Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Resonance


http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_smith_why_you_will_fail_to_have_a_great_career

A strangely depressing, yet simultaneously inspirational, funny, and thought-provoking talk. Comes on the heels of a phone interview I'm to partake in slightly over 12 hours.

Obviously his goal is not to crush young peoples' dreams underfoot, but he raised a number of issues that resonated with myself personally. Issues I had been wrestling with since I went into crisis. Issues that I had started trying to reveal/review in an attempt to understand and better myself.

I am afraid, but I should not be. Been insecure since being battered about into a state of professional incoherency.

I think I have a passion, or am starting to identify one. For now, I only vaguely see the future it may take me. I want to make software tools, tools that directly or indirectly aid the progress of science. All I lack now is that clarity of vision and focus to proceed. I want more than anything to make something I would use, and want to use.

I still hang on to Larry's "if only I had" mental object floating in my head. And he's right. It hurts. I wrestle with ejecting this object from my mind, and it is harder than I had imagined.

Well come tomorrow, may my light shine and my doubts and insecurities fade. I am confident and I have high hopes, but I know they often fade (inexplicably) all too easily.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Artificial Intelligence and Human Existence

I have a more optimistic view of AI than does Stephen Hawking, but I do recognize these fears and the possibility of AI discarding human consciousness soon after surpassing it.

Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30290540


The way I see it, AI is a path of progression toward understanding human consciousness, and consciousness in general. Right now, it exists in the form of using various abstract software modeling techniques to mimic or capture aspects of intelligent human behavior. In my opinion, that isn't very far from how our brain works to produce a self-aware, conscious mind.

It is my belief in any case that we as a species are better off shedding our biological constraints if we are to effectively expand into space (gravity and environmental constraints being pretty cumbersome obstacles). It is a difficult and frightening thing to contemplate if a conscious mind can be copied (like a piece of software,) but it is also interesting from a philosophical perspective what it might mean "to be conscious," and what it might mean "to be self-aware," and "to be an individual." All of these issues come into play if it turned out it is possible for a state of consciousness to be held in a non-biological form (methinks this is likely,) and if it were possible to copy such a state of consciousness (farther away, and harder to say.)

Anyway I do not see such an event as the ending of mankind, but as a new epoch in the history of our species.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Slowly, I Recover

It has been a long long long 4 months. The skin eczema that I had first documented in the entry "Severe Recurring Eczema: Six Steps Forward, Five Steps Back" has finally subsided to the point where I am no longer psychologically tormented by it. Annoyed yes, tormented no. Instead of having to apply messy creams all over my hands and feet, the only remaining significant affected area is under my right sole. That had helped significantly reduce the torment of my feeling helpless and useless once the creams had been applied each night. Now, I have significantly more freedom of movement even as I continue to apply medication.

The following image documents how things had evolved over the past four months:

How the disease progressed over the last 4 months around my right foot


I am now finally free to focus on my very badly derailed process of getting back on my feet professionally. Let us hope no other disruptions come my way.