Author Archives: pgfeldman

Phil 8.12.2022

Baseball tix!

Social Simulacra: Creating Populated Prototypes for Social Computing Systems

  • Social computing prototypes probe the social behaviors that may arise in an envisioned system design. This prototyping practice is currently limited to recruiting small groups of people. Unfortunately, many challenges do not arise until a system is populated at a larger scale. Can a designer understand how a social system might behave when populated, and make adjustments to the design before the system falls prey to such challenges? We introduce social simulacra, a prototyping technique that generates a breadth of realistic social interactions that may emerge when a social computing system is populated. Social simulacra take as input the designer’s description of a community’s design — goal, rules, and member personas — and produce as output an instance of that design with simulated behavior, including posts, replies, and anti-social behaviors. We demonstrate that social simulacra shift the behaviors that they generate appropriately in response to design changes, and that they enable exploration of “what if?” scenarios where community members or moderators intervene. To power social simulacra, we contribute techniques for prompting a large language model to generate thousands of distinct community members and their social interactions with each other; these techniques are enabled by the observation that large language models’ training data already includes a wide variety of positive and negative behavior on social media platforms. In evaluations, we show that participants are often unable to distinguish social simulacra from actual community behavior and that social computing designers successfully refine their social computing designs when using social simulacra.

SBIRs

  • Submit an abstract by 19 August for the opportunity to participate in MORS’ one-of-a-kind event held at the new IDA Center from 27-29 September! With high-level speakers including Dr. Baruch Fischhoff, Dr. Kristen Kulinowsk, Dr. Michael Ford and Dr. Ryan Barrett, the Emerging Techniques Forum (EFT) is one you will not want to miss this year. All abstracts must be submitted in an unclassified format and 1,500 (including spaces) or less characters without images or videos. If you are submitting an abstract for the classified session, indicate the classification level at the time of submission.
    • Mostly done. Need some additional paperwork filled out. Sent that off as well
  • Prep slides for Sprint review and finish off tasks – done

GPT Agents

  • Deploy updated versions for Chirp
  • Test and validate balanced pull
  • Run balanced and proportional 10,000 tweet pulls for ivermectin and plaxovid
  • Try running Top2Vec on tweets to see what the topic spaces look like
  • Try to get some threads in those two spaces and use those to show trajectories through topics
  • If there are enough intersecting trajectories, then create narrative embedding space
  • Had a good talk with Aaron yesterday about his discord group and how that could be a nice source of maps.
  • Submit KeywordExplorer to Chirp Developer Challenge by Aug 19
    • Content discovery apps
    • Include an App built with the required developer tools and meets the above Project Requirements.
    • Include a text description that should explain the features and functionality of your App.
    • Include a description of which category you are submitting to.
    • Include a link to a fully deployed app. 
    • Provide Twitter handle associated with the developer account.
    • Include a demonstration video of your App. The video portion of the submission:

Book

  • Submitted to U Columbia Press

Phil 8.11.2022

We asked some of the philosophers we respect most who have interests in these areas to help us make progress on them. We leaned especially on the early career researchers who are doing much of the running on this topic (Canadian Journal of Philosophy).

SBIRs

  • More writing
  • Work on RCSNN
    • Need to start testing that it draws and runs correctly
    • Had a few bugs to fix but it’s working!
  • Submit an abstract by 19 August for the opportunity to participate in MORS’ one-of-a-kind event held at the new IDA Center from 27-29 September! With high-level speakers including Dr. Baruch Fischhoff, Dr. Kristen Kulinowsk, Dr. Michael Ford and Dr. Ryan Barrett, the Emerging Techniques Forum (EFT) is one you will not want to miss this year. All abstracts must be submitted in an unclassified format and 1,500 (including spaces) or less characters without images or videos. If you are submitting an abstract for the classified session, indicate the classification level at the time of submission.

GPT Agents

  • Test and validate balanced pull
  • Run balanced and proportional 10,000 tweet pulls for ivermectin and plaxovid
  • Try running Top2Vec on tweets to see what the topic spaces look like
  • Try to get some threads in those two spaces and use those to show trajectories through topics
  • If there are enough intersecting trajectories, then create narrative embedding space
  • Had a good talk with Aaron yesterday about his discord group and how that could be a nice source of maps.

Book

  • Submitted to U Illinois Press

Phil 8.10.2022

Some good sources on belief research referenced in this article:

The Strength of Our Political Loyalties Changes Our Actual Beliefs

SBIRs

  • More writing
  • Work on RCSNN – Made some good progress. The generated code is cleaner and easier to read. Need to start testing that it draws and runs correctly

GPT Agents

  • Test and validate balanced pull
  • Run balanced and proportional 10,000 tweet pulls for ivermectin and plaxovid
  • Try running Top2Vec on tweets to see what the topic spaces look like
  • Try to get some threads in those two spaces and use those to show trajectories through topics
  • If there are enough intersecting trajectories, then create narrative embedding space

Phil 8.9.2022

GPT Agents

  • Working on improved one day download
  • 3:30 meeting

SBIRs

  • More report
  • No response yet from Dr. J
  • MDA contracts today – will see how ATO is working
  • More tweaking RCSNN for multiple instances of single class

Phil 8.8.2022

For those of you keeping track of such things, I’m still testing positive. And I largely feel fine, with what may(?) be the odd relapse? I had what felt like a cold that came on Thursday of last week and went through Friday and a bit of Saturday. No fever, though my blood pressure is up a bit and my temperature is reliably up a fraction of a degree from where it normally is – like 97.4F vs. 96.9F. I’ll be curious if things go back to their previous levels after I start testing negative.

Book

  • Start on the remaining proposals
    • Sent a letter to University of California Press
  • Sent Gaia Vince a note over the weekend

GPT Agents

  • Get balanced working with clamping. Got most of the code working in a scratch. Need to migrate to the main branch

SBIRs

  • Sent Dr. J a note on Friday. No response yet
  • Work on the report and start to frame up the slide deck
  • I realize that I can change the module creation to produce multiple instances of the same child class in the generated bdmon code. It should be a minor change. Need to do that and verify that everything still works with the UI

Phil 8.4.2022

Book

  • More submission. Or is it prostration?

GPT Agents

  • Add an option to save or update an experiment as well
  • Test corpus size reached code so that we don’t pull more tweets per item than we should. Written but not tested

SBIRs

  • Work on the quarterly report
  • Reach out to Dr. J to schedule presentation? Still need to do this
  • RCSNN meeting with Aaron
  • Standup

Phil 8.3.2022

Still testing positive – it’s been 9-10 days. I feel fine though. And it turns out that my health insurance doesn’t cover antigen tests because of course it doesn’t

Book

  • Woke up early thinking about writing the next proposal for the MC Press. To do it right is going to be complex. Princeton wanted stuff that I already had in the template, so I sent that in instead

GPT Agents

  • Adding an experiment input file that will take a txt file with entries separated by CRs – done. Need to add an option to save or update an experiment as well
  • Add corpus size reached code so that we don’t pull more tweets per item than we should. Written but not tested

SBIRs

  • Work on the quarterly report – had a good meeting with Loren
  • Reach out to Dr. J to schedule presentation? Still need to do this
  • Is there still a JSC meeting? Nope. Did make a wishlist for data

Phil 8.2.2022

A Deeper Understanding of Deep Learning

  • Recent research has clarified that learning systems operate in an entirely different regime when they are highly overparameterized, such that more parameters let them generalize better. Moreover, this property is shared not just by neural networks but by more comprehensible methods, which makes more systematic analysis possible.

Book

  • Sent the proposal off to Yale. Thirteen houses to go and then I don’t know what to do. Probably ping Andreea? Also try to reach out to Gaia Vince
  • MIT next. Their first cull is a letter that’s a condensed version of the proposal – done

GPT Agents

  • More Tooltips
  • Meeting today. Good meeting! We’re going to look at drugs as a proxy. Easier than slang

SBIRs

  • Sprint planning. I think this is going to be a case of writing the quarterly report and getting the presentation ready and scheduled. Maybe a little coding around the borders
  • MDA catchup with Ron and Rukan. Need to give them writing assignments. Also Loren

Phil 9.1.2022

If you listen closely, you can feel fall coming

So I went to Spain on a two-week biking vacation with some riding buddies, which was a lot of fun (HOT – We went in the middle of the 2022 European Heat Wave). Getting home sucked though. The flight was delayed 14 hours, and I stood in many lines with an Airbus A300(?) full of people for 5 hours or so, and managed to catch some version of Covid. That was a cough, and then a fever, which got up to 100.5F.

I was able to do a telehealth visit and get a course of Paxlovid, which stopped the fever cold in about 8 hours. It’s a multi-day regimen, and your mouth tastes like metal, but one the whole, one of those remarkable medical feats.

However…

There is a thing known as Paxlovid rebound, where you test positive for Covid, even though you have no symptoms. That’s me at the moment. Eight days after initial symptoms, I’m back to testing positive. Which means at this point, the post-vacation headaches are now half the length as the actual vacation. And I still haven’t applied for the hotel refund from the airline.

I don’t have any lessons to offer, other than saying that international travel is a fraught thing. In the end, a little over half my group wound up with Covid. I’m just not sure that this kind of trip is worth it at this time.

Book

  • Submit to MIT press

GPT Agents

  • Look at the code and the TODO’s and figure out what’s next. There don’t seem to be any other than to add tooltips? This did not turn out to be straightforward, but as usual, there is a Stackoverflow solution
    • Added tooltips to TweetCountsExplorer

SBIRs

Phil 7.28.2022

Relapsed a bit. Taking it easy today

When Maps Become the World

  • When Maps Become the World shows us how the scientific theories, models, and concepts we use to intervene in the world function as maps, and explores the consequences of this, both good and bad. We increasingly understand the world around us in terms of models, to the extent that we often take the models for reality. Winther explains how in time, our historical representations in science, in cartography, and in our stories about ourselves replace individual memories and become dominant social narratives—they become reality, and they can remake the world.

Book

  • Working on the UCP proposal – done!
  • Finding the next possible publisherd

GPT Agents

  • Top2Vec is an algorithm for topic modeling and semantic search. It automatically detects topics present in text and generates jointly embedded topic, document and word vectors. Once you train the Top2Vec model you can:
    • Get number of detected topics.
    • Get topics.
    • Get topic sizes.
    • Get hierarchichal topics.
    • Search topics by keywords.
    • Search documents by topic.
    • Search documents by keywords.
    • Find similar words.
    • Find similar documents.
    • Expose model with RESTful-Top2Vec
  • See the paper for more details on how it works.

Phil 7.27.2022

Feeling MUCH better. I took my first dose of Paxlovid around 5:00pm yesterday, with a fever of over 100F, around 3:00am this morning the fever broke and I pretty much feel back to normal with a lingering cough. Might even go for an easy bike ride today!

Book

  • Figure out where I am with the deliverables and start going through the matrix to send out packages

SBIRs

  • Finish training
  • Meet with Aaron to get caught up
    • JSC – paper was good. More progress to come?
    • MDA – Lambda box is running – RayTune. Manage running and distribution across multiple GPUs
      • ATO? We need to get the files now?
      • Chat with James? He does want a presentation. Touch base with Clay for schedule
      • Is the DB running on the Lambda box?
      • ONE GUI is running
      • Local jobs run remotely using the IDE
      • SEG – a little behind on trajectory and FOM data. Still need to look at distinctly different holdout data
        • Need to introduce regularization
        • Attention with deep networks?
        • Encoder-decoder?
    • RCSNN – Aaron is getting MiniAlphaStar working.
      • Starcraft II AI community is enormous.
    • Tech conference – register today (done). Check email. Hotel?
      • Write abstract for teleoperation?
    • MDBE – Working on new scenario for land, air and sea
    • Reference implementation for SimAccel. COTS is not set up for batch. Steve is writing his own version

Phil 7.26.2022

Vacation was nice, but the end kinda sucked. My flight was delayed 14 hours and I appear to have picked up a small viral parting gift from waiting in all those lines trying to get a new flight. So far I’ve got a cough, very slight headache, and a low fever

  • Contact doctor and see if I should get a prescription? Got Paxlovid

SBIRs

  • 9:15 standup
  • See what’s been going on
  • Talk to Aaron about using SimAccel to model the real world enough to offset communication lag in remote systems – done, though I had to cut it short
  • It is a perfect day to do training
    • Acceptable Use Policy – done
    • Understanding and Protecting PII ‎- done
    • 2022 Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training – done
    • Ethics – done

GPT Agents

  • Cancel for today – done

Phil 7.23.2022

Training Generalist Agents with Multi-Game Decision Transformers

  • Current deep reinforcement learning (RL) methods can train specialist artificial agents that excel at decision-making on various individual tasks in specific environments, such as Go or StarCraft. However, little progress has been made to extend these results to generalist agents that would not only be capable of performing many different tasks, but also upon a variety of environments with potentially distinct embodiments.
  • Looking across recent progress in the fields of natural language processing, vision, and generative models (such as PaLMImagen, and Flamingo), we see that breakthroughs in making general-purpose models are often achieved by scaling up Transformer-based models and training them on large and semantically diverse datasets. It is natural to wonder, can a similar strategy be used in building generalist agents for sequential decision making? Can such models also enable fast adaptation to new tasks, similar to PaLM and Flamingo?

Phil 7.21.2022

Clearly I’m getting ready to get back to the “real” world:

The Big Truth

  • University of Chicago professor Robert Pape has spent the past year and a half examining the January 6 insurrectionists — and sounding the alarm about the future of democracy. Is America listening?

A multilevel social neuroscience perspective on radicalization and terrorism

  • Why are some people capable of sympathizing with and/or committing acts of political violence, such as attacks aimed at innocent targets? Attempts to construct terrorist profiles based on individual and situational factors, such as clinical, psychological, ethnic, and socio-demographic variables, have largely failed. Although individual and situational factors must be at work, it is clear that they alone cannot explain how certain individuals are radicalized. In this paper, we propose that a comprehensive understanding of radicalization and of how it may lead to political violence requires the integration of information across multiple levels of analysis and interdisciplinary perspectives from evolutionary theory, social, personality and cognitive psychology, political science and neuroscience. Characterization of the structural-functional relationships between neural mechanisms and the cognitive and affective psychological processes that underpin group dynamics, interpersonal processes, values and narratives, as well as micro-sociological processes may reveal latent drivers of radicalization and explain why some people turn to extreme political violence. These drivers may not be observable within a single individual level of scientific enquiry. The integrative, multilevel approach that characterizes social neuroscience has the potential to provide theoretical and empirical clarity regarding the antecedents of radicalization and support for extreme violence.

Phil 7.20.2022

Still on vacation, but found this, which is nicely written and framed well

The year of garbage internet trends

  • Sea shanties are the framework with which I view a great many things that happened in 2021, because so many of them were entirely meaningless fads: blips on the radar lasting only for a moment but just long enough to obscure some larger, more important picture. It is fascinating to trace the origins of these glitches of nothingness: inconsequential tweets that turned into inconsequential TikToks that turned into inconsequential news articles that somehow, suddenly seemed more consequential than anything else that day.
  • Virality treats humans like fast fashion: algorithmically generated products to shove onto all of our screens at the same time, on which we then spend enormous sums of money and attention before ending up in the literal and/or figurative landfill. It isn’t just TikTok; as Shira Ovide points out in the New York Times, “Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook and many other popular sites operate on similar feedback loops that push more of whatever is being noticed,” which is how you get phenomena like sales of chess sets rising 125% after the release of “The Queen’s Gambit” before interest almost immediately plummeted back down to normal levels. We already live in a world where trends are determined by algorithms, and we will soon live in a world where even the content is created — literally — by them.