Micro-blog

This page is my micro-blog. In lieu of a Twitter- or Mastodon-feed, I will just collect snippets of thought on my own website.

If only humanity had ever cared as much about educating their own children as much as they did about the eternally knowledge-hungry AI models. We as a collective might then have actually had the time and words to express some respect for our fellow humans.

📅 2023-07-02

I was at a summer solstice event where one woman's performance was music made with lasers and metal sheets.

She'd strapped lasers to her head, so her gaze upon different sheets caused weird sounds.

Then she took a gun-contraption and put it on her chin. By pointing the laser to some metal sheet and making small sounds with her mouth, the space filled with even more otherworldly and eerie sounds.

📅 2023-06-21

A utopia is not a place where everyone's hobby is to think and debate political organization and democracy/anarchy. Instead, a utopia would be a world where people enjoy each other's company and conversation, where they enjoy nature in a sustainable and reverend manner, and where issues are peacefully resolved; bottom-up and cooperatively. In such a utopia, life wouldn't be a fight for the right to live. People instead derive value from seeing each other happy.

📅 2023-05-28

Some impressions from watching NVIDIA's GTC 2023 keynote:

  • NVIDIA just keeps pumping out industry-specific software libraries to increase relevance (and lock-in) of its hardware
  • AI Computer Vision library, CV-CUDA, together with ByteDance (eighty percent of internet traffic is video content)
  • Computational lithography
  • DGX AI supercomputers (huge deal with Microsoft for H100s)
  • Generative AI is a new platform (like the internet)
  • NVIDIA AI Foundations, an "AI foundry"
  • Lots of targeted Accelerator configurations for different workloads (this is a business decision, because NVIDIA wouldn't earn as much if it admitted that most organizations are also perfectly fine for their use cases without the top-of-the-line, bleeding-edge hardware)
  • Omniverse seems mostly useful for generating synthetic data (i.e., mostly for autonomous vehicles right now)
  • NVIDIA DGX Cloud (Azure, GCP, OCI), NVIDIA Omniverse Cloud (Azure)

📅 2023-03-21

Paraphrasing from Joost de Vries in De Groene:

We could say that the West only has a democratic tradition if we ignore the years between the time of Greek city states and the American revolution of 1776.

And isn't it strange that we in Northwestern Europe tend to associate more with a Roman general who transcribed their military campaigns than the Germanic tribes they conquered—who were our actual ancestors.

Furthermore, none of the values and freedoms we like to call Western are inherently, endemically Western; every form of self-government has also appeared somewhere else in the world.

📅 2023-03-19

Dan Wang writes about Yunnan cuisine in his 2022 reflection letter. When I'd write about fictional solarpunk cuisine, this is what inspires me:

I can describe Yunnan cuisine only through dishes special to me. I think of pickled bamboo shoots, gently fried, lending their funky sourness to fish soups. I think of ham, sometimes steamed on its own, sometimes sautéd with some chili peppers, sometimes dropped in the pot to enliven a broth. I think of whole stems of flowers, tossed with vinegar in salad. I think of various types of rice noodles, in thick strings like Udon or as thumb-sized slices, which are more supple-bodied and offer greater chewiness than noodles made of wheat. I think of simple farm cheeses—a rare find in Chinese culinary traditions—steamed with slices of ham. I think of spicy pickles, indiscriminately sharpening the flavors of noodle soups or a vegetable dish, say a quick fry of lotus root. I think of yellow strips of pea pudding, tossed in chili oil, vinegar, and some bean sprouts. I think of a simple lunch of rice cakes fried with ham, eggs, and chives. I think of stewed beef garnished with handfuls of fresh mint, of mashed potatoes that do not drown in butter but are suffused with salty pickles, and of simple pans of soup that have up to a half-dozen types of dark, leafy greens.

📅 2023-03-06

David Graeber writes:

What sort of social theory would actually be of interest to those who are trying to help bring about a world in which people are free to govern their own affairs?

For starters, I would say any such theory would have to begin with some initial assumptions. Not many. Probably just two. First, it would have to proceed from the assumption that, as the Brazilian folk song puts it, “another world is possible.” That institutions like the state, capitalism, racism and male dominance are not inevitable; that it would be possible to have a world in which these things would not exist, and that we’d all be better off as a result. To commit oneself to such a principle is almost an act of faith, since how can one have certain knowledge of such matters? [...]

The second, I’d say, is that any anarchist social theory would have to reject self-consciously any trace of vanguardism. The role of intellectuals is most definitively not to form an elite that can arrive at the correct strategic analyses and then lead the masses to follow. But if not that, what? This is one reason I’m calling this essay “Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology”—because this is one area where I think anthropology is particularly well positioned to help. And not only because most actually-existing self-governing communities, and actually-existing non-market economies in the world have been investigated by anthropologists rather than sociologists or historians. It is also because the practice of ethnography provides at least something of a model, if a very rough, incipient model, of how nonvanguardist revolutionary intellectual practice might work. [...]

📅 2023-01-14

Cédric Durand writes the following in the New Left Review:

"On the one hand, the growing weight of financial capital retained as cash holdings suggests a lack of investment opportunities. On the other hand, the fact that firms with top operational profit rates also hold particularly large stocks of intangibles suggests that their growth strategies increasingly rely on the acquisition of existing firms. These developments are consistent with the diagnosis of a dysfunctional capitalism, where capital centralization takes place through processes of predation largely disconnected from productive activities—the rationale of surplus appropriation in the techno-feudal hypothesis."

This comes from an essayistic response to earlier essays discussing techno-feudalism (Evgeny Morozov) and cyber-capitalism (Timothy Erik Ström)

📅 2022-10-11

Dan Luu OCR'ed texts between Elon Musk and others, originating from exhibits in the Twitter v. Musk case. And published them on his website in clear text.

These make for a fascinating insight into personal communication between high-profile business people and investors. All of these rich people appear to be sucking up to Elon, or otherwise being very careful not to offend him in any way. Meanwhile Elon is just talking to them all rather brusquely; makes for quite a funny read.

📅 2022-10-06

This little Iranian nomad girl is extremely excited and giggly to be filmed while she's helping her family prepare breakfast. A woman stretches dough to bake breads on a convex tava/saj, with such skillfull mastery that it bores her. The grandmother curdles goat milk to make fresh cheese. See YouTube.

📅 2022-09-01

Paraphrasing from De Groene:

The success of Conservatives in the USA has come to depend on the extent to which voters believe that Democrats only ever talk about diversity and gender, and never about jobs.

Conservatives would like Forgotten America to suffer just a bit longer, precisely long enough to be able to claim that the Biden administration has done nothing for the Working Class.

📅 2022-07-31

I saw a job update on LinkedIn; someone now working in the Privacy Risk Mitigation Infra team at Meta. Quite something to unpack, but ironically euphemistic in the context of this evil behemoth.

📅 2022-04-26

Watching NVIDIA's GTC keynote, and realizing that these graphic cards have become so powerful that they are bottlenecked by the rate at which NICs can ingest data. This in turn is bottlenecked by the CPU. Thus the solution is to forego the conventional method entirely and just DMA it from the NIC right into the GPU. Crazy.

📅 2022-03-22

When robots become more ubiquitous in human environments, they will have been trained in simulated worlds. The AI models controlling them have lived through centuries of training, and all of their skills will transfer exceptionally well to the real-world robot.

📅 2022-03-22

The power lines across the Middenweg were singing while swinging in the wind and rain. These otherwordly chants melted together with my inner peace from post-sauna bliss.

📅 2022-02-16

There appears to be an ordinally more miserable misery in fiction. On the one hand, dystopia summon terrible circumstances that no one wishes even upon their enemies. But these are external factors. To actually feel miserable, we must turn inward and experience deep melancholy that saddens and disappoints the now. No one but ourselves can destroy our hopes and joy. And we are utterly good at it.

I've been reading Jorge Luis Borges (Mutations was direct inspiration).

📅 2022-02-12

What are some possibilities of avatars in a metaverse? Will they be backed by AI that is intimately familiar with personal individuals to a degree that it can act as a conversational substitute in meetings? Will they be able to summarize the most important points and decisions after the meeting has been concluded? We are going to lend increasing amounts of agency to these avatars. To exercise useful agency requires access to personal calendars, communication history, and work documents. Furthermore, to sell the conversational substitutionalism, avatars are going to use deepfake technology to simulate our human presence via image and voice.

📅 2022-02-07

When a company's Code of Conduct is just: "ah yes, please do comply with all laws and regulations". Stresses the importance of governments and legal frameworks. Because ultimately, money remains the superior motive for these abstract organisms we call companies.

📅 2022-01-10

Do we confuse "deep" conversations with meaningful relationships? Why does it sometimes feel more meaningful to be talking about a relationship instead of experiencing things together? I'm guessing it is partly a matter of conscious attention given to the moment (i.e., talking about a relationship forces one to really consciously reflect on the inter-human connection)..

📅 2022-01-03

I've been thinking that rituals are important in dedicating full attention to an act, which in turn plays a role in to what extent we perceive it as meaningful.

A second dimension is the distinction between religious/cultural rituals and biological rituals (Yuval Noah Harari: e.g., the ritual of a first kiss).

📅 2021-12-31

Stockholm is dark and busy. Street noise everywhere, nothing like the more peaceful Helsinki. I'm spending time in cafés, aiming to work but being distracted by interesting people living their own complex lives. Opposite of me sits a slender young girl with wild short blonde hair, legs pulled up on the seat. She's on the phone but not talking, instead softly crying and sniffing. Her boyfriend sits right beside her, but is listening to music and making his homework.

At a table to the side sits a French girl with dark brown dreadlocks, wearing clear framed glasses. Her clothes are pastelle-coloured and she's spending hours going through Google Docs comments and discussions. She definitely looks like Dr. Liet-Kynes from the recent Dune film.

The boyfriend of the slender girl is comforting her now, tenderly holding her slim frame and drying her tears. The girl is fidgeting with her nails while staring into an endless abyss.

Days in winter in the Nordics feel short. Life blurs together, unless I make a conscious effort to observe and not get pulled into mental tunnels. It feels easy to keep my head ducked and get through winter quickly, but that is akin to an uninteresting life. I am sometimes struggling to experience excitement. I might have developed an allergy for winter.

📅 2021-12-14

Here is an idea of how heaven smells: heat a drop of olive oil in a pan, then toast a mix of almond slivers, salt, pepper, and baharat. Baharat is this Middle Eastern mixture of allspice, cinnamon, coriander, black- and white peppercorns, ginger, cloves, nutmeg (and possibly other spices).

📅 2021-11-24

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