Venerable Bede’s Sparrow and the allure of nihilism

This morning we will be making a short detour to early medieval philosophy and the venerable Bede. Bede, who was among a handful toi survive the plague that ravaged his monastery, grew up to become not just an era-defining thinker and historian, but also a teacher revered by his students and generations to come. One… Continue reading Venerable Bede’s Sparrow and the allure of nihilism

Real and unreal news (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #7)

What is the opposite of fake news? Is it real news? What, then, would that mean? It seems important to ask that question, since our fight against fake news also needs to be a fight _for_ something. But this quickly becomes an uncomfortable discussion, as evidenced by how people attack the question. When we discuss… Continue reading Real and unreal news (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #7)

Man / Machine I: conceptual remarks.

How does man relate to machine? There is a series of questions here that I find fascinating and not a little difficult. I think the relationship between these two concepts also are determinative for a large set of issues that we are debating today, and so we would do well to examine this language game… Continue reading Man / Machine I: conceptual remarks.

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #4: Jacques Ellul and the rise of polyphonic propaganda part 1

Jacques Ellul is arguably one of the earlier and most consistent technology critics we have. His texts are due for a revival in a time when technology criticism is in demand, and even techno-optimists like myself would probably welcome that, because even if he is fierce and often caustic, he is interesting and thoughtful. Ellul… Continue reading Notes on attention, fake news and noise #4: Jacques Ellul and the rise of polyphonic propaganda part 1

Notes on attention, fake news and noise #1: scratching the surfaces

What is opinion made from? This seems a helpful question start off a discussion about disinformation, fake news and similar challenges that we face as a society. I think the answer is surprisingly simple: opinion is ultimately made from attention. In order to form an opinion we need to pay attention to issues, and to… Continue reading Notes on attention, fake news and noise #1: scratching the surfaces

What are we talking about when we talk about algorithmic transparency?

The term ”algorithmic transparency”, with variants and variations, has become more and more common in the many conversations I have with decision makers and policy wonks. It remains somewhat unclear what it actually means, however. As a student of philosophy I find that there is often a lot of value in examining concepts closely in… Continue reading What are we talking about when we talk about algorithmic transparency?

Reading Notes I: Tegmark and substrate independence

Tegmark (2017:67) writes "This substrate independence of computation implies that AI is possible: intelligence doesn't require flesh, blood or carbon atoms.". How should we read this? The background is that he argues that computation is independent of what we use for hardware and software and what is required is only that the matter we compute… Continue reading Reading Notes I: Tegmark and substrate independence

Aspect seeing and consciousness I: What Vampires Cannot Do

In the novel Blindsight by Peter Watts mankind has resurrected vampires (no, not a good idea) - found in the book to be real predators that became extinct. One difference between vampires and humans is that vampires can see both aspects of a Necker cube at the same time - they are able to do… Continue reading Aspect seeing and consciousness I: What Vampires Cannot Do

“Is there a xeno-biology of artificial intelligence?” – draft essay

One of the things that fascinate me is the connections we can make between technology and biology in exploring how technology will develop. It is a field that I enjoy exploring, and where I am slowly focusing some of my research work and writing. Here is a small piece on the possibility of a xeno-biology… Continue reading “Is there a xeno-biology of artificial intelligence?” – draft essay