Is there a procedure?

Thought you might like this. Fresh out of Hungary.

Well.

If 2017 is fresh.

And it’s actually Iran.

Training Echo Estate Neural Network Using Harmony Search Algorithm

aut.upt.ro/~rprecup/IJAI_42.pdf

RP 094 (Mar/Apr 1999) ~ Article

William E. Connolly, ‘Brain waves, transcendental fields and techniques of thought’, Radical Philosophy 094, Mar/Apr 1999. (pdf)

“Now I say that mind and anima are held in union with the other, and form of themselves a single nature, but that the head, as it were, and lord in the whole body is the reason which we call mind or understanding, and it is firmly seated in the middle region of the breast. For here it is that fear and terror throb, around these parts are soothing joys; there, then is the understanding and the mind. The rest of the anima, spread abroad, throughout the body, obeys and is moved at the will and inclination of the understanding. [1]

The naturalism of Lucretius has long seemed by many to be too crude and full of perplexities to muster serious support. It construes the most basic units in the world as moving so fast and chaotically that they cannot be the objects of perception and precise explanation; it treats the mind, the ʻanimusʼ, as made up of the material of the same type – though not the same quality – as the rest of the body; it links thinking closely to the instabilities of sense experience; it locates the mind in the middle region of the breast rather than in the head; it has difficulty in making sense of free will and responsibility, even while acknowledging the need to do so; its naturalism gives no powers to divinity; it can generate no authoritative basis for morality in the last instance beyond attachment to the world; and it counsels its followers to work on those subconscious dispositions that project life forward after death in order to make peace with death as oblivion. Its speculations were too disconnected from the project of deep explanation to gain support from early modern science and too committed to naturalism to inspire praise from the Christian philosophies of Augustine, Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard. Besides, most of the Epicurean texts to which Lucretius is indebted have been lost through a long history of cultural war against that philosophy.

Things may be changing. Today, several brain researchers conclude that the middle region of the breast, while not as complex as several brains in the head, does house a simple cortical complex capable of generating intense feelings of disgust, anxiety, fear, terror and joy. Moreover, the fast, imperceptible units Lucretius called ʻprimordiaʼ bear a family resemblance not only to atoms but to the electrical fields that carry thinking. As Tor Norretranders says in his review of recent brain research, ʻa stimulus can be so short that we never become conscious of it but react to it nevertheless.ʼ [2] Finally, tactical work on dispositional traits installed below consciousness, while ignored by neo-Kantian philosophies in the tradition of Rawls and Habermas, retains a robust presence both in religions of the Book and in nontheistic philosophies pursued by figures as diverse as Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Stuart Hampshire and Pierre Hadot.

Recent neurophysiological research on the brain is highly suggestive, both in its presentation of the nonconscious operations that precede consciousness by a half second and in its suggestions about the role technique plays in thinking and judgement. Take the case of the blind man who could not form images of objects within the range of normal vision. He, nonetheless, like others with this particular malady, was able to carry out numerous activities, such as riding a bike, usually reserved for those with vision. When presented in a test with a series of arrows pointing in different directions, he was able to identify the correct direction in which the arrow pointed almost every time. He thought he was inordinately lucky. He, however, had Brain waves, transcendental fields and techniques of thought

William E. Connolly

ʻblindsightʼ: the part of the brain that forms images is damaged, while ʻthe other links between the eye and the brainʼ function well. [3] Here is a dramatic illustration of how large chunks of perception are organized below the level of perceptual awareness. Or consider the 16-year-old girl who a team of neurophysiologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, studied to identify the causes of her epileptic seizures. Applying an electric probe to eighty-five separate spots of the left frontal lobe, they eventually hit by chance upon a patch of brain where application of the probe made her laugh. They found that the ʻduration and intensity of the laughter increased with the level of stimulation current.… At low currents only a smile was present, while at higher currents a robust, contagious laughter was induced.ʼ [4] The young girl, following time-ordered principles of retrospective interpretation, decided that these researchers were extremely funny guys. These two cases suggest that a lot of thinking and interpretation goes on during the ʻhalf-second delayʼ between the reception of sensory material and conscious interpretation of it. [5] They further point to the gaps that often open up between first-person, phenomenological interpretations of experience and third-person accounts of it.

The half-second delay

It seems that ʻincomprehensible quantities of unconscious calculationʼ [6] take place during the interval of the half-second delay, subtracting some sensory material and crunching the rest to project a set of perceptions and thought-imbued intensities into consciousness, upon which it can then do its own work. Immanuel Kant, let us say, projects an inscrutable transcendental field into this temporal gap. We presuppose this transcendental, supersensible field, he claims, when we explain things according to laws of the understanding; but we cannot inquire further into the concepts of time, space and causality which it sanctions.

This schematism of our understanding in regard to appearances and their mere form, is an art, hidden in the depths of the human soul, whose true modes of action we shall only with difficulty discover and unveil.… The image is a product of the empirical faculty of the productive imagination – while the schema of the sensible concepts (of figures in space, for example) is a product of the pure imagination a priori.… It is a transcendental product of the imagination …, insofar as these representations must be connected a priori in one concept, conformable to the unity of apperception. [7]

The transcendental field provides the understanding with the categories necessary to explanation. That same field operates more directly, but with the same necessity and inscrutability, in Kantian moral judgement. The ʻobjective reality of the moral lawʼ is recognized ʻas an apodictically certain fact, as it were, of pure reason, a fact of which we are a priori consciousʼ. It ʻcan be proved through no deduction, through no exertion of the theoretical, speculative, or empirically supported reason.… Nevertheless it is firmly established of itself.ʼ [8] The closure and rigidity many discern in Kantian morality – in, for example, his confident commitment to capital punishment and his refusal to allow someone to lie even to save the life of another – may be bound up with his insistence that the experience of morality as law takes the form of apodictic recognition. Finally, aesthetic judgement also falls under the jurisdiction of the supersensible realm. To judge something to be beautiful is to attain a spontaneous accord of the faculties that expresses the dictates of the supersensible realm without being able to conceptualize them.

Apperception in explanation, recognition in morality, expression in aesthetic judgement: the Kantian models of explanation, morality and aesthetics invoke in different ways an inscrutable supersensible field prior to consciousness that regulates its operations. The introduction of the transcendental field enabled Kant to devise a creative strategy to protect Christian freedom and morality from the corrosive effects of the Newtonian science of mechanics he also endorsed. The crucial move is ʻto ascribe the existence of a thing so far as it is determinable in time, and accordingly its causality under the law of natural necessity, merely to appearance, and to attribute freedom to the same being as a thing in itselfʼ.9 The Kantian supersensible field thus subsists below the level of consciousness and above the reach of modification through scientific knowledge, moral decision or technological intervention. Such a philosophy enabled Kant to disparage naturalists such as Epicurus and Lucretius for sinking into a metaphysical dogmatism that pretends to know the contents of the inscrutable transcendental field and for anchoring ethics in something as crude as the sensible realm.

But what happens if the half-second delay is set, not in a supersensible domain, but in the corporealization of culture and the culturization of corporeality? That is, what if many of the messages flowing between multiple brains of differential capacities in the same person are too small and fast to be identified by consciousness but, nonetheless, available, to some degree, to cultural inscription, experimental research and technical intervention? Does this open the door, not to disproof of the Kantian transcendental and proof of the alternative, but to a contending interpretation of the transcendental field that moves a little closer to Lucretius? It may be that Kantʼs identification of an inscrutable transcendental field is profound, while his insistence that it must be eternal, supersensible and authoritative in the last instance is open to modification. To contest the specific Kantian reading of the transcendental field, while insisting upon its operation in some sense, would be to call into question both the adequacy of Kantian moral philosophy and the strategy of neo-Kantians who often proceed as if they can avoid engagement with such a field altogether.

Neo-Kantians tend to treat arts of the self as if they were simply therapies to deal with neuroses or blockages in the powers of normal rationality, recognition, deliberation and decision, rather than more ubiquitous exercises, tools and techniques that affect the shape of thinking and sensibility in profound ways. The key move is to translate the Kantian transcendental field into a layered, immanent field. If the unconscious dimension of thought is immanent in subsisting below the direct reach of consciousness, effective in influencing conduct on its own and also affecting conscious judgement, material in being coloured by the neurological processes in which it occurs, and cultural in being affected by the inscriptions of experience and experimental interventions, then several theories of morality ranging from the Kantian model of command, through the Habermasian model of deliberative ethics and the Rawlsian model of justice, to the Taylorite model of attunement to a higher purpose in being, may deserve active contestation. From the vantage point pursued here, some of the above theories systematically underestimate the role of technique and artistry in thinking and ethics, while others overestimate the degree to which the cultivation of virtues is linked to an intrinsic purpose susceptible to attunement or recognition.

Immanent naturalism and thinking

By naturalism I mean the refusal to endorse a divine or supernatural force in life. The form of naturalism I endorse gives an important role to culture; in fact it finds culture mixed deeply into both unconscious mechanisms of thought and conscious reflection. Let us construe eliminative naturalism to be a philosophy that reduces the experience of consciousness to nonconscious processes. Let us construe mechanical naturalism to deny any role to a supersensible field while also finding the contents of the mind to be amenable to precise calculation and explanation. I am not sure how many eliminative and mechanical naturalists there are, though some philosophers are characterized in this way by their critics. Let us construe immanent naturalism to be a perspective in which the transcendental is translated into an immanent field that mixes nature and culture, and in which consciousness is retained as a field that enters into active relationships with the immanent. An immanent field is efficacious and inscrutable (to some uncertain degree), but not immaterial. It is infrasensible rather than supersensible. Moreover, some elements in the field that exceed our (current and perhaps future) capacities of explanation are nonetheless susceptible, to some uncertain degree, to both cultural inscription and experimental tactics of self-intervention. That is, as Epicureans and several monotheistic religions have often presumed in their practices, the powers of cultural inscription and experimental intervention into the inscrutable domain, while limited, nonetheless exceed those of direct conscious control and scientific explanation. Finally, immanent naturalists resist both a command model of morality set in a juridical rendering of the transcendental field and a teleological model of ethics set in a divine order of things.

We do not deny that pressures and directives flooding into consciousness from the infrasensible field often feel as if they express ʻthe apodictically certain fact of pure reasonʼ; we merely contest the conclusion that this sort of feeling actually expresses ʻthe objective reality of the moral law itselfʼ. To us nature is more diverse and interesting than any god; and the body is more layered, rich and creative than the soul. Most immanent naturalists support an ethic in which a visceral attachment to life and the world provides the preliminary soil from which commitment to more generous identifications, responsibilities and connections might be cultivated. This preliminary attachment is fundamental in that without it the further cultivation of generosity and responsibility could not proceed. But it is also contingent in that, while it is often mixed into the milk of life, there is no cosmic guarantee that it must be so, or if so, that it will prevail against profound injury, loss, violence or brutality. The indispensability of a generous ethos of cultural life is stalked by its fragility.

According to these rough and ready standards, thinkers as diverse as Epicurus, Lucretius, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, Stuart Hampshire, Gilles Deleuze, Moira Gatens and Bernard Williams participate in immanent naturalism. Other (possible) natural-ists such as, say, John Rawls, Bertrand Russell, Hans Blumenberg and Nancy Fraser, while often appreciating the need for ethical generosity in life, may not fit so readily. This is partly because they do not engage the immanent field of perception, thinking, interpretation, identity and judgement, but also because they do not explore the problems and possibilities that arise when the layered activity of thinking encounters those exercises, disciplines, techniques and impositions that help to constitute it.

If naturalism in all its forms today presents a minority report within moral and political philosophy, immanent naturalism constitutes a dissenting opinion within the minority. And its minority status is even more notable when you think about citizens at large in most Western states. Most citizens, certainly in the United States, opt for one or another conception of morality set in a supersensible realm. Some high articulations of such a perspective – presented by figures as diverse as Charles Taylor, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur, Alasdair MacIntyre and Michael Sandel – ascribe considerable importance in thinking and ethics to the ʻtacit dimensionʼ and the ʻembodied selfʼ. But they forsake immanent naturalism in the last instance for a divine rendering of the transcendental field. The interesting question is what happens to the monopoly rights over morality claimed by some – but not all – of these parties when a group of naturalists seeks to rewrite the transcendental rather than to erase it. Even more enchanting are the positive possibilities of selective alliance and connection between immanent naturalists and transcendentalists who do acknowledge the profound contestability of their respective enunciations of the immanent/transcendental field. [10]

To think, according to the OED, is ʻto cause (something) to appear (to oneself)ʼ, ʻto form connected ideas of any kindʼ, and ʻto form a definite conception by a conscious mental act, to picture in oneʼs mindʼ. These definitions, taken together, have the advantage of including both conscious and unconscious processes under the rubric of thinking. Let us treat thinking, provisionally and crudely, as those activities through which conclusions and judgements are reached and new connections among ideas generated. That leaves open how layered thinking is, the role of intensity, mood and sensibility in it, and the relation of technique to it. A technique of thought might be an exercise or other intervention that alters the direction of thinking or the mood in which it is set. An electrical probe becomes a technique of thought when applied purposively to a patch of the brain; clearing your mind of everyday concerns while going on a long, slow run in the woods can be another.

Kant, who places thought under the juridical control of inscrutable reason, would distinguish sharply between thinking that conforms to the dictates of reason and thinking altered in its direction by external tactics. Therapies and disciplines can refine or coarsen inclinations outside the medium of thought, but in a Kantian world correct thinking itself is organized under the inscrutable guidance of reason. A transcendental illusion, for instance, occurs when thinking wanders beyond the limits in which it is properly set. Lucretius, on the other hand, finds the jumps and starts within thinking itself to provide it with some of its most creative moments. He is interested in techniques that might spur new thoughts into being. And he commends tactical work on the quality of thought for ethical reasons. You might, for instance, strive to imagine the serenity of death as oblivion every time your heated imagination projects rewards and punishments into an afterlife, doing so to ease your resentment against mortality and to render you less likely to act cruelly toward others. Stuart Hampshire, indebted to both Lucretius and Spinoza, also finds the Kantian distinction between correct thinking and technical distortion to be forced. For the evanescent activity of thinking occurs as cultural elements are folded into complex neurophysiological circuits. Thinking is irreducible to any of the ingredients that enable it, but it is also affected profoundly by the infrasensible media of its occurrence. Writing in 1970, before the most recent surge in brain research, Hampshire says,

In all probability physical structures of a kind that we cannot now even begin to envisage are involved in the acquisition of language and mathematical skills, in the exercise of memory and of the imagination, and in the formation of complex sentiments and mental attitudes.… Indeed the word ʻmechanismʼ, which I have introduced, may be thought misleading in so far as it is associated only with types of physical processes, which are not yet recognized, or even envisaged, in contemporary physics. [11]

Hampshire treats the mechanisms ʻat work at different levels, or in different types of thinkingʼ as themselves potential objects of knowledge and intervention. He agrees with his hero Spinoza in regretting that most philosophers in the pastcould not bring themselves consistently to view human beings solely as one kind of natural object among others. Under the influence of inherited moral and religious ideas, and of their natural pieties, his predecessors had always kept some powers of mind in reserve, treating these superior powers of thought as if they transcended the natural order.… They seemed to have assumed that those powers of mind, which are the conditions of any organized knowledge of natural processes, cannot themselves be made the objects of such knowledge. [12]

Immanuel Kant, as Hampshire says, gave the pious tradition new energy and confidence in the eighteenth century by rewriting it to protect it from the threats posed by Spinoza and Newton respectively. Hampshire, under the influence of Spinoza, pursues a more reflexive naturalism than that offered by Lucretius. He emphasizes the importance of ʻshifting attention back and forth from the consideration of persons as active observers of the physical world to the consideration of them as also observed objects, with their bodies in a dual role, as both purposely used instruments of exploration and also as observed objectsʼ. It is indeed this tension and interdependence between the self as a first-person agent of thought and as a third-person student of the material medium of thought that opens one of the doors to creativity in thinking. Moreover, to acknowledge the ʻdual roleʼ you yourself play means, on Hampshireʼs model of thinking, that you must come to terms with the impact technical intervention can have on it. The thinker aware of the neurophysiological element of their own thinking knows that if ʻthe condition of the instrument is grossly changed, as by drugs, the power of thought is grossly changed alsoʼ. [13]

The reflexivity Hampshire commends is not reducible to Hegelian reflexivity, since the former anticipates that the gap between the process of making connections in thought and explanations of the ʻmechanismsʼ of thought work is unlikely to be eliminated entirely. Hampshire does not endorse the encompassing metaphysic of Geist. Thinking can be altered under the influence of new knowledge about the conditions of thought, but the self often enough finds the resource of conscious command insufficient to alter either the direction of its own thought or the character of its being. Techniques of the self, aimed at unconscious processes below the reach of conscious control, may proceed further into these domains. Drugs, for instance, are to be neither honoured nor depreciated in general, but to be appraised in terms of the sorts of effects and side effects they have on health, thinking and sensibility.

Hampshire, perhaps again under the spell of Spinoza, tends to assume that new knowledge acquired about the geology of the immanent field will be translated into improved explanations of those processes. Although this tendency is itself sometimes qualified, he tends to balance his critique of the juridical model of thinking propagated by Kant with endorsement of a confident model of scientific explanation. Put another way, he expects the gap between third-person and first-person perspectives to persist, but he anticipates that tight third-person explanations of those processes may well be developed.

Recent brain research suggests to me, however, that the discovery of new things about the immanent field of thinking may both deepen our understanding of the geology of thought and help us to understand why law-like explanations of the mechanisms of thought are likely to remain partial and incomplete. Thus, an intense little brain underneath the cortex called the amygdala generates rapid, crude judgements in dangerous situations below the level of conscious assessment and feeling. Its effects on the other brains may not be susceptible to close tracking and explanation, partly because it both influences conduct on its own and bumps intensities into centres of conscious thinking and judgement which these brains then process according to their own differential capacities of reception, speed and organization. The amygdala is one of the brains involved in those crunching operations of the unconscious mind, working ʻsub-symbolically, in codes that are not decipherable consciouslyʼ. And ʻconsciousness seems to do things serially, more or less one at a time, whereas the unconscious mind, being composed of many different systems, seems to work more or less in parallel.ʼ [14]

The conceptual connections formed in conscious thinking are notoriously irreducible to causal explanation, and the rapid, parallel systems that both affect judgement directly and project thought-imbued intensities into consciousness may be too fast and variable in intensity to submit to close, situational computation either. Since the effects of one system are bounced or bumped into other systems with different capacities of reception and organization, you would have to form a godʼs eye view of the entire complex to ʻexplainʼ its operations at any specific time. The geology of thought is susceptible to third-person understanding, but the intercoded activities of unconscious and conscious thinking may themselves escape the reach of the most confident models of scientific explanation.

Even Hampshireʼs modified image of the ʻmechanisms of thoughtʼ may remain residually attached to a model ill-suited to the electrical synapses and chemical resonances within and between brains of differential speed, intensity and capacity. Hampshire tends to ignore variations in intensity initiated below the level of feeling and conscious judgement that play such a significant role in the adventures of thought. The jolts, charges and flashes through which conscious thinking is sometimes blocked and at other times inspired to new heights of creativity are underappreciated by a model in which mechanism receives priority over chemical–electrical processes. The following quotation from Joseph LeDoux, a neurophysiologist on the cutting edge, as it were, of brain research, may indicate some of these differentials:

When the amygdala detects danger, it sends messages to the hypothalamus, which in turn sends messages to the pituitary gland, and the result is the release of a hormone called ACTH. ACTH flows through the blood to the adrenal gland to cause the release of steroid hormone. In addition to reaching target sites in the body, the steroid hormone flows through the blood into the brain, where it binds to the receptors in the hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and other regions. [15]

Lucretius thought the infinitesimal size, rapid speed and unpredictable swerves of ʻprimordiaʼ rendered them ill-suited to close or complete explanation. Gilles Deleuzeʼs work resonates sympathetically with such a view. His projection of virtual elements too fast and multiple for conscious inspection or close third-person explanation meshes with his exploration of how differential degrees of intensity in thought move it in some directions rather than others, open up lines of flight through which new concepts are introduced into being, and render thinking too layered and unpredictable to be captured by a juridical model in the Kantian tradition. He translates the story of juridical recognition in which Kant encloses thought in the last instance into one in which thinking is periodically nudged, frightened, inspired or terrorized into action by strange encounters. Recognition is a secondary formation often taken by consciousness in its innocence to be primary or apodictic, but thinking sometimes disturbs or modifies an established pattern of thought.

At its most creative, thinking is the invention of new concepts and possibilities out of the experience of friction between old conventions and surprising events and between judgements at one level of being and those at others. Deleuze thinks that nature itself is unfinished and full of micro-differentials that periodically accumulate to generate new things. Responding to the ʻdogmatic image of thoughtʼ, Deleuze says,

Do not count upon thought to ensure the relative necessity of what it thinks. Rather, count upon the contingency of an encounter with that which forces thought to raise up and the educate the absolute necessity of an act of thought or a passion to think.16 Thinking often arises out of surprising encounters, either with thought-imbued conventions that disturb, inspire or enchant you, or with something mute in the world that has not yet been translated into the register of thought:

This something is an object not of recognition, but of a fundamental encounter. What is encountered may be Socrates, a temple or a demon. It may be grasped in a range of affective tones: wonder, love, hatred, suffering. In whichever tone, its primary characteristic is that it can only be sensed. [17]

Thinking and technique

It may be that the impressive human powers to set cultural scripts of thought both create conditions of possibility for thinking and fall short of governing the encounters, intensities and connections in thinking itself. There is a wild element in thinking that enables thinkers to invent new concepts and to usher new ideas into being. It also seems likely that the application of techniques by the self to its own thinking can engage the wild element in rethinking some established cultural conventions. Techniques of thought, then, can be both instruments of normalization and spurs to periodic challenges to established scripts of normalization.

Hampshire, Deleuze and LeDoux, by translating the transcendental field of Kant into an immanent field of forces below consciousness, open up fascinating questions about the relation between thinking and technique and between both of these and ethics. Hampshire, for instance, suspects that each time you improve your understanding of the mechanisms of your own thinking, you by that means make at least some difference to the timbre, tone and character of your being. Thinking both expresses moods and sensibilities in which it is already set and makes a difference to them. I conclude that yesterday I was angry about something else when I resisted your call for help, and that may open up an alternative train of thought and responsiveness today. Or the young girl, upon reviewing how she laughed infectiously when her brain patch was touched with an electric probe, may reinterpret the source and meaning of her laughter. She may then find the scene to be more amusing than the experimenters wielding the probe. She, as it were, activates other electrical impulses to open up possibilities of interpretation exceeding those followed when she treated her consciousness as a species of apodictic recognition during the first encounter.

But where, according to immanent naturalism, does technique leave off and thinking begin? Or is that question too simple-minded? It may be that immanent naturalism is more appreciative of the productive possibilities of technique in thinking than the transcendental tradition because it finds thinking, technique and culture already intermeshed in the brain waves themselves. Its inability to draw a sharp line between thinking and technique may turn into an advantage when it comes to thinking about the relation between thinking, technique, culture and ethics. Is it possible that you cannot get through a day without presupposing the difference between thinking and technique, but that, also, you cannot find a sufficient criterion by which consistently to disentangle the one from the other without appealing to a juridical model of the transcendental field itself open to contestation? [18] Let us draw up a list of techniques, both gross and subtle, by which thinking might be modified in its course, speed, intensity or sensibility. To simplify, our examples will be those in which an individual rather than a group is the object, and in which the individual either applies the techniques to itself or agrees to have it applied by others.• You listen to Mozart while reading a philosophical text, in order to relax your mind and sharpen its acuity of analysis.• You undergo surgery to increase the flow of blood to the brain, in the hopes of avoiding a stroke and/or improving the quality of your thinking.• You go for a run after having struggled with a paradox or antinomy that perplexes you.• You take Prozac or Valium to relax your nerves and improve the mood in which your thinking occurs.• You have yourself subjected to a severe whipping in the hopes of resolving some feeling of guilt that will not subside.• You expose yourself to an image that, against your conscious intent, has disturbed you in the past, while listening to the Talking Heads in the bathtub and imagining how mellow it would be to dive into crystal blue water off a Caribbean beach.• You underline a text while reading it, and then outline the text you have just underlined.• You give in to a feeling of intense regret you had previously resisted.• You concentrate your mind on a practical issue after having gone through several of the activities listed above.• You introduce full-spectrum lighting into your house during the winter to help lift yourself out of morose thoughts and passive moods.• You improve your powers of persuasion by giving talks in public settings.• You reach a conclusion after reconsidering the available arguments and evidence in a mood that has shifted significantly from the last time you engaged this issue.• You read a book by Spinoza to sharpen your powers of argument and subject some of your previous presumptions to shock therapy. • You go dancing.

These examples could be modified along several dimensions, and proliferated endlessly. You could include those in which others apply tactics to you without your consent, and in which some of these tactics, and more punitive ones besides, are folded into general institutional practices. Or you could form a virtual community of, say, immanent naturalists connected by print, phone, the Internet, conferences, readings and travel, the members of which fold several of these tactics into their associational activities. Such a formation, indeed, would adjust to the conditions of late-modern life the garden community through which Epicureans responded in their day to the hegemony of polytheism.

But the list we have assembled is already suggestive about the ubiquity of technique in thinking and judgement and about the close internal connections between thinking, technique performance, mood and sensibility. It is hard to locate an instance in which several of these elements are not involved, though the differentials do vary from case to case. Should we, then, defer the temptation to reduce these diverse interventions to familiar categories, calling, say, one set internal to thought and another external to it? Is concentrating your mind more natural than taking Prozac to clear it of the most depressive thoughts? What about the difference between smoking a cigarette while reading, and underlining a text? Or between thinking under the influence of Spinoza, and meditation? At what point does listening to Mozart while you write change from forming the background to your thinking to becoming an element in it? If ʻit is precisely the point of materialism to assert a much closer relation between processes of thought and physical processes than is implied in most of the idioms of ordinary speechʼ, [19] it may be a creative tactic of thought to resist placing this miscellany under the automatic authority of those idioms. For the traditional idioms of ordinary speech may remain too fettered to the logic of recognition, while philosophical reflection, brain research, and the accelerated speed of everyday experience in a world moving faster than heretofore may combine to call the sufficiency of that logic into question.

And ethics?

An orientation to ethics growing out of immanent naturalism contains several tendencies, though different practitioners inflect them in specific directions. I will sketch a few of these tendencies in the broadest terms, scavenging freely from the giants in this tradition.

Immanent naturalists, as already indicated, resist grounding ethics in a command of practical reason or an intrinsic juridical source. While messages flowing from the immanent field to the higher, more complex brains may often be received as if they were lawlike commands or the products of apodictic recognition, such first-person experiences can be called into question – though probably not disproved in the last instance – by investigations from a third-person perspective. In conjunction with the translation of the transcendental into the immanent, then, we revise some of the questions of ethics that are given priority in the transcendental and quasi-transcendental traditions. We shift priority from ʻWhy should I be moral?ʼ, or ʻWhat is the necessary capacity presupposed by the practice of morality?ʼ, or ʻWhat are the most fundamental principles of morality?ʼ, to ʻHow do you cultivate a generous sensibility from which to articulate specific orientations to responsibility, obligation and justice in a pluralistic culture?ʼ For it does seem that the conceptions of responsibility and justice one accepts are closely bound up with the sensibility one brings to these issues. And a sensibility can be modified by working tactically upon the immanent register in which it is partly set.

The most distinctive contribution contemporary immanent naturalists make to ethics is in the retrieval for ethical life of ʻarts of the selfʼ (Nietzsche), ʻtactics of the selfʼ (Foucault), ʻtechniquesʼ (Hampshire) and ʻmicropoliticsʼ (Deleuze). This retrieval connects an ethic of cultivation set in a philosophy of immanence to some monotheistic traditions along one dimension, even as it diverges from them along others. Thus, as Talal Asad has shown in his exploration of medieval Christianity, monastic practices perfected techniques to cultivate ʻaptitudes of performanceʼ appropriate to the faith and below the register of belief. [20] The role of arts of the self, however, is demoted in Kantʼs rewriting of Christian morality, though Kant does allow ʻgymnasticsʼ to play a role in preparing the inclinations to accept the moral law. And contemporary secular, neoKantian theories pretty much jettison this dimension of ethical life altogether.

This article makes technique the hinge that connects thought (as stored thinking) to sensibility. In a world in which ʻdisciplinary societyʼ has become extensive and intensive, such tactics can function as counter-measures to build more independence and thoughtfulness into our ethical sensibilities. You might, for instance, intervene experimentally on your own immanent register to fold more generosity and forbearance into your responses to movements in the domains of gender, sensual affiliation, ethnic identification and religion/irreligion that disrupt the self-confidence of your own identity.

An ethical sensibility, you might say, is composed through a particular layering of affect into the materiality of thought. A sensibility, thereby, is a constellation of thought-imbued intensities and feelings. To work on an already established sensibility by tactical means, then, is to address some of these layers in relation to others. You address experimentally relays between thought-imbued intensities below the level of feeling and linguistic complexity, thought-imbued feelings below the level of linguistic sophistication, images that trigger responses at either of these levels, and linguistically sophisticated patterns of argument and judgement. To foreground the importance of arts of the self, then, is to flag the insufficiency of argument to ethical life without denying its pertinence. Michel Foucault suggests the significance of such relays in techniques of the self when he says, ʻIt is not enough to say the subject is constituted in a symbolic system. … It is [also] constituted in real practices.… There is a technology of the constitution of the self which cuts across symbolic systems while using them.ʼ [21] The thoughtful application of tactics to oneʼs previous patterns of affective thought can inspire responsiveness to new social movements that challenge or disrupt hegemonic practices of sensuality, religion, metaphysics, gender, ethnicity and market rationality. As they proceed, such tactics might allow new thoughts to come into being, thoughts previously beyond oneʼs reach or range of tolerance. Thinking, sensibility and culture are interwoven.

You can think of micropolitics, in the Deleuzian sense, as a collectivization of arts of the self. In a disciplinary society, micropolitics is ubiquitous. Immanent naturalism makes a timely contribution to contemporary political engagements, then, through its appreciation of how the micropolitics of cultural life persistently shapes the warp and woof of ethical judgement. Images of a dead foetus flashed to those assessing the legality of abortion; pictures of a dependent old person in a nursing home presented to those thinking about the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide; talkshow repetitions of the view that you canʼt be a moral individual or participate in a moral culture unless you and it are governed by religious principles – these examples are steam pouring out of the cultural kettle of late-modern life.

Several secular conceptions of morality, while they too are often committed to plurality, underplay the ubiquity and significance of such cultural practices to the background of cultural judgement. They may do so because they invest conscious deliberation with more autonomy, closure and purity than it can actually marshal. Immanent naturalists, by comparison, emphasize the importance of sounds, smells, images, rhythms and conceptually refined deliberation to ethical life. Those who are pluralists try to devise micropolitical strategies to contest some of the ugly dimensions of the culture wars today.

Most of the contemporaries I have dubbed immanent naturalists acknowledge that there is a strong element of faith (and therefore contestability) in their fundamental orientation to being. In this respect we share something with those theists who make a similar acknowledgment. Our faith in the non-theistic character of the immanent field can be supported by a series of considerations, but it is unlikely to be demonstrated as true. That is why we seek to enter into relations of agonistic respect with alternative faiths. Acknowledgement of the element of faith in our doctrine may combine with our willingness to rewrite (rather than reject) the transcendental field and with our positive orientation to arts of the self to foster alliances with cultural pluralists in the monotheistic traditions.

A contemporary immanent naturalist, aided and instructed by fascinating developments in brain research, can say something about the geology of thought. One can outline how layered thinking is; how each layer contains distinctive speeds, capacities and intensities that affect its foreign relations with other layers; how particular intensities of proto-judgement often surge up from the lower strata, flooding the slower and more refined layers of conceptual thought and conscious imagination, overwhelming them for a time or starting them down new, exploratory paths; how these moments of creativity in thinking sometimes open up new lines of flight for an individual, group or entire constituency; and how these new lines of flight in turn suggest tactics by which to alter thought-imbued intensities below the conscious register. The ʻimmanenceʼ in the naturalism affirmed here thus alerts us to an element of wildness in thinking, as well as to its layered character. That wildness can sometimes enable creativity in thinking, a creativity that may be particularly important to nurture during a time when the tempo of life is faster than heretofore and when many individuals, constituencies and states are periodically confronted with surprising events that disrupt established codes of identity and judgement. Since an ethic of cultivation plays up the element of sensibility in ethics over those of principle and code (without denying the pertinence of the last two), such an orientation may be particularly appropriate to a time when established codes are periodically unsettled by the eruption of new and unexpected events. And since the cultivation of creativity in thinking is particularly important under cultural conditions of speed, freedom of thought and expression – already supported actively by Epicurus, Spinoza, Hampshire, Foucault and Deleuze – emerges as a central principle of an ethic of cultivation. Thinking is periodically inspired by unexpected encounters that jar it into motion out of stupor or that call into question chunks in the conventional storehouse of thought. Changes in thinking affect, over time, the shape and quality of the ethical sensibility from which one acts. And tactical interventions into sensibilities installed at several layers of being can make a significant difference to the quality of thought and action. A philosophy of immanent naturalism, linked to the ideals of freedom and plurality sketched here, maintains each of these themes in interdependence and tension with the others.

Notes

  1. ^ Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, in John Gaskin, ed., The Epicurean Philosophers, J.M. Dent, London, 1995, p. 161. The editor worries about the physiology of Lucretius. It is ʻold-fashioned by the standards of Alexandrian science even when he wrote. Fortunately the philosophical argument is not disturbed by reading “brain” … for “middle region of the breast”.ʼ

  2. ^ Tor Norretranders, The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, trans. Jonathan Sydenham,

Viking, New York, 1998, p. 255.

  1. ^ Ibid., p. 170.

  2. ^ Reported in the New York Times, 10 March 1988, under the title, ʻWho Needs Jokes? Brain Has a Ticklish Spotʼ,

Section D, p. 1.

  1. ^ As Tor Norretranders points out in The User Illusion, the ʻhalf-second delayʼ is actually an average. Norretranders appreciates that you might object that some reaction times are ʻa lot shorter than 0.5 second. It does not take a half a second to snatch your fingers away when you burn them! So how can it take half a second to move of your own free will? … Well, it can because reactions are not conscious.… Our reaction time is much shorter than the time it takes to initiate a conscious actionʼ (p. 221).

We move here, as we shall see, into the quick, crude reaction time of the amygdala that precedes feeling and consciousness.

  1. ^ Norretranders, The User Illusion, p. 164. This phrase occurs when Norretranders is contesting the sufficiency of those computer models of the mind that seek to formulate the rules which govern conscious thinking. For a superb exploration of the ʻmissing half-secondʼ that prompts some of my own thinking, see Brian Massumi, ʻThe Autonomy of Affectʼ, in Paul Patton, ed., Deleuze: A Critical Reader, Blackwell, Oxford, 1996, pp. 217–39.

  2. ^ Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, edited by Vasilis Politis, J.M. Dent, London, 1993, p. 145.

  3. ^ Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Lewis White Beck, Macmillan, New York, 1993, p. 49.

  4. ^ Ibid., p. 99 (my emphasis).

  5. ^ In Why I am not a Secularist (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1999), I contend that secularism, despite its important virtues, blocks promising lines of public communication between theistic and nontheistic orientations about the mysteries of life. This essay attempts to fill out some dimensions in one such nontheistic orientation.

  6. ^ Stuart Hampshire, ʻA Kind of Materialismʼ, in his Freedom of Mind, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1971, p. 211.

  7. ^ Ibid., pp. 211–12.

  8. ^ Ibid., pp. 213, 218.

  9. ^ Joseph LeDoux, The Emotional Brain, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996, p. 280.

  10. ^ Ibid., p. 240.

  11. ^ Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, Columbia University Press, New York, 1994, p. 139 (my emphasis).

  12. ^ Ibid., p. 139. The above quotation points to a line of difference between Deleuze and Hampshire. The lines of connection are even more important. They are further suggested by the fact that Hampshire wrote one sympathetic book on Spinoza and Deleuze wrote two.

  13. ^ It is predictable that upon reading this article someone will say, ʻBut you canʼt make judgements about the correctness, quality or rationality of thought without making presuppositions about the standards involved. And Connolly fails to acknowledge this…ʼ But, of course, I do acknowledge it every day. It is just that I also imagine that some standards and criteria we now accept uncritically might unexpectedly become objects of critical investigation themselves at another point, just as the ʻtranscendental deductionsʼ, ʻfact/valueʼ distinctions and ʻanalytic/syntheticʼ dichotomies of recent generations are now objects of critical scrutiny.

  14. ^ Hampshire, Freedom of Mind, p. 225.

  15. ^ As Asad says, in medieval monastic life the ʻliturgy is not a species of enacted symbolism to be classified separately from activities defined as technical but is a practice among others essential to the acquisition of Christian virtues.… The things prescribed, including liturgical services, had a place in the overall scheme of training of the Christian self. In this conception there could be no radical disjunction between outer behavior and inner motive, between social rituals and individual sentiments, between activities that are expressive and those that are technicalʼ (Genealogies of Religion, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD, 1993), p. 63.

  16. ^ ʻOn the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progressʼ, in The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow, Pantheon, New York, 1984, p. 369. The confined role given to argument in this conception of ethics tracks the Kantian claim that morality as law is not something known through argument but is recognized apodictically.

To translate the Kantian transcendental into an immanent field is to rewrite, rather than simply reject, Kantʼs view about the limits of argument in ethics. For an essay that responds to neo-Kantians who read Foucault reductively see Jane Bennett, ʻ“How is it, then, that we still remain barbarians?”: Schiller, Foucault and the Aestheticization of Ethicsʼ, Political Theory, November 1996.”

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Now this , /\ then is worth thinking about, a-priori, I ‘feel’.

And this V

Stories

Will AI Really Perform Transformative, Disruptive Miracles?
from the intelligent-questions dept.
“An encounter with the superhuman is at hand,” argues Canadian novelist, essayist, and cultural commentator Stephen Marche in an article in the Atlantic titled “Of Gods and Machines”. He argues that GPT-3’s 175 billion parameters give it interpretive power “far beyond human understanding, far beyond what our little animal brains can comprehend. Machine learning has capacities that are real, but which transcend human understanding: the definition of magic.”

But despite being a technology where inscrutability “is an industrial by-product of the process,” we may still not see what’s coming, Marche argue — that AI is “every bit as important and transformative as the other great tech disruptions, but more obscure, tucked largely out of view.”
Science fiction, and our own imagination, add to the confusion. We just can’t help thinking of AI in terms of the technologies depicted in Ex Machina, Her, or Blade Runner — people-machines that remain pure fantasy. Then there’s the distortion of Silicon Valley hype, the general fake-it-'til-you-make-it atmosphere that gave the world WeWork and Theranos: People who want to sound cutting-edge end up calling any automated process “artificial intelligence.” And at the bottom of all of this bewilderment sits the mystery inherent to the technology itself, its direct thrust at the unfathomable. The most advanced NLP programs operate at a level that not even the engineers constructing them fully understand.

But the confusion surrounding the miracles of AI doesn’t mean that the miracles aren’t happening. It just means that they won’t look how anybody has imagined them. Arthur C. Clarke famously said that “technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.” Magic is coming, and it’s coming for all of us…

And if AI harnesses the power promised by quantum computing, everything I’m describing here would be the first dulcet breezes of a hurricane. Ersatz humans are going to be one of the least interesting aspects of the new technology. This is not an inhuman intelligence but an inhuman capacity for digital intelligence. An artificial general intelligence will probably look more like a whole series of exponentially improving tools than a single thing. It will be a whole series of increasingly powerful and semi-invisible assistants, a whole series of increasingly powerful and semi-invisible surveillance states, a whole series of increasingly powerful and semi-invisible weapons systems. The world would change; we shouldn’t expect it to change in any kind of way that you would recognize.

Our AI future will be weird and sublime and perhaps we won’t even notice it happening to us. The paragraph above was composed by GPT-3. I wrote up to “And if AI harnesses the power promised by quantum computing”; machines did the rest.

Stephen Hawking once said that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Experts in AI, even the men and women building it, commonly describe the technology as an existential threat. But we are shockingly bad at predicting the long-term effects of technology. (Remember when everybody believed that the internet was going to improve the quality of information in the world?) So perhaps, in the case of artificial intelligence, fear is as misplaced as that earlier optimism was.

AI is not the beginning of the world, nor the end. It’s a continuation. The imagination tends to be utopian or dystopian, but the future is human — an extension of what we already are… Artificial intelligence is returning us, through the most advanced technology, to somewhere primitive, original: an encounter with the permanent incompleteness of consciousness… They will do things we never thought possible, and sooner than we think. They will give answers that we ourselves could never have provided.

But they will also reveal that our understanding, no matter how great, is always and forever negligible. Our role is not to answer but to question, and to let our questioning run headlong, reckless, into the inarticulate.
Posted by EditorDavid September 17th, 2022 12:34PM [Archived]

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154 Comments
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Outstanding
Funny
God, I hope so. (+1)
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 12:38PM
Let it come, let it destroy us. For at least it will mean an end to these insufferable hyperventilating articles.
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Re: God, I hope so.
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 12:44PM
After it kills us off, it will quickly devour itself, if it’s really intelligent
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Re: God, I hope so. (-1)
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 12:54PM
Re: God, I hope so. (+1)
LifesABeach September 18th, 2022 9:14AM
fire.
the first to fear it did not become t v chefs
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Maybe. (+5, Insightful)
Lohrno September 17th, 2022 12:47PM
But this is all just speculation until you show me something.
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Re: Maybe. (+4, Interesting)
timeOday September 17th, 2022 12:55PM
So, how about this snarky assertion about the present in the article - “Remember when everybody believed that the internet was going to improve the quality of information in the world?”
That bugs me. How do you make a blanket judgment about something like that? Could I have maintained my cars and motorcycles and house the same way without all the information on the Internet just using some DIY book from the library? I don’t think so. Or go ahead and look at politics, you think people were so enlightened? The why does anything actually written at the time blow your mind with how offensive it is? We had a civil war ffs.
It’s very hard to perceive the reality you live in and make meaningful comparisons to how other people felt about the reality they lived in - and that’s when you’re looking into history and the facts are known.
Now try to do the same for the future, which is almost entirely unknown.
I think AI will wipe out humanity, but by choice, into some transhuman hybrid that still feels human to them, but wouldn’t to us if we were transported ahead to that time.
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Re: Maybe. (+4, Insightful)
phantomfive September 17th, 2022 1:55PM
How do you make a blanket judgment about something like that? Could I have maintained my cars and motorcycles and house the same way without all the information on the Internet just using some DIY book from the library?
I had to go to a library the other day to search for some stuff that isn’t online. Finding data was so slow, people have no idea.
For modern things, like the Ukraine special operation, I know what is going on pretty near immediately after it happens.
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Re: Maybe. (+2)
GameboyRMH September 17th, 2022 3:56PM
The Internet absolutely did improve the quality (and accessibility) of the information in the world.
It also increased the reach, quantity, and speed of the disinformation in the world, but that’s a separate issue…
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 9:39PM

Now try to do the same for the future, which is almost entirely unknown.

This has a technical name - counterfactual reasoning - and is one of the hardest things to accomplish by AI and humans alike. See Judea Pearl for more.
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
phantomfive September 17th, 2022 1:53PM
If it’s science, it’s not a miracle.
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
caseih September 17th, 2022 8:01PM
To me what science and technology can do is miraculous. I understand the underlying principles and natural laws that the fruits of science and technology are based on, yet I choose to maintain my sense of wonder and awe, and also gratitude. For example, even though I have a pretty good understanding of the principles of thrust and lift, it’s still deeply moving to look at a big airplane that’s carried me across oceans in relative comfort and marvel at it all. It’s possible to not be completely jaded in this modern, fast-paced world.
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
phantomfive September 17th, 2022 8:12PM
“Wonder and awe” are different than miraculous. It’s a different definition of the word.
However, flying is really great.
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
Kisai September 18th, 2022 1:25AM
AI will improve, but it will also hit a wall.
a) To improve, it needs constant sources of new data
b) You can’t just create a blackbox with no new input. GPT-3, and various computer vision, text-to-speech and NLP will not recognize new inputs if left isolated. For example, let’s say I invented a new device and called it “The Gecko”, without the AI having learned of it, it will use a definition of “a gecko” that it has learned. Which means that you will be re-training NLP AI’s every year, and constantly adding new input over top the old training data to try and keep it as updated as possible.
c) it can overfit data. If everyone is talking about how a president is a moron, it doesn’t know which president, it just puts those two words together as being synonyms. So someone who searches for “A moron holding a flag” will more likely get former President 45’s image of hugging a flag, than random images just labeled “a moron”
This is the reality of the risks from AI just being allowed to “read the internet” rather that something curated and edited (eg like encyclopedias and text books.) It’s at best, “worse” than a 6 year old at putting words together, but at the same time can have the depth of information of a hundreds of college graduates on a subject if you are specific enough.
Which is the keyword. “specific”
All the NLP based AI Art? You need to be extremely verbose to get anything usable out of it. Like you need to write a 500 character long description to get something that doesn’t look like Cronenberg monster.
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 9:47PM

You can’t just create a blackbox with no new input.

Well, actually you can, but you got to have a simulator to learn from sim outcomes. It goes like this - the model takes actions in the environment, then we measure the result. It learns to improve the result. That’s how AlphaGo trained by playing itself - the simulator was a go board an a clone, other AIs can solve math by verifying which of its proposed solutions was correct, then using that knowledge in training. You can do the same with code as long as you have defined tests.

So it works but only when we have a good simulator as a replacement for a good dataset. And it’s great because a dataset is dead while simulation is alive. As long as you have electricity you can invest it into more intelligence directly.
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Re: Maybe. (+1)
Tablizer September 18th, 2022 8:04AM
I built an AI bot to speculate about the future of AI so humans don’t have to.
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No (+4, Insightful)
lucasnate1 September 17th, 2022 12:50PM
No
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Re: No (+1)
LifesABeach September 18th, 2022 9:24AM
applications.
how about average joe a i applications.
credit card applications.
home loan applications.
medicare.
insurance.
of course the only folks using a i are now billionaires.
and they have publicly stated that a i is bad
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Great Potential! (+1)
sarren1901 September 17th, 2022 12:59PM
AI has great potential to transform our lives for the better. It also has just as much potential to be used to control us and restrict us. It will be mostly annoying to the smarter people and downright seductive to the idiots.
Mostly though, it will probably lead to more efficiencies. With enough connectivity, awareness and control AI could do some amazing things such as better food production. More efficient routing of data. Better shipping coordination. Better ways of sharing energy and water.
An AI could give us utopia and access to all we could need. It will most definitely be used to increase our productivity will all the gains continue to go to the capital owner, the human that owns the AI. AI won’t ever really be allowed to make things better because that would disrupt the people in power.
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Re: Great Potential! (+1)
metadojo3 September 17th, 2022 2:29PM
bruh stop the hyperbole. A.I. is just a tool, like a hammer. thats all man.
i do this for a living bro. COmputer Vision.
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Re: Great Potential! (+3, Interesting)
ShanghaiBill September 17th, 2022 3:05PM
i do this for a living bro. COmputer Vision.
The people in the trenches are often the least able to see what is on the horizon.
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Re: Great Potential! (+1)
Oligonicella September 17th, 2022 4:19PM
Speaking of looking to the horizon from a point of loftiness, how’s Xanadu coming along?
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Re: Great Potential! (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 9:58PM
In July, OpenAI launched with great fanfare the paid version of its image generation model Dall-E. Two months later the Stable Diffusion model was released, runs on your machine, costs only as much as a bit of electricity. To train SD they used 2 billion image-text pairs but the final model size is 4GB - that comes about 1:100,000 compression, 2 bytes for each example. But it can generate anything we can think of, so you got an internet’s worth of imagery in a model the size of a DVD. That makes AI capable of spreading far and wide to the people and hard to gate keep.
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it’s not AI, it’s ML (+5, Insightful)
cats-paw September 17th, 2022 1:01PM
My cat is far , far smarter than the best “AI” we’ve developed.
We have created amazing, large problem space, fitting algorithms that can pick the fitting to coefficients of enormous systems of equations with large data sets and relatively unintended.
It is kind of amazing as they can “notice” things they weren’t really told to look for.
However, i’m extraordinarily suspicious that some smart person is going to figure out that we can do a similar thing without using ML to do it, i.e. it seems like it may be an unnecessary step. i’m probably totally wrong, but it just seems like it’s solving a big correlation problem. it even uses techiques from that problem space.
meanwhile , back to the point. there’s no AI. True AI, something that can do what my cat can do, i.e. jump on the kitchen counters because it knows i prepare its meals up there, is still an increibly long way off.
Hell, let’s see if they can make something as smart as a bumblebee in the next 10 years.
I bet not.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+2, Funny)
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 1:04PM
My cat is far , far smarter
Username checks out.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+3, Interesting)
Rei September 17th, 2022 1:42PM
Today’s high-end AI is generally, compared to humans:

  • Better at imagination, but…
  • Bad at logic (and lacking life experiences on which to base logical decisions)
  • Significantly underpowered in terms of compute capability
    Also, for most advanced “AI”, it’s better to just think: “Extreme linear algebra solvers for finding solutions to extreme multivariate statistics problems”. Takes the metaphysics out of it. The real question is not what AIs are doing, but what we are doing when we think.
    I like to think about the comparison vs. reverse diffusion image generators like StableDiffusion, DALL-E, MidJourney, etc. They, like us, don’t work in image space, but in embedding space, shared between both image and text. Latent space. A space of concepts. Where logical operations can apply to the embeddings - where the embedding for “woman” plus the embedding for “king” minus the embedding for “man” resembles the embedding for “queen”. A good example was when someone in StableDiffusion showed that if you start with an embedding of Monet’s “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies”, add in “photography” and subtract out “impressionism”, you get what looks like a photograph of the same scene upon converting the embedding back to image space, without ever telling it to draw a bridge or pond of water lilies. And just like us the process of converting back from the (far smaller) latent space to the (far larger) image space involves extensive use of imagination to fill in the gaps, based on what it - or we - was trained to.
    And the results can be truly stunning. Yet on anything that requires logic, it’s a massive failure. Spelling. Relationships. Ensuring conceptual uniqueness. It’s working on single embeddings trained to the existence of objects in the scene (CLIP), and unless it was trained to the specific thing you asked for (like “a red box on a blue box”), it won’t understand the logical implication there. You have to wrench it into getting the right answer in complex scenes by providing hand-drawn templates for it to diffuse or with postprocessing.
    There’s a lot of work on improving that, but just using it as an example, we’re currently in an era where AIs can be stunningly imaginative (atop deep breadths of knowledge) and yet trounced by an infant when it comes to logic.
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    Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+3, Informative)
    phantomfive September 17th, 2022 1:57PM
    Another way of looking at it that you might find interesting: current AI is good at interpolation, but horrid at extrapolation. That is essentially what a neural network is at the mathematical level: a heuristic interpolater.
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    Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
    cats-paw September 17th, 2022 8:48PM
    I like that way of looking at.
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    Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
    Visarga September 18th, 2022 10:23PM
    Humans too. We’re horrible at extrapolation. In 1315 the Black Death was killing large swaths of society and we couldn’t figure out and extrapolate to the theory of germs. Not even when our lives depended on it.

We’re assuming all discoveries we make as if they come from a place of deep intelligence, but in reality we stumble into discoveries by accident and then in hindsight we think we’re so great.

If you give AI access to the physical world to the same extent we have had, it would become more intelligent than humans over time, because it can collect more “happy accident” discoveries being fast and efficient.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
phantomfive September 18th, 2022 11:10PM
Humans too. We’re horrible at extrapolation.
This is a valid point.
If you give AI access to the physical world to the same extent we have had, it would become more intelligent than humans over time, because it can collect more “happy accident” discoveries being fast and efficient.
This is almost certainly not true. The reason being that we’re still significantly better at extrapolation than computers are. The neural network algorithms we used are designed entirely for interpolation. That is why they need such tremendously large data sets.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Oligonicella September 17th, 2022 4:25PM

  • Better at imagination, but…
    Don’t think so.

Imagination requires spontaneity. There is not a single thing that AI does that is equivalent to a flight of fancy.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Rei September 17th, 2022 8:17PM
Humans are TERRIBLE at randomness compared to computers. Ask a random person to write down 100 random numbers, then hand it over to a statistician to asses how random it is. I guarantee you, it won’t be random at all.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 10:32PM
Humans are worse than computers on all but a few tasks, starting with addition and randomness. For now AI can equal humans on any task where there is large training data and examples fit into a sequence of no more than 4000 tokens, or where we can simulate millions of episodes and learn from outcomes. We still hold the better overall picture, we have longer context for now. Copilot can only write small snippets of code, not whole apps. yet
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Rei September 19th, 2022 8:30AM
That’s because - as mentioned in the original post - humans remain much better than AIs at logic.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 10:16PM

It’s working on single embeddings trained to the existence of objects in the scene (CLIP)

The solution is right in your words. It’s because it uses CLIP embeddings as representations that it lacks ability to properly assign properties to objects, they are all mixed up in the single embedding. But if you give it a bunch of embeddings, like an array of 128 embeds instead of just one - the attention mechanism allows is actually great for compositionality by concatenation - it does all-to-all interactions, that means the 128-embeds would not be mixed up anymore.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
metadojo3 September 17th, 2022 2:26PM
people keep conflating inference with decision.
the computer vision robots use to detect a type of object and its pose are trained to do inference.
somebody then takes the assertion output from the computer vision and makes a decision.
this decision is codified by humans

so for example in health care you can toss your xrays at it and then it can tell your doctor whats wrong with you.
but its the doctor and the patient who decides to do something about it.

some joker of course is going to come on this thread and posit that what if the inference is not “sick” but instead “operate”

but then its not the AI thats going to carry out the operation . so its still an inference.
humans will always govern the decisions to take action.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 10:44PM
AIs that take actions exist, they are reinforcement learning agents. But I wouldn’t want a RL surgeon. I want it to learn supervised, like human doctors. A new surgeon will observe for a long time, then only do the closing, then do more and more of the operation under supervision of an expert. They don’t jump from task description directly to wielding the knife.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Moridineas September 17th, 2022 5:36PM
When I was taking an AI comp sci class in undergrad at a top ~10 or so department 20 years ago, chess was still a big focus of game playing AI and search research. Go was given as an example of a monstrously large search space and a game that we just didn’t even have any conception of how to tackle.
~2011/11 I remember having a conversation with a computer scientist friend who works at Johns Hopkins APL. He was also an amateur dan Go player and worked on AI. He was firmly in the camp that no Go program would be competitive with top dan players in our lifetime.
In 2015 AlphaGo came seemingly out of nowhere and beat some top professional Go players.
By 2017 AlphaGo was crushing the very best Go players on the planet. Its successor, AlphaZero is an even stronger player.
Today, Go is just as beaten as chess. What was almost unimaginable to anyone in the AI field happened.
DALL-E is another example of something that was pretty much unimaginable even 10 years ago.
So what’s the moral? Technological change often happens exponentially. All of the little development improvements snowball with hardware improvements and massive abilities to scale to create unexpected results. Am I expecting Data-type talking androids in my lifetime? Absolutely not. I do think it’s very short-sighted to say that just because nothing we have today approximates human or animal type intelligence that we’re nowhere near it. Who knows, it could be that with a few small changes to neural net patterns, ML, and a network of a suitably HUGE size, unexpected things start happening.
I feel the same way about self-driving car technology. Would I trust my life to a Tesla on FSD today? Hell no. But they’re getting an insane amount of data. Likewise, Ford, GM, and all the other car companies are going to be receiving an absolutely insane amount of training data in the next few years. It’s going to be bumpy, but I would bet that real self-driving is not NEARLY as far away as many poo-pooers say.
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I pooped in the bedroom, go clean it up (+1)
raymorris September 17th, 2022 6:19PM
Your cat interacts with you mostly to say things like “bring me my dinner” and “I pooped in the bedroom, go clean it up”. Given cats have basically enslaved humans, I don’t know that “not as smart as my cat” says much.
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Re: I pooped in the bedroom, go clean it up (+1)
l0n3s0m3phr34k September 17th, 2022 10:10PM
My cat never tells me if he pukes any place, he just waits for me to find it.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Jeremi September 17th, 2022 7:01PM
Hell, let’s see if they can make something as smart as a bumblebee in the next 10 years.
An artificial bumblebee would be quite an accomplishment, but what words would you use to describe somebody who taught himself to play chess at grandmaster level in four hours – and then went on to earn a 3500+ Elo rating (22% higher than the world’s reigning chess champion), and introduce the world’s chess players to entirely new strategies and tactics that nobody had considered before?
I’d call that person pretty smart; the fact that it’s actually an AI and not a person that did that makes the accomplishment more impressive, not less.
(And to counter the “but chess doesn’t count because reasons” objection, I’ll note that reasons often turns out to be defined as “because an AI has gotten better at it than people”; by that logic, AI will never be smart, but the number of tasks which “still count” as valid intelligence tests will keep shrinking, until one day there are none left)
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
phantomfive September 17th, 2022 7:34PM
An artificial bumblebee would be quite an accomplishment, but what words would you use to describe somebody who taught himself to play chess at grandmaster level in four hours – and then went on to earn a 3500+ Elo rating (22% higher than the world’s reigning chess champion), and introduce the world’s chess players to entirely new strategies and tactics that nobody had considered before?
It’s impressive, but so are calculators. What would you say to someone who can multiply two 7 digit numbers in 5 seconds? A person who could do it would be intelligent, a computer would not.
That is, computers are lacking other things considered necessary for intelligence.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Jeremi September 17th, 2022 10:05PM
It’s impressive, but so are calculators. What would you say to someone who can multiply two 7 digit numbers in 5 seconds? A person who could do it would be intelligent, a computer would not.
If you were talking about IBM’s DeepMind (which, after having been programmed by a team of chess experts to play chess at a high level, was able to beat Kasparov), I’d agree with the calculator analogy.
But AlphaZero was never programmed with any chess strategy – it figured it out by itself, simply by playing chess against itself. If that isn’t a form of intelligence, I don’t know what is. (Note that intelligence and sentience are two different things – I’m not claiming sentience here)
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+2)
phantomfive September 17th, 2022 10:26PM
But AlphaZero was never programmed with any chess strategy – it figured it out by itself, simply by playing chess against itself. If that isn’t a form of intelligence,
It’s still a calculator, just a really good one. Basically what it is doing is collecting positions. After playing millions of games, when it comes across a new position, it says something like, “based on the previous games that looked like this one, in 90% of the games, moving R-d4 was the best candidate move.”
Furthermore, it still “cheats” by being able to look through many many moves every second. It’s still calculating through the move tree, it was programmed to play that way: like a computer, not a human.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
RightSaidFred99 September 17th, 2022 11:18PM
What the fuck do you think a human brain does, bro? I am seeing less and less of your point the more you post it.
The brain is a highly optimized biological pattern matcher with a bunch of weird shit we don’t understand also going on. You don’t need to know all that weird shit to develop other artificial pattern matchers that work differently but far, far better in specific areas.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+3, Insightful)
phantomfive September 17th, 2022 11:32PM
What the fuck do you think a human brain does, bro?
If I knew, I’d have won a Turing prize. Speaking of Alan Turing, one of the things a human can do that AlphaZero can’t do is simulate a Turing machine.
The brain is a highly optimized biological pattern matcher with a bunch of weird shit we don’t understand also going on.
The weird shit is pretty crucial.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
RightSaidFred99 September 18th, 2022 2:19PM
Again, I think you’re missing the point and you’re hung up on this “like a person!” strawman. Turing prize or biological drive or “creativity” as defined by the human experience aren’t required here. What is required is the ability to look at absurd amounts of data and to find patterns a human couldn’t.
You’re moving the goalposts. The point isn’t that an AI will be like a human anytime soon (we aren’t even close). The point is that AIs will discover amazing things we aren’t even prepared for over the next decade.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
phantomfive September 18th, 2022 2:25PM
If your point is that AI can still be useful even if it can’t think, then you are making the same point as Dijkstra when he said, “The question of whether machines can think is about as relevant as the question of whether submarines can swim.” If that is your point, then I concede you are correct. Neural networks are really cool.
However, I will claim that people who call that AI are morons for calling it AI. They should call it, “cool algorithms we invented while searching for AI” or something like that. Somehow that particular name has never caught on.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:06AM
Moving the goal posts ensures nothing can be called AI
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
phantomfive September 19th, 2022 9:30AM
The goal posts haven’t moved, you’re looking at the wrong field.
If you actually care, you should go look up the difference between “strong AI” and “weak AI.”
I suspect you don’t care, that you’re one of those people who’d rather comment in ignorance.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
jvkjvk September 18th, 2022 9:30AM

But AlphaZero was never programmed with any chess strategy – it figured it out by itself, simply by playing chess against itself.
Yes. It played a lot of games against itself using random moves and developed a statistical model of what moves in what positions yielded the highest percent of winning endpoints.
Then, when playing, it simply can do the same, starting from the current position, for the length of the turn, filling out more probabilities.
Then, it picks the highest probability answer.
It doesn’t know how to play chess. It doesn’t know about attack or defense, position, influence or anything else. It knows the probability that each move will result in a win. That’s it.
So, calculator.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Jeremi September 18th, 2022 12:38PM
It doesn’t know how to play chess. It doesn’t know about attack or defense, position, influence or anything else. It knows the probability that each move will result in a win. That’s it.
One could make similar criticisms about an anthill – an anthill isn’t sentient and doesn’t know anything about anything.
And yet, the anthill is nevertheless able to solve complex and novel problems in intelligent ways. If that makes the anthill “a mindless calculator”, then so be it – but it’s an intelligent calculator. I submit that AIs can also exhibit this sort of mindless intelligence.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:11AM
Great example!
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:10AM
It doesn’t know how to play chess. It doesn’t know about attack or defense, position, influence or anything else.

You’re wrong. It knows about defence, influence etc. It has a specialised module, a neural net, that computes the value of each position. It knows so much about it that it can teach us new tricks. This module is called the value function, it rates the current game state. It also helps us cut down on the exponential tree search. That’s why it checks only about 50,000 possible moves instead of millions. AlphaGo does’t abuse the compute with dumb search.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
UnknownSoldier September 19th, 2022 10:47AM

If that isn’t a form of intelligence, I don’t know what is.
Glorified table lookup with a feedback loop is NOT intelligence. Tweak the rules slightly and all those games it played are near worthlesss.
AI = artificial ignorance, at best.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
RightSaidFred99 September 17th, 2022 11:16PM
You keep moving those goalposts, lol. Really put your shoulder into it!
Find me a person, cat, or bumblebee who can analyze how a drug interacts with billions of combinations of proteins and devise other drugs that would behave similarly and have fewer side-effects.
But, but, but that’s just like a calculator maaaan! Fucking bullshit it is. You are inventing some scenario where to create new things one must be “intelligent” with some ineffable “something” that we can’t simulate. That scenario doesn’t exist.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:42AM
In fact we have T-cells that do protein learning. That’s how we get an immunity.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML
mesterha September 17th, 2022 9:51PM
However, i’m extraordinarily suspicious that some smart person is going to figure out that we can do a similar thing without using ML to do it
ML is a subfield of AI.
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No.
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 10:53PM
ML is a subfield of AI.
If you don’t have consciousness, you don’t have intelligence.
We don’t have artificial consciousness. Yet, anyway. Until we do, there is no AI, because there is absolutely no I.
Right now, it’s marketing and hyperbole all the way down to the turtles and elephants.
ML is what we have. So far.
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Re: No. (+1)
mesterha September 18th, 2022 8:49AM
I guess you think jumbo shrimp are impossible. AI is a phrase that was coined to represent a field of research. It doesn’t mean combine some definition of artificial and some definition of intelligence. Of course, it was motivated by those words, but it gets it’s own meaning based on its origins and its history. Part of that history is that most AI researchers realized they couldn’t write rules to make an effective system. The system had to learn on it’s own. This is why ML became so important. For this reason, almost everyone who does AI research has some ML component in their work.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
narcc September 17th, 2022 10:03PM
back to the point. there’s no AI. True AI,
What you call “true AI”, and what I suppose is the common understanding of the term, philosophers call ‘strong AI’. I’ve taken to calling it ‘science fiction’. You are absolutely right. No such thing exists. While it would be nice if we could reserve the term ‘AI’ for the common meaning, that battle was lost before it even began. Pamela McCorduck, who was there at the time, explains the origin on the term “AI” in her book Machines Who Think. It’s well-worth a read.
The term AI, as it is now, is pretty broad and covers a ton of things that you might be surprised were categorized that way. Machine learning is very large part of that, of course, but it is not the whole of it. We could try to make up a brand-new term for it, but that’s an uphill battle.
I honestly think we’re better off trying to educated the public so that they’re a bit more skeptical when the hear the term being used. Pointing out painfully mundane things that the term covers things that they wouldn’t ordinarily associate with AI. Decision trees, for example, fall within that scope as do expert systems and even linear regression. It’s not exciting at all, but that’s the point.
There’s quite a bit of misunderstanding, as you can see even in replies to your post, about the scope and capabilities, so something like that could even be helpful to the better informed. There are a few here who seem to think that NNs are all the beginning and the end. I suspect that they’d be more than a little surprised at the role more traditional algorithms play in some of the cooler ‘AI’ tricks. Thinking about it now, learning about AI is not unlike learning magic tricks. Once you understand what’s really going on, you can’t help but feel disappointed.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
RightSaidFred99 September 17th, 2022 11:11PM
No it isn’t. Can your cat put his little paws on a steering wheel and drive down to the store, peeping his little eyes over the steering wheel and using his other little paw to push the accelerator (I’ll even allow for alternative brake/accel pedals)? Can your cat look at 500 simultaneous streams of video and put names to faces for large swathes of the people in the videos?
Sorry, your cat is a dumbass. There are things your cat can do better than a computer, hell there are things it can do better than a human but that doesn’t make it “smarter” in any broad, categorical way.
In fact, your whole screed is nonsensical and misses the point. AI/ML is a tool to analyze massive amounts of data and draw conclusions that humans either aren’t able to or can’t scale to.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
zmollusc September 18th, 2022 10:37AM
Yes. A tool. All tools do things that unaided humans cannot. AI can analyze masses of data that a human couldn’t, a crane lifts objects that humans, even a lot of humans trying to work together, couldn’t.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Grokew September 18th, 2022 1:26AM
Well a bumblebee is smarter than a TikTok er, so theres that.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
serviscope_minor September 18th, 2022 2:27AM
back to the point. there’s no AI.
That is not, in my opinion true. It’s just an artefact of ever moving goalposts. What we have now is that by artifice, we can solve things that formerly required human intelligence to solve. Hence artificial intelligence. AI doesn’t need to be the same as a complete artificial human mind, any more than artificial flowers need to grow to be called such. We have lots of artificial things, none of them are ever a 1-1 substitute for the original but nonetheless, “artificial” is a perfectly good word.
We’ve called the code that controls non-player units in computer games “AI” since forever, since they are there as a substitute for human intelligence controlled units. We have things now that can do a moderately good job at choral arrangements, determine if an image contains a thing (don’t believe the wankers who claim superhuman performance, that is so much bullshit), write text, create images and so on.
AI doesn’t mean “complete artificial human mind”.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Visarga September 18th, 2022 10:09PM
Does your cat beat you at Go and Chess, fold proteins and paint amazing images on request? Can it implement even a simple Python script on request?
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
Dread_ed September 18th, 2022 10:34PM
Even the “dumbest” AI has the propensity to tell us novel things that a cat cannot, that we don’t now know, and all from watching the dang cat.
That’s the crux of it. The informaiton produced is orthagoal to biological neural processing.
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Re: it’s not AI, it’s ML (+1)
mjwx September 19th, 2022 7:30AM
My cat is far , far smarter than the best “AI” we’ve developed.
That’s because we haven’t developed true AI… What we call AI is really just a fancy ruleset we run data through. It’s not capable of anything we’d call intelligence, I.E. self awareness, capacity for independent change let alone learning or creativity.

Also your cat has had millions of years of evolution, millennia of domestication and hundreds of years of lordship over humanity. “AI” has, at best, a few decades of development.

There’s a huge difference between hard AI (Artificial General Intelligence or AGI) and soft AI (what we have now) and we likely wont have AGI for many more decades or possibly longer. Soft AI struggles with anything ill defined ambiguous or fuzzy like image recognition, human emotions, natural language (google translate, as good as it is, really struggles with local slang that it hasn’t been instructed on), so on and so forth… but it’s really, really, really fast at applying data to rules, hence it’s quite good at sorting things that have well defined criteria.

Hence we’re not likely to see robot cars anytime soon… the robot lawyer and robot accountant are practically already here as both of these professions are very logical and very structured.
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Not from what I’ve seen (+1)
aardquark September 17th, 2022 1:02PM
The problem as I see it is that AI is expensive to develop, and the corporations that have deep enough pockets to develop it, mostly use AI to manipulate us to buy things that we don’t need, or can’t afford, or don’t want.
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Re: Not from what I’ve seen (+1)
darenw September 17th, 2022 3:00PM
What the corporations do with AI will be fine after someone comes up with AI to tell me how I can make plenty more money. Many of us are waiting for that!
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Some say it sounds just like god, allah, yhwh, etc
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 1:03PM
Ethics violation
abstractionphysics.net….
moral violation
abstractionphysics.net….
legal violation
abstractionphysics.net….
abstractionphysics.net….
It’s Obvious. So Bow down to your new stone image overlord, and do not look behind the curtain.
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Yes, already has (+1)
bob_jenkins September 17th, 2022 1:04PM
Machine computing has already performed transformative, disruptive miracles. AI is just more of the same.
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Novelist Understands Very Little (+4, Insightful)
crunchygranola September 17th, 2022 1:05PM
“An encounter with the superhuman is at hand,” argues Canadian novelist, essayist, and cultural commentator Stephen Marche in an article in the Atlantic titled “Of Gods and Machines”. He argues that GPT-3’s 175 billion parameters give it interpretive power “far beyond human understanding, far beyond what our little animal brains can comprehend. Machine learning has capacities that are real, but which transcend human understanding: the definition of magic.”
By scraping 175 billion parameters from the web GPT-3, copying the words of hundreds of millions of real intelligences, it can make a convincing replica of human conversing.
But it understands nothing of what it says. It is simply Eliza on a gigantic scale. It is true that humans cannot explain the internal processes by which it produces particular outputs (a failure of the technology thus far) since it is performing a vast number of statistical pattern matches but this is not “beyond human understanding” it is just that people cannot put into words any meaning when a terabyte core dump is presented to them.
His fundamental ignorance is proven by this assertion that this is vaster than “our little animal brains”. An average human brain dwarfs the puny scale of GPT-3. It is difficult to make a precise comparison, but a single model parameter is most closely similar to a single synaptic connection, which is a single connection strength between neurons. The brain has on the order of 10E15 synapses, and is about 10,000 times larger than GPT-3.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
timeOday September 17th, 2022 1:26PM
But it understands nothing of what it says. It is simply Eliza on a gigantic scale.
I disagree on that point. The trick of Eliza is how superficially well it can respond without using any information that is specific to what you are actually saying or asking. Eliza could never, EVER play Jeopardy even passably well, whereas modern AI can do so exceedingly well. A big difference, without delving into metaphysics.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
jvkjvk September 18th, 2022 9:33AM

Eliza could never, EVER play Jeopardy even passably well, whereas modern AI can do so exceedingly well. A big difference, without delving into metaphysics.
It’s not really about what they can do. A modern AI is MUCH bigger than Eliza and should be able to do more. It’s how they do it. And in that, both are the same, without delving into metaphysics.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:52AM
If you think about it humans are proteins in a watery liquid in a bag. Not much different than electrons in a chip.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:49AM
Besides being non-contextual, Eliza was also hardcoded, not learning anything.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+2)
iikkakeranen September 17th, 2022 3:27PM
What is understanding, if not the ability to match patterns and string concepts together? Isn’t learning a language very much about constructing a web of relationships between words? What is superior about how you “understand” something vs a computer, if both of you can provide an equally useful answer in a given context? The paragraph in the summary written by GPT-3 has a quality to it that exceeds most humans’ understanding of the topic. It’s both interesting and insightful, and logically consistent. Hand-waving it away as somehow “not real” because it wasn’t produced by a biological process is not useful. The human mind is an information processing system, and the hardware being moist is of secondary importance.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
gweihir September 17th, 2022 5:50PM
But it understands nothing of what it says. It is simply Eliza on a gigantic scale.
Exactly. The overall process is rather simplistic, if on a massive scale. But it is not more intelligent than, say, a dictionary, that give a word can give you an explanation of the word. Obviously a stack of paper with ink on it is not intelligent in any way.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
SoftwareArtist September 17th, 2022 7:12PM
this is not “beyond human understanding” it is just that people cannot put into words any meaning when a terabyte core dump is presented to them.
It’s not a problem of putting it into words, it truly is beyond human understanding. We can train a massive model like GPT-3, but we literally have no idea how it works. Somehow those 175 billion parameters manage to encode a whole universe of concepts, relationships, grammar, and much more. How do they encode it? No one knows. We aren’t sure how to even begin figuring out.
Eliza is totally different. It has a small number of hand coded rules. The author knew exactly what those rules were. Any competent programmer can look at the source code (it’s quite short) and understand what the rules are. Modern AI is nothing like that. No one designed rules for it to follow. No one told it how to parse sentences or produce new sentences. Rules somehow emerged on their own just by adjusting parameters to optimize a loss function, and no one knows what those rules are.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
real_nickname September 18th, 2022 1:44AM
By scraping 175 billion parameters from the web GPT-3, copying the words of hundreds of millions of real intelligences, it can make a convincing replica of human conversing. I tried GPT-3 prompt and it gives dumb answers if you are like me and don’t know how to use it, so yes very far from an human. However the thing can tell totally wrong answers with great assurance, like a human being.
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Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)
Pb100 September 18th, 2022 6:05AM
Not a great example, but I wonder how well an AI would compare to humans if given a problem such as … What is 1+1… a) 3 b) 5 c) 6 d) 7 Given that none of the answers are correct, a human might opt for the “most likely” wrong answer using deduction. Ie: option (a) that is at least a known phrase so has a marginally better chance of being what the puzzle maker had in mind, even if incorrect.
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No, no I don’t (+2)
ThePawArmy September 17th, 2022 1:05PM

Remember when everybody believed that the internet was going to improve the quality of information in the world? No, no I don’t remember anyone around me that thought the quality of information would improve.
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Re: No, no I don’t
Anonymous Coward September 17th, 2022 1:11PM
You and the cats-paw guy give me paws.
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Re: No, no I don’t (+5, Insightful)
trickyb September 17th, 2022 1:36PM
Well, the internet has improved the quality of information. Wikipedia - for all its faults - is a million times bigger and better than the Encyclopedia Britanicas of old. When I want to carry out minor repairs on my car or my bike or my washing machine, in a few seconds I can bring up a Youtube video. Remember having to keep several maps in your car, most of which would be out of date and leave you unaware of a bypass built 5 years ago? And so on…
I will concede that the internet has not improved the quality of information in every domain.
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Re: No, no I don’t (+1)
darenw September 17th, 2022 3:02PM
“Grampa, what’s a paper map? How did it know where you were and tell you when to turn?”
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Re: No, no I don’t (+1)
serviscope_minor September 18th, 2022 2:30AM
Well, son, a paper map is what you use in Cornwall when you have 10 miles with inexplicably poor phone coverage.
I forgot my paper map last month and did in fact regret that.
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Re: No, no I don’t (+1)
greytree September 17th, 2022 2:06PM
But Porn is way higher resolution.
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Re: No, no I don’t (+1)
gweihir September 17th, 2022 5:48PM
It has improved. I used to have an old high-quality encyclopedia (not in English). The Internet can replace it now, but requires some level of education, honesty and ability to fact-check in the reader. Given what that encyclopedia did cost back when and that you can get something reasonably similar for low cost now, I would say this is massive progress. Even poor people in poor countries can now access the actually known facts with reasonable effort if they so chose. The problem is that most people do not want accurate information, they want confirmation for their own misconceptions and fantasies. That is not a problem of the Internet.
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Tell me your incentive structure and I will tell y (+1)
RightwingNutjob September 17th, 2022 1:21PM
what kinds of lies you will tell to yourself and to all who listen.
Army generals lie about the prospects for victory by force of arms.
Diplomats lie about the prospect for peace and progress by diplomacy alone.
Bankers lie about how much money they manage and how well they manage it.
Journalists lie about the quality and objectivity of their reporting.
Economists lie about how well they can reduce “the economy” to a single number or a single sound bite.
Politicians lie about anything and everything that might give them an edge over the other guy in a competitive race, and even politicians running unopposed lie about how atrocious and subhuman their hypothetical opponents might be.
Techies lie about the 1337n355 of their tech and tech writers lie about how well they can take the product of arcane and specialized know-how and describe it meaningfully in English prose, without invoking a number bigger than the number of fingers on the average hand.
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Re: Tell me your incentive structure and I will tel (+1)
gweihir September 17th, 2022 5:43PM
Not everybody does it and the best experts in a field do at least not lie to themselves (or they stop learning and will not get there), but yes, most people do this. Anybody making grand predictions wants to sell something, often to themselves.
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Re: Tell me your incentive structure and I will te (+1)
RightwingNutjob September 17th, 2022 6:34PM
Those who know don’t talk and those who talk don’t know.
True not just about spooks
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Yes, but not on it’s own (+2)
HiThere September 17th, 2022 1:26PM
As currently implemented AI is a transformative technology. It’s still getting started, and we have no idea how far it will go, just that it will go a very long way. This is largely because it can search through really huge specialized databases quickly. There are other bits, but that’s the main thing. And don’t denigrate it’s importance.
OTOH, current AI is not, and I believe cannot be developed into AGI. That going to require a very different approach. It will probably require robot bodies operating in the world to do this. It will include that current idea of AI as a component…but only as one component. (OTOH, other components are either in existence, or currently being developed, so the final step of integrating them may turn out to be a small one.)
However, even if we don’t build an AGI, current AI in conjunction with humans “will really perform transformative, disruptive miracles”. I.e., it will enable changes that have not been predicted, and which will cause the lives of humans to change drastically. We still don’t understand how much things will change when an automated car is the common vehicle. Just that there will be profound economic disruption…but that’s only a part of what the change will be. The automobile resulted in the change of sexual mores in a way that still isn’t complete, and this will be something as major, and probably as “not obviously to be expected ahead of time”.
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Did CRISPR? Did mRNA? Where are the “Miracles”? (+1)
Seven Spirals September 17th, 2022 1:33PM
Not seeing “CRISPR Cancer Cure Kit” on the shelves anywhere. Still haven’t seen “mRNA Flu-Proof” either. It barely worked for a few months on CV1984 and couldn’t even cure or prevent the illness. Their big claim to fame was to slow it down for a few months and “lessen the impact” as a therapeutic. These pharma and doctor assholes have a terrible record once you hit the 1960’s. Compare Penicillin to either of those “miracle” technologies. It cured a metric fuckton of diseases. When I say “cured” I mean CURED as in knocked the fuck outta the box, not “might make it easier on you.”
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It’s mainly two groups who believe this (+4, Insightful)
93 Escort Wagon September 17th, 2022 1:38PM

  • Non-technical people like this author
  • AI researchers asking for more funding
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    Re: It’s mainly two groups who believe this (+1)
    SQL Error September 17th, 2022 7:45PM
    Everything’s a miracle if you don’t understand how anything works - or you get paid for producing miracles.
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    Re: It’s mainly two groups who believe this (+1)
    RightSaidFred99 September 17th, 2022 11:06PM
    Lol, sure, sure… Look at how far AI/ML has come in the last 5 years alone, you’re a confirmed nut if you think we won’t start seeing startling shit out of the field in the next 10 years. I am in neither group and I believe it.
    Being a cynic is easy, it’s not like someone will remember and come mock you in 8 years when some AI discovered a drug regimen that cures 60% of known cancers, or devises a new type of battery 40% lighter with 50% more energy density and faster charge capacity than anything we have now.
    I don’t think anyone sane things an AI will become “sentient” or anything, but as a tool the technology will lead to breakthroughs well beyond what one would have expected via natural human progress.
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    Re: It’s mainly two groups who believe this (+1)
    serviscope_minor September 18th, 2022 2:50AM
    Lol, sure, sure… Look at how far AI/ML has come in the last 5 years alone,
    It’s hard to remember that AlexNet was only published in September 2012, almost exactly 10 years ago.
    That was pretty much the watershed paper: that turned ANNs from “old fashioned thing that doesn’t work that well that you use if you’re not smart enough to use the clever modern techniques like obtuse SVM variants” to “holy shit gradient techniques work”. And the design if AlexNet is also vastly simpler than all the techniques it handily destroyed. And not that you’d want to, but today you could reimplement it in a handful of lines of code with the good modern general purpose array autodiff libraries (i.e. pytorch), whereas the old techniques could never reach that level of simplicity.
    It then took a couple of years for things to really crank up, but by 2014, deep learning had pretty much displaced a huge amount of older computer vision, really most things other than where the maths is an indisputably correct way of modelling the world.
    We have so much cool shit now as a result of being able to actually pick cost functions that match what we want (ehh, fuck convexity), good software and cheap, high performing array processors (GPUs etc). It should be nerd heaven, but slashdot got old, bitter and cynical.
    You know, if it doesn’t replace Albert Einstein then it’s a worthless scam etc etc. Never mind you can do a pretty creditable job of mo-cap on a phone without either markers or a special background.
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    Re: It’s mainly two groups who believe this (+1)
    Visarga September 19th, 2022 1:59AM

It’s hard to remember that AlexNet was only published in September 2012, almost exactly 10 years ago.

And the transformer was invented 5 years ago, right at the middle of this golden decade.

Copyright © 2023 SlashdotMedia.All Rights Reserved.

In essence;

Re: Novelist Understands Very Little (+1)

SoftwareArtist September 17th, 2022 7:12PM

“…this is not “beyond human understanding” it is just that people cannot put into words any meaning when a terabyte core dump is presented to them.
It’s not a problem of putting it into words, it truly is beyond human understanding. We can train a massive model like GPT-3, but we literally have no idea how it works. Somehow those 175 billion parameters manage to encode a whole universe of concepts, relationships, grammar, and much more. How do they encode it? No one knows. We aren’t sure how to even begin figuring out.
Eliza is totally different. It has a small number of hand coded rules. The author knew exactly what those rules were. Any competent programmer can look at the source code (it’s quite short) and understand what the rules are. Modern AI is nothing like that. No one designed rules for it to follow. No one told it how to parse sentences or produce new sentences. Rules somehow emerged on their own just by adjusting parameters to optimize a loss function, and no one knows what those rules are”

In simpler words:

The functional process breaks with the configuration, kind of in cumulative sequencing as it descends toward the insensible ‘non-sense’

Conducting major amwith minor breaks.

Cogito ergo Sum , right in the middle of an emotional response.

Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

We tend to associate nonsense verse with those great nineteenth-century practitioners, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, forgetting that many of the best nursery rhymes are also classic examples of nonsense literature. ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’, with its bovine athletics and eloping cutlery and crockery, certainly qualifies as nonsense.

‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ may have been the rhyme referred to in Thomas Preston’s 1569 play A lamentable tragedy mixed ful of pleasant mirth, conteyning the life of Cambises King of Percia: ‘They be at hand Sir with stick and fiddle; / They can play a new dance called hey-didle-didle.’ If so, this poem is much older than Victorian nonsense verse!

Gertrude Stein: Nonsense with a Social Conscience
March 17, 2018

I mean, listen to this: “

A shawl is a hat and hurt and a red balloon and an under coat and a sizer a sizer of talks.”

I worry that I’m missing something.

As the godmother of modernism, Gertrude Stein is best remembered for her wild experiments with genre and verse. To the uninitiated, her sly humor and deliberate sabotage of syntax appear as though she’s rubbing our faces in our inability to make sense of her work. But Gertrude was anything but elitist; she had a keen social conscience and, along with her partner Alice B. Toklas, was deeply involved in the world around her.

During World War I Gertrude and Alice imported a Ford truck from the US that they christened “Auntie,” learned to drive, and used it to deliver medical supplies to the front in France. These experiences sensitized them to the suffering of the young foreign soldiers who were barely old enough to grasp the political and historical import of the war they were fighting.

Once when Auntie was in for repairs, Gertrude overheard the mechanic scolding his young assistant: “You are all a generation perdue!” The phrase resonated with Gertrude, and years later she recounted the story to Ernest Hemingway: “That is what you all are, all of you young people who served in the War…You are a Lost Generation.” The label neatly captured the collective sense of aimlessness and melancholia haunting those who came of age during the war and witnessed unprecedented losses.

Discovering these biographical details about Gertrude heightened my appreciation of her poetry. I began to view her punning and nonsense as stylistic strategies that dramatized the breakdown of meaning and eruption of violence into everyday domestic life. I started to see Tender Buttons as a dinner party held during a Zeppelin raid — something Gertrude and Alice actually experienced once, when dining with Picasso. Day-to-day life must go on in the face of terror and trauma, Gertrude’s poems seem to be saying. But these mundane details might at any moment be jostled and shocked into something strange:

     “Burnt and behind and lifting a temporary stone and lifting more than a drawer.”  

Okay. I still don’t get it, exactly. But knowing Gertrude was out there, working to make a difference in other people’s lives, makes me feel it in a new way. And that’s the whole point of reading poetry, isn’t it? To feel something new.

Sarah Henstra’s novel The Red Word was published by Grove Atlantic in March 2018. She is also the author of Mad Miss Mimic, a historical novel for young adults, and the scholarly monograph The Counter-Memorial Impulse in Twentieth-Century English Fiction. She is Associate Professor of English at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sarah Henstra
Sarah Henstra’s novel The Red Word was published by Grove Atlantic in March 2018. She is also the author of Mad Miss Mimic, a historical novel for young adults, and the scholarly monograph The Counter-Memorial Impulse in Twentieth-Century English Fiction. She is Associate Professor of English at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
LARB CONTRIBUTOR

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youtu.be/7gSybexdGDQ

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philamuseum.org/collection/object/51449

aclanthology.org/C69-0601.pdf

The double-edged sword which is reason

After teaching two lectures on Libertarianism to the students of my Theories of Social Justice class, with John Hospers’ “Libertarian Manifesto” as my text, I could not help but be reminded of these words from Rousseau:

“It is reason that engenders amour-propre, and reflection that confirms it: it is reason which turns man’s mind back upon itself, and divides him from everything that would disturb or afflict him. It is philosophy that isolates him, and bids him say, at sight of the misfortunes of others, “Perish if you will, I am secure”. Nothing but such general evils as threaten the whole community can disturb the tranquil sleep of the philosopher, or tear him from his bed. A murder may with impunity be committed under his window; he has only to put his hands to his ears and argue a little with himself, to prevent nature, which is shocked within him, from identifying itself with the unfortunate sufferer.”

– Jean Jacques Rousseau, On the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind.
03

Read also

And so we come to the end…

New CHS Course: Nietzsche

“New” Web Site!

The author asks his readers for advice

Just for fun: Zombie ethics

My guitar
3 comments
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tinamorrissey
January 24 2013, 08:09:17 UTC
You should look for alternative way to be a successful business owner. Keep in mind that risk in this business is not too risky. It depends on what you do.

Online Reputation Company
Anonymous
April 8 2010, 20:27:42 UTC
I guess in a round about way, Rousseau is speaking about the ability a human being has for self-reflection. Being able to do that not only allows us to identify with another misfortune, but also allows one to be dispassionate and detached when analyzing the same actions. Does this also mean that at times, reason serves also to desensitize one from others, and feel apart from rather than apart of the whole world?

Not that I dislike reason or philosophy. I think we need these and other studies.

I would say that Rousseau is on to something, if he is trying to imply that the beginnings of being better or less than another is to not be like others. It is also the beginning of rationalizing that something is not that bad, and in that way, we start a process of dehumanizing ourselves with our reason.

Charlene
northwestpass
April 8 2010, 22:15:11 UTC
Hi Charlene,

Just a brief context for his remarks: the quote I’ve presented here follows follow a fairly long discussion of the virtue of compassion and human-heartedness as a natural disposition within people; all the while he gripes about how it does not appear in Hobbes’ discussion of “the state of nature”.

I, obviously, am a big fan of reason and philosophy. But it did occur to me that a little bit of sophisticated intellectual discourse can often easily quell that part of our psychology which cannot bear the suffering of others.

Libertarianism, as a political philosophy, categorically rules out generosty and compassion for others (except as an optional supererogatory good), and does so in the name of freedom. Hospers is clear on that point, when he refers to any and all taxation as theft, even for humanitarian purposes such as relief from poverty. Hence why it reminded me of Rousseau’s words.
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1

Hebrews 4-12

New International Version
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

New Living Translation
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

English Standard Version
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Berean Standard Bible
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Berean Literal Bible
For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even as far as the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrows, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

King James Bible
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

New King James Version
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

New American Standard Bible
For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

NASB 1995
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

NASB 1977
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Legacy Standard Bible
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Amplified Bible
For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Christian Standard Bible
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

American Standard Version
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For the word of God is living and all-efficient, and much sharper than a double edged sword, and it pierces to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints, marrow and of bones, and judges the reasoning and conscience of the heart.

Contemporary English Version
God’s word is alive and powerful! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

English Revised Version
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions.

Good News Translation
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.

International Standard Version
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.

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Passage Resources Hebrew/Greek Your Content
Hebrews 3
Hebrews 5

Hebrews 4:12
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.(A)

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Cross references

4.12 : Jer 23.29; 1 Cor 14.24, 25; Eph 6.17
Hebrews 4:12
New International Version
12 For the word of God(A) is alive(B) and active.(C) Sharper than any double-edged sword,(D) it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.(E)

Read full chapter
Cross references

Hebrews 4:12 : S Mk 4:14; Lk 5:1; 11:28; Jn 10:35; Ac 12:24; 1Th 2:13; 2Ti 2:9; 1Pe 1:23; 1Jn 2:14; Rev 1:2, 9
Hebrews 4:12 : Ac 7:38; 1Pe 1:23
Hebrews 4:12 : Isa 55:11; Jer 23:29; 1Th 2:13
Hebrews 4:12 : Eph 6:17; S Rev 1:16
Hebrews 4:12 : 1Co 14:24, 25
Hebrews 3
Hebrews 5
Jeremiah 22
Jeremiah 24
Jeremiah 23:29
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
29 Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?(A)

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Cross references

23.29 : Jer 5.14; 20.9; 2 Cor 10.4, 5
Jeremiah 23:29
New International Version
29 “Is not my word like fire,”(A) declares the Lord, “and like a hammer(B) that breaks a rock in pieces?

Read full chapter
Cross references

Jeremiah 23:29 : S Ps 39:3; Jer 5:14; S 1Co 3:13
Jeremiah 23:29 : Heb 4:12
Jeremiah 22
Jeremiah 24
Isaiah 54
Isaiah 56
Isaiah 55:11
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.(A)
Read full chapter
Cross references

55.11 : Isa 45.23; 46.10; 59.21
Isaiah 55:11
New International Version
11 so is my word(A) that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,(B)
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose(C) for which I sent it.
Read full chapter
Cross references

Isaiah 55:11 : S Dt 32:2; Jn 1:1
Isaiah 55:11 : Isa 40:8; 45:23; S Mt 5:18; Heb 4:12
Isaiah 55:11 : S Pr 19:21; S Isa 44:26; Eze 12:25
Isaiah 54
Isaiah 56
Ephesians 5
Philippians 1
Ephesians 6:17
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.(A)

Read full chapter
Cross references

6.17 : Isa 59.17; Heb 4.12
Ephesians 6:17
New International Version
17 Take the helmet of salvation(A) and the sword of the Spirit,(B) which is the word of God.(C)

Read full chapter
Cross references

Ephesians 6:17 : Isa 59:17
Ephesians 6:17 : Isa 49:2
Ephesians 6:17 : S Heb 4:12
Ephesians 5
Philippians 1
Isaiah 48
Isaiah 50
Isaiah 49:2
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
in his quiver he hid me away.(A)
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Cross references

49.2 : Isa 11.4; 51.16; Hab 3.11; Heb 4.12
Isaiah 49:2
New International Version
2 He made my mouth(A) like a sharpened sword,(B)
in the shadow of his hand(C) he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow(D)
and concealed me in his quiver.
Read full chapter
Cross references

Isaiah 49:2 : S Job 40:18
Isaiah 49:2 : S Ps 64:3; Eph 6:17; S Rev 1:16
Isaiah 49:2 : S Ex 33:22; S Ps 91:1
Isaiah 49:2 : S Dt 32:23; Zec 9:13
Isaiah 48
Isaiah 50
James 5
1 Peter 2
1 Peter 1:23
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.a

Read full chapter
Footnotes

1.23 Or through the word of the living and enduring God
Cross references

1.23 : Jn 1.13; 3.3; Heb 4.12
1 Peter 1:23
New International Version
23 For you have been born again,(A) not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,(B) through the living and enduring word of God.(C)

Read full chapter
Cross references

1 Peter 1:23 : ver 3; S Jn 1:13
1 Peter 1:23 : Jn 1:13
1 Peter 1:23 : S Heb 4:12
James 5
1 Peter 2
Psalm 118
Psalm 120
Psalm 119:130
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.(A)
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Cross references

119.130 : Ps 19.7; Prov 6.23
Psalm 119:130
New International Version
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;(A)
it gives understanding to the simple.(B)
Read full chapter
Cross references

Psalm 119:130 : S ver 105
Psalm 119:130 : S Ps 19:7
Psalm 118
Psalm 120
Jude 1
Revelation 2
Revelation 1:16
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.(A)

Read full chapter
Cross references

1.16 : Heb 4.12; Rev 2.1, 12, 16; 3.1
Revelation 1:16
New International Version
16 In his right hand he held seven stars,(A) and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.(B) His face was like the sun(C) shining in all its brilliance.

Read full chapter
Cross references

Revelation 1:16 : ver 20; Rev 2:1; 3:1
Revelation 1:16 : Isa 1:20; 49:2; Heb 4:12; Rev 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21
Revelation 1:16 : Jdg 5:31; Mt 17:2
Jude 1
Revelation 2
1 Thessalonians 1
1 Thessalonians 3
1 Thessalonians 2:13
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.(A)

Read full chapter
Cross references

2.13 : Gal 4.14; 1 Thess 1.2
1 Thessalonians 2:13
New International Version
13 And we also thank God continually(A) because, when you received the word of God,(B) which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

Read full chapter
Cross references

1 Thessalonians 2:13 : 1Th 1:2; S Ro 1:8
1 Thessalonians 2:13 : S Heb 4:12
1 Thessalonians 1
1 Thessalonians 3
Acts 28
Romans 2
Romans 1:16
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
The Power of the Gospel
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is God’s saving power for everyone who believes,[a] for the Jew first and also for the Greek.(A)

Read full chapter
Footnotes

1.16 Or trusts
Cross references

1.16 : Acts 3.26; Rom 2.9; 1 Cor 1.18; 2 Tim 1.8
Romans 1:16
New International Version
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel,(A) because it is the power of God(B) that brings salvation to everyone who believes:(C) first to the Jew,(D) then to the Gentile.(E)

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Cross references

Romans 1:16 : 2Ti 1:8
Romans 1:16 : 1Co 1:18
Romans 1:16 : S Jn 3:15
Romans 1:16 : Ac 3:26; 13:46
Romans 1:16 : S Ac 13:46; Ro 2:9, 10
Acts 28
Romans 2
Revelation 18
Revelation 20
Revelation 19:15
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule[a] them with a scepter of iron; he will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.(A)

Read full chapter
Footnotes

19.15 Or will shepherd
Cross references

19.15 : Ps 2.9; Isa 11.4; 2 Thess 2.8; Rev 2.27; 14.19, 20
Revelation 19:15
New International Version
15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword(A) with which to strike down(B) the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”a He treads the winepress(D) of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

Read full chapter
Footnotes

Revelation 19:15 Psalm 2:9
Cross references

Revelation 19:15 : ver 21; S Rev 1:16
Revelation 19:15 : Isa 11:4; 2Th 2:8
Revelation 19:15 : Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5
Revelation 19:15 : S Rev 14:20
Revelation 18
Revelation 20
Jeremiah 16
Jeremiah 18
Jeremiah 17:10
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
10 I the Lord test the mind
and search the heart,
to give to all according to their ways,
according to the fruit of their doings.(A)
Read full chapter
Cross references

17.10 : 1 Sam 16.7; Jer 11.20; 20.12; 32.19; Rom 2.6; 8.27
Jeremiah 17:10
New International Version
10 “I the Lord search the heart(A)
and examine the mind,(B)
to reward(C) each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”(D)
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Cross references

Jeremiah 17:10 : S Jos 22:22; S 2Ch 6:30; S Rev 2:23
Jeremiah 17:10 : Ps 17:3; 139:23; Jer 11:20; 20:12; Eze 11:5; 38:10
Jeremiah 17:10 : S Lev 26:28; Ps 62:12; Jer 32:19; S Mt 16:27
Jeremiah 17:10 : Jer 12:13; 14:16; 21:14; 32:19
Jeremiah 16
Jeremiah 18
Ephesians 4
Ephesians 6
Ephesians 5:13
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,

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Ephesians 5:13
New International Version
13 But everything exposed by the light(A) becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

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Ephesians 5:13 : Jn 3:20, 21
Ephesians 4
Ephesians 6
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVUE)
New Revised Standard Version, Updated Edition. Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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| Theoretical representation of the double-edged sword effect. Indirectly, growth mindsets of weight serve to both diminish and intensify unhealthy cognitions and behaviors related to weight as well as prejudice. Paths E and F are only tested in Study 2 and relate only to the outcome prejudice.
| Theoretical representation of the double-edged sword effect. Indirectly, growth mindsets of weight serve to both diminish and intensify unhealthy cognitions and behaviors related to weight as well as prejudice. Paths E and F are only tested in Study 2 and relate only to the outcome prejudice.
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FIGURE 1 | Theoretical representation of the double-edged sword effect…
Scale means, standard deviations, and correlations Study 1.
Scale means, standard deviations, and correlations Study 2.

Across two studies, we examined the double-edged sword hypothesis, which outlines effects of weight-related beliefs and public health messages on physical and mental health. The double-edged sword hypothesis proposes that growth mindsets and messages (weight is changeable) predict reduced well-being and stigma via an increase in blame, but also pre…
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Context 1
… asymmetry model proposes that growth mindsets of weight can have detrimental effects through attributions of blame but can have beneficial effects through attributions of offset efficacy and reduced social essentialism. We extend existing work on the stigma asymmetry model to examine not only stigma, but also unhealthy cognitions related to being thin, unhealthy weight control behaviors, as well as psychological distress-what we term more generally the double-edged sword effect of growth mindsets (see Figure 1). We outline each of the paths in Figure 1 below. …
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Context 2
… extend existing work on the stigma asymmetry model to examine not only stigma, but also unhealthy cognitions related to being thin, unhealthy weight control behaviors, as well as psychological distress-what we term more generally the double-edged sword effect of growth mindsets (see Figure 1). We outline each of the paths in Figure 1 below. …
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Context 3
… the current work, we extend research on the stigmaasymmetry model to examine the nuanced effects of growth mindsets on physical and mental health as well as prejudice in a model we call the double-edged sword effect (see Figure 1). In Study 1, we employ a correlational methodological approach to test the predictions that growth, relative to fixed, mindsets will indirectly predict an increase in unhealthy risk for eating disorders, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and psychological distress through stronger onset blame attributions and will indirectly predict a decrease in these outcomes through enhanced offset efficacy attributions (Hypotheses 1-6). …
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Context 4
… first present simple bivariate relations. To test our primary hypotheses (see Figure 1), we conducted indirect effect analyses for each of the three outcomes using Hayes (2013) PROCESS macro model 4, entering both onset blame and offset efficacy attributions into the regression equation simultaneously as parallel or concurrent mediators and mindsets of weight as the predictor. …
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Context 5
… research contributes to a growing literature showing that how people think about the nature of weight can have a profound impact on stigma, health, and well-being. We tested predictions stemming from the asymmetry model ( Burnette et al., 2017;Hoyt et al., 2017) that growth mindsets of weight have detrimental effects through attributions of blame but beneficial effects through attributions of offset efficacy and reduced social essentialism (see Figure 1). In Study 1, assessing naturally occurring mindsets of weight, we found that growth, relative to fixed, mindsets indirectly decreased the risk for eating disorders, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and psychological distress through stronger offset efficacy attributions. …
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Citations
… In the context of weight, studies have found associations between biogenetic causal explanations for weight, essentialist thinking, and stigma (Hoyt et al., 2019;Puhl & Liu, 2015). For example, Hoyt et al. (2016) conducted a series of experimental studies in which US adults were randomly assigned to read an article that either (1) explained why obesity had been classified as a disease by the American Medical Association; or (2) discussed the high degree of control that people have over their weight. …
How conceptualizing obesity as a disease affects beliefs about weight, and associated weight stigma and clinical decision‐making in health care
Article
Full-text available
Sep 2022BRIT J HEALTH PSYCH
Joanne A. Rathbone
Joanne A. Rathbone
Tegan Cruwys
Tegan Cruwys
Jolanda Jetten
Jolanda JettenKasia BanasKristen Murray
Objectives: This study empirically investigated how conceptualizing obesity as a disease (i.e., pathologizing obesity) affects beliefs about weight, and weight stigma and discrimination among health professionals. Design: An experiment that manipulated the pathologization of obesity was completed by a multi-nation sample of health professionals from Australia, UK, and USA (N = 365). Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions where they were asked to conceptualize obesity as a disease or not a disease; then presented with a hypothetical medical profile of a patient with obesity who was seeking care for migraines. We measured biogenetic causal beliefs about obesity, endorsement of weight as a heuristic for health, negative obesity stereotypes, and treatment decisions. Results: Participants in the disease (vs. non-disease) condition endorsed biogenetic causal beliefs more strongly and made more migraine-related treatment recommendations. No effect of the manipulation was found for the remaining outcomes. Biogenetic causal beliefs about obesity were associated with less weight stigma. Endorsing weight as a heuristic for health was associated with greater weight stigma and differential treatment recommendations focused more on the patient’s weight and less on their migraines. Conclusions: Pathologizing obesity may reinforce biogenetic explanations for obesity. Evidence demonstrates complex associations between weight-related beliefs and weight stigma and discrimination. Biogenetic causal beliefs were associated with less weight stigma, while endorsing weight as a heuristic for health was associated with greater weight stigma and differential treatment. Further research is needed to inform policies that can promote health without perpetuating weight-based rejection in health care.
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… These studies suggest preferences for more neutral terms relating to ‘weight’, as opposed to terms related to ‘excess weight’, such as ‘obesity’ (Puhl et al. 2013a), negative impacts from negative emotive language, particularly language that implies blame (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl et al. 2013aPuhl et al. , 2013bSimpson et al. 2019), and more positive perceptions of messages that focus on healthy behaviours and include a behavioural element (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl et al. 2013b;Simpson et al. 2019). Not all studies investigating messages that target body-weight, however, find negative effects (Dixon et al. 2015;Hoyt et al. 2019), and many individual differences are found (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl et al. 2013b;Hoyt et al. 2019). Studies investigating wider environmental weight-based stimuli also demonstrate individual differences in effects, largely dependent on interpretation and personal relevance (Halliwell 2013;Want 2009). …
… These studies suggest preferences for more neutral terms relating to ‘weight’, as opposed to terms related to ‘excess weight’, such as ‘obesity’ (Puhl et al. 2013a), negative impacts from negative emotive language, particularly language that implies blame (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl et al. 2013aPuhl et al. , 2013bSimpson et al. 2019), and more positive perceptions of messages that focus on healthy behaviours and include a behavioural element (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl et al. 2013b;Simpson et al. 2019). Not all studies investigating messages that target body-weight, however, find negative effects (Dixon et al. 2015;Hoyt et al. 2019), and many individual differences are found (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl et al. 2013b;Hoyt et al. 2019). Studies investigating wider environmental weight-based stimuli also demonstrate individual differences in effects, largely dependent on interpretation and personal relevance (Halliwell 2013;Want 2009). …
… The investigation of strategies to reduce weight bias or understand the development and prejudice associated with weight bias will also be of value (Lewis et al. 2010;Puhl and Suh 2015). While we do not wish to replace one health concern with another, the rejection of successful health promotion techniques for some is also unsatisfactory (Dixon et al. 2015;Hoyt et al. 2019). …
Appearance-based health promotion messages for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption: gender, age and adverse effects
Article
Full-text available
Aug 2022J Publ Health
Katherine M. Appleton
Aim This study sought to investigate the effects of body-weight-based compared to health-based public health messages for encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption, dependent on gender and age, while also gauging adverse consequences. Subject and methods Using an independent groups design, male and female participants, aged 18–65 years, were randomized to view either a weight-based ( N = 245) or a health-based ( N = 231) public health message for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and intentions to consume, immediate selection and subsequent consumption of fruit and vegetables and biscuit/cake-bars, adverse consequences and various confounders were assessed. Results Weight-based messages resulted in greater immediate selection and subsequent fruit and vegetable consumption compared to health-based messages in females (smallest Beta = 0.375, p = 0.04), specifically younger females (least significant Beta = 0.683, p = 0.04). No effects were found in males. Intentions to consume fruit and vegetables, biscuit/cake-bars and subsequent biscuit/cake-bar consumption were predicted only by confounders. Adverse consequences of the messages were low (χ ² (1) = 44.16, p < 0.05; smallest t(148) = 10.22, p < 0.01), and did not differ between weight-based and health-based messages (χ ² (2) = 2.72, p > 0.05; largest t(278) = 0.75, p = 0.46). Conclusions This work demonstrates a role for weight-based compared to health-based public health promotion messages for increasing fruit and vegetable selection and consumption in young females. Adverse consequences following the messages were low, but care may still be needed.
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… 132 Despite the multiple metabolic mechanisms in place to counter attempts at negative energy balance and the well-documented incidence of weight regain, those pursuing weight loss often experience self-blame. 133 This is often referred to as internalized weight bias, which is defined as an individuals’ belief that they deserve the stigma and discrimination they experience as a result of having a larger body. 134 Higher weight individuals and those with eating disorders typically report high levels of internalized weight bias, which some have linked to the public health messaging surrounding the “obesity epidemic.” …
The consequences of a weight‐centric approach to healthcare: A case for a paradigm shift in how clinicians address body weight
Article
Jul 2022NUTR CLIN PRACT
Kasuen Mauldin
Kasuen MauldinMichelle May
Dawn Clifford
Dawn Clifford
Current healthcare is weight‐centric, equating weight and health. This approach to healthcare has negative consequences on patient well‐being. The aim of this article is to make a case for a paradigm shift in how clinicians view and address body weight. In this review, we (1) address common flawed assumptions in the weight‐centric approach to healthcare, (2) review the weight science literature and provide evidence for the negative consequences of promoting dieting and weight loss, and (3) provide practice recommendations for weight‐inclusive care.
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… Evidence for this reasoning comes from a study by Ryazanov and Christenfeld (2018), who demonstrated that adopting an incremental theory of empathy was associated with greater blame towards protagonists in a vignette showing a low level of empathy. Existing research, however, is relatively mute about the behavioral consequences of an incremental theory, particularly regarding social support Hooper et al., 2018;Hoyt et al., 2017Hoyt et al., , 2019Ryazanov & Christenfeld, 2018). It is possible that an incremental theory not only increases blame, but as a consequence may also reduce social support. …
… Our research extends prior results regarding the adverse effects of incremental theories on stigmatization in the weight domain Hooper et al., 2018;Hoyt et al., 2017Hoyt et al., , 2019. …
Blaming others for their illness: The influence of health‐related implicit theories on blame and social support
Article
Full-text available
Dec 2021J APPL SOC PSYCHOL
Simone Dohle
Mike Schreiber
Mike Schreiber
Tobias Wingen
Tobias WingenMarie Baumann
Some people believe that their own health is rather malleable and can be changed (incremental theory), whereas other people believe that their health is relatively fixed (entity theory). Previous research suggests that individuals who hold a strong incremental theory of health have more positive health‐related attitudes and engage in more health‐promoting behaviors in everyday life. However, less is known about the interpersonal effects of an incremental theory of health. A strong incremental theory of health could have detrimental consequences, such as increasing blame and reducing social support towards others who are ill. To test this, two studies (Study 1: N = 433, Study 2: N = 397) were conducted in which implicit theories of health (incremental vs. entity) were experimentally manipulated, and participants were presented with vignettes describing individuals suffering from different illnesses. The dependent variables included blame, sympathy, outcome expectancy, and social support. Study 1 demonstrated that an incremental theory of health increased blame towards people suffering from an illness, regardless of whether a physical or mental illness was presented, and blame indirectly attenuated social support. Study 2 showed that an incremental theory increased outcome expectancy, which indirectly amplified social support. In sum, this research suggests that an incremental theory of health may decrease social support via blame, but increases in outcome expectancy may counteract this effect.
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… Additionally, it is unknown whether these potential links between cancer risk beliefs and self-efficacy with heath behaviors may differ by cancer survivors’ BMI or type of cancer (i.e., obesity-related or not). Differences in cancer-related mortality, treatment trajectory, and quality of life exist across the BMI spectrum [26,27], and could be shaped by personal feelings about one’s own weight [28]. Internalized stigma toward one’s own weight has been associated with reduced engagement with health-promoting behaviors [29,30]. …
Obesity Status on Associations between Cancer-Related Beliefs and Health Behaviors in Cancer Survivors: Implications for Patient-Clinician Communication
Article
Jan 2021PATIENT EDUC COUNS
Annie W. Lin
Annie W. Lin
Sara H. Marchese
Sara H. Marchese
Laura E. Finch
Laura E. Finch
Tammy Stump
Tammy Stump
Bonnie Spring
Bonnie Spring
Objective Associations between cancer beliefs and health behavior engagement are largely unexplored in cancer survivors, particularly among those with overweight and obesity. We investigated belief-behavior associations for cancer survivors, and whether obesity altered these associations. Methods Cancer survivors were identified from the National Cancer Institute HINTS Survey 5 data and classified as having had an obesity-related cancer or not. Linear and multiple logistic regression analyses examined whether cancer risk beliefs and self-efficacy predicted dining out behaviors and physical activity ¶. Restricted analyses were conducted in those with overweight or obesity. Results Low self-efficacy to take care of one’s health was associated with longer sitting time in the overall sample (p = 0.04). In cancer survivors with overweight or obesity, engagement in healthier behaviors was associated with 1) feeling less overwhelmed by cancer risk recommendations and 2) believing that PA or obesity influences cancer development (both p < 0.05). Among those with overweight and obesity, associations between cancer beliefs and health behaviors were not significantly different by cancer type (obesity-related vs. not). Conclusions Obesity altered associations between cancer risk beliefs and health behavior engagement from the overall sample. Practice Implications Weight status may be a useful tailoring factor when delivering health-promoting interventions for cancer survivors.
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… LG individuals may be aware that being perceived to sound LG can result in avoidance and discrimination (Fasoli et al., 2017), and thus expect to face stigma. Also, essentialist beliefs are related to stigma and self-efficacy (Hoyt, Burnette, Thomas, & Orvidas, 2019;, suggesting that beliefs could influence stigma management in the form of vigilance. Study 2 examined associations between LG expectations of rejection and vigilance on the one hand and their endorsement of voice essentialist beliefs and vocal self-perceptions on the other. …
Stigmatization of ‘gay‐sounding’ voices: The role of heterosexual, lesbian, and gay individuals’ essentialist beliefs
Article
Full-text available
Jan 2021BRIT J SOC PSYCHOL
Fabio Fasoli
Fabio Fasoli
Peter Hegarty
Peter Hegarty
David M. Frost
David M. Frost
Voice‐based sexual orientation (SO) judgements can prompt group‐based discrimination. However, the relationships between stigmatization and essentialist beliefs about vocal cues to SO have not been researched. Two studies examined heterosexuals’ and gay men’s and lesbian women’s essentialist beliefs about voice as a cue of SO to uncover essentialist beliefs’ role in the perpetration and experience of stigma. In Study 1 (N = 363), heterosexual participants believed voice was a better cue to SO for men than for women, and participants’ belief in the discreteness, immutability, and controllability of ‘gay‐sounding’ voices was correlated with higher avoidant discrimination towards gay‐sounding men. In Study 2 (N = 147), endorsement of essentialist beliefs about voice as a SO cue was associated with self‐perceptions of sounding gay amongst gay men and lesbians. Sexual minority participants, especially gay men, who believed that they sounded gay reported more anticipation of rejection and engaged in vigilance in response. Essentialist beliefs about vocal cues to SO are relevant to explaining both the perpetration of stigma by heterosexuals and the experience of stigma for lesbians and gay men.
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… 8 Following behavior change theories, different factors that influence how positive a message is received and how likely a subsequent behavioral change is have been investigated. 9,10 On the one hand, a message has to attract attention and be explicit about the addressed behavior, but on the other hand, it has to be sensible about the attitude and readiness of the target audience. 11 When designing a health message, two core components need to be considered: image material and wording. …
Reception of health messages: effects of stigmatization and forcefulness
Article
Dec 2020J PUBLIC HEALTH-UK
R Schnepper
R SchnepperJ Blechert
F M Stok
F M Stok
Background: Diet-related health messages often use scare tactics and negative imagery. However, they show limited effectiveness. Improving these messages is important to prevent further increases of obesity rates and consequential sicknesses. When designing a health message, image choice and wording are central. Controversy revolves around the use of stigmatizing images. Body weight influences the effect of stigma on the participants, and detrimental effects are observable in individuals with overweight. Wording has to be concrete but not too forceful. Methods: In this study, female subjects (N = 162) saw a stigmatizing versus non-stigmatizing health message with forceful versus non-forceful wording (2 × 2-design). Effects on a virtual food choice task (healthy versus unhealthy), diet intentions and concerns to be stigmatized were assessed. Results: In the non-stigmatizing and non-forceful condition, participants made the highest number of healthy food choices. In the two stigma conditions, higher body mass index correlated with higher concern to be stigmatized, highlighting the adverse effect a health message can have. Conclusions: In a female student sample, a non-stigmatizing and non-forceful text had the most positive effect on healthy food choices without evoking concerns to be stigmatized. This should be considered when promoting a healthy lifestyle.
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… An important consideration when applying these to health-related contexts, especially those with related stigma such as obesity, is that growth mindsets may contribute to greater self-regulatory success but may also come with the costs of increased blame (e.g., Hoyt, Burnette, Auster-Gussman, Blodorn, & Major, 2017). However, recent work also highlights that specific messaging can keep the efficacy-related benefits of growth mindsets while eliminating the costs-this is called compensatory growth mindset messaging (e.g., Burnette, Hoyt, Dweck, & Auster-Gussman, 2017;Hoyt, Burnette, Thomas, & Orvidas, 2019). …
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: A Mindset Intervention for Obese Youth
Article
Jul 2020J GENET PSYCHOL
K. OrvidasJ. L. Burnette
J. L. Schleider
J. L. Schleider
J. A. Skelton
J. A. Skelton
J. C. Dunsmore
J. C. Dunsmore
As growth mindset intervention research continues to develop, more work is needed to understand how to most effectively implement these interventions to encourage healthy cognitions and behaviors. The present study details the initial testing of a single-session, online mindset intervention (Healthy Body, Healthy Mind) for obese children and adolescents enrolled in obesity treatment clinics. Using a pre to post-test design, results indicated that growth mindsets of health and cognitions related to health behavior (nutrition and exercise self-efficacy and perceived control) increased significantly. However, despite efforts to mitigate feelings of culpability, blame also increased from pretest to post-test. Yet, body dissatisfaction decreased significantly. Intrinsic value for health behaviors remained unchanged from pretest to post-test. Analysis of narratives suggests that youth were engaged with the intervention content. Additionally, when youth’s narratives incorporated themes related to the changeable nature of the attribute, they also self-reported stronger growth mindsets. In the discussion, we note implications of findings for the development of large-scale health-based growth mindset interventions that are developmentally-appropriate for children and adolescents.
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Examining the Double-Edged Sword Effects of Lay Theories of Mental Health on Perceptions and Treatment of Others with Mental Health Problems
Article
Aug 2022J SOC CLIN PSYCHOL
Emily M. ErbMichael A. Busseri
INTRODUCTION: We examined the implications of viewing mental health problems as changeable through personal effort (incremental lay theory), fixed due to genetics (entity lay theory), or manageable through perseverance on perceptions of others with mental health problems. METHOD: In two preregistered studies, samples of online American participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: manageable, incremental (changeable), entity (fixed), or control, and completed self-report measures of onset responsibility, offset efficacy, blame, stigma, willingness to help, and perceived likelihood of success of interventions aimed at helping those with mental health problems. RESULTS: In both studies, the manipulation had a significant effect on each outcome except willingness to help. Compared to the entity (fixed) condition, individuals in the incremental (changeable) condition reported significantly higher offset efficacy and perceived likelihood of success, but also higher onset responsibility and blame. Results for the manageable condition were similar to the incremental (changeable) condition but individuals in the manageable condition also reported lower responsibility (Study 1) as well as lower blame and stigma (Study 2). DISCUSSION: This work informs the ‘double-edged sword’ effects of holding incremental (changeable) or entity (fixed) lay theories concerning mental health problems. Findings also provide evidence that viewing mental health problems as manageable may reduce some of the negative and boost the positive implications associated with incremental (changeable) and entity (fixed) lay theories.
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Addiction onset and offset characteristics and public stigma toward people with common substance dependencies: A large national survey experiment
Article
May 2022DRUG ALCOHOL DEPEN
Anne C. Krendl
Anne C. Krendl
Brea L. Perry
Brea L. Perry
Drug-related overdose deaths topped 100,000 between 2020 and 2021. Opioids and stimulants are implicated as the primary drivers of this public health crisis. Stigma remains one of the primary barriers to treatment and recovery from substance use disorders. However, little is known about how stigma varies across different substance types, whether individuals are actively using or in recovery, and medical versus recreational onset. We examined these questions using data from the 2021 Shatterproof Addiction Stigma Index, the only nationally representative data available on this topic. Respondents (N=7,051) completed a vignette-based survey experiment to assess public stigma (social distance, prejudice, competence, and causal attributions) toward people with alcohol, opioid (following a prescription pain or recreational use onset), heroin, or methamphetamine dependencies. Vignette characters were described as active users or in recovery. Adjusting for covariates (e.g., race, age, gender), prejudice and desire for social distance were highest toward heroin and methamphetamine, and lowest toward alcohol dependence. The perceived onset of the dependency affected stigma. Specifically, prescription opioids with a recreational onset were more stigmatized than those with a medical onset. Moreover, individuals depicted as being in recovery were less stigmatized than those depicted as active users. Recovery status had the largest impact on prejudice and social distance toward methamphetamine, relative to other conditions. The nature and magnitude of substance dependency stigma differs across substance types and onset and offset conditions. Reducing stigma will require tailored strategies that consider the multidimensional nature of stigma toward people with addiction.
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note; to be edited, and integrated within a conceived objective summary of away to deal

CUT [off from flow(resume after passing of indigestion, no worries :time is of the essence- it shall not pass]-welcome to the philosophy of a singular mind not yet mirror imaged to it’s singularity