Category: Opinion

Review: Mainframe Experimentalism Revisits the Earliest Days of Computer Art

The 1960s and 1970s were the era prior to the rise of home and micro computing, when small computers weighed as much as a fridge (before you added any peripherals to them) and large computers took up entire air conditioned offices. Mainframes cost millions of dollars, minicomputers tens of thousands at a time when the average weekly wage was closer to a hundred dollars. To access a computer you had to engage with the institutions that could afford to maintain them – large businesses and universities, and with their guardians – the programmers and system administrators who knew how to encode ideas as marks on punched cards for the computer to run.

Are Artificial Intelligence Doomsayers like Skeptical Theists?

Some of you may have noticed my recently-published paper on existential risk and artificial intelligence. The paper offers a somewhat critical perspective on the recent trend for AI-doomsaying among people like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates. Of course, it doesn’t focus on their opinions; rather, it focuses on the work of the philosopher Nick Bostrom, who has written the most impressive analysis to date of the potential risks posed by superintelligent machines.

The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time

“Today, natural philosophy has not disappeared completely. It lives under disguise. Scientists write popular books, for the general educated public, professing to make their ideas about the science that they practice accessible to non-scientists. They use these books to speculate about the larger meaning of their discoveries for our understanding of the universe and of our place within it. They also have another audience, however: their colleagues in science, addressed under the disguise of popularization.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Universal Progressive Evolution

Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforth if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow.