Diaspora, ‘laocracy’, Nicola Tesla, cognitive prosthesis, the economics of freedom and Linus Torvalds on AI

But people who leave a country have not disappeared. They are alive and socially active. As a result, they may become an invaluable asset not only to their country of destination but also, and importantly, to their country of origin.

One important connection is remittances, which add up to some $500 billion a year worldwide. The largest recipients are India, Mexico, and the Philippines. For countries such as Armenia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Moldova, Nepal, and Tajikistan, expatriates remit the equivalent of more than one-sixth of national income – an amount that often exceeds exports.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/remittances-not-only-benefit-to-homeland-economies-by-ricardo-hausmann-2015-06#UewJOYfkRGkW45T5.99


Leaving the Eurozone, especially with this chaotic and superficial way, would likely lead to a process of leaving the EU too, with unpredictable and disastrous consequences for the national security and the democratic stability of our country.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/198826/article/ekathimerini/news/declaration-of-professors-of-economics-at-greek-universities-on-the-referendum


Ancient Greek had two words for the people: the “demos” of democracy and the “laos” of the mob. With his puerile call to shift the burden of his own errors and his reluctance to reform onto the shoulders of Greece’s fellow Europeans, Tsipras is leaning toward the latter manifestation – and promoting the worst version of Greek politics.
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/greece-referendum-undemocratic-eu-creditors-by-bernard-henri-levy-2015-07#qvISMVQD4QVtTg0L.99


“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.” -Nikola Tesla, 1926

http://bigthink.com/words-of-wisdom/nikola-tesla-2


There’s a lot of research about transactive memory partners. Take an old married couple recalling their first date. In isolation neither recalls much, but if you put their memories together, they can re-create a richer memory that’s more than the sum of each person’s fragments. Now it looks like a machine can be that transactive memory partner. You plus a search is more than you or the search. It’s just that we think it’s only us.

Plus, searching the internet is almost effortless, and it’s almost always accessible. You never face your ignorance when it’s there. Because we’re so deeply plugged into it, we misattribute the connection to knowledge to actually having the knowledge ourselves. It becomes an appendage. We like to use the term “cognitive prosthesis.”

https://hbr.org/2015/07/the-internet-makes-you-think-youre-smarter-than-you-are


“…The phenomenal national income growth in the Nordic nations occurred before the rise of large welfare states. The rise in living standards was made possible when cultures based on social cohesion, high levels of trust and strong work ethics were combined with free markets and low taxes….the Nordic success story reinforces the idea that business-friendly and small-government-oriented policies can promote growth.”


And here is Milton Friedman on the subject of the euro. This is from before we even knew what the final form was going to be and who the participants were going to be:

The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe. I believe that adoption of the Euro would have the opposite effect. It would exacerbate political tensions by converting divergent shocks that could have been readily accommodated by exchange rate changes into divisive political issues. Political unity can pave the way for monetary unity. Monetary unity imposed under unfavorable conditions will prove a barrier to the achievement of political unity.

Pretty much letter perfect description of what has been happening, don’t you think? Or have you not noticed the Greek government calling today’s Germans a bunch of Nazis who owe them €1 trillion euros?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/07/06/both-krugman-and-friedman-said-the-euro-was-a-stupid-idea-but-they-did-it-anyway-didnt-they/


Some computer experts like Marvin Minsky, Larry Page, Ray Kuzweil think A.I. will be a great gift to Mankind. Others like Bill Joy and Elon Musk are fearful of potential danger. Where do you stand, Linus?

Linus: I just don’t see the thing to be fearful of.

We’ll get AI, and it will almost certainly be through something very much like recurrent neural networks. And the thing is, since that kind of AI will need training, it won’t be “reliable” in the traditional computer sense. It’s not the old rule-based prolog days, when people thought they’d *understand* what the actual decisions were in an AI.

And that all makes it very interesting, of course, but it also makes it hard to productize. Which will very much limit where you’ll actually find those neural networks, and what kinds of network sizes and inputs and outputs they’ll have.

So I’d expect just more of (and much fancier) rather targeted AI, rather than anything human-like at all. Language recognition, pattern recognition, things like that. I just don’t see the situation where you suddenly have some existential crisis because your dishwasher is starting to discuss Sartre with you.

The whole “Singularity” kind of event? Yeah, it’s science fiction, and not very good SciFi at that, in my opinion. Unending exponential growth? What drugs are those people on? I mean, really..

It’s like Moore’s law – yeah, it’s very impressive when something can (almost) be plotted on an exponential curve for a long time. Very impressive indeed when it’s over many decades. But it’s _still_ just the beginning of the “S curve”. Anybody who thinks any different is just deluding themselves. There are no unending exponentials.

http://linux.slashdot.org/story/15/06/30/0058243/interviews-linus-torvalds-answers-your-question

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