Consciousness as – mistake? (Man / Machine VII)

In the remarkable work A Conspiracy against Humanity, horror writer Thomas Ligotti argues that consciousness is a curse that captures mankind in eternal horror. This world, and our consciousness of it, is an unequivocal evil, and the only possible set of responses to this state of affairs is to snuff it out. Ligotti’s writings underpin… Fortsätt läsa Consciousness as – mistake? (Man / Machine VII)

Games and knowledge (The Structure of Human Knowledge as Game II)

Why are games consisting of knowledge tests so popular? In 2004 it was calculated that Trivial Pursuit had sold around 88 million copies worldwide, and game shows like Jeopardy and the 64000 dollar question have become international hits. At their core, these games are surprisingly simple. They are about what you know, about if you… Fortsätt läsa Games and knowledge (The Structure of Human Knowledge as Game II)

Real and unreal news (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #7)

What is the opposite of fake news? Is it real news? What, then, would that mean? It seems important to ask that question, since our fight against fake news also needs to be a fight _for_ something. But this quickly becomes an uncomfortable discussion, as evidenced by how people attack the question. When we discuss… Fortsätt läsa Real and unreal news (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #7)

Towards a glass bead game (The Structure of Human Knowledge as Game I)

Herman Hesse’s glass bead game is an intriguing intellectual thought experiment. He describes it in detail in his eponymous last novel: "Under the shifting hegemony of now this, now that science or art, the Game of games had developed into a kind of universal language through which the players could express values and set these… Fortsätt läsa Towards a glass bead game (The Structure of Human Knowledge as Game I)

Simone Weil’s principles for automation (Man / Machine VI)

Philosopher and writer Simone Weil laid out a few principles on automation in her fascinating and often difficult book Need for Roots. Her view as positive, and she noted that among workers in factories the happiest ones seemed to be the ones that worked with machines. She had strict views on the design of these… Fortsätt läsa Simone Weil’s principles for automation (Man / Machine VI)

Justice, markets, dance – on computational and biological time (Man / Machine V)

Are there social institutions that work better if they are biologically bounded? What would this even mean? Here is what I am thinking about: what if, say, a market is a great way of discovering knowledge, coordinating prices and solving complex problems - but only if it consists solely of human beings and is conducted… Fortsätt läsa Justice, markets, dance – on computational and biological time (Man / Machine V)

A note on the ethics of entropy (Man / Machine IV)

In a comment on Luciano Floridi’s The Ethics of Information Martin Falment Fultot writes (Philosophy and Computers Spring 2016 Vol 15 no 2): “Another difficulty for Floridi’s theory of information as constituting the fundamental value comes from the sheer existence of the unilateral arrow of thermodynamic processes. The second law of thermodynamics implies that when… Fortsätt läsa A note on the ethics of entropy (Man / Machine IV)

On not knowing (Man / Machine III)

Humans are not great at answering questions with “I don’t know”. They often seek to provide answers even where they know that they do not know. Yet still, one of the hallmarks of careful thinking is to acknowledge when we do not know something - and when we cannot say anything meaningful about an issue.… Fortsätt läsa On not knowing (Man / Machine III)

Hannah Arendt on politics and truth – and fake news? (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #6)

Any analysis of fake news would be incomplete without a reading of Hannah Arendts magnificent essay Truth and Politics from 1967. Arendt, in this essay, examines carefully the relationship between truth and politics, and makes a few observations that remind us of why the issue of “fake news” is neither new nor uniquely digital. It… Fortsätt läsa Hannah Arendt on politics and truth – and fake news? (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #6)

Intelligence, life, consciousness, soul (Man / Machine II)

There is another perspective here that we may want to discuss, and that is if the dichotomy we are examining is maybe a false, or at least, less interesting one. What if we find that both man and machine can belong to a broader class of things that we may want to call “alive”? Rather… Fortsätt läsa Intelligence, life, consciousness, soul (Man / Machine II)

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #5: Are We Victims of Algorithms? On Akrasia and Technology.

Are we victims of algorithms? When we click on click bait and content that is low quality - how much of the responsibility of that click is on us and how much on the provider of the content? The way we answer that question maybe connected to an ancient debate in philosophy about Akrasia or… Fortsätt läsa Notes on attention, fake news and noise #5: Are We Victims of Algorithms? On Akrasia and Technology.

Man / Machine I: conceptual remarks.

How does man relate to machine? There is a series of questions here that I find fascinating and not a little difficult. I think the relationship between these two concepts also are determinative for a large set of issues that we are debating today, and so we would do well to examine this language game… Fortsätt läsa Man / Machine I: conceptual remarks.

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #4: Jacques Ellul and the rise of polyphonic propaganda part 1

Jacques Ellul is arguably one of the earlier and most consistent technology critics we have. His texts are due for a revival in a time when technology criticism is in demand, and even techno-optimists like myself would probably welcome that, because even if he is fierce and often caustic, he is interesting and thoughtful. Ellul… Fortsätt läsa Notes on attention, fake news and noise #4: Jacques Ellul and the rise of polyphonic propaganda part 1

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #3: The Noise Society 10 years later

This February it is 10 years since I defended my doctoral thesis on what I then called the Noise Society. The main idea was that the idea of an orderly, domesticated and controllable information society - modeled on the post-industrial visions of Bell and others - probably was wrongheaded, and that we would see a… Fortsätt läsa Notes on attention, fake news and noise #3: The Noise Society 10 years later

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #2: On the non-linear value of speech and freedom of dialogue or attention

It has become more common to denounce the idea that more speech means better democracy. Commentators, technologists and others have come out to say that they were mistaken - that their belief that enabling more people to speak would improve democracy was wrong, or at the very least simplistic. It is worth analyzing what this… Fortsätt läsa Notes on attention, fake news and noise #2: On the non-linear value of speech and freedom of dialogue or attention

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #1: scratching the surfaces

What is opinion made from? This seems a helpful question start off a discussion about disinformation, fake news and similar challenges that we face as a society. I think the answer is surprisingly simple: opinion is ultimately made from attention. In order to form an opinion we need to pay attention to issues, and to… Fortsätt läsa Notes on attention, fake news and noise #1: scratching the surfaces

What are we talking about when we talk about algorithmic transparency?

The term ”algorithmic transparency”, with variants and variations, has become more and more common in the many conversations I have with decision makers and policy wonks. It remains somewhat unclear what it actually means, however. As a student of philosophy I find that there is often a lot of value in examining concepts closely in… Fortsätt läsa What are we talking about when we talk about algorithmic transparency?

Data is not like oil – it is much more interesting than that

So, this may seem to be a nitpicking little note, but it is not intended to belittle anyone or even to deny the importance of having a robust and rigorous discussion about data, artificial intelligence and the future. Quite the contrary - this may be one of the most important discussions that we need to engage… Fortsätt läsa Data is not like oil – it is much more interesting than that

A note on complementarity and substitution

One of the things I hear the most in the many conversations I have on tech and society today is that computers will take jobs or that man will be replaced by machine. It is a reasonable and interesting question, but I think, ultimately wrong. I tried to collect a few thoughts about that in… Fortsätt läsa A note on complementarity and substitution

Reading Notes I: Tegmark and substrate independence

Tegmark (2017:67) writes "This substrate independence of computation implies that AI is possible: intelligence doesn't require flesh, blood or carbon atoms.". How should we read this? The background is that he argues that computation is independent of what we use for hardware and software and what is required is only that the matter we compute… Fortsätt läsa Reading Notes I: Tegmark and substrate independence

Aspect seeing and consciousness I: What Vampires Cannot Do

In the novel Blindsight by Peter Watts mankind has resurrected vampires (no, not a good idea) - found in the book to be real predators that became extinct. One difference between vampires and humans is that vampires can see both aspects of a Necker cube at the same time - they are able to do… Fortsätt läsa Aspect seeing and consciousness I: What Vampires Cannot Do

”Is there a xeno-biology of artificial intelligence?” – draft essay

One of the things that fascinate me is the connections we can make between technology and biology in exploring how technology will develop. It is a field that I enjoy exploring, and where I am slowly focusing some of my research work and writing. Here is a small piece on the possibility of a xeno-biology… Fortsätt läsa ”Is there a xeno-biology of artificial intelligence?” – draft essay

Autonomy, technology and prediction I: some conceptual remarks

"How would you feel if a computer could predict what you would buy, how you would vote and what kinds of music, literature and food you would prefer with an accuracy that was greater than that of your partner?" Versions of this question has been thrown at me in different fora over the last couple… Fortsätt läsa Autonomy, technology and prediction I: some conceptual remarks

Simon I: From computers to cognicity

In the essay "The steam engine and the computer" Simon makes a number of important, and interesting points about technological revolution. It is an interesting analysis and worthwhile reading - it is quite short - but I will summarize a few points, and throw out a concept idea. Simon notes that revolutions - their name… Fortsätt läsa Simon I: From computers to cognicity

”Valuable speech” – a note on legal mechanism design

I am reading a series of essays on free expression on the Internet. One of the authors repeatedly uses the ideas "low value speech" and "valuable speech". I feel great unease. I wonder why, but think that it is because such a dichotomy assumes that we can say that this piece of speech is valuable… Fortsätt läsa ”Valuable speech” – a note on legal mechanism design

Organizing politically for the value of new technologies

One of the fundamental problems in ICT-policy is actually an intra-governmental problem. While everyone agrees on the importance of new technologies, it seems equally obvious that our way of measuring the information economy, well, sucks. That means that any serious ICT-policy works needs to start out with an internal discussion in government about what this… Fortsätt läsa Organizing politically for the value of new technologies

Solving problems? You should be collecting them.

Problems are beautiful, and they are among the most interesting things you can come across. You should consider each problem you are faced with as if it was a rare and thoughtful gift (failures are like this too, as Karl Jaspers noted: failures are small ciphers sent to you from God). Often we are annoyed… Fortsätt läsa Solving problems? You should be collecting them.

Privacy I: Neuro-narratives and neo-privacy

The design of privacy enhancing technologies roughly seems to fall into two categories: negotiation support technologies that allow for social signaling or information restriction technologies that allow more control over specific pieces or flows of information. In both cases, the object of protection is arguably the information itself. But privacy is clearly about more than… Fortsätt läsa Privacy I: Neuro-narratives and neo-privacy