Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, August 12, 2016

Techbrofashionistas Acting Like Their Crappy Consumer Fandom Makes Them Sooper-Scientists...

Also, every futurologist.


jimf said...

> Techbrofashionistas

I love computer-porn photography.

Sing it for me, HAL!
IBM's 200 petaflop Summit supercomputer to crush China's Sunway TaihuLight
Power9-powered machine will arrive in 2018

Curse us and crush us!

jimf said...

> I love computer porn. . .
IBM’s New Artificial Neurons a Big Step Toward Powerful Brain-Like Computers
Shelly Fan
Aug 14, 2016

[Re: Stochastic phase-change neurons
Tomas Tuma, Angeliki Pantazi, Manuel Le Gallo, Abu Sebastian & Evangelos Eleftheriou
_Nature Nanotechnology_ 11, 693–699 (2016)
Received 30 May 2015, Accepted 01 April 2016, Published online 16 May 2016
(only the abstract is free of charge, unless
Alexandra Elbakyan and Sci-Hub have gotten hold of it)]

. . .

The chip adds to previous brain-like computing memristors. . .

[D]ue to the manufacturing process and variable internal
atomic states, the chip is inherently stochastic. That’s a big deal.

“Stochasticity is an essential ingredient for constructing
‘neuronal populations’ and our brain naturally uses these
to represent signals and cognitive states,” says lead
author Dr. Tomas Tuma. . . [I guess the late Gerald M. Edelman
would approve.]

“Phase-change and memristor devices can work up to a million
times faster than the processing speeds of the human brain,
we can imagine some very powerful computing systems” . . .


But are they Friendly(TM) neurons?

IBM has been bruiting the term "neuromorphic" for a while
(we've had SyNAPSE and TrueNorth )

Remember "The Machine" -- the HP hardvapor that sounded like a high-end
French food processor?
The Machine: HP's New Memristor Based Datacenter Scale Computer - Still Changing Everything
Todd Hoff
December 15, 2014

. . .

. . .perhaps the largest R&D project in the history of HP.
[C]omplete rebuild of both hardware and software from the
ground up. . .
HP Will Release a “Revolutionary” New Operating System in 2015
. . .ambitious plan to reinvent computing. . .
Tom Simonite
December 9, 2014

Alas, experience has soured us on grandiose promises from HP.
Remember the Itanic? ;->
HP Destroys a Dream Computer to Save It
Quentin Hardy
June 3, 2015
HP kills The Machine, repurposes design around conventional technologies
By Joel Hruska
June 10, 2015
HP Removes Memristors from Its ‘Machine’ Roadmap Until Further Notice
Tiffany Trader
June 11, 2015
Never-never chip tech Memristor shuffles closer to death row
Chris Mellor
28 Jun 2016

They've kept the name! (We don' need no steenkin' memristors.)
Can HPE’s “The Machine” Deliver?
[without memristors]
Rachel Courtland
22 Dec 2015

And cf.

Hope springs eternal:
Despite HP’s Delays, Memristors are Now Available
Russ Arensman
08 March 2016

The Singularity May Yet Be Near! ;->

jimf said...

> IBM has been bruiting the term "neuromorphic" for a while
> (we've had SyNAPSE and TrueNorth
> )

And let's not forget the "cat fight" that occurred a few years ago between
IBM's Dharmendra Modha. . .
Dharmendra S. Modha
IBM Fellow; IBM Chief Scientist - Brain-inspired Computing
IBM Research - Almaden

He is a Cognitive Computing pioneer who envisioned and now leads a
highly successful effort to develop Brain-inspired Computers.
The project has received ~$65 million in research funding from
DARPA (under SyNAPSE Program). . .

The resulting architecture, technology, and ecosystem breaks path
with the prevailing von Neumann architecture (circa 1946) and constitutes
a foundation for energy-efficient, scalable neuromorphic systems.

. . .and Henry Markram of the Blue Brain Project:

Cat Fight Brews Over Cat Brain
Sally Adee
November 23, 2009
"Last week, IBM announced that they had simulated a brain
with the number of neurons and synapses present in a cat's
brain. . .

There are as many theories of mind as there are researchers
working on it, and in some cases there is a real grudge match
between the theorists. . . [I]t seems that none of these are
more bloody than the one between IBM Almaden's Dharmendra Modha
and EPFL's Henry Markram. . .

IBM's claim is a HOAX. This is a mega public relations stunt - a
clear case of scientific deception of the public. These simulations
do not even come close to the complexity of an ant, let alone that
of a cat. . .

Two years ago, when the same [group] claimed the mouse-scale simulations,
I cut all neuroscience collaboration with IBM because this is an unethical
claim and it deceives the public.

> Aren't you afraid they will sue you for saying that they have deceived
> the public?

Well there is right and wrong and what they have done is not only wrong,
but outrageous. They deceived you and millions of other people.

(via )

> But are they Friendly(TM) neurons?

They must be if they're being funded by the Defense Department. ;->

jimf said...

> . . .brain-like computing [and computer-like brains]

(via )

Richard A. L. Jones once wrote:
Your mind will not be uploaded
Richard Jones
Posted on September 14, 2014

. . .

[T]o get anywhere in this discussion, we’re going to need
to immunise ourselves against the way in which almost all
popular discussion of neuroscience is carried out in
metaphorical language. Metaphors used clearly and well
are powerful aids to understanding, but when we take
them too literally they can be badly misleading. . .

In the comment thread of
I once wrote:

In a review of an SF novel (_The Multiplex Man_ by
James P. Hogan, 1992) which I once posted to the Extropians'
mailing list, I quoted with approval a character's speech in
the book on p. 174:

"It's funny how people are always finding that the mind
works like their latest technology. It never does, of
course, but it shows how they always think that the
latest technology must be the ultimate. At one time the
brain was an elaborate telephone exchange of nerves going
in and out. Then, after servomechanisms were developed,
it worked by feedback loops and error signals. And then
after that, naturally, it had to be a computer."

I've since encountered essentially the same observation
in a number of other places. . .

I just came across yet another complaint about these bad metaphors.

In a recent comment thread here
( )
I mentioned a new book:
A Brain Surgeon’s Legacy Through a Grandson’s Eyes
A Conversation With
AUG. 8, 2016

Luke Dittrich is the author of a new book, “Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness,
and Family Secrets,” about his grandfather, Dr. William Scoville. . .

So I picked up this book last night at Barnes & Noble, and found
a quote from Karl Lashley contra Clark Hull (in the context
of a disagreement between Lashley and Wilder Penfield):
(and cf. )
"I am less impressed with the analogies between the various
machines and neural activity, such as are discussed in
[Norbert Wiener's] _Cybernetics_. . . Descartes was impressed
by the hydraulic figures in the royal gardens and developed
a hydraulic theory of the action of the brain.
We have since had telephone theories, electrical field theories,
and now, theories based on the computing machines and automatic
rudders. I suggest that we are more likely to find out how
the brain works by studying the brain itself and the phenomena
of behavior than by indulging in far-fetched physical analogies."

. . .

At the end of the day. . . Penfield. . . lacked the necessary
evidence to support a real theory of how memory worked. Even if
it was assumed that the brain contained a sort of tape recorder --
or, for that matter, a telegraph, computer, or hydraulic pump. . .
Penfield's operations hadn't given any idea as to its location. . .