Mind Expanding 11 Aug 2023: grappling with complex systems💭moodsplainers🙄monopoly on magic🪄RLHF explained🎓bounded-error quantum polynomial time🧠gravitational memory 💫
Turning billions of barrels of oil into microlitres of dopamine
Memia Mind Expanding is my ~fortnightly curation for paid subscribers of links to deeper dives and bigger thinks and other eclectica that I’ve come across while compiling the weekly newsletter. Thanks for reading!
In today’s post:
💭Grappling with complex systems a look across several frameworks trying to understand humanity's major challenges:
🔋Energy blindness: an accessible overview of the prolific energy philosopher Nate Hagens’ theory The Great Simplification
🌐The ecosystem of wicked problems another polycrisis causal loop diagram
👁Carbon tunnel vision and Earth crisis blinkers: taking the lens broader than just carbon emissions
🙄Moodsplainers climate systems are complex, get back to work
⚙Further down the stack what lies beneath AI
🪄Monopoly on magic fantastic deep-dive into pivotal chip-maker-maker ASML
🔬Garage chip startup does startup Atomic Semi signal a future of chip manufacturing in your garage?
☠AI and bio-engineered/chemical weapons risks grave threats
🧪AI and bad recipes a supermarket AI chatbot goes wrong…
📊Meta, Llama and open source insights into Meta's strategy to open up Llama to the world
🧠Multiple AGI personality syndrome how many AGIs fit in one neural network?
🎓RLHF explained really good article on Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback
📉📈AI job crunch some recent insights on how AI is affecting tech labour markets
The quantum realm stretching my mind
🧠Bounded-error quantum polynomial time beyond the hype: what can a quantum computer actually do? (P versus NP problem 101)
🤯Field theories trying to get my head around Quantum (thermal) field theory complexity and failing
💫Gravitational memory a potential direction in the search for a theory of quantum gravity
Miscellany everything else
🛰️Elon Musk, space oligarch satellite dominance concerns
☢️MAD is mad two dark videos on how quickly nuclear war could escalate
⚡Photonic AI light-based AI computation advancements
🌹Dreaming in-scent-ives evidence that certain fragrances impact cognitive function 🧠✨
🎙️Mind expanding listening a couple of podcast recommendations for your weekend
💭Grappling with complex systems
Several links on the topic of the complex systems underpinning humanity’s major challenges in the early 21st century.
He and his team have managed to condense down their various systems theses as to what is going on with the world’s economy and climate… and what is coming in this animated video (really accessible, 15mins at 2X speed, lots of crisp insights).
It contains some real pearler quotes:
On the “carbon pulse” and energy blindness:
“we're all alive during the carbon pulse. The few hundred years where humans are drawing down Earth's energy battery millions of times faster than it was trickle charged by daily photosynthesis.”
On debt, economic growth and the energy surplus:
“Debt allows us to spend resources from the future and call it economic growth.
This phenomenon has become so pervasive in the last 50 years that we think it's normal to consume today and pay tomorrow. The developed world is now using debt to enable the extraction of things we couldn't otherwise afford to extract to produce things we otherwise couldn't afford to consume. This strategy has an expiration date because all this new money will one day be spent on real things requiring energy.”
On consumerism (my emphasis):
“In a materially rich modern world, the habituation to the action of consumption leads to the wanting of things, culture wide, being stronger than the reward we get from having them. This is a fundamental problem for an economic system that's turning billions of barrels of oil into microlitres of dopamine.”
On the global economy:
“Like a shark needing to swim to get oxygen flowing through its gills, our current economic system has an imperative to grow in order to satisfy prior financial commitments. We can't stop nor can we slow down or the system will crash.”
Here is the extended version: a 3-hour presentation which takes “33 core myths and stories prevalent in modern culture and contrasts them to our underlying biophysical (biological and physical) realities”:
🌐The ecosystem of wicked problems
From 2019, Christian Sarkar and Philip Kotler presented this causal loop diagram at the Drucker Forum. Try to get your head around this without AI!