When I talk about Humans v. Machines with my journalism students, I start with John Henry. John Henry and Desk Set.

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May 2Liked by Frank Lantz

I disagree with the upshot of the existence of adversarial policies. If you trained alphago on a few of these games, it would easily be resistant to them. So you can only eke out a tiny fraction of wins against the system by using that strategy, after which it’ll continue dominating you. So the real conclusion IMO is like “after losing 1e6 games in a row, you can win like 10 games, after which the strategy stops working, and then you’ll lose the next 1e12 games until you find another trick, etc.”

So you’re still losing like 99.999999……% of the time.

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May 4Liked by Frank Lantz

Thank you for putting this into words, I feel like this is a bigger deal than it's being treated as. No one is writing about it. Cade Metz is too busy with CEOs. This is a quiet story with an insight counter to the doom-hype that tech companies live on.

AlphaGo v Lee Sedol is what got me into Go. Learning about this huge blind spot and watching these videos about it has been exhilarating and clarifying. I know this specific issue will be patched, but what the exploit reveals about the nature of AI in general, and about us, given that it hid in plain sight for 7 years, is what is compelling to me.

These groups have built intelligences but they have not built souls.

The machine knows how to win, but the soul knows how to play.

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Jun 19Liked by Frank Lantz

What a dazzler! Brilliant, to compare the jobless Matrix-like future to the post-Go Japanese twilight. As you can imagine, I've had to devote a great part of my own time contemplating the question of what lends a man (note I don't mention woman) a sense of identity or worth in the absence of employment, personal wealth, or credentials. The answer in my case has more or less ended with my generation (and it was a faint enough social pulse even within us); the idea of trying to remain an old-fashioned gentleman in spite of all adversity. Teddy Roosevelt perhaps best exemplified this notion on this side of the Atlantic; Heinlein's "self-sufficient man" but with a veneer of intellectual curiosity and good breeding. For me, the ideal gentleman has always been George Saintsbury, expert on Jane Austen, 19th-Century French Literature, and the world's foremost authority on Walter Scott; an academic, though he would have been quite content as a dilettante, and the preeminent oenologist of his day--indeed, many of the wine-tasting societies he founded are still extant. He was a man supremely uninterested in titles and to a great degree wealth, a man who pursued a lifetime of passions and hobbies (in spite of having his house bombed over his head), a man of impeccable manners who wrote so gently and observantly of his favorite authors that his words are a constant inspiration to read them. In short, a man who would have lived a full and rich life even if his post at Oxford had been usurped by an AI.

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