Andy Ihnatko and Swoopy Were On Our Little Podcast!


On Thinkery, the podcast I do with Brian Hogg (that's what he tells me his name is, anyway), we've been trying out having the occasional guest on the show to join the conversation. They're not interviews per se, more of a chance to add a third voice to the usual two-way chat that the show normally is.To kick it off, we were really, really lucky to get two excellent guests who are frankly out of our league, and yet somehow decided to lower themselves to join us for an evening.First is the … [Read more...]

“Apple Released a Surface, a Roku, and a Samsung Phone.”

Photo credit: Brett Jordan / Foter / CC BY

Summing up the latest Apple event in which a slew of new products were introduced, including a giant-ass iPad, a better Apple TV (low bar), and new iPhones–6 with some odd gimmicks in them. The Verge’s Nilay Patel said on Periscope (and I’m paraphrasing), “Today, Apple released a Surface, a Roku, and a Samsung phone.”And yeah, they kinda did. I think that’s fine, though, I’m not one of those folks who think Apple or any other company has to be 100% original with every product they produce. I’ … [Read more...]

Transhumanism as a Possibility, Not a Promise

Photo credit: Smashn Time / Foter / CC BY-NC-SAThe caption by the artist is, "They are one weird bunch, essentially a brain in a box."

I have a soft spot for the transhumanists, and as I’ve said, if they were a little less sure of themselves and their goals, and if they were just a little less, well, religious in their faith about what technology and artificial intelligence will bring, I could see to donning the label myself.Zoltan Istvan, the movement’s (and party’s) presidential candidate is the embodiment of this faith. A huge, strong fellow who has led a life that resembles Indiana Jones-meets-extreme sports, he has put … [Read more...]

The Mutual Enhancement Society: Superintelligence in Machines…*and* Humans?

Photo credit: JD Hancock / Foter / CC BY

Reading Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence, and having read James Barrat’s Our Final Invention, as well as consuming a lot of other writings on the dangers of rapidly advancing artificial intelligence, I was beginning to feel fairly confident that unless civilization collapsed relatively soon, more or less upending most technological progress, humanity was indeed doomed to become the slaves to, or fuel of, our software overlords. It is a rather simple equation, after all, isn’t it? Once the machi … [Read more...]

Lawrence Lessig’s Noble and Dispiriting Pledge

Image by Joi Ito, CC 2.0.

 UPDATE 9/6/2016: Lessig's campaign successfully passed the $1,000,000 pledge threshold (I pledged a token amount), and formally announced his candidacy on ABC this morning.I heartily support Lawrence Lessig’s campaign for president, and there’s almost no public figure I can think of that I would prefer to be president. And that’s just the problem.Lessig’s campaign is premised on the idea that if he runs and wins, he will doggedly pursue a single, crucial legislative goal: to … [Read more...]

Let’s Get Small

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.22.49 PM

I'm a small guy, at 5'5" I think some people almost find it alarming how tiny I am, at least compared to how tall they expect me (or any adult male) to be. It's me in the context of other people, the relative scale can be surprising.On my Galaxy Note 5, it has a one-handed small-screen mode, where the contents of the display shrink for ease of use with one hand. Turns out that this unthinkably-tiny display-within-a-display is almost exactly the same size as the iPhones I stopped using as … [Read more...]

Have You Been Thinkery-ing???


I assume you've been keeping up with Thinkery, my new-ish podcast with Brian Hogg. In fact, I'm so confident that you have that I don't even really need to do the thing I'm going to do, which is link to the most recent three episodes, which are...Episode 5: Just Abduct Elon MuskBrian contemplates doing more Mosspuppet and also feels terrible about how his crowdfunding campaign went! Christians should have no problem with abortion! Darth Vader’s ‘redemption’ is morally simpl … [Read more...]

How Mars One is Like a Björn Borg Clothing Line


[This post has been updated with some really brilliant insight from the author.]Mars One, the pseudo-pyramid scheme that pretends to be sending astronauts to Mars in the next decade, has inspired a fashion show.Björn Borg, who I assume is very important in the fashion world, showed off a collection of what is said to be sportswear the serves as “a tribute to the courage and the faith that these people show by going out to the unknown for the evolution of mankind.”That’s all fine. The … [Read more...]

Consider a superintelligent agent with actuators connected to a nanotech assembler.

I'm reading Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, about the possible capabilities and potential threats posed by rapidly advancing artificial intelligence. It's a little dry at times, to be honest, but then he'll go and say something (in the nonfiction-science-book equivalent of a deadpan) that makes your mind explode.Because you're probably thinking, hey, a superintelligent A.I. could maybe take things over on this planet, and that'd be just crazy! Well sure, but … [Read more...]

Actually, Note 5 #Penghazi is Less Stupid Than I Thought

MacBreak Weekly on TWiT.

Yesterday, I wrote that the controversy over the Galaxy Note 5's S Pen was overblown. Quickly: if you stick it in backwards, it gets stuck and does at the least significant damage. People cried "recall," "design flaw," and invented the (hilarious) hashtag #penghazi. Apple-loving pundits couldn't contain their glee or smugness. I said that this was silly, that it was akin to trying to shove a floppy disk into a drive upside-down and then blaming the manufacturer when it breaks something.What … [Read more...]