rich and launch my own space exploration company.

Now, turning to prose, where the prospects are brighter, it’s pretty clear that the key is to keep the reader engaged without challenging the reader in any way. To maximize earnings, you need to ensure that the reader moves through your pages at a good, crisp, unbroken clip. You want shallow immersion. Any kind of complication or complexity that slows a reader down is going to take an immediate bite out of your wallet. What you most want to avoid is anything that encourages the reader to go back and re-read a passage. Remember: you only get paid the first time a page gets read. If you inspire the reader to read any of your pages more than once, you’re basically burning cash.

#publishing   #writing   #amazon   #kindle  
When I first heard that Amazon was going to start paying its Kindle Unlimited authors according to the number of pages in their books that actually get read, I wondered whether there might be an op...
Chris Welty's profile photoGideon Rosenblatt's profile photoEric Enge's profile photoIvàncsics “krumpleebogar” Nàndor's profile photo
My wife and I never watched Game of Thrones, +John Wehrle, and over the last several weeks have basically be binge-watching the whole thing, so I can attest to the addictive quality of his storytelling. There's no question that there are writers and, in fact, genres who could benefit enormously from this type of arrangement of reward for what is read on top of what is bought. 

And +Chris Welty, I think it's fair to say that this issue of commerce versus art has been with us for a long time in the field of writing. But the systems we have for distributing books today are much more sophisticated in their feedback capabilities than the old systems ever were. So different, in fact, that I think there is something qualitatively different about their ability to shape what gets written. The most exaggerated version of this kind of feedback is social media today, and we know quite well how it shapes what gets shared and posted. 

As for your final point, I think you're absolutely right: the really interesting aspect here is compensation for what actually is consumed versus just purchased. The video game industry is quite used to building addictive usage. The key point here with Amazon is that they're doing it specifically for their buffet-style programs, where users have already payed for books as a service. 
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With a Head Transplant Surgery, Who Emerges from the Operation?

Two years from now we may well see the world’s first full head transplant. Italian neuroscientist, Dr Sergio Canavero hopes to perform this operation on wheelchair-bound Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from a debilitating muscle-wasting disease and has volunteered for the day-long operation.

This article poses some really interesting questions about who exactly will emerge from the operation should it be successful. Will it be Spiridonov, the body donor, some mix of the two or somebody else entirely? Despite whatever philosophical, religious or scientific beliefs you might hold, the simple answer is that we really don't know. 

There is something very disturbing to me about this operation, like we are passing through some threshold only glimpsed in science fiction and horror tales. And yet, here is a scientist talking about really attempting this procedure within the next two years. 

One of the interesting twists in this article is the reference to animalist philosophy, which I'd not heard of before. 

The animalist asserts simply:

We are animals.
Despite its plainness, (this statement) should not be taken to assert that all persons are animals; the possibilities of both non-animal people (e.g., robots, angels, aliens, deities) and human animals that are not people (e.g., patients in persistent vegetative states, human fetuses) are left open. ... animalism is not the view that each of us is “constituted by” a particular organism (in the way that a statue is sometimes said to be non-identically constituted by the hunk of matter with which it coincides). Nor still should (1′) be understood to claim that each of us has a body that is an animal—as if you were one thing and your animal body another. Finally, ‘animals’ refers to biological organisms—members of the primate species Homo sapiens. While participants on both sides of the debate over animalism tend to treat these terms interchangeably, some prominent critics distinguish ‘animals’ from ‘organisms’ and deny that these terms co-refer.

#mind   #body   #soul   #animalism  
Valery Spiridonov, who has the muscle-wasting Werdnig Hoffman disease, has volunteered to have his head transplanted onto a healthy body.
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Well put indeed +Richard Lucas.  In those few lines you may have made me reconsider my own position on the matter (also brain (ego) centric.)

However, while I must concede that the result will be a 3rd person in certain senses, it may only be in the sense (or perhaps a slightly more profound version) that we are all new people almost every day.

As +Gideon Rosenblatt suggested, we don't (and can't) know.  The real question may be what (who) the resultant person self-identifies with.
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What We Perceive is Not Necessarily What We Receive

This is one of those mind-blowing talks that could really upset the way you think about reality.

I thought that the beetle example he uses was an excellent way to illustrate what he's proposing here, which is that

"Evolution has given us an interface that hides reality and guides adaptive behavior"

Human minds are quite adept at filtering reality - deleting and distorting it in countless ways. That evolution might do precisely what Hoffman is talking about here doesn't strike me as all that radical. Really. Certainly he develops this idea further than I've seen it developed, and it leads to a shocking, disorienting conclusion - a conclusion that is not very far off from ancient Indian and Daoist concepts. 

#reality   #evolution   #perception  

Thank you for sharing it, +Mark Bruce
On Reality and the Truth of Your Conscious Perception Thereof
This talk should be watched with the following passage from Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence firmly in mind:

Normal human adults have a range of remarkable cognitive talents that are not simply a function of possessing a sufficient amount of general neural processing power or even a sufficient amount of general intelligence: specialized neural circuitry is also needed. This observation suggests the idea of possible but non-realized cognitive talents, talents that no actual human possesses even though other intelligent systems—ones with no more computing power than the human brain—that did have those talents would gain enormously in their ability to accomplish a wide range of strategically relevant tasks. were we to gain some new set of modules giving an advantage comparable to that of being able to form complex linguistic representations, we would become superintelligent.

And keep considering this passage when the talk delves into the perception of the beetle and contrasts that to the perception of us humans. 

In many ways this is a subtle talk that tries to delve into subtle but very profound points. Personally I swayed throughout the talk, with him then against him, agreeing then disagreeing. But this is understandable because Donald advocates abandonment of the concrete reality that I believe exists, and instead suggests consciousness as a primary causal entity in a deeper underlying reality; this may make some of you dismiss the talk as unworthy but trust me and give Donald 20 minutes of your time to try and sway you. At the end I’d tentatively stepped up onto the fence with one foot certainly dangling on his side, and mainly by considering the plausibility of the above passage from Superintelligence. 

The potential and importance of our ability to eventually create new cognitive modules (either for ourselves or our machine descendents) that are able to perceive the world in a more realistic way, able to strip away the previous illusory interface we take for granted and so peer deeper and more truly at the underlying reality that we inhabit. At times like this it seems as if our development and growth has only just begun and we have so very much farther to go. 

This metaphor paints superintelligent agents with superperception as comparable to us, as we are comparable to the beetle, and questions how different and how grand reality must appear from such an omnipresent viewpoint. There are also one or two places in the talk that paint the following passage from Superintelligence in an entirely different light:

We could thus imagine, as an extreme case, a technologically highly advanced society, containing many complex structures, some of them far more intricate and intelligent than anything that exists on the planet today—a society which nevertheless lacks any type of being that is conscious or whose welfare has moral significance. In a sense, this would be an uninhabited society. It would be a society of economic miracles and technological awesomeness, with nobody there to benefit. A Disneyland without children. 

I’m referring of course to the experiments on the evolution of fitness, always at the expense of accurate and truthful representations and perceptions of reality, and indeed driving to extinction accurate perceptions of reality. For if we are to a being with superperception as a beetle is to us, then is our cherished reality only a tiny bit better than a Disneyland without children in any case?

Donald Hoffman’s page at the University of California, Irvine has a great list of related resources and media to access, from talks to accessible publications like this recent one that delves into more academic detail the topics and themes covered in this talk. 

Key parts of the talk:

➜ Listen very carefully to what is said between 16:00 and 18:00

There is something that exists when you don’t look at it, but it is not spacetime and physical objects.

Perception is not about seeing truth, it’s about having kids. 

#consciousness   #reality   #perception  
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Sorin Cristian's profile photoTeodora Petkova's profile photoDenis Wallez's profile photoIrina Klyuev's profile photo
+wgoiweghgw We can see atoms...but not much further.
We dont really know what matter is, if its just energy, or vibrating strings, or just some sort of quantum nothing.
There is the "information theory" that says that at the minimun level only information exists...nothing else.
Im afraid to say it ... but we are not far away to believe we live in a "Matrix" kind of Universe,a digital Universe.
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The U.S. has a serious problem. Will we find the political will to finally address it?

HT +Alex Grossman 

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+William Bliss I concede one of your points. People have diverse levels of emotional, psychological, intellectual, physical and spiritual development. I would trust some responsible 13 and 14year olds with responsibilities and tasks that I wouldn't let certain 40 year olds I know, go anywhere near.
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I'm a technologist with a background in business and social change. I write about the impact of technology on organizations and society.
  • The Vital Edge
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    Product Unit Manager, 1991 - 2001
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What do we want our organizations and technologies to be when they wake up?
I'm a writer with a background in technology, business and social change. 

Most of my writing these days is at The Vital Edge, where I explore how technology affects organizations and the way people work. I am particularly interested in artificial intelligence, automation and networks and what they hold for the future of humanity. 

I believe in the human soul, and I believe it deserves a place in our understanding of organizations and technology. I have no interest in pushing religion or any particular spiritual point of view, but I do believe in exploring technology and human organization on a deeper level than is typical for these topics today. 

When it comes to my presence on Google+, most of my effort here is really aimed at connecting with people who are drawn to the questions I explore through my writing. I am active on Twitter (@gideonro) as well, and share content more frequently there, but my deepest online engagement is still here on Google+. 

My Story
For nine years, I ran Groundwire, a mission-driven technology consulting group, dedicated to building a more sustainable world. Groundwire specialized in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) databases, websites, social media communications, and engagement strategy as a way to help organizations mobilize people around sustainability causes.

Prior to Groundwire, I worked at Microsoft for ten years (back when it was cool), in various marketing, product development and management positions. While there, I developed CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. I also marketed the world’s first digital encyclopedia and dictionary, and other innovative multimedia works.
I was raised in Utah, lived and worked in Japan and China for several years, and now live in Seattle with my wife, CJ, and two boys. Oh, and I am a proud board member of YES! Magazine.

#AI #automation #organization #technology #GoodBusiness #soul 
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