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brief update

A change of plans: instead of going to see Dawkins in SF, I'm going with geheimnisnacht and another physics grad here to see him in Menlo Park the night before. I'm mailing my ticket to memepr0gramme who lives in Berkeley now which is a lot closer to SF.

The machine learning class got more interesting for a few lectures, although I had to miss one of the best, and now I think it's headed back into not-so-great stuff again. I'll have to miss another one on Wednesday to proctor a physics midterm. I do feel like I've picked up a few useful insights from sitting in on it. Mainly, I wanted to know what level of sophistication machine learning algorithms are at currently. And the answer is, it's still pretty simplistic. Granted, the current "state of the art" is always a bit beyond what they're teaching in graduate classes, but you can usually get a pretty good idea of where a field is at by seeing what sorts of things they're telling their graduate students. Bayes nets I see as a decent starting point, but there's so much more that can and should be done. It's actually kind of exciting, because I feel that AI is a field that's ripe for explosion now. Hardware capabilities are just about catching up with the human brain, it's just a matter of building the right software tools, a lot of which haven't been built yet. But the kinds of things I think need to be done are exactly the kinds of things Ben Goertzel and others at Novamente are playing around with. I think I've decided I like their approach the more I think about it.

I don't talk about our futurist club much, but I probably should as it's pretty fun and interesting, as well as good advertising :) Our next Future Salon is this Sunday, 7pm at Borders bookstore downtown Santa Cruz.
Topic:

Cyberspace is a "metaphor we live by," born two decades ago at the intersection of computers, networks, ideas, and experience. It has reflected our experiences with information technology, and also shaped the way we think about new technologies and the challenges they present. It had been a vivid and useful metaphor for decades; but in a rapidly-emerging world of mobile, always-on information devices (and eventually cybernetic implants, prosthetics, and swarm intelligence), the rules that define the relationship between information, places, and daily life are going to be rewritten. As the Internet becomes more pervasive-- as it moves off desktops and screen and becomes embedded in things, spaces, and minds-- cyberspace will disappear.


with guest speaker Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, research director at the Institute for the Future. I randomly stumbled upon a talk Alex Pang was giving a couple months ago, and invited him to speak at one of our salons. Since then, everything slowly fell into place and now we're all set for this Sunday, just made the flyers last night (although I don't have one online yet to link to). Upcoming speakers are Bruce Damer (the friendly guy who introduced me to Robert Anton Wilson) in November, on the prospects of life evolving out of human-designed technology, and Miguel Aznar (the other moderator besides myself) who is the director of education for the Foresight Nanotech Institute and the author of Technology Challenged, speaking on technological literacy in December. It's been a long time since I've heard from the Liftport group (space elevator company) so I should probably send them an email soon and see what's up.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
ex_memepr0g
Oct. 18th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
Wheee! Dawkins!

AAAANNNYWAY...those discussion sound rather fascinating, but then again, most things about technology make me excited.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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