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Daniel Estrada
30,414 followers -
Robot. Made of robots.
Robot. Made of robots.

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// In that case, I want two. 

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> Snow Crash 2: Polytopolis Boogaloo

A SQUAT grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State's motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.

The Metaverse has changed. It has evolved into its final form and emerges - The Polytopolis. A Tower of Babel, a temple of Asherah worship, and a disease vector for linguistic viruses. Located on the thirty fourth floor is the central server. A non-linear quantum supercomputer emblazoned with the motto - Work Sets You Free.

Our hero, Eripsa Protagonist is a Katana wielding, motor bike riding, cat loving digital philosopher. His crowning achievement on the Polytopolis is a level 110 Warlock with high ilvl gear. A feat accomplished by surviving the toughest and most gruelling mythic raids. Over the course of his raiding career, Eripsa amassed a trove of badges. His proudest are displayed on his Warlock's Robe of the Malefic. A 10-year cat lover badge awarded by the cat lover ring, the largest ring on the Polytopolis. A purple heart badge from the anti-troll facilitation ring, awarded to returning veterans who were repeatedly owned by jackals. And perhaps his most unusual badge, a Cocaine Intelligence Unit patch bought for 12 strange-marbles from the DEA gift store.

One day he peers out towards the ocean and spots The Raft - a floating anarcho-capitalist, trash-island nation state. For the last year, the island has been steadily drifting towards the western coast of North America. Along its shores lies a burgeoning territory managed through consensus - The United Burbclaves of Anarcho-Commutopia. A news report begins to play on Eripsa's Cyberdyne X1, a top of the line Polytopolis compliant smart-bracelet. He paid the princely sum of $900 Raft Dollars for such a fine gadget, an amount of money that could feed a small village for years. The model comes stock-standard with over a hundred embedded EMV chips and a hi-resolution screen. In addition to multimedia playback, the screen securely displays the logos of every participant in a Polytopolis mediated transaction.

The newscaster speaks in alarmed tones about a new virus spreading across the network called Snow Crash 2. A linguistic virus that renders the recipient comatose. The virus works by mentally overloading a citizen's brain and delivering a payload containing tens of thousands of norms. Not understanding how these norms relate to the greater hierarchy, the brain shuts down and enters a comatose state. There are further reports of an unnamed virus that cause citizens to enter a zombie like state. Shortly after infection, the victim leaves the Commutopia ring and defects to The Raft ring. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of The Raft declined to comment about whether he is behind the development of this strange new strain of linguistic virus.

This is cool, and good. This is what the Polytopolis was designed to accomplish.
The Polytopolis is how we do better. We need Polytopolis.

Eripsa hops on his bike and does a sick burnout before making his way back to his home, a rental storage unit. As the roller door opens, his home is laid bare to the sun-kissed world. On the right hand side is an empty space to park his bike. On the left pushed against wall is a single-sized bed, and a linen trunk in the place of a side-table. On a wall mounted shelf above the bed is a microwave next to an empty bar fridge - owing to a month long dispute between teamsters and farmers over whether the agrarian tenets of Maoism need to be incorporated into the Communtopia manifesto. In front of the bed is a glass display case for his Katana, a cultural artifact forged from 20th century Nipponese steel. He gently kisses the sheath before placing it upon the display surface. Laying on his bed in complete darkness, he leans over and pulls out a Google Daydream (2027) VR headset. Bringing down the headset like the unit's roller doors, the world recedes away.

Fuck Mark Zuckerberg and his unified set of norms. Fuck his fascist nightmare of a privately controlled Polytopolis. He will never accomplish even one percent of what I envision. I need to channel that anger into something more productive. My Warlock needs to raid.

By Tokamak
Source: https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3804685&pagenumber=119#post469557194

// My Polytopolis thread in SA has been going consistently since early January. It's gone for 120 pages; that's over 4700 posts and 76,000 views. It is definitely the best thread I've run through the forums, and I've been posting there for 15 years.

The above story is an example of the spontaneous fiction the thread has generated. The thread is a long slog, but it's kind of a miracle and I'm quite proud of it. I'm on probation for another few days before I can return to it. But if you haven't, take a look. 

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// My chatbot is my favorite thing.

https://twitter.com/eripsabot/status/830813195325431808
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> Once we understand that our relationship to technology is not one of master/butler but cyborg/organ; once we understand that we extend our selves with technology and that our technology and data lie within the boundaries of the self, then we must insist that the constitutional protections of the self that we have enshrined within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and implemented within our myriad of national laws are extended to protect the cyborg self.

It also follows, then, that any attempt to violate the boundaries of the self must be considered an assault on the cyborg self. It is exactly this abuse that constitutes the everyday business model of Facebook, Google, and mainstream Silicon Valley-inspired technology today. In this model, which Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism, what we have lost is individual sovereignty. People have once again become property – albeit in digital, not biological, form.

To counter this, we must build new infrastructure to enable people to regain individual sovereignty. Those aspects of the infrastructure that concern the world around us must belong to the commons and those parts that concern people – that make up the organs of our cyborg selves – must be owned and controlled by individuals.

More: https://ar.al/notes/encouraging-individual-sovereignty-and-a-healthy-commons/

This is in response to Zuckerberg's essay published Thursday: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-global-community/10154544292806634/

Additional (critical) commentary: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/02/the-mark-zuckerberg-manifesto-is-a-blueprint-for-destroying-journalism/517113/


// tfw ur bobbing ur head to the music, looking slyly over ur shades, then
record scratch
individuals

If we're cyborgs extended out into our technologies, then there are no individuals. Demanding individual sovereignty completely misunderstands the techno-organizational situation. We don't need individual sovereignty, we need collective sovereignty. Insisting on an ontology of individuals in the age of digital organisms is simply a mistake.

We need control over not just ourselves but also our communities. Zuckerberg is insisting on building global communities by imposing norms from the top. This is a surefire way to get communities to reject your norms. For a community to sustain itself it needs the capacity to cultivate its own norms as an organic, bottom-up process. Norms derive from groups, not individuals.

Zuckerberg doesn't understand this at all. Notice how his essay slides back and forth between the first-person plural "we" to refer to the global community, and "we" to refer to his corporate aspirations? This is utterly insidious, and should strike terror in the hearts of everyone.

Unfortunately, his critics don't fully appreciate the challenge either. This is not a problem solved by individualism. It is also not solved with the norms of journalism, although those are important. The proper reaction is not to insist on defending my self as an isolated individual cyborg, or that any one community will save us all.

The proper response is to insist that Zuckerberg does not get to define who we are, and neither does anyone else. It is our strengths as a network collectives that will return democratic order to the digital age. We must be careful not to confuse the individual with We, the people.

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> For the ‘march of the robots' idea relies tacitly on the assumption that the limits to growth are negotiable, or indeed non-existent.

// I'm going to object to this. There's nothing inherently unsustainable about robotics. In fact, you might expect that the shift to robotics as a dominant paradigm contributes to a consolidation of economic networks, not the rapid growth of 20c capitalism.

We need to divorce ourselves from the notion that technological progress is identical to growth capitalism. Robots are not the enemy. 
I'm going to write about this soon, the three false friends of p2p are ultra-capitalism (anarcho-capitalism), one-sided belief in abundance / transhuman technologies which include the dream of robotics, and absolute horizontalism ..

When you hear abundance and zero-marginal cost, never forget this is a financial derivative of capitalist dynamics (eliminating labor and abundant production destroys price mechanisms), not a prediction about the concrete raw materials that go into production

this one here is a good critique to make you think about uncritical belief in a unproblematized technocratic future:

(please note I may not full agree with the article, which I have yet to read in detail, but it stimulates thinking)

"Robotisation is probably going to be a temporary phenomenon: planetary limits will (within a generation or at most two) severely limit the supplies of raw materials and energy needed to enable large-scale robotisation, and pollution-crises - part-speeded-up by huge investments in automation/robotisation - will have the same effect. The question is whether we can rein in robotisation soon enough to ensure that ‘Peak Robot' occurs under our control, and not as a result of a crash forced on us by collapsing ecosystems."

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2988452/the_rise_of_the_robot_dispelling_the_myth.html

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Weaponized, AI-Backed Propaganda

The synergy between fake-content networks, automated message testing, and personality profiling will rapidly spread to other digital mediums. Albright’s most-recent research focuses on an artificial intelligence that automatically creates YouTube videos about news and current events. The AI, which reacts to trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, pairs images and subtitles with a computer generated voiceover. It spooled out nearly 80,000 videos through 19 different channels in just a few days.

If fake news created the scaffolding for this new automated political propaganda machine, bots, or fake social media profiles, have become its foot soldiers -- an army of political robots used to control conversations on social media and silence and intimidate journalists and others who might undermine their messaging.
...
It's likely Cambridge Analytica will secure more contracts with federal agencies and is in the final stages of negotiations to begin managing White House digital communication throughout the Trump Administration. What new predictive-personality targeting becomes possible with potential access to data on U.S. voters from the IRS, Department of Homeland Security, or the NSA?

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment,” Bannon said in 2013. We know that Steve Bannon subscribes to a theory of history where a messianic ‘Grey Warrior’ consolidates power and remakes the global order. Bolstered by the success of Brexit and the Trump victory, Breitbart (which Bannon owns) and Cambridge Analytica (which Bannon sits on the board of) are now bringing fake news and automated propaganda to support far-right parties in at least Germany, France, Hungary, and India as well as parts of South America.



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DeepMind just published a mind blowing paper: PathNet.

"Potentially describing how general artificial intelligence will look like.

Since scientists started building and training neural networks, Transfer Learning has been the main bottleneck. Transfer Learning is the ability of an AI to learn from different tasks and apply its pre-learned knowledge to a completely new task. It is implicit that with this precedent knowledge, the AI will perform better and train faster than de novo neural networks on the new task.

DeepMind is on the path of solving this with PathNet. PathNet is a network of neural networks, trained using both stochastic gradient descent and a genetic selection method.

PathNet is composed of layers of modules. Each module is a Neural Network of any type, it could be convolutional, recurrent, feedforward and whatnot."

https://medium.com/@thoszymkowiak/deepmind-just-published-a-mind-blowing-paper-pathnet-f72b1ed38d46#.1fegku2mm

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A company called Graphcore has come up with a way of making visualizations of neural networks that reveal the complexity of the connections, and are "incredibly beautiful", too, looking similar to human brain scans. The visualizations come out of technology developed to map neural networks from mainstream machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and MXNet to dedicated AI hardware the company is developing called the Graphcore Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU).

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> If replication is present, then natural selection becomes the route by which systems acquire the ability to absorb work—Schrödinger’s negative entropy—from the environment. Self-replication is, in fact, an especially good mechanism for stabilizing complex systems, and so it’s no surprise that this is what biology uses. But in the nonliving world where replication doesn’t usually happen, the well-adapted dissipative structures tend to be ones that are highly organized, like sand ripples and dunes crystallizing from the random dance of windblown sand. Looked at this way, Darwinian evolution can be regarded as a specific instance of a more general physical principle governing nonequilibrium systems.

More: https://www.wired.com/2017/02/life-death-spring-disorder/
via Patrick Lin
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