ISSUE 1.35

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That Robot's Beating Heart

Robots might want to become more human-like. Basic income experiments. Nightmare instruments. VR porn event canceled; too many attendees.


Where do minds belong?

A fascinating article on the ultimate endgame of consciousness: in silicon and steel, or in flesh? (Or in both.) We assume "that machines sit at the pinnacle of the evolution of the consciousness", but there's no guarantee whatsoever that our current technological trajectory will actually get us there. There may be an upcoming energy efficiency wall for our typical processing architectures, and we may be better off using "neuromorphic" architectures or quantum computation. And a whole lot of other really fascinating alternate futures, possible impossibilities, and strange ideas. The intelligences of the future might not even be remotely rational in the way we understand rational to be. Boy, I'd be interested to see us create the ultimate singularity-ready robots/androids/meatthoughtforms and they just vanish because they have instantly attained enlightenment or something. "Seeya, suckers!" ... maybe that's what's happening now?


This 3D-Printed Human Heart Can Do Everything a Real One Can

Don't get too excited--it can only last half an hour. But that's a start, and they'll improve it! Anyways, I'm imagining the horrifying life of someone who is just constantly on a surgery table, having a surgery done to get a new heart implanted that only lasts 30 minutes. This is, of course, exactly what would happen because there's no more efficient way to pump a heart that's already been invented for people who need to be kept artificially alive by heart-pumping technology. NONE. NONE!


This famous roboticist doesn’t think Elon Musk understands AI

OK, TBH--I don't think Elon Musk quite gets it, either. Of course, starting any sentence with "I don't think Elon Musk quite gets it" is just asking to be proven hilariously or apocalyptically wrong in like 20 years, but I just don't fundamentally believe that we can create a robot that is like us or has our priorities unless we literally modeled the human brain, which will take a VERY long time. (Like, you know, maybe 20 years.) Granted, we can simulate a fruit fly's brain, but even that requires multiple GPUs. But I'm worried about something much more close and obviously destructive: mindless, remote-controlled robots or drones that can automatically target, shoot at, or deploy munitions against people.

We're far more likely (in my very pessimistic, future-fearing opinion) to see the sudden hostile takeover of a large city by a billionaire (or three) who pool their resources into creating an army that just murders every foe it sees. Less frightening and more "oh, the woe of systems" is that once we roll these things out into the army, if we haven't already, friend-vs.-foe identification is still quite a hard problem, especially at the on-the-ground infantry level. So... stay away from the robot police, yo. Of course, maybe it'll be better than how things are now--in a conversation with my friend, she said "I was followed by an aggressive homeless guy who seemed like he wanted to murder me but I didn't want to call the cops because I was afraid they would murder him", so, you know, there's that. And everyone knows that technology fixes social problems and the abuse of power!


If Universal Basic Income Took Off - Giving Money to Everyone

Basically: no, amount of work sought didn't change (I feel like this is a duh, but then again, it probably varies from culture to culture (OR DOES IT?! (I don't know))) in Finland. GiveDirectly worked quite well (which I've linked about in a Glitchet before), and effects on the EU were quite positive registering a sharp drop in poverty. You'll have to forgive me for believing that UBI is completely feasible and possible, if only the billionaires of the world would spend less time topping the money leaderboards and more time giving everyone in extreme poverty (or even just regular poverty) money. And the pure cultural effects it would have would be enormous as well; can you imagine if you could live a minimalistic life, creating, and living, without worry? Of course, that's welfare and god knows welfare and faring well are just the worst things in the world possibly ever.


Japan’s first VR porn festival cancelled because there were too many attendees

Ahhhhh-ha-ha-ha-ha. I don't even know what to say here. I mean, it pretty much describes itself, doesn't it? Click inside for some (barely) SFW gifs.


SCREENFULL - Abe Linkoln and Jimpunk

Check out this dope anthology of the Screenfull project, hosted back in 2004-2005 with a "maximalist approach to content and design", "stadium rock". It seems like a really raw precursor to vaporwave, modern net art, and brutalist web design. Photos and gifs for yer eyes.


Fake Obama created using AI tool to make phoney speeches

Two years ago I went to the University of Washington campus to visit a bunch of computer science grads and their final thesis projects in order to see whether my company at the time should hire them (ooh, aren't I fancy?). One of them was a fascinating tool that could replicate, from a video of someone speaking, their lips and facial movements and transpose it onto a 3D model of another person. So you could have Christopher Walken's weird facial tics on Barack Obama's face. This is the logical next step of that--a full video synthesis of the technique with futuristic video-editing technology. Now, the researcher in the video claims that if you can create a thing like this, you can reverse engineer it. Which is fine, if you're a scientist who knows that such a thing is possible. Thing is, you can KIND of see the difference, but it's super easy to pass that off as wonky compression, and most people will not even know that this is a technique that can be done for a long time. Throw in a little bit of machine learning for reproducing other words in people's voices and you've got yourself a fabricated scandal stew, baby!


Sounds of the Nightmare Machine [3m 06s]

"The Apprehension Engine" - a beautifully shot, short minidoc on the creation of a device designed to create horrifying, frightening, unnerving noises. A neat little thing with some very cool construction. I'm pretty sure I've literally heard some of these sounds in my nightmare. Especially love that violin bow being rubbed on a bit of twisted metal. I miss the days of making weird feedback music on my guitar sat right next to my amp.