Daily Archives: May 20, 2016

Is the End of Economics 101 Nigh? Nordic Bankers May Know Answer

By Peter Levring – Is the link between monetary policy and inflation broken?

Though Denmark is using negative rates to defend the krone’s peg to the euro, the unprecedented period of monetary stimulus provides some clues as to how such a policy affects price developments. The experiences may ultimately upend the basic assumptions that have dominated central bank theory since the 1990s, when inflation targeting became popular.

In Sweden, where central bank rates have been negative for more than a year, Riksbank Deputy Governor Cecilia Skingsley said monetary policy may need to become more “flexible” in future. That’s because the existing framework is “not really as efficient as it was previously perceived to be,” she said. more> http://goo.gl/gTbYfJ

The empty brain


In Our Own Image, Author: George Zarkadakis.
The Computer and the Brain, Author: John von Neumann.
How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, Author: Ray Kurzweil.
Remembering, Author: Frederic Bartlett.
The Future of the Brain, Author: Steven Rose.

By Robert Epstein – Here is what we are not born with: information, data, rules, software, knowledge, lexicons, representations, algorithms, programs, models, memories, images, processors, subroutines, encoders, decoders, symbols, or buffers – design elements that allow digital computers to behave somewhat intelligently.

Not only are we not born with such things, we also don’t develop them – ever.

We don’t store words or the rules that tell us how to manipulate them. We don’t create representations of visual stimuli, store them in a short-term memory buffer, and then transfer the representation into a long-term memory device. We don’t retrieve information or images or words from memory registers. Computers do all of these things, but organisms do not.

Computers, quite literally, process information – numbers, letters, words, formulas, images. The information first has to be encoded into a format computers can use, which means patterns of ones and zeros (‘bits’) organized into small chunks (‘bytes’).

Computers really do operate on symbolic representations of the world. They really store and retrieve. They really process. They really have physical memories. They really are guided in everything they do, without exception, by algorithms.

Humans, on the other hand, do not – never did, never will.

Given this reality, why do so many scientists talk about our mental life as if we were computers? more> https://goo.gl/MkaP9H


Updates from GE

Times Are Exponentially A-Changin’ — And You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet, Says The X Prize’s Peter Diamandis
By Tomas Kellner – “We are in a period when extraordinary things are starting to happen,” Diamandis said at the Exponential Manufacturing summit in Boston, an event held by Singularity University, the future-facing think tank/startup incubator that Diamandis co-founded with the legendary inventor Ray Kurzweil eight years ago.

“You have to surf on top of the tsunami of change or you will be crushed by it.”

One of the “exponential” concepts discussed at the conference was the digital thread, a kind of a digital birth certificate that will allow companies to monitor products at every stage of their life, from birth to death. Andre Wegner, founder and CEO of the 3D-printing strategy firm Authentise, told the audience that parts will soon come equipped with sensors that will report back to the design system when the component breaks.

GE businesses have already started deploying parts of the digital thread.

The technology allowed GE to add a whole new production line to the Florence factory — which was already very competitive — without building a new production hall or adding a new shift. “It’s helping them to squeeze more out of their facilities,” says Stephan Biller, chief manufacturing scientist at GE Global Research, who helped develop the digital thread.

“I can go in and see what happens if I take a machine out. The factory will reoptimize itself instantly and the system will tell me what the consequences of adding or taking away resources are.” more> http://goo.gl/1DIk1f

The end of code —

By Edward C. Monaghan – Over the past several years, the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley have aggressively pursued an approach to computing called machine learning.

In traditional programming, an engineer writes explicit, step-by-step instructions for the computer to follow. With machine learning, programmers don’t encode computers with instructions. They train them.

If you want to teach a neural network to recognize a cat, for instance, you don’t tell it to look for whiskers, ears, fur, and eyes. You simply show it thousands and thousands of photos of cats, and eventually it works things out.

But here’s the thing: With machine learning, the engineer never knows precisely how the computer accomplishes its tasks. The neural network’s operations are largely opaque and inscrutable. It is, in other words, a black box.

The implications of an unparsable machine language aren’t just philosophical. A world run by neurally networked deep-learning machines requires a different workforce.

Analysts have already started worrying about the impact of AI on the job market, as machines render old skills irrelevant. Programmers might soon get a taste of what that feels like themselves.

Danny Hillis [2] has declared the end of the age of Enlightenment, our centuries-long faith in logic, determinism, and control over nature. Hillis says we’re shifting to what he calls the age of Entanglement. more> http://goo.gl/Xmk3ia