Quotable (#229)

Probably futile, but definitely worth a link:

If you listen to smart people on the right, they are currently laughing their way to the end of humanity as the left continues to push deeper and deeper into the mistakes we are actively refusing to learn from. It is very difficult for the few revolutionary leftists still alive to confront this, because it’s genuinly so vertiginous and horrifying that it really approaches what is cognitively and emotionally unsurvivable for genuinely caring people: there are at least some objective reasons to believe the human species may be genuinely crossing the threshold at which exponentially increasing technological efficiency makes the absolute end of humanity an objective and irreversible empirical reality. I think it’s debatable where we are at in that process, but it seems undeniable this question is now genuinely at stake and I simply don’t see a single person on the revolutionary left seriously considering this with the radical honesty it requires.

Out of Time

Some realistic questions about prospective machine intelligence regulation:

… we still don’t have a concrete answer about how to effectively regulate the use of algorithms. AI is just another very complex layer added to this already complex discussion, sometimes directly related to “big data” (in the case of deep learning, for example) and other times addressing far bigger questions (in the case of sentient machines, for example).

The UF (accelerationist) response is probably predictable: There isn’t time to reach answers. Acceleration means only (and exactly) that the problem is receding, or escaping. If it would only slow down, everything would be okay. It won’t.

Quotable (#222)

China soaring:

In 2016 the world saw the completion of 128 skyscrapers, up from 114 in 2015, according to the US-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (it defines a skyscraper as being higher than 200 m, or 656 ft). Of those, 84 came from China, a new record for the nation. China has topped the council’s completions list every year for nearly a decade (pdf, p. 2). In 2015 it notched 68 such buildings, also a record in China at the time. […] Shenzhen, a city in southern China known for electronics manufacturing, stood out last year, completing 11 such skyscrapers. That’s more than the US and Australia combined.

(Via, and see related.)