Thursday, March 25, 2010

I’m oldish

I’m close to hitting a milestone in age and this one in particular is bothering me. I think I’ve identified one major concern where I think that I’ve crossed some imaginary threshold in thinking. In particular I’m worried that I am spending more time running a pre-automated script rather than learning. For example, one script that I run is when I meet someone new, I have a preset number of questions that I have ready at the top of my mind as well as relevant follow up questions. While the list helps me be polite and friendly, the conversation is pretty much guaranteed to stay on a superficial level.

That’s just a more complex example of a script. From the moment we wake up, our bathroom habits are pretty much 100% scripted and until we open the first non-routine e-mail at to work we might not had an original thought. I’m not mindlessly praising uniqueness since much of random unique thoughts probably do not have any value.
I’ve been reading a lot about how much of what we consider to be vision is actually the brain remembering and filling in the blanks. Similarly I wonder how much we are actually thinking as opposed to just identifying situations and then running the appropriate script.

I think the largest worry is that I’m at a point where even if free will existed, I’m not acting freely.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Uncanny valley

I was thinking about causes the uncanny valley effect and I think it has to do with a couple of things working in unison. First is the human’s brain ability to compare things and find dissimilarities. The second is the ability to compress faces. In terms of compression, the amount of data that a face has is huge. Think of how large the file would be if you took a high resolution JPG of someone’s face. As we encounter hundreds of people on a daily basis it would be impossible to store all of that information at full resolution. As a efficient compromise the brain compresses these images so that you can still recognize individual faces but do not have to store full resolution data. The final component is human’s wariness of disease. This is manifested as how we have unease when we see someone with a physical abnormality even though we understand that the underlying cause is not due to a contagious disease. I think that we are processing images of CG generated people to be “diseased” people.
I guess one way to test this would be to read fMRI scan of the brains of people who look at these images.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Apple Tablet

I think most people have been thinking about the Apple tablet in the wrong way. I'm expecting something similar in functionality to an MacBook Air lite than a iPhone on Steroids. I expect an non atom Intel processor and obviously alum construction with an integrated battery. I also expect it to have all the sensors and features of the iPhone.

The main logic behind this is that you need to have decent processing power to manage HD video playback and having the processing power will allow for much easier imports of existing software programs. I can't think of a good enough reason why Apple would want developers having to work with a completely new platform especially since they still are having difficulty properly managing the iPhone App store.