Phil 11.15.19

7:00 – 4:00 ASRC GOES

  • Morning Meeting with Wayne
    • Quotes need page numbers
    • Found out more about why Victor’s defense was postponed. Became nervous as a result
  • Dissertation – starting the discussion section
    • I’m thinking about objective functions and how individual and group objectives work together, particularly in extreme conditions.
    • In extreme situations, the number of options available to an agent or group is diminished. There may be only one move apparently available in a chess game. A race car at the limits of adhesion has only one path through a turn. A boxer has a tiny window to land a blow. As the floodwaters rise, the range of options diminish. In a tsunami, there is only one option – run.
    • Here’s a section from article 2 of the US Military Code of Conduct (from here):
      • Surrender is the willful act of members of the Armed Forces turning themselves over to enemy forces when not required by utmost necessity or extremity. Surrender is always dishonorable and never allowed. When there is no chance for meaningful resistance, evasion is impossible, and further fighting would lead to their death with no significant loss to the enemy, members of Armed Forces should view themselves as “captured” against their will versus a circumstance that is seen as voluntarily “surrendering.”
    • If a machine is trained for combat, will it have learned the concept of surrender? According to the USCoC, no, surrender is never allowed. A machine trained to “win”, like Google’s Alpha Go, do not learn to resign. That part has to be explicitly coded in (from Wired):
      • According to David Silver, another DeepMind researcher who led the creation of AlphaGo, the machine will resign not when it has zero chance of winning, but when its chance of winning dips below 20 percent. “We feel that this is more respectful to the way humans play the game,” Silver told me earlier in the week. “It would be disrespectful to continue playing in a position which is clearly so close to loss that it’s almost over.”
    • Human organizations, like armys and companies are a kind of superhuman intelligence, made up of human parts with their own objective functions. In the case of a company, that objective is often to maximise shareholder value (NYTimes by Milton Friedman):
      • But the doctrine of “social responsibility” taken seriously would extend the scope of the political mechanism to every human activity. It does not differ in philosophy from the most explicitly collectivist doctrine. It differs only by professing to believe that collectivist ends can be attained without collectivist means. That is why, in my book “Capitalism and Freedom,” I have called it a “fundamentally subversive doctrine” in a free society, and have said that in such a society, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception fraud.”
    • When any kind of population focuses singly on a particular goal, it creates shared social reality. The group aligns with the goal and pursues it. In the absence of the awareness of the environmental effects of this orientation, it is possible to stampede off a cliff, or shape the environment so that others deal with the consequences of this goal.
    • It is doubtful that many people deliberately choose to be obese. However, markets and the profit motive have resulted in a series of innovations, ranging from agriculture to aisles of high-fructose corn syrup-based drinks at the local supermarket. The logistics chain that can create and sell a 12oz can of brand-name soda for about 35 cents is a modern miracle, optimized to maximize income for every link in the chain. But in this case, the costs of competition have created an infinite supply of heavily marketed empty calories. Even though we are aware at some level that we should rarely – if ever – have one of these beverages, they are consumed by the billions
    • The supply chain for soda is a form of superintelligence, driven by a simple objective function. It is resilient and adaptive, capable of dealing with droughts, wars, and changing fashion. It is also contributing to the deaths of approximately 300,000 Americans annually.
    • How is this like combat? Reflexive vs. reflective. Low-diversity thinking are a short-term benefit for many organizations, they enable first-mover advantage, which can serve to crowd out more diverse (more expensive) thinking. More here…