This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.
Au Revoir, Le Grand K
Oddly enough, every measurement of mass made anywhere on Earth is tied back to this one cylindrical object. Known as “Le Grand K,” the cylinder, cast in 1879, is kept carefully sequestered in a secure, controlled environment outside Paris.
On May 20, 2019, Le Grand K will lose its special status, and the mass of a kilogram will be defined by a fundamental constant of nature known as the Planck constant. At the same time, other mainstays of the metric system will also be revamped: the ampere (the unit of electric current), the kelvin (the unit of temperature) and the mole (the unit for amount of substance).
One. Two. Ten!
Reeking of authenticity, Angels with Filthy Souls is not just a uniquely persuasive parody. It’s the perfect movie-within-a-movie: a one-minute-and-20-second noir-in-a-nutshell that feels like a fleeting glimpse of a long-lost classic. Its dialogue is crisp, the characters and performances credible, the rapid escalation of its drama enthralling. Plus it culminates in not just the most memorable utterance in Home Alone but one of the great movie lines of all time: “Keep the change, ya filthy animal”.
Unintended Behaviors of AI
Suppose we have an AI whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible. The AI will realize quickly that it would be much better if there were no humans because humans might decide to switch it off. Because if humans do so, there would be fewer paper clips. Also, human bodies contain a lot of atoms that could be made into paper clips. The future that the AI would be trying to gear towards would be one in which there were a lot of paper clips but no humans.
Out of Bostrom’s thought exercise came Joscha Bach’s Lebowski Theorem stating that, “No superintelligent AI is going to bother with a task that is harder than hacking its reward function.”
- “Agent pauses the game indefinitely to avoid losing.”
“Agent kills itself at the end of level 1 to avoid losing in level 2.”
“A robotic arm trained to slide a block to a target position on a table achieves the goal by moving the table itself.”
“In an artificial life simulation where survival required energy but giving birth had no energy cost, one species evolved a sedentary lifestyle that consisted mostly of mating in order to produce new children which could be eaten (or used as mates to produce more edible children).”
“AI trained to classify skin lesions as potentially cancerous learns that lesions photographed next to a ruler are more likely to be malignant.”
Around The Web
- Eiffel Tower Copyright Law
- Making of Apple’s Holiday Commercial
- A Journey Around Earth in Real Time
- Former CIA Chief Explains How Spies Use Disguises
- Free Solo
Do not hesitate to reply to this months email to share links, wisdom, or thoughts.
Thanks for reading. Have a great holiday season,