Thursday, August 24, 2023

Frank ...

Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

Back in 2010, yours truly wrote a blurb titled The Future of the Internet, a commentary about the pernicious abuse of copyright vis a vis the net, something brought to fruition thanks to a mediocrity named Sonny Bono whereby copyright was extended from the reasonable 14 year limit with one extension as voiced by the Founders to, and I quote  ...

BRT has talked often about the TPP with emphasis on intellectual property rights vis a vis copyright, the disaster first perpetrated on the US thanks to the late Sonny Bono (The Mickey Mouse Act) who extended the length of copyright from the Founders 14 years plus one allowed extension of 14 years (if the cr holder was still alive) to life plus 70, which means Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, written in 1905, could theoretically remain outside of public domain until 2025 as Einstein died in 1955. Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, debuted in 1928. Disney died in 1966, ergo, Steamboat would not enter the PD until 2036. Now, with the TPP, this intellectual rights nonsense goes worldwide, along with extensive expanded CR rights to hollywood and big pharma with us paroles and political representatives not having any say as to why the TPP is a fubar of the most onerous kind.

Seque to 2023: AI, copyright as to how it applies to music and our data ...

As per BRT, The Idea Dynamo ...

There’s only one name that springs to mind when you think of the cutting edge in copyright law online: Frank Sinatra. 

There’s nothing more important than making sure his estate — and his label, Universal Music Group — gets paid when people do AI versions of Ol’ Blue Eyes singing “Get Low” on YouTube, right? Even if that means creating an entirely new class of extralegal contractual royalties for big music labels just to protect the online dominance of your video platform while simultaneously insisting that training AI search results on books and news websites without paying anyone is permissible fair use? Right? Right?

This, broadly, is the position that Google is taking after announcing a deal with Universal Music Group yesterday “to develop an AI framework to help us work toward our common goals.” Google is signaling that it will pay off the music industry with special deals that create brand-new — and potentially devastating! — private intellectual property rights, while basically telling the rest of the web that the price of being indexed in Search is complete capitulation to allowing Google to scrape data for AI training.

A Faustian Bargain yet again or ... your content is no longer yours ...

At this moment in web history, Google is the last remaining source of traffic at scale on the web, which is why so many websites are turning into AI-written SEO honeypots. The situation is bad and getting worse.

This means Google has absolutely tremendous leverage over publishers of websites, who are still mostly paying human beings to make content in the hopes that Google ranks their pages highly and sends them traffic, all while Google itself is training its AI models on that expensive content.

In the meantime, Google is also rolling out the Search Generative Experience (SGE) so that it might answer search queries directly using AI — particularly, lucrative queries about buying things. In fact, almost every SGE demo Google has ever given has ended in a transaction of some kind.

“Over time, this will just be how search works.”

This is a great deal for Google but a horrible deal for publishers, who are staring down the barrel of ever-diminishing Google referrals and decreasing affiliate revenue but lack any ability to say no to search traffic. I like to call the end of Google traffic “Google Zero,” and Google Zero is on its way: on Google’s last earnings call, Sundar Pichai bluntly said of SGE, “Over time, this will just be how search works.” 

There is fundamentally no difference between training an AI to sing like Frank Sinatra by feeding it Sinatra songs and training SGE to answer questions about what bikes to buy by training it on articles about bikes. But yet! There is no AI Music Incubator for the web and no set of friendly blog posts about working together with web publishers. Google’s position when it comes to the web is explicit: if its search crawlers can see content on the open web, it can use that content to train AI. The company’s privacy policy was just updated to say it may “use publicly available information to help train Google’s AI models and build products and features like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities.” 

Read Nilay Patel's piece in it's entirety, you will learn a lot, I know I have.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The mystery deepens ...

AI, the open ended tech, keeps its mystery to itself as we don't know how it works, something often said by many parties, including yours truly, thanks to the linking of analog to digital to enable these systems to interact with the world in real time.

No one yet knows how ChatGPT and its artificial-intelligence cousins will transform the world, and one reason is that no one really knows what goes on inside them. Some of these systems' abilities go far beyond what they were trained to do—and even their inventors are baffled as to why. A growing number of tests suggest these AI systems develop internal models of the real world, much as our own brain does, although the machines' technique is different.

“Everything we want to do with them in order to make them better or safer or anything like that seems to me like a ridiculous thing to ask ourselves to do if we don't understand how they work,” says Ellie Pavlick of Brown University, one of the researchers working to fill that explanatory void.

At one level, she and her colleagues understand GPT (short for “generative pre-trained transformer”) and other large language models, or LLMs, perfectly well. The models rely on a machine-learning system called a neural network. Such networks have a structure modeled loosely after the connected neurons of the human brain. The code for these programs is relatively simple and fills just a few screens. It sets up an autocorrection algorithm, which chooses the most likely word to complete a passage based on laborious statistical analysis of hundreds of gigabytes of Internet text. Additional training ensures the system will present its results in the form of dialogue. In this sense, all it does is regurgitate what it learned—it is a “stochastic parrot,” in the words of Emily Bender, a linguist at the University of Washington. (Not to dishonor the late Alex, an African Grey Parrot who understood concepts such as color, shape and “bread” and used corresponding words intentionally.) But LLMs have also managed to ace the bar exam, write a sonnet about the Higgs boson and make an attempt to break up their users' marriage. Few had expected a fairly straightforward autocorrection algorithm to acquire such broad abilities.

That GPT and other AI systems perform tasks they were not trained to do, giving them “emergent abilities,” has surprised even researchers who have been generally skeptical about the hype over LLMs. “I don't know how they're doing it or if they could do it more generally the way humans do—but they've challenged my views,” says Melanie Mitchell, an AI researcher at the Santa Fe Institute.

Glad to see yours truly's take on AI is valid after all. :)

Zen 101

Monday, August 21, 2023

The real estate equation ...

People are finally slowing down on buying stuff. You know, as per the great George Carlin so famously said, Buying stuff you don't need with money you don't have. As per GC, one has to buy a bigger house in order to house said stuff, right? Well, when you don't buy stuff, China takes the hit as their economy depends on people buying stuff, when the lust to buy stuff lessens, the impact on China's economy becomes rather large, especially when it comes to real estate as back in the good times, people migrated to the cities in order to work for companies to create ever more stuff and because of that, building apartments for the influx of people boomed but no longer, not only due to the reduced need for people to buy stuff but also due to the slow motion disaster of depopulation as China has one of the lowest reproduction rates in the world.

Putting a lid on it, for now ...

Behind curtain no. 3 ...

Let's think about this. Question, does one really need this tech to take a shower?, not to mention the environmental impact of fabbing such a product in the first place. Yours truly loves tech as my loyal readers know but this???? The raison d'ete to buy this thing says it all. 

Complexification 101 applies ...

The Peripheral ... RIP

Chloe Grace-Moretz in a promotional poster for Prime Video's The Peripheral.

Image: Prime Video

The Peripheral, a SF series on Netflix, axed, due to in large part, the WGA and AMPTP strike, was pretty damn good with a charismatic cast and an interesting take on quantum mechanics, time travel and the transfer of consciousness into bots as needs warrant. The cancellation put the kibosh on a renewal, thus denying us the pleasure of seeing how the second season of the series plays out. With this said, the move toward AI driven video looms as it matters not the star if the flick in question has a good script, sophisticated graphics and synthetic actors able to convey charisma and acting skills to the video in question. To this writer, it's inevitable as it's all about the money yet again.

A man and a woman sit on ornate chairs in an opulant room.

Wilf (Gary Carr) and Flynne (Chloë Grace Moretz) meet in future London.

Prime Video’s new William Gibson adaptation, The Peripheral, is produced by Westworld’s Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan and follows the high-stakes, high-tech tale of a young woman (Chloë Grace Moretz) who realizes the virtual world she’s been visiting in a video game is actually the future—a very bleak future, with a murder mystery entwined within it.

It does suck as this series and 1899 were pretty decent forays into SF at high level. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

The black art of "governance"

Well, the guy's still there. You know, the serial liar who believes his own shit, somewhat akin to how pols view themselves as the avatars of intelligent governance in their endless pursuit of getting reelected. To yours truly, the fact Santos still resides in the house is the poster child of America's decay because we know the wheels are falling off as we speak. Just analyze how our reps are performing in the house ... or maybe not as there is no governance, thus reminding everyone just how far this once great nation has fallen in the halcyon year 2023,

Noooooo ...

Complementarity ...

Complementarity ...

The pix shows, in indirect fashion, how complementarity rules. In this composition, cold complements warmth and ice complements water, analogous to how nothing complements infinity and analog complementing digital because reality is believed to be woven together as a set of interconnected  complementary entities as per the ones described above. Viewed in this light, the notion of ER = EPR, as proposed by Leonard Susskind and Juan Maldacena in 2013, makes sense as it eliminates the notion of singularities in black holes because energy has to go somewhere and ... when said wormholes evaporate, as per Stephen Hawking's blackhole conjecture, energy is produced, thus possibly driving existence (think relativity) 24/7. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Halcyon year ... 1969

Everyone has the one. You know, the one year where everything goes right. For yours truly, 1969 was the year as it was the culmination of a decade of the best in art, music and the state of the world, outside of the black hole of Nam, from the perspective of this writer. Why is this so? Funny you may ask but, as the great Kurt Vonnegut would say, And so it goes. :)

When Peppers arrived in 67, so did the late 60's. :)

After graduating from Lafayette College in 69, the next stop was getting accepted by the Berklee School of Music as the intent to pursue a music career was nigh along with the fact Boston was a mecca for smart young people as said city, as everyone knows, comes complete with colleges and universities known all over the world. 

Regarding social, it was THE BEST TIME TO BE IN BOSTON! The only thing one had to worry regarding sex was herbies as the age of free love was alive and well in Bean Town. When looking at the kids today, with cell phones their best friend, I feel sorry as they are far less connected than we were back in the day. Outside of the shit show Nam, it was a great time to be alive. Pot was $20/lid with nothing in it and Acid and Mescaline were available as needs warrant. 

I formed a jazz/fusion band with Berklee musicians good enough to play serious gigs around town to make money. On walks to class, I memorize sharps and flats - Sharps:  gdaebf#C#/fcgdaeb, flats,: fbeadgc/beadgcf. With that little bit of music theory in hand, I transposed tunes for the cute singers at school for $20/pop while admiring the scenery at the same time. Cost to park my 1957 VW bus, complete with flowers, $15/month. Cost for an outrageous studio on Beacon Ave, $200.

In terms of rock, one amazing concert I saw, under the influence of LSD & pot, was The John Mayall Blues Band, The Moody Blues and The Steve Miller Band. Out of sight explains it all. Afterward, intimacy of an outrageous kind, enhanced by Owsley brand LSD, was beyond words and ... after dropping, one immediately understood what Hendrix was “saying” with Noel Redding on bass and Elvin Jones devotee Mitch Michell on drums. Electric Lady Land, his masterpiece, was studied at Berklee in great detail as was Frank Zappa, the quixotic genius totally connected to the classics and advanced rock genres without question. Hot Rats, with violinist Jean Luc Ponty and Captain Beefheart, was one reason why Zappa, IMHO, was one of the greatest musicians in history. 

Newport 69 ... Jazz and Rock ruled  In the AM, Frank Zappa and the Mothers do their set, complete with extensive charts and musicianship wondrous to behold. Anlsley Dunbar on drums, was dazzling. Varese and Stockhausen like compositions by Zappa, driven by extremely complex polyrhythms, combined with pulverizing powerful blues and acid rock, prevail. Unconscious without question. 

In the afternoon, James Brown, split jumps, two drummers, complete with brass, reeds and 3 backup singers, the BEST soul band ever, rock my world. 

Saturday, PM, Sly & The Family Stone make the scene, equipped with outrageous costumes and beneficent attitude. We had el primo seats, about 20’ from the stage. Soft pressure ensued from this extraordinary band as Sly was THE ORIGINATOR OF FUNK. 

Miles shows up as well.

Sunday, July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon. On this beautiful warm day, your’s truly’s jazz/rock band decided to practice in the apartment. We keep it quiet and controlled but after smoking weed and playing really well, we let loose and jam. A hard knock, followed by a cautious opening of the door, reveals two young cops, enveloped by blue smoke of the most potent kind.

Paul, furiously flushing pot down the toilet with undue haste, occurs in the background. 

“We are totally screwed ...” 

“Man, you guys are really good but you gotta tone it down.” 

“Yes officer, not a problem. ...”

Woodstock ... Ruth, my future wife, and I had the best seats, $80 for two for four days. On Friday, August 15, we drive up in a flower decorated 1957 VW bus to Yasgur’s Farm outside of Bethel, NY. powered by a 40HP engine which equates to real slow but no problem as the endless line of cars driving toward the event moved at the exact speed of the bus. Festooned with flowers, hair hovering around the neck line and a scraggly beard was the chosen look. Upon our arrival, THE One and only Wavy Gravy and his crew guide us to our parking spot in the late afternoon under a rainy sky. 

News Flash, Woodstock’s now free, ... too many people showed up and just went in and needed to be fed. Heard Ravi Shankar in the distance. Performances of note ...

08/16/69: The only day where the weather cooperated. Hot, muggy but no rain.
Country Joe McDonald ... California cool to the max. The Fish Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-To-Die-Rag ruled. John B. Sebastian, outstanding. Keef Hartley Band, not memorable but Santana!!! 
Something else all together. Soul Sacrifice, with a drum solo for the ages, still stands out today as a great jam. This band was unique as it was the perfect combination of Latin jazz and hard rock. 

The Who ruled. The most powerful rock band I ever heard.

08/18/69: Exhausted, drenched by the never ending rain and partially covered by mud, Ruth and I depart Woodstock listening to Jimi Hendrix playing Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Stepping Stone and his astounding Star Spangled Banner ...

Imagining Woodstock driven by booze and not pot is not imaginable as a temporary city of 600,000 would have erupted into a cauldron of violence, something that happened, in part, at Altamont on 12/6/69, thus ending the vibe of the 60’s forever. 

Saw Hendrix after Woodstock at MSG, words cannot describe ...

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Question ...

Question ... Why are we in Ukraine?, a question I ask because the last time I checked, Ukraine's not in Queens, it's next to Russia, which means it's under Russia's sphere of influence. This does not pardon Putin, the horror clown from hell, regarding the atrocities this man has committed against Ukraine but rather an indictment of the catastrophic foreign policy conducted by this country for nearly 70 years beginning with the 1953 house arrest of Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad  Mosaddegh in order to place the Shah in control, thus enabling England to gain access to Iran's oil.

To whit.

It gets better.

Western experts have long acknowledged the unanimity and intensity of Russians’ fear of Ukraine joining NATO. In his 1995 study of Russian views on NATO expansion—which surveyed elite and popular opinion and incorporated off-the-record interviews with political, military, and diplomatic figures from across the political spectrum—Anatol Lieven, the Russia scholar and then Moscow correspondent for the Times of London, concluded that “moves toward NATO membership for Ukraine would trigger a really ferocious Russian response,” and that “NATO membership for Ukraine would be regarded by Russians as a catastrophe of epochal proportions.” Quoting a Russian naval officer, he noted that preventing NATO’s expansion into Ukraine and its consequent control of Crimea was “something for which Russians will fight.”

Channeling Custer.

Lest we forget The Peter Principle or how to screw the pooch with Russia and Ukraine in 2014.

Source photographs: NATO tank © Callum Hamshere/Alamy; A tank participating in a training exercise © APFootage/Alamy; NATO soldiers © DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy; NATO flag © Peter Probst/Alamy; Jets © Dario Photography/Alamy; Soldiers after disembarking from a U.S. Air Force plane © ZUMA Press/Alamy; NATO fighter jet © Matthew Troke/iStock

It's all about the money, always has been, always will be.

The limits of knowledge/rev X

Recursion, feedback loops and the journey to forever resonates when viewing this terrific illustration showing just how wondrous reality truly is. At the same time, while looking at the image, the limits of knowledge comes to the fore as one can never know everything about any given event thanks to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, Godel's incompleteness theorems and Quantum Mechanics because there is no certitude, ever. 

This sentence is false.

Proof of the limits of knowledge writ large applies because if the sentence is true, how can it be false at the same time?

Uncertainty also applies in classic space as one cannot ascertain the momentum of a cue ball and its position at the same time. You can get very very close but not perfect.

As for certitude, go to a parking lot that's full. You know a space will open but not when.

The limits to knowledge rules ... yet again.

How to negotiate reality ...

Situational awareness applies as does Destruction and Creation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The RICO Act ...

Donald Trumps face repeating

In Facts don't matter, yours truly believed Trump still had a real shot to be POTUS yet again, especially if a possible third party candidate like Joe Manchin decides to jump into the race because the Biden/Trump polls look extremely close but now, Georgia's indictment, using the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations), to indict the Donald and 18 co-conspirators as mobsters, changes everything because RICO is a states oriented entity, immune to presidential pardon if Agent Orange, god forbid, becomes president in 2024. 

No doubt, the MAGAs will stick by their man no matter what but the GA gambit has real teeth while the other indictments have more wiggle room for the hag fish, known as The Donald, to get out of dodge yet again.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Facts don't matter ...

Facts don't matter. The more indictments, the stronger The Donald becomes because the unreal reality in which we all live verifies the unpleasant truth ... facts don't matter. IMHO, Agent Orange has a real shot of becoming POTUS yet again, especially if Joe Manchin and/or Joe Freedman decide to run as possible third party candidates. If Trump becomes P 46, the notion of a viable democracy remaining in America becomes moot in an NYC second. Additionally, the other repug candidates, lacking in charisma and viable reasons as to why they should be the one, is farcical at best, especially with ‘start slitting throats on day one’ Ron demonstrating how to be truly loathsome 24/7.

Now, though, that potential dynamic seems to be evaporating, unraveled by the interaction between the multiplying indictments of Trump and DeSantis’s weak performance so far on the national stage. One way or another, 2024 increasingly looks like a full-abnormalization campaign.

Post-indictments, for DeSantis or some other Republican to rally past Trump, an important faction of G.O.P. voters would have to grow fatigued with Trump the public enemy and outlaw politician — effectively conceding to the American establishment’s this-is-not-normal crusade.

Turn on the news and its Trump 24/7.

In the more likely event of a Biden-Trump rematch, the remarkable possibility of a campaign run from prison will dominate everything. The normal side of things won’t cease to matter, the condition of the economy will still play its crucial role, but the sense of abnormality will warp every aspect of normal partisan debate.

Despite all my doubts about the abnormalization strategy, despite Trump’s decent poll numbers against Biden at the moment, my guess is that this will work out for the Democrats. The Stormy Daniels indictment still feels like a partisan put-up job. But in the classified documents case, Trump’s guilt seems clear-cut. And while the Jan. 6 indictment seems more legally uncertain, it will focus constant national attention on the same gross abuses of office that cost Trumpist Republicans so dearly in 2022.

The fact that the indictments are making it tougher to unseat Trump as the G.O.P. nominee is just tough luck for anti-Trump conservatives. Trump asked for this, his supporters are choosing this, and his Democratic opponents may get both the moral satisfaction of a conviction and the political benefits of beating a convict-candidate at the polls.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Beyond tragic ...

One of my favorite trees is the Beech, a magnificent example of nature at its finest as these trees get huge, possessing a magnificent canopy of dark green or brown leaves and a massive smooth surface trunk complete with gnarls and bumps able to elicit smiles from young and old alike. With this being said, they're dying due to a microscopic worm from hell killing off all of its leaves, thus denying the beech the ability to do photosynthesis in order for the tree to survive.

Beyond tragic ...