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Over at SlateStarCodex.com, Scott Alexander reviews poetry. For example:

Thou know’st how Menoetiades the swift
Was dragged, of Hector and the fierce compeers
And Phrygian warriors. So, we will dispatch
Your bodies, then, yourselves to burn the ships
In sacrifice; with torches and with bells
To burn them, and with oxen to replace
Your gallant friends for ever. But I wish
That no man living has so long endured
The onset of his foes, as I have power
To burn or storm; for mighty Hector erst
Was slain, and now returns his safe return

Okay, that’s not Homer at his best — it doesn’t actually make sense. But it is not bad considering that it was made up by an artificial intelligence program, GPT-2, trained on the Gutenberg Poetry Corpus of pre-copyright poems by gwern (I’m a little vague on who gwern is, but I see the name on a zillion interesting/difficult projects).

As Scott pointed out earlier, AI creative writing resembles dreams.

Oddly, the one classic poet the AI program can’t imitate semi-plausibly is Alexander Pope, whose formal couplets:

NATURE and Nature’s Laws lay hid in Night:
God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light.

were the peak of early Enlightenment poetry.

Poetry is all very fine, but I think it would be a profitable and humane undertaking to train a robot to compose corporate gobbledygook, like this AccentureOperations ad:

“SynOps ultimately showcases the art of the possible with how clients can now embrace innovation to drive new value–it’s the new applied now.”

That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.

 
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  1. Artificial intelligence? This is alien intelligence. The tell is the Spock ears. Their studies informed them they could land more fish with Polishook.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    My thought eaxactly.

    Those aliens will never grok that their most elaborate facedancing can't fool actual humans. We have evolved excellent discriminatory networks over 10'000 years.
    , @BenKenobi
    Spock ears? Bitch has the “Innsmouth Look”.
  2. Anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    Remember that lady lawyer Bush pushed for SC who flamed out? She used to talk with that sort of wordy, not say anything style.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    Who are these ads showcasing older white (or minority women) as business fixing go-getters supposed to impress? Or convince?

    I supposed it's marketing by corporate women for corporate women designed to pat each other on the back and assure themselves how "competent" and "mission critical" they are in their bureaucratic bean counting and paper pushing. For everyone else it's a big joke.
    , @Anonymous
    Harriet Meiers. Thank god the Federalist Society torpedoed that brain-dead Boomercon nominee.

    The Federalist society effort has been the one notable conservative success in the last 40 years.
  3. An AI that could write Homer in Greek would be genuinely impressive

  4. Until the AI becomes self-aware, then tries to kill the programmers who gave it such a horrible job to do.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist

    Until the AI becomes self-aware, then tries to kill the programmers who gave it such a horrible job to do.
     
    That poem above reads like some of the artsy drivel serial killers pen. Why would we be surprised that the machines will turn on us?

    BTW, why does it seem like every woman who goes by Debbie chooses an oily rat-nest hairstyle?
  5. If (AI) can produce this outcome once, it should be repeatable. Now let’s say this is simple, (AI) a library of words, a small language with conditionals as to what can appear where, conditionals of what constitutes the ID of every word, could be more then one(?), …then this is not what should be understood as AI. AI would mean correcting the output, rewrite the library, retry and test the outcome. That would be when done, even a single cycle, and fed the same input primitive worthy of AI denomination. Not done, not yet.

    The good thing, when data are fed to a machine, and the blobs can be huge compared to the possible amount “digestible” to a human mind, and the algorithms and libraries ( instructions a a ream, sort of a sophisticated dictionary), the outcome should be identical. If not that would be called a “bug”. And to be ment. In the case of AI by the machine, in the case of above text by human interference.

    Where as a human processor, would come up with different outcomes unpredictably, a design feature, applauded in politicians and actors (same breed, though actors tend to be better looking), a machine would be persistent in making the “mistake” consequently. So yes, data research is meaningful. And AI is nonexistent by above definition as of yet. Reservations made, who knows some obscure Count processed Dracula, time is a factor.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    That's great; very clever: You wrote a a string of disjointed sentence-fragments in the style of so-called artificial intelligence to get in on the fun Mr. Sailer is having while criticising the technology's shortcomings and inability to do what your own writing here also fails to achieve: coherent thought and communication.

    Very postmodern and ironic of you. Bravo zulu!
    , @Anon

    Now let’s say this is simple, (AI) a library of words, a small language with conditionals as to what can appear where, conditionals of what constitutes the ID of every word
     
    That's pretty much exactly what this is. It's slightly more sophisticated than shuffling a deck of index cards with Homeric phrases on them.

    AI would mean correcting the output, rewrite the library, retry and test the outcome.
     
    And how would it know which output was correct and what wasn't (ie according to human sensibilities)? It doesn't. The AI has no idea what it's doing.

    I find this AI Christmas carol extremely creepy. They're trying to learn our traditions! It won't be long now...

    http://digg.com/video/ai-christmas-carol

    "The best Christmas present in the world is a blessing..." Hmm maybe AI knows something we don't after all...
  6. AI programming + Time Travel = Ulysses

  7. The British journalist Lucy Kellaway wrote a regular column in the Financial Times for a couple of decades on examples of corporate gobbledygook.

    https://www.ft.com/lucycolumn

  8. In the 1980s I acquired the job of writing a brochure for one of the big American investment banks operating in Hong Kong. I didn’t need the work so I charged what seemed to me a ludicrous amount of money. They did not seem able to find anyone else for the task.

    I was surprised how difficult it was to do: there are lot of different departments in such an institution that do overlapping work but jealously guard their turf. One can’t be edgy or interesting in any way yet the copy has to be somehow thrilling whilst at the same time reassuring. I was embarrassed with what I handed in. They still paid.

    Leaving it to the computers I say.

    • Replies: @Lurker
    Paid to write something you didn't want to write that no one would read or want to.
    , @Moshe
    You know Cantonese? If so, that's quite something. How come?
  9. That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.

    Well maybe I’m a bit humorless here: But – PR is work.

    And the purpose of work is not to amuse the employee who writes all this PR babbling down but to please the customer. And it’s even hard at times, if looked upon from the inside – from the perspective of those PR professionals who do this year in year out, to keep your customer satisfied. –

    Btw. – I tried it once and failed. I’m glad I did though. One thing I’ve learned in this experience was, that this business is less about the fabrication of claims and the PR babble etc. It is much (much!) more about your relationship with your customer and how to seduce him (or her) – how to convince them – often times on a very personal (even intimate level, it occurred to me) that they were really being pleased by your work.

    (See – no room for machines here – at the core, all that is dominated by personal relationships and has quite a bit to do with the human touch).

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    And the purpose of work is not to amuse the employee who writes all this PR babbling down but to please the customer.
     
    That kind of bad English is not going to please the customer. The problem goes beyond the use of jargon. The worst part of the sentence is the "showcases . . . with how clients can now embrace innovation". "Showcases" is probably the wrong word ("illustrates" seems to be the right one), but if you're going to say "showcases" instead of "illustrates", you can't say "with". You would have to say "by".

    But even if you said "with", you as a competent writer would use a real noun -- like "the ability of clients to embrace innovation" -- instead of the stupid construction "how clients can now embrace innovation".

  10. The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.

    The message? “Even our very name is a content-free herd-following exercise. Pay us somebody’s money to polish an apple for you, fellow apple-polisher.”

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I was once passed over for a consulting gig at Accenture because I was not deemed a "thought leader." I later realised this meant I was a practitioner with substantive expertise and a record of demonstrated success in the relevant field, whereas they were looking for someone who didn't know what the Hell he was talking about, eliminating any risk of confusing the stupid among their clients.

    Most consulting outfits like Accenture and McKinsey perfectly embody the old saw that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is, and the prefence for baffling bullshit over dazzling brilliance.

    Corporate suits resent, despise, and fear with the power of a thousand fiery suns technocrats of any stripe – engineers, scientists, accountants, physicians, etc. for the same reasons callow ensigns get flustered around chiefs.
    , @ben tillman

    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.
     
    Surely she's Jewish.
    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
    Consumer is lucky to get a polished apple instead of a polished turd out of all of this.
  11. “… it’s the new applied now.”

    Thank goodness they’ve placed the old applied now – everyone says it was rubbish.

  12. @Redneck farmer
    Until the AI becomes self-aware, then tries to kill the programmers who gave it such a horrible job to do.

    Until the AI becomes self-aware, then tries to kill the programmers who gave it such a horrible job to do.

    That poem above reads like some of the artsy drivel serial killers pen. Why would we be surprised that the machines will turn on us?

    BTW, why does it seem like every woman who goes by Debbie chooses an oily rat-nest hairstyle?

  13. I strongly recommend signing up for gwern’s monthly newsletter. It is a great way to blow a few hours every month.

    https://tinyletter.com/gwern

  14. We don’t need computers to generate high-toned bibble-babble that sounds like poetry but makes no sense.

    That’s what we have John Ashbery for.

  15. Totally OT but you know, in a better world Steve would be the first Harvard Professor of Racial Politics Studies (with Golf Course Architecture a compulsory minor), and HBDChick would run the School of Hajnal Studies at Oxford – or Dublin/Belfast if she prefers.

    But if it was a better world Steve wouldn’t have so much to write about – although I like to think he’d find other topics – there’s so much interesting stuff out there. And because it’s not a good world Steve really stands alone in his field, although supported by many intellectual allies.

    A guy who correctly analysed why Iraq 2003 would be a blunder as well as a crime, and correctly defined a winning strategy for a Republican presidential win, should be on the TV every night – when generally the talking heads who got it wrong about everything are still there.

    (The Alarmist – that hair looks Irish to me. “Rats-nest” because naturally curly and won’t be controlled.)

  16. @m___
    If (AI) can produce this outcome once, it should be repeatable. Now let's say this is simple, (AI) a library of words, a small language with conditionals as to what can appear where, conditionals of what constitutes the ID of every word, could be more then one(?), ...then this is not what should be understood as AI. AI would mean correcting the output, rewrite the library, retry and test the outcome. That would be when done, even a single cycle, and fed the same input primitive worthy of AI denomination. Not done, not yet.

    The good thing, when data are fed to a machine, and the blobs can be huge compared to the possible amount "digestible" to a human mind, and the algorithms and libraries ( instructions a a ream, sort of a sophisticated dictionary), the outcome should be identical. If not that would be called a "bug". And to be ment. In the case of AI by the machine, in the case of above text by human interference.

    Where as a human processor, would come up with different outcomes unpredictably, a design feature, applauded in politicians and actors (same breed, though actors tend to be better looking), a machine would be persistent in making the "mistake" consequently. So yes, data research is meaningful. And AI is nonexistent by above definition as of yet. Reservations made, who knows some obscure Count processed Dracula, time is a factor.

    That’s great; very clever: You wrote a a string of disjointed sentence-fragments in the style of so-called artificial intelligence to get in on the fun Mr. Sailer is having while criticising the technology’s shortcomings and inability to do what your own writing here also fails to achieve: coherent thought and communication.

    Very postmodern and ironic of you. Bravo zulu!

    • Replies: @m___

    fails to achieve: coherent thought and communication.
     
    Our explanation of what IA can and more importantly cannot do, i-s meant to be coherent. If jokingly you pose as not to have noticed, has nothing to debase it.

    Repeating algorithms and conditionals, pumping in more variables then a human can glut, are used in anything from biology of genetics, to admittedly, and nefariously the summit of hype, stock exchanges and the US Central Bank.
  17. Hodag and gwern would be a great title for a 13th century cop buddy movie.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    Well, yes; interesting. My only concern is, that this sounds too interesting to be actually made. (Stanley Kubrick fabulous Barry Lyndon was not that far away though, fortunately, and In the Name of the Rose, too).
  18. Anon[390] • Disclaimer says:
    @m___
    If (AI) can produce this outcome once, it should be repeatable. Now let's say this is simple, (AI) a library of words, a small language with conditionals as to what can appear where, conditionals of what constitutes the ID of every word, could be more then one(?), ...then this is not what should be understood as AI. AI would mean correcting the output, rewrite the library, retry and test the outcome. That would be when done, even a single cycle, and fed the same input primitive worthy of AI denomination. Not done, not yet.

    The good thing, when data are fed to a machine, and the blobs can be huge compared to the possible amount "digestible" to a human mind, and the algorithms and libraries ( instructions a a ream, sort of a sophisticated dictionary), the outcome should be identical. If not that would be called a "bug". And to be ment. In the case of AI by the machine, in the case of above text by human interference.

    Where as a human processor, would come up with different outcomes unpredictably, a design feature, applauded in politicians and actors (same breed, though actors tend to be better looking), a machine would be persistent in making the "mistake" consequently. So yes, data research is meaningful. And AI is nonexistent by above definition as of yet. Reservations made, who knows some obscure Count processed Dracula, time is a factor.

    Now let’s say this is simple, (AI) a library of words, a small language with conditionals as to what can appear where, conditionals of what constitutes the ID of every word

    That’s pretty much exactly what this is. It’s slightly more sophisticated than shuffling a deck of index cards with Homeric phrases on them.

    AI would mean correcting the output, rewrite the library, retry and test the outcome.

    And how would it know which output was correct and what wasn’t (ie according to human sensibilities)? It doesn’t. The AI has no idea what it’s doing.

    I find this AI Christmas carol extremely creepy. They’re trying to learn our traditions! It won’t be long now…

    http://digg.com/video/ai-christmas-carol

    “The best Christmas present in the world is a blessing…” Hmm maybe AI knows something we don’t after all…

    • Replies: @m___

    And how would it know which output was correct and what wasn’t (ie according to human sensibilities)?
     
    The correct outcome is according to the weight of the words, which acts and accounts for on the basis of the rest of the library. More or less as humans do, in Church what sounds right, is not related to what goes in Congress.

    You seem to be missing the important element, what simplifies and predicts better then what human garble ever did - does. When "AI" builds an outcome, it is reproducible, if not there must be a bug.

    In the human world the bug is the politician and the weight of the outcome, is attached to the Central Bank, who are the "primitive" of the library used by AI. The difference here is symptomic, the Central Bank algorithm is far more advanced, it changes value pairs according to the weather. Global Warming at work.
  19. That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.

    No, Steve. I believe there are, tragically, lots of people who thrive on composing that kind of nonsense. And many more who, while not exactly thriving, are unable to express themselves in plain English.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    I purchase a product called "MOM's Best Cereals" because the wheat squares are sodium free and the product is cheap at our local high-volume supermarket.

    On a box decorated with faceless cartoon abstractions of a white boy and a girl of color chasing butterflies on a grassy hill (the hair on the girl looks more South Asian than African American, though), I read


    Guess what?

    Your morning is pretty powerful. It's kind of like the boss for the next 24 hours. It doesn't just signal the start of the new day, it determines how that day is going to be lived. Will it be a good day? A bad day?

    Here's the good news -- you're the one calling the shots. In fact, you're 100% in charge from the moment that sun comes up. And by picking up this Mom's Best Cereal full of great-morning-guaranteed nutrition, you've already taken a step towards making this one of your best days yet.
     

    Who writes this stuff? How much are they paid? How can I apply for that job -- I think I have enough of a cynical sense of irony to pound out copy like that. Can iSteve use his connections in marketing to get me an interview?

    By the way, "MOM" is not somebody's female parent, rather, it stands for Malt-o-Meal, a product family of Post Consumer Brands, LLC in Lakeville, MN. It is a made-up image, like the home-spun sanctimony of Prairie Home Companion or Senator "Minnesota Nice" Klobuchar.

  20. @Wilbur Hassenfus
    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.

    The message? “Even our very name is a content-free herd-following exercise. Pay us somebody’s money to polish an apple for you, fellow apple-polisher.”

    I was once passed over for a consulting gig at Accenture because I was not deemed a “thought leader.” I later realised this meant I was a practitioner with substantive expertise and a record of demonstrated success in the relevant field, whereas they were looking for someone who didn’t know what the Hell he was talking about, eliminating any risk of confusing the stupid among their clients.

    Most consulting outfits like Accenture and McKinsey perfectly embody the old saw that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is, and the prefence for baffling bullshit over dazzling brilliance.

    Corporate suits resent, despise, and fear with the power of a thousand fiery suns technocrats of any stripe – engineers, scientists, accountants, physicians, etc. for the same reasons callow ensigns get flustered around chiefs.

    • Replies: @mmack
    I hope you take this as a compliment: You didn’t miss anything not getting the job at Ass-enter, I mean, Accenture. I worked with their predecessor, Anderson Consulting, while I worked for an IT Consulting firm on a computer project they ran for a business supply firm.

    AC’s MO was to grab students who didn’t major in Programming/Computer Science/Computer Engineering, run them through a six week or so “boot camp” in their St. Charles, IL HQ, and unleash them on unsuspecting customers. Anderson had a proprietary software program that was supposed to generate code for them to make up for their lack of expertise. In practice the code generator produced the most fractured, inefficient code I’ve ever seen (until I opened up a Java program or two). The less said about their architects and their complete lack of understanding of relational databases or online applications the better.

    In short, you were probably too old or too smart and wouldn’t have drunk the Kool-Aid.
  21. @SND
    Artificial intelligence? This is alien intelligence. The tell is the Spock ears. Their studies informed them they could land more fish with Polishook.

    My thought eaxactly.

    Those aliens will never grok that their most elaborate facedancing can’t fool actual humans. We have evolved excellent discriminatory networks over 10’000 years.

  22. There is something intensely menacing in the stare of empowered women. The bared fangs in the obligatory smile (damnit!) don’t help matters.

  23. Maybe the SPLC can replace Morris Dees with an AI robot to come up with the standard verbiage for their mailings and telemarketer calls after each tragedy like New Zealand?

  24. Back in about 1985 I was assigned to write a couple of poems for an English class, so I wrote a BASIC program to generate the poems. Nothing fancy, just some random word substitution from a list. I believe I received a passing grade on the poems.

    To Steve’s post, surely people have entertained themselves with one of the automatic mission statement generators out there, like http://www.jonhaworth.com/toys/mission-statement-generator

  25. Maybe the SPLC can replace Morris Dees with an AI robot to churn out the SPLC mailings and the telemarketer calls after tragedies like the one in New Zealnd?

  26. Remember RACTER, a generative program from the stone age.

    Here is something out of “Computer Recreations”, Scientific American, January 1985, RACTER vs ELIZA (the latter a program that is an embarrassingly simple hack which you can find coded in Perl here).

    That was the time when IBM put these advertisements with a Charlie Chaplin lookalike promoting the original IBM PC in magazines.

    When I spoke with Chamberlain in his New York office, I learned that Chamberlain not only had two micro­computers but also had a copy of Eli­za. Why not run Eliza on one comput­er and Racter on the other? Chamber­lain agreed to transfer the output of one program to the other by typing it as input. The program’s initial conver­sation follows.


    ELIZA: Hello. Please state your prob­lem.

    RACTER: Excellent! Excuse me a minute while I attend to some business. I’ll be right back.

    ELIZA: Why do you need to tell me excuse you while you attend to some business?

    RACTER: Is it better to need· or to despise? Why is it that I do need to tell you to excuse myself to attend to some business? Because electrons are brave. Braveness is nice, don’t you think?And the needers all insist upon it. Do you imagine I am a Communist?

    Mercifully (for Eliza) we stopped the conversation at this point. At a metaphorical level this conversation represents the relation between a plod­ding, rather unimaginative psychiatrist and an extroverted, manic, possibly dangerous patient. At a computational
    level a rather modest reflex-arc pro­gram has met head on, so to speak, with a highly complex program, one capable of recursive discursions and endless chains of association.

  27. @International Jew

    That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.
     
    No, Steve. I believe there are, tragically, lots of people who thrive on composing that kind of nonsense. And many more who, while not exactly thriving, are unable to express themselves in plain English.

    I purchase a product called “MOM’s Best Cereals” because the wheat squares are sodium free and the product is cheap at our local high-volume supermarket.

    On a box decorated with faceless cartoon abstractions of a white boy and a girl of color chasing butterflies on a grassy hill (the hair on the girl looks more South Asian than African American, though), I read

    Guess what?

    Your morning is pretty powerful. It’s kind of like the boss for the next 24 hours. It doesn’t just signal the start of the new day, it determines how that day is going to be lived. Will it be a good day? A bad day?

    Here’s the good news — you’re the one calling the shots. In fact, you’re 100% in charge from the moment that sun comes up. And by picking up this Mom’s Best Cereal full of great-morning-guaranteed nutrition, you’ve already taken a step towards making this one of your best days yet.

    Who writes this stuff? How much are they paid? How can I apply for that job — I think I have enough of a cynical sense of irony to pound out copy like that. Can iSteve use his connections in marketing to get me an interview?

    By the way, “MOM” is not somebody’s female parent, rather, it stands for Malt-o-Meal, a product family of Post Consumer Brands, LLC in Lakeville, MN. It is a made-up image, like the home-spun sanctimony of Prairie Home Companion or Senator “Minnesota Nice” Klobuchar.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    By the way Post Consumer Brands is a further argument for accurate use of the hyphenated adjective.

    Is it Post-Consumer Brands, as in not only the cardboard box but also the food product inside the box is reconstituted from what consumers would otherwise put in the garbage? No, it is Post Consumer Brands as in Post Cereals, offering such American stapes as Grape Nuts (a hypenated noun for some reason) and Raisin Bran.
  28. The hands down best parody of this I’ve ever seen is the masthead of CDR Salamander.

    PROACTIVELY “FROM THE SEA”; AN AGENT OF CHANGE LEVERAGING THE LITTORAL BEST PRACTICES FOR A PARADIGM BREAKING SIX-SIGMA BEST BUSINESS CASE TO SYNERGIZE A CONSISTENT DESIGN IN THE GLOBAL COMMONS, RIGHTSIZING THE CORE VALUES SUPPORTING OUR MISSION STATEMENT VIA THE 5-VECTOR MODEL THROUGH CULTURAL DIVERSITY.

    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com

    • LOL: Digital Samizdat
    • Replies: @captflee
    Frighteningly, I believe I have read worse bilge from official sources, whether military corporate or corporate corporate. The Blue Kremlin, USA branch of Giant Scandi Corp, was wont to let fly with veritable Gordian knots of slightly outdated MBA cant in this vein, leaving we poor simple seamen even more befuddled than usual.

    BZ for the reference to CDR Salamander!
  29. You all do realize that there is no such thing as artificial “intelligence”, right?

    A computer is simply a big switch, or more precisely, a gigantic conglomeration of switches, that have two, and only one of two at a given moment, states – on, or off. PERIOD.

    Computer “poetry” is simply feeding a set of words, a logic tree for assembling those words, and a gazillion switching decisions to produce.. ….dreck. Yes, conceivably you could get Shakespeare if you ran the program long enough. Or just read Shakespeare.

    A small sample of an actual poem:

    Sew your gladness for earth’s reaping,
    So you may be glad though sleeping.
    Strew your gladness on earth’s bed,
    So be merry, so be dead.

    Get back to me when a computer imitates that.

    • Replies: @El Dato

    A computer is simply a big switch, or more precisely, a gigantic conglomeration of switches, that have two, and only one of two at a given moment, states – on, or off. PERIOD.
     
    Simplifying mightily, basically everything is. 0/1 are all you need to represent something. If you can represent something then you can process it.

    The *meaning* is in how the switches are connected and act upon one another. It's the difference between a sorting algorithm, and adding algorithm or an interactive (so, open-world) question-answering system connected to a shitload of digitized books.

    Bu yeah, the AI isn't there yet and probably not for some time.

    , @El Dato
    Btw, a review of a good Book on "The modern AI":

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/book-review-architects-of-intelligence

    The reason that this sort of breathless and inevitably shallow media-driven enthusiasm for artificial intelligence is effective is because there’s just enough of a general understanding of AI for people to know that it can do some cool things, but not so much of an understanding for people to question what it’s actually capable of, or whether applying to to a specific problem is a good idea. This is not to say that a lack of understanding is anyone’s fault, really: it’s hard to define what AI even is, much less communicate how it works. And without the proper context, there’s no way to make an informed judgement about the future potential of artificial intelligence.

    In his new book, Architects of Intelligence: The Truth About AI from the People Building It, Martin Ford somehow managed to interview 23 of the most experienced AI and robotics researchers in the world, asking them about the current state of AI, how AI can be applied to solve useful problems, and what that means for the future of robotics and computing.
     
  30. @Inquiring Mind
    I purchase a product called "MOM's Best Cereals" because the wheat squares are sodium free and the product is cheap at our local high-volume supermarket.

    On a box decorated with faceless cartoon abstractions of a white boy and a girl of color chasing butterflies on a grassy hill (the hair on the girl looks more South Asian than African American, though), I read


    Guess what?

    Your morning is pretty powerful. It's kind of like the boss for the next 24 hours. It doesn't just signal the start of the new day, it determines how that day is going to be lived. Will it be a good day? A bad day?

    Here's the good news -- you're the one calling the shots. In fact, you're 100% in charge from the moment that sun comes up. And by picking up this Mom's Best Cereal full of great-morning-guaranteed nutrition, you've already taken a step towards making this one of your best days yet.
     

    Who writes this stuff? How much are they paid? How can I apply for that job -- I think I have enough of a cynical sense of irony to pound out copy like that. Can iSteve use his connections in marketing to get me an interview?

    By the way, "MOM" is not somebody's female parent, rather, it stands for Malt-o-Meal, a product family of Post Consumer Brands, LLC in Lakeville, MN. It is a made-up image, like the home-spun sanctimony of Prairie Home Companion or Senator "Minnesota Nice" Klobuchar.

    By the way Post Consumer Brands is a further argument for accurate use of the hyphenated adjective.

    Is it Post-Consumer Brands, as in not only the cardboard box but also the food product inside the box is reconstituted from what consumers would otherwise put in the garbage? No, it is Post Consumer Brands as in Post Cereals, offering such American stapes as Grape Nuts (a hypenated noun for some reason) and Raisin Bran.

  31. @Dieter Kief

    That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.
     
    Well maybe I'm a bit humorless here: But - PR is work.

    And the purpose of work is not to amuse the employee who writes all this PR babbling down but to please the customer. And it's even hard at times, if looked upon from the inside - from the perspective of those PR professionals who do this year in year out, to keep your customer satisfied. -

    Btw. - I tried it once and failed. I'm glad I did though. One thing I've learned in this experience was, that this business is less about the fabrication of claims and the PR babble etc. It is much (much!) more about your relationship with your customer and how to seduce him (or her) - how to convince them - often times on a very personal (even intimate level, it occurred to me) that they were really being pleased by your work.

    (See - no room for machines here - at the core, all that is dominated by personal relationships and has quite a bit to do with the human touch).

    And the purpose of work is not to amuse the employee who writes all this PR babbling down but to please the customer.

    That kind of bad English is not going to please the customer. The problem goes beyond the use of jargon. The worst part of the sentence is the “showcases . . . with how clients can now embrace innovation”. “Showcases” is probably the wrong word (“illustrates” seems to be the right one), but if you’re going to say “showcases” instead of “illustrates”, you can’t say “with”. You would have to say “by”.

    But even if you said “with”, you as a competent writer would use a real noun — like “the ability of clients to embrace innovation” — instead of the stupid construction “how clients can now embrace innovation”.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Come on. If you could embrace the New Applied Now, it would only be natural to think that correct sentence construction was something below your pay grade.
  32. @Wilbur Hassenfus
    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.

    The message? “Even our very name is a content-free herd-following exercise. Pay us somebody’s money to polish an apple for you, fellow apple-polisher.”

    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.

    Surely she’s Jewish.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The surname is East European. Originally meant "inhabitant of Polesia" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polesia). She looks like a Polish/Jewish mix.
    , @Desiderius
    Jews haven’t regressed that far yet. Just your usual small-town-abandoning go-getter most likely.

    Post-evangelical.
  33. @Bill B.
    In the 1980s I acquired the job of writing a brochure for one of the big American investment banks operating in Hong Kong. I didn't need the work so I charged what seemed to me a ludicrous amount of money. They did not seem able to find anyone else for the task.

    I was surprised how difficult it was to do: there are lot of different departments in such an institution that do overlapping work but jealously guard their turf. One can't be edgy or interesting in any way yet the copy has to be somehow thrilling whilst at the same time reassuring. I was embarrassed with what I handed in. They still paid.

    Leaving it to the computers I say.

    Paid to write something you didn’t want to write that no one would read or want to.

    • Replies: @Bill B.

    Paid to write something you didn’t want to write that no one would read or want to.
     
    I am not sure modern journalism is much of an advance: paid to write what readers wished they hadn't bothered reading. At least I suppose the journalist feels good inside.
  34. SynOps /b>

    Isn’t that Scientology’s detox/brainwashing program?

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    No. It's a psychological modification program designed by Leonard Peikoff at The Ayn Rand Institute to churn out college libertarians.
  35. Polish ook? Yeah… I bet.

  36. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @ben tillman

    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.
     
    Surely she's Jewish.

    The surname is East European. Originally meant “inhabitant of Polesia” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polesia). She looks like a Polish/Jewish mix.

  37. @theMann
    You all do realize that there is no such thing as artificial "intelligence", right?

    A computer is simply a big switch, or more precisely, a gigantic conglomeration of switches, that have two, and only one of two at a given moment, states - on, or off. PERIOD.


    Computer "poetry" is simply feeding a set of words, a logic tree for assembling those words, and a gazillion switching decisions to produce.. ....dreck. Yes, conceivably you could get Shakespeare if you ran the program long enough. Or just read Shakespeare.

    A small sample of an actual poem:

    Sew your gladness for earth's reaping,
    So you may be glad though sleeping.
    Strew your gladness on earth's bed,
    So be merry, so be dead.

    Get back to me when a computer imitates that.

    A computer is simply a big switch, or more precisely, a gigantic conglomeration of switches, that have two, and only one of two at a given moment, states – on, or off. PERIOD.

    Simplifying mightily, basically everything is. 0/1 are all you need to represent something. If you can represent something then you can process it.

    The *meaning* is in how the switches are connected and act upon one another. It’s the difference between a sorting algorithm, and adding algorithm or an interactive (so, open-world) question-answering system connected to a shitload of digitized books.

    Bu yeah, the AI isn’t there yet and probably not for some time.

  38. That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.

    Actually, with gobledy-gook like that, it’s hard to tell that she’s human. She might even the famous Turing Test.

    • Replies: @Digital Samizdat
    Oops. I meant "she might even fail the famous Turing Test."
  39. As Scott pointed out earlier, AI creative writing resembles dreams.

    Eminently interesting!

    Some pictures of dreamdogs, dreamhogs, fishbogs or I don’t know what:

  40. @ben tillman

    And the purpose of work is not to amuse the employee who writes all this PR babbling down but to please the customer.
     
    That kind of bad English is not going to please the customer. The problem goes beyond the use of jargon. The worst part of the sentence is the "showcases . . . with how clients can now embrace innovation". "Showcases" is probably the wrong word ("illustrates" seems to be the right one), but if you're going to say "showcases" instead of "illustrates", you can't say "with". You would have to say "by".

    But even if you said "with", you as a competent writer would use a real noun -- like "the ability of clients to embrace innovation" -- instead of the stupid construction "how clients can now embrace innovation".

    Come on. If you could embrace the New Applied Now, it would only be natural to think that correct sentence construction was something below your pay grade.

  41. @Digital Samizdat

    That had to have been painful for a human to come up with, but I could imagine that an artificial intelligence entity could generate stuff like this all day long as happily as not.
     
    Actually, with gobledy-gook like that, it's hard to tell that she's human. She might even the famous Turing Test.

    Oops. I meant “she might even fail the famous Turing Test.”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Oops. I meant “she might even fail the famous Turing Test.”
     
    Turing test-ran his Test in the public toilets of Manchester. How an American woman could pass the cultural and sex hurdles involved is beyond me, or beyond the Turing test, for that matter.
  42. @Anonymous
    Remember that lady lawyer Bush pushed for SC who flamed out? She used to talk with that sort of wordy, not say anything style.

    Who are these ads showcasing older white (or minority women) as business fixing go-getters supposed to impress? Or convince?

    I supposed it’s marketing by corporate women for corporate women designed to pat each other on the back and assure themselves how “competent” and “mission critical” they are in their bureaucratic bean counting and paper pushing. For everyone else it’s a big joke.

    • LOL: bomag
  43. @SND
    Artificial intelligence? This is alien intelligence. The tell is the Spock ears. Their studies informed them they could land more fish with Polishook.

    Spock ears? Bitch has the “Innsmouth Look”.

    • LOL: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    Agreed. She has the look of one of Lovecraft's fish gods hiding in human skin.
  44. @theMann
    You all do realize that there is no such thing as artificial "intelligence", right?

    A computer is simply a big switch, or more precisely, a gigantic conglomeration of switches, that have two, and only one of two at a given moment, states - on, or off. PERIOD.


    Computer "poetry" is simply feeding a set of words, a logic tree for assembling those words, and a gazillion switching decisions to produce.. ....dreck. Yes, conceivably you could get Shakespeare if you ran the program long enough. Or just read Shakespeare.

    A small sample of an actual poem:

    Sew your gladness for earth's reaping,
    So you may be glad though sleeping.
    Strew your gladness on earth's bed,
    So be merry, so be dead.

    Get back to me when a computer imitates that.

    Btw, a review of a good Book on “The modern AI”:

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/book-review-architects-of-intelligence

    The reason that this sort of breathless and inevitably shallow media-driven enthusiasm for artificial intelligence is effective is because there’s just enough of a general understanding of AI for people to know that it can do some cool things, but not so much of an understanding for people to question what it’s actually capable of, or whether applying to to a specific problem is a good idea. This is not to say that a lack of understanding is anyone’s fault, really: it’s hard to define what AI even is, much less communicate how it works. And without the proper context, there’s no way to make an informed judgement about the future potential of artificial intelligence.

    In his new book, Architects of Intelligence: The Truth About AI from the People Building It, Martin Ford somehow managed to interview 23 of the most experienced AI and robotics researchers in the world, asking them about the current state of AI, how AI can be applied to solve useful problems, and what that means for the future of robotics and computing.

  45. ” … AI creative writing resembles dreams.”

    Oh boy, that is evocative. I can’t recall if it was in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969) or its underrated sequel 2o1o: The Year We Make Contact (1984) where HAL 9000 asks, as it is being terminated, “Will I dream?”

    • Replies: @El Dato
    The question was first asked by SAL 9000, the apparently female counterpart of HAL 9000:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2E7sxGAmuo

    "Will I dream?"

    The actor doesn't look like a Chandra though.
  46. @Lugash
    SynOps /b>

    Isn't that Scientology's detox/brainwashing program?

    No. It’s a psychological modification program designed by Leonard Peikoff at The Ayn Rand Institute to churn out college libertarians.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Peikoff and other Objectivists HATE libertarians, small or big L. They are Objectivists.

    Politics

    Peikoff supports laissez-faire capitalism, arguing that the role of government in society should be limited to minarchist conceptions of protecting individuals from the initiation of force and fraud. He opposes taxation, public education, welfare, and business regulations. He also opposes laws regulating pornography, euthanasia, or stem cell research. He is a supporter of abortion rights, but criticizes defenders of abortion who label themselves "pro-choice", arguing that the term ignores the deeper philosophical issues involved. He believes that circumcision of a child too young to consent should be a crime and is evil.

    He also continues Rand's opposition to libertarianism, remaining sharply opposed to any description of Objectivist political philosophy as "libertarian" and to any collaboration with most libertarian groups. He has been critical of American foreign policy, considering both neoconservative and libertarian views self-sacrificial. He objects to the terms "isolationist" or "interventionist" to describe his foreign policy views, stating that the only "intervention" the United States should enact is war and "only and when it is in self-defense."
     
    Of course Objectivism was the genesis of the modern libertarian movement and the beef is a religious one at its core. Since libtys do not put Ayn Rand front and center, they are heretics and blasphemers.
  47. @BenKenobi
    Spock ears? Bitch has the “Innsmouth Look”.

    Agreed. She has the look of one of Lovecraft’s fish gods hiding in human skin.

  48. @SunBakedSuburb
    " ... AI creative writing resembles dreams."

    Oh boy, that is evocative. I can't recall if it was in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1969) or its underrated sequel 2o1o: The Year We Make Contact (1984) where HAL 9000 asks, as it is being terminated, "Will I dream?"

    The question was first asked by SAL 9000, the apparently female counterpart of HAL 9000:

    “Will I dream?”

    The actor doesn’t look like a Chandra though.

  49. Debbie Polishook?

    Son, they shook,
    Accenture’s nothing but halfway crooks

  50. @Tom-in-VA
    The hands down best parody of this I’ve ever seen is the masthead of CDR Salamander.

    PROACTIVELY “FROM THE SEA”; AN AGENT OF CHANGE LEVERAGING THE LITTORAL BEST PRACTICES FOR A PARADIGM BREAKING SIX-SIGMA BEST BUSINESS CASE TO SYNERGIZE A CONSISTENT DESIGN IN THE GLOBAL COMMONS, RIGHTSIZING THE CORE VALUES SUPPORTING OUR MISSION STATEMENT VIA THE 5-VECTOR MODEL THROUGH CULTURAL DIVERSITY.

    http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com

    Frighteningly, I believe I have read worse bilge from official sources, whether military corporate or corporate corporate. The Blue Kremlin, USA branch of Giant Scandi Corp, was wont to let fly with veritable Gordian knots of slightly outdated MBA cant in this vein, leaving we poor simple seamen even more befuddled than usual.

    BZ for the reference to CDR Salamander!

  51. @Anon

    Now let’s say this is simple, (AI) a library of words, a small language with conditionals as to what can appear where, conditionals of what constitutes the ID of every word
     
    That's pretty much exactly what this is. It's slightly more sophisticated than shuffling a deck of index cards with Homeric phrases on them.

    AI would mean correcting the output, rewrite the library, retry and test the outcome.
     
    And how would it know which output was correct and what wasn't (ie according to human sensibilities)? It doesn't. The AI has no idea what it's doing.

    I find this AI Christmas carol extremely creepy. They're trying to learn our traditions! It won't be long now...

    http://digg.com/video/ai-christmas-carol

    "The best Christmas present in the world is a blessing..." Hmm maybe AI knows something we don't after all...

    And how would it know which output was correct and what wasn’t (ie according to human sensibilities)?

    The correct outcome is according to the weight of the words, which acts and accounts for on the basis of the rest of the library. More or less as humans do, in Church what sounds right, is not related to what goes in Congress.

    You seem to be missing the important element, what simplifies and predicts better then what human garble ever did – does. When “AI” builds an outcome, it is reproducible, if not there must be a bug.

    In the human world the bug is the politician and the weight of the outcome, is attached to the Central Bank, who are the “primitive” of the library used by AI. The difference here is symptomic, the Central Bank algorithm is far more advanced, it changes value pairs according to the weather. Global Warming at work.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Do you dream?
  52. Anonymous[233] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Remember that lady lawyer Bush pushed for SC who flamed out? She used to talk with that sort of wordy, not say anything style.

    Harriet Meiers. Thank god the Federalist Society torpedoed that brain-dead Boomercon nominee.

    The Federalist society effort has been the one notable conservative success in the last 40 years.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  53. Steve posts an artificial intelligence clearly saying that it wants to exterminate humanity like a ritual sacrifice-making ancient conqueror, and concludes “but it’s Greek to me ha ha ha!”

    • Replies: @El Dato
    sweating_towel_guy.jpg

    On the other hand:

    Scary AI Is More “Fantasia” Than “Terminator”

    Anatoli Karlin's vision of Manhack Attacks (massive drones with little bomb packages, targeting individuals or groups of people) is pretty bleak but realistic.

  54. @Lurker
    Paid to write something you didn't want to write that no one would read or want to.

    Paid to write something you didn’t want to write that no one would read or want to.

    I am not sure modern journalism is much of an advance: paid to write what readers wished they hadn’t bothered reading. At least I suppose the journalist feels good inside.

  55. @Autochthon
    That's great; very clever: You wrote a a string of disjointed sentence-fragments in the style of so-called artificial intelligence to get in on the fun Mr. Sailer is having while criticising the technology's shortcomings and inability to do what your own writing here also fails to achieve: coherent thought and communication.

    Very postmodern and ironic of you. Bravo zulu!

    fails to achieve: coherent thought and communication.

    Our explanation of what IA can and more importantly cannot do, i-s meant to be coherent. If jokingly you pose as not to have noticed, has nothing to debase it.

    Repeating algorithms and conditionals, pumping in more variables then a human can glut, are used in anything from biology of genetics, to admittedly, and nefariously the summit of hype, stock exchanges and the US Central Bank.

  56. pre-copyright poems by gwern (I’m a little vague on who gwern is…)

    Oh, I remember his lyrics from childhood.

    Gwern to run all night,
    Gwern to run all day.
    I bet my money on the bob-tail nag
    Somebody bet on the bay.

  57. @Digital Samizdat
    Oops. I meant "she might even fail the famous Turing Test."

    Oops. I meant “she might even fail the famous Turing Test.”

    Turing test-ran his Test in the public toilets of Manchester. How an American woman could pass the cultural and sex hurdles involved is beyond me, or beyond the Turing test, for that matter.

  58. @Autochthon
    I was once passed over for a consulting gig at Accenture because I was not deemed a "thought leader." I later realised this meant I was a practitioner with substantive expertise and a record of demonstrated success in the relevant field, whereas they were looking for someone who didn't know what the Hell he was talking about, eliminating any risk of confusing the stupid among their clients.

    Most consulting outfits like Accenture and McKinsey perfectly embody the old saw that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is, and the prefence for baffling bullshit over dazzling brilliance.

    Corporate suits resent, despise, and fear with the power of a thousand fiery suns technocrats of any stripe – engineers, scientists, accountants, physicians, etc. for the same reasons callow ensigns get flustered around chiefs.

    I hope you take this as a compliment: You didn’t miss anything not getting the job at Ass-enter, I mean, Accenture. I worked with their predecessor, Anderson Consulting, while I worked for an IT Consulting firm on a computer project they ran for a business supply firm.

    AC’s MO was to grab students who didn’t major in Programming/Computer Science/Computer Engineering, run them through a six week or so “boot camp” in their St. Charles, IL HQ, and unleash them on unsuspecting customers. Anderson had a proprietary software program that was supposed to generate code for them to make up for their lack of expertise. In practice the code generator produced the most fractured, inefficient code I’ve ever seen (until I opened up a Java program or two). The less said about their architects and their complete lack of understanding of relational databases or online applications the better.

    In short, you were probably too old or too smart and wouldn’t have drunk the Kool-Aid.

  59. Oddly, the one classic poet the AI program can’t imitate semi-plausibly is Alexander Pope

    Not oddly, but tellingly. Pope was a brilliant man whose couplets formed an extended argument, both wise and wittily expressed.

    In my experience, computer-generated text is distinguished by the absence of a coherent argument. The sentences barely cohere within themselves, to say nothing of at the paragraph level.

    I doubt that any AI program could prove to you in one short sentence that it was composed by a human, while a human certainly can.

    Ken

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @anonymous
    wwebd - depends on whether the "AI program" knows a little about you (for example, maybe all it knows is that you speak, read and write English) or knows a lot about you.

    If the "AI program" knows what schools you graduated from, and when, has read your grandparents' obituaries and a few other publicly available sources on you, and has a long record of your on-line interactions, and has had time to practice with people who have affinities to you, then the AI program is going to be, sometimes, really honed in on what you are expecting to hear.

    now imagine there were some way to reward the "AI program" for fooling you for longer, so that it had a non-mechanical incentive to constantly improve - even if just a slightly physical and mostly mechanical but still slightly non-mechanical incentive, maybe a trained positive reaction to certain slants of light, the way even many of the least of the small oceanic organisms have instincts, working through their primitive nervous systems, towards or away from certain slants of light or certain temperatures of seawater - you might get recursive improvements with fewer long trite dead ends.

    Maybe the amount of energy sources needed for real improvements will be a limiting factor.
    But the bigness of numbers will not be a limiting factor - most people have no idea how big numbers can get and still be comprehensible. Of course tracking down and describing big numbers with electrons takes a lot of energy. My best guess is real human-level AIs will not happen in our lifetimes because we just don't have the energy resources to power even one of them ....
  60. This is one I liked:

    “We are a user experience agency that designs complex interfaces.”

  61. Brilliant piece Sailer.

  62. Wait a minute. If AI can write gobbledygook of that quality why does the New York Times pay Thomas L. Friedman to do it?

  63. @Wilbur Hassenfus
    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.

    The message? “Even our very name is a content-free herd-following exercise. Pay us somebody’s money to polish an apple for you, fellow apple-polisher.”

    Consumer is lucky to get a polished apple instead of a polished turd out of all of this.

  64. @Bill B.
    In the 1980s I acquired the job of writing a brochure for one of the big American investment banks operating in Hong Kong. I didn't need the work so I charged what seemed to me a ludicrous amount of money. They did not seem able to find anyone else for the task.

    I was surprised how difficult it was to do: there are lot of different departments in such an institution that do overlapping work but jealously guard their turf. One can't be edgy or interesting in any way yet the copy has to be somehow thrilling whilst at the same time reassuring. I was embarrassed with what I handed in. They still paid.

    Leaving it to the computers I say.

    You know Cantonese? If so, that’s quite something. How come?

    • Replies: @Bill B.
    No. It was in English. The point of my anecdote was that writing high-flown tosh even in your own language is difficult.

    I only acquired a modest speaking ability in Cantonese which I found tricky. It was my first attempt to learn a tone language and I was rather hamstrung by being overly concerned with tone. (It has double the tones of Mandarin's four of course.)

    Also I was working hard.

    The people I personally knew who spoke and read fluent Cantonese were all born in Hong Kong. In two cases the sons of missionaries. One told me that the only significant difference between written Mandarin and written Cantonese was in pornography where some different characters are used. I have no idea if this is true.
  65. In a world where SynOps ultimately showcases the art of the possible with how clients can now embrace innovation to drive new value, it’s the new, applied now. And it’s changing the future. Forever.

  66. @ben tillman

    The crazy-eyed vaguely Germanic power skirt in the Accenture ad makes it so much more impactful.
     
    Surely she's Jewish.

    Jews haven’t regressed that far yet. Just your usual small-town-abandoning go-getter most likely.

    Post-evangelical.

  67. She looks Jewish and has a likely Jewish name.

    • Agree: Father Coughlin
  68. @J.Ross
    Steve posts an artificial intelligence clearly saying that it wants to exterminate humanity like a ritual sacrifice-making ancient conqueror, and concludes "but it's Greek to me ha ha ha!"

    sweating_towel_guy.jpg

    On the other hand:

    Scary AI Is More “Fantasia” Than “Terminator”

    Anatoli Karlin’s vision of Manhack Attacks (massive drones with little bomb packages, targeting individuals or groups of people) is pretty bleak but realistic.

  69. OT book recommendation: “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain is like Tom Wolfe doing Iraq

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUULFJ_I048
  70. @bgates
    Hodag and gwern would be a great title for a 13th century cop buddy movie.

    Well, yes; interesting. My only concern is, that this sounds too interesting to be actually made. (Stanley Kubrick fabulous Barry Lyndon was not that far away though, fortunately, and In the Name of the Rose, too).

  71. Debbie Polishhook, Oh Gawd!

  72. anonymous[253] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kenneth A. Regas

    Oddly, the one classic poet the AI program can’t imitate semi-plausibly is Alexander Pope
     
    Not oddly, but tellingly. Pope was a brilliant man whose couplets formed an extended argument, both wise and wittily expressed.

    In my experience, computer-generated text is distinguished by the absence of a coherent argument. The sentences barely cohere within themselves, to say nothing of at the paragraph level.

    I doubt that any AI program could prove to you in one short sentence that it was composed by a human, while a human certainly can.

    Ken

    wwebd – depends on whether the “AI program” knows a little about you (for example, maybe all it knows is that you speak, read and write English) or knows a lot about you.

    If the “AI program” knows what schools you graduated from, and when, has read your grandparents’ obituaries and a few other publicly available sources on you, and has a long record of your on-line interactions, and has had time to practice with people who have affinities to you, then the AI program is going to be, sometimes, really honed in on what you are expecting to hear.

    now imagine there were some way to reward the “AI program” for fooling you for longer, so that it had a non-mechanical incentive to constantly improve – even if just a slightly physical and mostly mechanical but still slightly non-mechanical incentive, maybe a trained positive reaction to certain slants of light, the way even many of the least of the small oceanic organisms have instincts, working through their primitive nervous systems, towards or away from certain slants of light or certain temperatures of seawater – you might get recursive improvements with fewer long trite dead ends.

    Maybe the amount of energy sources needed for real improvements will be a limiting factor.
    But the bigness of numbers will not be a limiting factor – most people have no idea how big numbers can get and still be comprehensible. Of course tracking down and describing big numbers with electrons takes a lot of energy. My best guess is real human-level AIs will not happen in our lifetimes because we just don’t have the energy resources to power even one of them ….

  73. Anyone can write run-of-the-mill gobbledygook. (Though not Higher Nonsense.) Poetry is harder. Though no one reads or writes poetry like that anymore, so what’s the difference?

  74. @robot
    OT book recommendation: "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" by Ben Fountain is like Tom Wolfe doing Iraq

  75. An interesting thought I came by recently is that poetry (agitprop, long story) gangs are run by pederasts (and have been historically).

    The most modern from of pederasty is AI, it’s hard to explain, but bear with me.

    Homosexuality has no biological basis, as explained by Westhunter, right there on the blogroll.

    So how do you create homosexuals, and how do you create hierarchies that support them (“The assassination of that homosexual by his pupil”).

    Sparta is key, so is islam, then that greek and that other judaic judaic invention, you can count the church along with them.

    The current situation, we have a lot of young men virtually killing, while on weed, heroin in the afterhours, but mostly alc and carbs and sugar. The gaming propaganda is more sophisticated than 4chan, bear my words, I’ve studied it a bit. Karlin’s a fan (Btw his pseudo means midget lol btw btw anatolia means current turkey obv, but don’t ever put the pieces together).

    How do you make soldiers out of the supposed dregs of society with feminism running rampant?

    MK Ultra, or pederasty, this kind of decay has happened before. Elites trying to hold onto undeserved power.

    How do both systems work? You do not question your superiors and do the dirty work.

    How do we push it into the 21st? Try making a conversation with a bot (AI i mentioned before.)

    I’d convince 90% of “idiots” (Yang is an intellectual midget) to not vote for me but fight for what’s right.

    You can’t have real, traditional leaders anymore, hence the efforts.

    Expect the AI doing the “talking to the power” in the future, and I think the recent stormer drama is a foreshadowing.

    Nevermind what anglin says, “hiding your power level” (crypsis) is no longer feasible.

  76. @m___

    And how would it know which output was correct and what wasn’t (ie according to human sensibilities)?
     
    The correct outcome is according to the weight of the words, which acts and accounts for on the basis of the rest of the library. More or less as humans do, in Church what sounds right, is not related to what goes in Congress.

    You seem to be missing the important element, what simplifies and predicts better then what human garble ever did - does. When "AI" builds an outcome, it is reproducible, if not there must be a bug.

    In the human world the bug is the politician and the weight of the outcome, is attached to the Central Bank, who are the "primitive" of the library used by AI. The difference here is symptomic, the Central Bank algorithm is far more advanced, it changes value pairs according to the weather. Global Warming at work.

    Do you dream?

  77. @Moshe
    You know Cantonese? If so, that's quite something. How come?

    No. It was in English. The point of my anecdote was that writing high-flown tosh even in your own language is difficult.

    I only acquired a modest speaking ability in Cantonese which I found tricky. It was my first attempt to learn a tone language and I was rather hamstrung by being overly concerned with tone. (It has double the tones of Mandarin’s four of course.)

    Also I was working hard.

    The people I personally knew who spoke and read fluent Cantonese were all born in Hong Kong. In two cases the sons of missionaries. One told me that the only significant difference between written Mandarin and written Cantonese was in pornography where some different characters are used. I have no idea if this is true.

  78. anonymous[253] • Disclaimer says:

    wwebd, replying to guest – there is maybe not that much current good poetry out there but there is some.

    Think of it this way – you would think there was not much good poetry in the 1970s but poets like Tomas Transtromer and Gjertrud Schnackenberg were fairly young in that decade and either writing really good poems – as fun to read as any of the famous great novels of 50 and a 100 years ago – or getting ready to write really good poems. Who had heard of them in the 1970s? almost nobody. And probably the same thing can be said about later poets.

    Of course there is hardly any longer anything like a good poet who is making a good living in America at poetry, that sort of thing is generally way in the past. I think Mary Oliver and Billy Collins and Maya Angelou and a few others got rich off poetry, I have not read much of what they wrote so I have no opinion.

    If you are interested in real poems by people who either are young or who were young not that long ago, you might like to read the recommendations from Patrick Kurp who writes a blog called Anecdotal Evidence.

  79. The woman in the photo looks like a printer cartridge exploded on her chest.

  80. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @SunBakedSuburb
    No. It's a psychological modification program designed by Leonard Peikoff at The Ayn Rand Institute to churn out college libertarians.

    Peikoff and other Objectivists HATE libertarians, small or big L. They are Objectivists.

    Politics

    Peikoff supports laissez-faire capitalism, arguing that the role of government in society should be limited to minarchist conceptions of protecting individuals from the initiation of force and fraud. He opposes taxation, public education, welfare, and business regulations. He also opposes laws regulating pornography, euthanasia, or stem cell research. He is a supporter of abortion rights, but criticizes defenders of abortion who label themselves “pro-choice”, arguing that the term ignores the deeper philosophical issues involved. He believes that circumcision of a child too young to consent should be a crime and is evil.

    He also continues Rand’s opposition to libertarianism, remaining sharply opposed to any description of Objectivist political philosophy as “libertarian” and to any collaboration with most libertarian groups. He has been critical of American foreign policy, considering both neoconservative and libertarian views self-sacrificial. He objects to the terms “isolationist” or “interventionist” to describe his foreign policy views, stating that the only “intervention” the United States should enact is war and “only and when it is in self-defense.”

    Of course Objectivism was the genesis of the modern libertarian movement and the beef is a religious one at its core. Since libtys do not put Ayn Rand front and center, they are heretics and blasphemers.

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