Posts Tagged ‘TED’


3D Printing & Hope for the Future

by adminadam in videos

The gentleman in this here TED Talk leads with the astonishing and shocking statistic of the global dearth of adequate shelter: Over 1 Billion of us live in ramshackle, unsafe, and inadequate housing. Shelter is a fundamental need and construction is currently a costly, dirty, inefficient, and corruption-prone enterprise. Enter the new age of 3D-printed housing. Cheap, sturdy, adaptable, and fast!


Let’s Use Thorium

by adminadam in home

  • Thorium is 4 times more common in the Earth’s crust than Uranium, and much safer to use as fuel.
  • Thorium is useless for making nuclear weapons; we can freely share the reactor designs.
  • Total energy extraction from Thorium is 200 times more efficient than that of Uranium.
  • Virtually all fissile material is used up in Liquid Flouride-Thorium Reactors, producing significantly less waste.
  • Low-temperature, low-pressure process makes meltdowns impossible.
  • Fail-safe salt plug halts reaction immediately upon loss of power or other malfunction.
  • All this extra energy can be used to create synthetic fuels from water and CO2, like methanol, ammonia, and dymethyl ether (for diesel).



Extropy +13: Toasters

by adminadam in home, videos

I just love the inverse demonstration of extropy that we see here in this video. The world is so full of embedded systems and technologies within technologies.

It is so difficult for one man to make and refine iron, steel, plastic, etc., yet these processes are fully matured, widespread and, in their own way, an important part of our heritage.

Our world is built upon these foundational technologies, increasingly managed by more intelligent agents and processes, increasingly allowing greater innovations to come forth: cpu’s, cell phones, airplanes, the internet, and so on.

Just as in the gene pool (but in a markedly accelerated and non-random kind of way) the technological innovations of today will form the building blocks of tomorrow’s refinements, advancements, and the overall extropic evolution nurtured by human kind. Today another brick, tomorrow a toaster pyramid.


Extropy +7: Game Theory

by adminadam in articles, videos

“Most complicated negotiations are predictable.”

Bruce Bueno de Mesquito, CIA & DOD Consultant/Game Theorist


Analog to Asimov’s Psychohistory realized in Game Theory-Based Computer Simulations with 90% success rate in predicting future political outcomes.

This to me represents the pinnacle (or a pinnacle) of the outsourcing of information processing in order to supplement human intelligence — and it has extropy written all over it.

In his TED presentation (below), Bruce Bueno de Mesquita lays out his predictions for Iran and its nuclear future. The essential pieces of information in Game Theory based-predictions, the questions that must be asked, are as follows, and these are what BdM runs through his own simulations:

  1. Who are the key players, or agents of influence?
  2. What do they say they want?
  3. How focused are they on the one issue, as opposed to multiple issues?
  4. How much persuasive influence do they have?

Outcome and credit are also important to consider, i.e. how valuable are these to the key players? If we know how willing the key players are to sacrifice themselves for a cause, we can also predict how reasonable (or unreasonable) they would be in negotiations. If they don’t care at all about the credit, they probably won’t hear any pleas for negotiation. However, if they are “reasonably self-interested”, so to speak, they may want their name on the final treaty that is drawn up and hence would be willing to sit down and chat with you. Most people, according to BdM, fall somewhere in between absolutely wanting credit and wanting a definite outcome.

Game Theory is a field of mathematics that applies all of the above pieces of information with the following assumptions about individuals:

  • People are “rationally” self-interested, that is, they try to do what they think is in their own best interests.
  • People have values and beliefs.
  • People have limitations.

Interesting to note at the end of the video the speaker’s answer to the question of what impact such simulated outcomes could have upon word reaching the ears of the Iranian Key Players; that “the Americans” believe it will be futile to try to rouse the masses to get behind bomb building… Wouldn’t this just spur them on all the more?

‘No, no, just the opposite’, BdM says. ‘Iran will make just enough to demonstrate their capacity to make a bomb, and perhaps settle on that stance quicker having seen my predictions’ (paraphrased).

“Let’s hope so”, says the TED man. Yes, indeed, I say — inşallah.

Watching this kind of makes me want to study Game Theory. : )
Any good book recommendations amongst you readers out there?


Extropy +4: Simulating Robot Evolution

by adminadam in home, quotes, videos

“The total disorder in the universe, as measured by the quantity that physicists call entropy, increases steadily over time. Also, the total order in the universe, as measured by the complexity and permanence of organized structures, also increases steadily over time.” — Freeman Dyson