Drunking Ramblings - Tech, Social and Whatnot

Yes, I'm drunk right now. Maybe not drunk drunk but enough to make me write this (and maybe not remember that I wrote this tomorrow). Just stupid stuff I've thought of over months and years. Also fuck you who made me decide getting drunk tonight is better then writing code.

The Lack of Communication Skills

Like, we'd expect people to have develop good communication skills amid the boom of mobile phones, email and later on social media and intant messaging. But no. I've seen way too many people who expect others to instantly understnat what they are thinking. Or get angry when someone else does the wrong thing. Espically in work and relationship. Hello. Humans are not magic nor equiped with teleparty. So many times I have to teach my subordinate to actually speak what they have in mind. And have to explain way too many times that I won't be angery and will be supportive if something goes wrong. We are working togething, not enemies. My job is to make your job easier. There's no point for me punishing you for letting me know what't up.

Same goes for relationship. I can't know what my partner is thinking unless she is open about it. I know it is temptive (and heart warming) to have someone who can read your mind. But that's not how it works. I can only help/sooth/anything if I know what's going on. Sure, people will gain intuition. But it ain't happining on it's own. Some initial effort is needed. And you'll get help earler and better if it's upfront anyway.

The State of Computing Freedom is Based on Ignorence

So much of we complain about goverment survelience. From what I know from somes insiders, it's not that hard for goverments to stop Tor and other counter-surveillance networks from working. IP of puiblic tor entrences are public knowledge. Goverments can easily blok >90% of people using Tor. Likewise, many goverments wanted to block fake news and method for these content to survive. Tor, IPFS, GNUNet, I2P, Freenet. These are not out of the rhelm of what goverments can handle. Heck, blocking most fake news sites is as easy and blocking overseas DNS and force govermetn approved ones.

The only reason (at least in my country) this hasn't heppen is the internet advisery group don't want the decisions makers in legislative and congress to know what is possible. They are fighting the goverment for our freedom. They care too.

I'm not saying this is good. Internet should be secure and free by default. But it's literarly only maintained because the goverment is ignorant. We need something much better that this. I don't know what it is. Web3 ain't it. Some mesh P2P network maybe. But that has severe cost and latency limitations. Also it's not for the non-techies.

Humans are not Special

We, Homo Sapiens have been thinking that we are somehow special with creativity, art, emotions. With the recent rapid advancement in AI. I really doubt humans will keep and edge for long. Heck we have been matched in singing with VOCALOID[1][2] since 2008 and surpassed by Synthesizer V[3] in almost every dimension[4][5][6]. We have solved singing in conveying emotions.

(VOCALOID References)

(Synthesizer V References)

Creativity wise, Midjourney has just beat humans artists in a compitions[6]. Which is not all superising. Creativity (or to be accurate, what humans think is beatuiful) is just some tiny dart in a super high dimentional space. There's no reason that AI (deep neural networks) can't be better at exploring that high dimentional space. Art is just a feature vector. The real hard part is how to make a computer learn that.

Am I doom and gloom about the future? No, that why I was an AI researcher (prior joining a startup) and why people are doing AI safety research. Humans can make AI benificial. Bui we have to recognize that we are not special. Humans have enjoyed millions of years of being the smartest thing on Earth. That will not be the case for too long.

Privacy and Threat Model

It's not uncommon knowledge that most people don't care about privcay. To be accurate, they trust tech companies to keep their promise. Which is a common thing to do. We humans are eveolved to be social and trust. But us computer scientists and enginers know exactly what can be done with that amount of data. I'm not gate keeping. But that understanding needs knowledge of how computers and informations systems works - We have a different threat model. It's hard if not impossible to make the general public wake up to privacy.

Is there anything we can do? I guess nothing besides consumer education and keep working on anti-surveillance tech.

Goverment's Attempt to Improve Society Mostly Backfire

Ain't the first time I talk about this. Decision makers don't have the nuance of society and communities. At best they can only give general guidlines. But too often politicians push forward their idea of improvments. Sure they have think tanks behind them. Yet, they are likely well off people with a very narrow view of the world. I rather politicians just write peer-reviewed papers and let the entire population reason about it. People too often make decision based on emotion. But time after time we've proven that reasoning and logic is way to go.

No one knows how Computers Work Anymore

Computers have grown so much in complexity that no one people (not even a PhD in processor design) knows how CPUs actually work. First there's all the complicated out of order, speculation execution, branch prediction actually works. We have just treated it as a black box magic that works. Not even OS developers know exactly what's going on in the CPU. There's the System Managment Mode (Ring -1) on modern x64 CPUs. It's a whole other world. It's not even documented. Not to mention what ACPI implementation does under the hood. Everything is so complicated that no single person can ever comprehend it.

That's not to mention everying is going into Python/JS in this day and age. They are awesome, they get whatever job done really quick. Want a website in a day? You don't even need to know how HTTP works. Everything is abstracted aways. It's really a triumph of how far computing has come. From the old IBM days programming in assembly to doing magic without knowing how stuff actually works. But it is also a curse that less and less people will be able to build the foundation of computers.

Heck, I bet less then 10% of developers workign in tech can implement a Gemini server with their language of choice. Gemini is already a very low bar on the complexity of the internet. I'm deeply concerned about the future of computing and the internet.


I'm drunk.

Author's profile
Martin Chang
Systems software, HPC, GPGPU and AI. I mostly write stupid C++ code. Sometimes does AI research. Chronic VRChat addict

I run TLGS, a major search engine on Gemini. Used by Buran by default.


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