Choose a topic

.. Epistemology
Semiotics and Body Language

.. HUM
A Mind

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
Public Art
Tearing Down Statues
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
Necessary Illusions
On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
Post Phenomenology
Reflective Equilibrium
Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
Taking Things on Faith
The Hard Problem
The I Love You Gesture
The Imagined Order
The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
Thinking About Risk
Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?

A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
Can Capitalism Survive?
Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
Everyday Communism
Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
Necessary Production
Paper Wealth
Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
Rentier Capitalism
Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
The Ontology of Debt
Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Blowing Up Pipelines

Absolute Knowledge
I do not know everything
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Competition and Cooperation
Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
Evolution Defended
Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Politics and Evolution
The Evolution of Purpose.
The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

Free Speech in the age of Twitter
Freedom and Badness
Freedom and Morality
Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Libertarian Coercion

10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

Levels of Abstraction
Levels of Abstraction and Minds
What is a newspaper?

As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

Emotional Plague
Memes: Imitated Behavior.
The Problem with Memes
What is a replicator?

Beyond Rules Based Morality
Freedom and Morality
Moral Realism.
What do we owe animals?


Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Sincerely Held Beliefs
Sorites Paradox
Stereoscopic Vision and The Hard Problem
The Gorilla in the Room of Science
The Purpose of Science
What is Going On?

If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority


Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Too Small to See
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

A society needs a government.
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Family Values
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
Inclusion and Christmas
Open Society and Falsification
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Society and The State
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
To the Moon
We Live in the Present
Why is there a shortage of nurses?
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

Implications of Very Productive Technology
Modest Proposal
Problems with Universal Basic Income
Tormenting Unlucky People
Why there are oligarchs

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.

People have this perceptual limitation:
we can't see the future.

We kind of stumble along paths and by the time we get to where it's going we can't turn back.
When I was 20 I the idea that I was stumbling towards an unknown destination was far from my mind - I was absorbed in the details of the moment.
Looking back over 50 years it's pretty obvious.

A similar thing happens with technology.
By the time a tech is developed well enough to see it's problems the problems are embedded in the system and are very hard to fix.
So a society is on the horns of a dilemma with new tech.
One horn of the dilemma is the potential benefit of the new tech.
The other horn is the very serious problems that the tech presents when it is well established.
In technology this is the Collingridge Dilemma.

For instance: it used to be said "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
What could possibly go wrong with that?
And now fisheries are being wiped out by too many fishermen taking too many fish in a classic abuse of the commons situation.

Our society now is facing that other horn when it comes to fossil fuels.
For many reasons we have to greatly reduce our usage - but now we need a lot of fossil fuels. And the infrastructure producing them is approaching its useful life and needs expensive maintenance
Nobody wants to do that maintenance because whatever is built would last 50 years but might only have a market for it's product for 10.
Capitalists aren't stupid. They read of the push by states all over the world to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by switching to electricity produced by wind, solar, tides (what's called 'flow' - taking energy from the movement of air and water driven by the sun).

It seems that with artificial intelligence we are now on the first horn of the Collingridge Dilemma.
The tech promises wonders and is burgeoning. Soon we may be as dependent on AI as we now depend on electricity.

(Full disclosure: I've written before about how Google now is probably an AI and I'm certainly dependent on it.
I remember the days when researching a topic meant hours at a library among books and cardfiles and periodical indexes and all knowing librarians.
Now just typing in a question provides tons of answers from articles to books.)

I'm pretty aware of the potential for Google to be used by unscrupulous states to manipulate and surveil citizens.
Like when I type "ch" and a link to Chichester Cathedral Perigrines pops up at the top of the list its pretty obvious that I'm being tracked.
(still can't figure out why half the ads I see are for gutter shields so it's not perfect:-)
And I don't even think that sort of tracking involves AI.

I read about the AI systems that make pictures from a text prompt.
"A wall in a royal castle. There are two paintings on the wall. The one on the left a detailed oil painting of the royal raccoon king. The one on the right a detailed oil painting of the royal raccoon queen" produced this.
I didn't notice the bias at first - but it's kind of front and center - "royal" is interpreted in Eurocentric terms.
This example is from a system that is not open to the public but illustrates the problem - choosing a eurocentric vision of royalty as the norm unconsciously reinforces the bias that eurocentism is the norm. But you wouldn't find the bias by looking at the code for the AI or it's training dataset.
With this image creation software I'd expect obvious biases like that to be detected and fixed.
Like "royal" might be ambiguous so the AI could ask for which culture the royalty exists in - like a human artist would.
Pictures have viewers and over time the viewers can become part of the AI's training
That works for pictures that people see and are aware of.

What if that sort of bias is working in us on the pre-awareness level of our cognition - then it just becomes normal and influences our behavior and we never see it.

What do you think?

Star I present regular philosophy discussions in a virtual reality called Second Life. I set a topic and people come as avatars and sit around a virtual table to discuss it. Each week I write a short essay to set the topic. I show a selection of them here.

I've been thinking and reading about philosophy for a long time but I'm mostly self taught. That is I've had the good fortune to read what interests me rather than follow a course of study. That has it's limits of course but advantages. It doesn't cost as much and is fun too.

My interests are things like evolution and cognition and social issues and economics and science in general.