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It’s better than real – it’s a real imitation

Friday, 31 March 2023

🔗 Against longtermism

It’s fascinating to me that people can people who subscribe to “longtermism” are basically the villians/antagonists of several Ken MacLeod novels.

Stone Canal and Cassini Division – the transhumanists who are unleashed after the US/UN are defeated go mad within their simulation constructs in orbit around Jupiter, transform the planet partly into computronium before unleashing interplanetary electronic warfare on humanity (killing billions). They’re only defeated by a string of terraforming comets routed through a wormhole from a solar system many lightyears away smashing into the planet.

Newton’s Wake – the amoral Carlyle crime family, rising to prominence on Earth in the ruins of a hard takeoff singularity, employ (or enslave, in his opinion) a digital construct of one of the nerds who engineered the singularity. He’s found in orbit around a red dwarf, according to the narrator as punishment by his ascended self for being so insufferable.

🔗🐦 Check out this WOKE thread by FT reporter John Burn-Murdock: “I’m not sure people fully appreciate how dire the US life expectancy / mortality situation has got”

🇸🇪 jag är inte längre medlem i Svenska kyrkan men uppskattar att dom uppmärksammar dagens Transgender day of visibility. Det hedrar dom!

Thursday, 30 March 2023

I really suggest reading RUSI’s report on Russia’s intelligence efforts in Ukraine before the invasion (linked yesterday, direct PDF link).

It’s a fascinating piece and sheds light on a lot of decisions that seemed weird at the time. Basically, the FSB had recruited “super-agents” who ran their own networks of people who probably didn’t know they were ultimately working for Russia. Putin put the invasion plans in motion too soon, so these traitors didn’t really have that much of an effect, while the military component of the invasion was predicated on Ukraine being paralyzed by their actions.

So what does this mean for countries a bit outside Russia’s “near abroad”? I don’t believe Sweden, for example, is in imminent danger of Russian invasion even in the longer term. But Russia is probably using this playbook right now (just as in every country) where it’s funding agents who recruit on their own, acting as cutouts for Russian money and influence.

Hopefully this report gives Western security services new ideas and leads.

Okay, so that AI letter signed by lots of AI researchers calling for a “Pause [on] Giant AI Experiments”? It’s just dripping with #Aihype. Here’s a quick rundown. 🧵


🔗 NotTheOnion: Mythic Computer: Origins

Modern software engineering is rotten. I should know — it’s been my livelihood since I graduated from college in late 2019.

There’s so much in this piece… but we were all young once.

This just struck me as weird, as a part of a freshman comparison of Japanese and “Western” cultural traits:

Faustian building techniques birth disasters like the Marshall fires in Louisville, Colorado (the town I grew up in) where a thousand poorly-built homes burned, and they also make repairs more akin to total redoes. These defects don’t matter though, because infinite spatial and temporal resources mean that the marginal cost of replacing a burned-down house to the Faustian civilization as a whole approaches zero. To the Island metaphysic, however, one thousand homes burning could be catastrophic because of spatially-dictated material constraints.

Tokyo alone endured both the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923[1] that killed an estimated 100,000 people, mostly due to firestorms, and the Operation Meetinghouse bombing raid in 1945 that also killed around 100,000 people. This bombing was of course a reaction to Imperial Japan’s attempt to secure for itself the “Faustian” resources the a author decries.

Additionally, it’s “the West” that reveres older buildings, something that’s not really a thing in Japan, at least for residential buildings.

Update, Fri 31 March 2023: the young man in question has a lot of… questionable sources and ideas, but I’ll cut him some slack for being, well, yonug, and also quite sheltered. Hopefully he reads someone other than Oswald Spengler, Hackernews, and Reddit.

[1] in the same immediate timeframe, Japanese police, military and vigilantes murdered 6,000 Koreans and Japanese socialists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kant%C5%8D_Massacre

🇸🇪 LOL Smålands nation i Lund har varit woke längre än Hanif Bali har varit i livet.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

🇸🇪 spoke too soon

Januari skrev jag:

vi ska kanske vara tacksamma att Orbán inte fick för sig att kräva förbud av HBTQ-personer i Sverige för att släppa in oss i NATO. Billström hade kanske gått med på det också.

Det ser ut som om Orbán och hans hejdukar inom Fidesz har haft mer is i magen än Erdoğan och väntat ut processen lite för att nu ställa obefogade krav på Sveriges.

SVT Text: ”Ungern: Tre skäl att dröja med ja”

Skälen är att Sverige underminerar relationerna till Ungern, en ”moralisk överlägsenhet” från svensk sida, ”brist respekt” och att relationen mellan länderna försämrats över åren.

Inget av det här berör inträde i NATO. Det ända som gäller är att Sverige ställer upp till Ungerns försvar om Ungern angrips, något som Orbán antagligen inte räknar med eftersom han skulle välkomna Putin med öppna armar.

Återigen – om ett medlemskap i NATO kräver att vi tummar på vår självständighet och våra rättigheter ska vi inte gå med.

🔗 Preliminary Lessons from Russia’s Unconventional Operations During the Russo-Ukrainian War, February 2022–February 2023

🔗 The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel: Artificial Intelligence and Neoreaction (2017)

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

🦞 there’s a discussion on lobste.rs about creating a new llm tag to enable filtering of stories about Chat-GPT and friends.[1]

My take:

We’re clearly on the upswing of a hype cyclecusp of the Singularity. The best thing to do is to go down to the pubblock the ai tag, have a pint, and wait for the whole thing to blow over.

[1] tags on lobste.rs work a bit differently than on other sites. On the one hand they (attempt to) define what is on topic for the site. On the other, users can either subscribe to them or filter them. I don’t have hard numbers but I suspect more people filter than subscribe.

Reading about the Norwegian ammo factory not being able to expand because a TikTok data center is sucking up all the power prompts me to believe that when AI takes over, it won’t because it will design weapons to kill us, it will be by denying humans the resources to grow food and get clean water. We will starve in the heat exhaust of raw oil-fuelled data centers producing generated cat videos for automated likes.

as bad as the AI kudzu infesting lobste.rs is, at least it’s not as bad as on hackernews

Monday, 27 March 2023

I kind of wish I was more up to date on the current research on consciousness, intelligence etc. There are way too many confident takes re: AGI flooding the zone right now.

Update, Tue 28 March 2023: this looks like an ok primer: https://consc.net/papers/facing.html (via)

when techno-optimists talk about ML models, they invariably raise every AI experience to the maximum level of personhood it can support and lower every human experience to the most basic technical concept that can even sort of encapsulate it


Sunday, 26 March 2023

🔗🔭 Unforgettable Shoemaker-Levy 9

Saturday, 25 March 2023

🔗 The carbon footprint sham

The real message, underlying the staged tear and feather headdress, is that pollution is your problem, not the fault of the industry mass-producing cheap bottles.

Friday, 24 March 2023

🇸🇪 📺 otroligt trist att SVT inte vill/har råd att betala format-kostnaderna för “Bäst i test” (Taskmaster). Om samma gäng fortsätter i TV4 kanske det är värt att fortsätta titta, men risken är stor att TV4 sätter sin egen prägel och t.ex. sätter in makarna Haag 🤮

Uppdatering Babben och Sundin följer med (eller rättare, TV4 anlitar samma produktionsbolag som tidigare.)

What’s funny about AI doomsters is that they’re clearly in the grip of what can be classified as a religious mania but they’re culturally averse to being called religious.

I don’t believe intelligence is an emergent property of computer systems, but it’s clear that religious sentiment is an emergent property of human minds.

When a computer gets religion, then it’s time to worry.

🔗 Kim Newman reviews John Wick 4:

The effect is rather like binge-watching all of Chuck Jones Road Runner/Coyote cartoons – it’s just one joke told over and over, with variations, but eventually it becomes funny again and just when you think it can’t get any crazier, it ramps up three or four more times.

🔗💸 Rich Bank Dumb Bank: Was Signature, the other bank in the Great Panic of 2023, a failure or a patsy?

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Sucks to be an IT admin in Lebanon but not having to wait another hour for iftar maybe makes up for it:

🔗 TIME.IS: Lebanon postpones DST on short notice

The government of Lebanon announced today that Lebanon will not start daylight saving time on Saturday as previously planned, but instead wait until 20 April.

The postponement is intended to make fasting easier during Islam’s holy month Ramadan.

Update, Tue 28 March 2023: OMG it turns out not everyone was on board with this so Lebanon has been living with two timezones, with some orgs using one for parts of the business and another for others. This really takes the cake, and I’ve seen a lot of DST cock-ups.


Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Molly White with a good explainer around the recent modest BTC price bump, along with more background about Crazy Balaji’s Big Bitcoin Bet:



  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2023 59 41 61
2022 3 8 14 23 126 44 47 22 37 40 113 43
2021 21 7 15 7 8 14 1 3 13 13 4
2020 16 13 18 9 7 10 2 7 11 3 18 8
2019 5 21 10 7 23 13 8 10 11 6 12 6
2018 14 28 24 10 9 7 18 7 14 4 7 2
2017 13 26 15 14 21 13 3 13 7 7 25 18
2016 21 56 35 28 36 27 17 8 28 21 13 6
2015 16 10 32 13 11 14 4 16 33 34 44 11
2014 16 37 9 18 17 12 23 28 42 24 9 12
2013 67 88 44 50 33 23 18 19 51 52 47 37
2012 22 56 10 54 95 48 42 48 42 54 36 60
2011 63 41 51 54 38 37 45 31 66 35 23 19
2010 152 188 129 154 111 117 53 115 114 125 102 89
2009 234 246 270 280 270 278 106 164 224 199 186 147
2008 45 121 135 178 146 154 158 154 145 151 133 169
2007 3 1 44 76 38 30 27 79 110 182 68 30
2006 23 14 5 2 10 6 1 12 11 12 4 13
2005 1 1 12 8
2004 1 2

Generated on: 2023-03-31T21:06:30+00:00
Render time: 00h00m7.5s
3 204 days, 10 308 items.

Copyright © Gustaf Erikson 2004–2023. All rights reserved.