Various thoughts on articles read unsystematically.

Sometimes I read articles and I need to put my thoughts somewhere. Why not here?

1. Spencer Greenberg on intrinsic vs. instrumental values, overconfidence, and how to actually update beliefs.

1.1. Speakers

Host: Robert Wiblin Guest: Spencer Greenberg

PhD in Applied Mathematics, develops software for mental well-being, founder of ClearerThinking and EffectiveAltruism.

1.2. UpLift – the actual Eliza!

A robot for psychological counselling.

1.5. Creating happiness habits

That is what my psychologist was telling me about.

1.6. Temptation bundling.

That is when you associate something bad with something good. Spencer is doing workouts while watching TV shows.

1.7. Happiness tricks.

Associate certain things with happy thoughts.

"Tea exists in the world, it's such a wonderful thing!"

1.8. Intrinsic values.

Are something we value for themselves. This is opposed to instrumental values, which are mostly valuable for the effect they make.

1.9. Testing people's understanding is a cool trick.

Like that job offer by Biden's administration, that they have put on the White House website.

1.10. Groups of values: self, community, everyone.

That is almost like UNIX security: oga.

1.11. Everyone has at least one universal intrinsic value.

That helps people work together even if they do not know each other.

1.13. Value traps.

Pursue the value without actually getting an intrinsic value out of it. Particular case: you associate something with an intrinsic value because it used to be associated. Particular case: you had a false belief that it was your value. Example: not having enough money reduced your autonomy, and you keep searching for money since.

1.14. Learning may be a wrong thing to do!

When you are learning bullshit.

1.16. Intuition pump

Diminishing returns on scaling own's emotions for larger scale. One person suffers: bad, ten people suffer: worse, million people suffer: ah, so bad, but you cannot scale your emotion.

1.17. Goal factoring

Algorithm: questioning the goal "why do I want it?".

Because A, B, C.

Is there another plan that brings you A, B, C?

This is what makes you find those A, B, C, that are leaves in your value system.

1.19. Operant conditioning – education through reward and punishment.

It may mislead you from your true intrinsic values.

1.21. Another example of double-think happens when your social circle in large numbers believes in a certain value system.

This often makes you reinterpret your intrinsic values in terms of those of your circle. And this is often weird.

2. 77 skills of excellent time managers.

3. Sasha Galitsky Don't cry, mama.

<2021-03-22 Mon>

It's a bit hard of a book, although it does leave a bit of hope.

What I remember on the next day?

It's a very short book, actually. You can read it in an hour or two.

What is promising is that if you want to keep being young, you can do that for quite a long time.

Apart from that, most of the ideas I have already seen.

Maybe one of the thoughts that I should still keep in mind is that life is still as cruel as before.

4. Bill Joy on Jini 1998-08-01

# Word Meaning
1 ruefully sorrowfully, regretfully
2 riotously wildly, aggressively
3 logjam a jam of logs at a river
4 cobbled покрытый брусчаткой
5 hurtling rushing violently
6 hole up hide out
7 skunkworks an experimental lab
8 slipstream underwater current from an engine
9 unfurl unroll, unfold

4.1. Epigraph

The Net made it possible. Java made it doable. Jini might just make it happen. An on-the-fly, plug-and-work, global nervous system that connects his cam to her RAM to your PDA.

Interesting, the first PDA I have seen was in 2003, AFAIR. The article is from 1998, and they already have them. And they are already thinking about the "Cloud".

4.2. The Irresistible Dream: Ever since Marshall McLuhan, a central dream of the digital culture has been to create one huge computer.

I have never thought that McLuhan was behind all that cyberpunk idea. I need to check on him.

4.3. Any Demo, Silicon Valley, USA.

1998, and they already had that "Silicon Valley Demo" idea.

4.4. a pair of flat-screen monitors

They already had flat-screen monitors in 1998!

4.5. Or add another 10 gigs of storage - no need to call a sysadmin, just grab a drive off the shelf, and plug it in.

Storage is philosophically important in computing. Laymen do not understand, or understand very roughly, the idea of storage, and why a picture weights more than text.

So, their assumption about the "ease" of something is already biased. What we have come to now, in 2021, is to try and make people forget about "storage" altogether. People do not understand how much "Storage", say, Telegram eats every minute.

4.6. Jini is older Android?

What Java aims to do for software - be a lingua franca - Jini hopes to do for the machines that run it: provide an overarching, universal platform - a distributed operating system, in effect, on which devices of every description can meet. "Jini is the next chapter in the Java story," reads another project mantra.

4.7. Free as Android?

The release name is still being debated, but the marketing plan is not: It will reprise the same strategy that fueled the explosive take-offs of both the World Wide Web and Java - essentially, give it away. "There's one thing we've all learned from watching Java and the Net," says Mike Clary, Joy's key colleague in Aspen and Jini's overall project manager. "This can only be a ubiquity play."

4.8. Sun Aspen Smallworks

Aspen is a small city in Colorado. It is 1800 km away from Silicon Valley.

Doesn't make sense. Why would you go to a town of 7000 people?

4.9. too-cute Victorians

They probably mean something like a Victorian mansion.

4.10. What is at Jini's core?

Jini is a set of new software layers that together create an overarching "federation" of computer devices and services. On top is a directory service, based on a "lookup" mechanism that allows different Jini-enabled devices and applications to register and be seen on the network. The next-level service is persistence, provided by JavaSpaces technology, which stores objects so that other users or applications can retrieve them. Below that, a set of protocols based on Java's Remote Method Invocation enables objects to communicate and pass each other code. And finally a boot, join, and discover protocol allows Jini-compatible devices, users, and applications to announce themselves to the network and register in a directory.

Isn't that kinda "serverless"?

5. Bill Joy Why the Future Doesn't Need Us, 2000-04-01

# word meaning
1 jaded state of disillusionment and sadness
2 isthmus a narrow strip of land between 2 landmasses
3 concomitantly simultaneously
4 placidly calmly
5 precipice a very tall cliff (metaphorically)
6 bode well To seem indicative of a favorable outcome
7 trot out Bring out and show for inspection and admiration

5.1. Ray Kurzweil

That guy that wrote about the "technological singularity".

5.2. Telecosm Conference

The last one seems to have been in 2009. George Gilder and Steve Forbes were the main drivers.

Gilder is that guy:

Forbes is the Forbes Magazine founder and Editor-In-Chief. (Yes, that very Forbes.)

Those venture capitalists seemed to be very enthusiastic about "Technological Singularity" or some of that kind of stuff.

5.3. I was sitting with John Searle, a Berkeley philosopher who studies consciousness.

Seriously? Searle was invited to that kind of conference? Unbelievable.

5.5. Our overuse of antibiotics has led to what may be the biggest such problem so far: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant and much more dangerous bacteria.

So, the scarecrow of "antibiotic-resistant bacteria" was already present in 2000. So, 20 years have passed, where are those nitrocharged bacteria that you are warning about, Dr Gelfand?

5.8. Danny Hillis

Still alive, works for the USA Defence Council. Made at

They had kind of a dream-team of scientists working for them. But failed. Later became Sun Microsystems, which itself failed.

5.9. when I discovered computers I found something much more interesting: a machine into which you could put a program that attempted to solve a problem, after which the machine quickly checked the solution.

This is interesting and philosophically inspiring. Machines are not the thing that gives us new stuff, it is the thing that checks our ideas for correctness. The new paragon of truth.

If you can explain it to a machine, your idea is correct.

5.11. Foresight Institute

Still exists.

The Foresight Institute is a Palo Alto, California-based research non-profit that promotes the development of nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. The institute holds conferences on molecular nanotechnology and awards yearly prizes for developments in the field.

5.15. Attali

"At the dawn of societies, men saw their passage on Earth as nothing
more than a labyrinth of pain, at the end of which stood a door leading, via their
death, to the company of gods and to Eternity. With the Hebrews and then the Greeks,
some men dared free themselves from theological demands and dream of an ideal City
where Liberty would flourish. Others, noting the evolution of the market society,
understood that the liberty of some would entail the alienation of others, and they
sought Equality."

Jacques helped me understand how these three different utopian goals exist in tension
in our society today. He goes on to describe a fourth utopia, Fraternity, whose
foundation is altruism. Fraternity alone associates individual happiness with the
happiness of others, affording the promise of self-sustainment.

Fraternity is, obviously, a mirage.

5.16. Fear

But many other people who know about the dangers still seem strangely
silent. When pressed, they trot out the "this is nothing new" riposte—as if awareness
of what could happen is response enough. They tell me, There are universities filled
with bioethicists who study this stuff all day long. They say, All this has been
written about before, and by experts. They complain, Your worries and your arguments
are already old hat.

I don't know where these people hide their fear. As an architect of complex systems I
enter this arena as a generalist. But should this diminish my concerns? I am aware of
how much has been written about, talked about, and lectured about so authoritatively.
But does this mean it has reached people? Does this mean we can discount the dangers
before us?

Knowing is not a rationale for not acting. Can we doubt that knowledge has become a
weapon we wield against ourselves?

So, he had that fear of the unknown even at that time. Interesting. I used to think that the Golden Age was the age of overwhelming optimism. I was wrong. <2021-06-17 Thu>

5.17. A von Neumann probe is a spacecraft

A von Neumann probe is a spacecraft capable of replicating itself.