geosmin's recent activity

  1. Comment on What is/are your favorite quote/s? in ~talk

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    Assuming you enjoy Blindsight the sequel Echopraxia would probably be up your alley. Frankly, half of what I love about Watts is his gritty prose. For similar themes I'd suggest checking out his...

    Assuming you enjoy Blindsight the sequel Echopraxia would probably be up your alley.

    Frankly, half of what I love about Watts is his gritty prose. For similar themes I'd suggest checking out his Sunflowers shorts (available here) and if you like those his novella in the same universe The Freeze-Frame Revolution

    Similarly brain-quenching though much more optimistic explorations of simiar themes can be found in pretty much anything by Greg Egan. I'd suggest, in order; Permutation City, Diaspora, Schild's Ladder

    Off into non-fiction but much more on the topic of consciousness I'd definitely recommend Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

    Oh, and please report back with your thoughts on Blindsight. I love hearing people's reactions, especially as they're reading it.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on What is/are your favorite quote/s? in ~talk

    geosmin
    (edited )
    Link
    Warning: Spoilers from Peter Watt's Blindsight ahead. Seriously, this is pretty much the book's big reveal.

    Warning: Spoilers from Peter Watt's Blindsight ahead.

    Seriously, this is pretty much the book's big reveal.

    You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?

    Maybe you think it gives you free will. Maybe you've forgotten that sleepwalkers converse, drive vehicles, commit crimes and clean up afterwards, unconscious the whole time. Maybe nobody's told you that even waking souls are only slaves in denial.

    Make a conscious choice. Decide to move your index finger. Too late! The electricity's already halfway down your arm. Your body began to act a full half-second before your conscious self 'chose' to, for the self chose nothing; something else set your body in motion, sent an executive summary—almost an afterthought— to the homunculus behind your eyes. That little man, that arrogant subroutine that thinks of itself as the person, mistakes correlation for causality: it reads the summary and it sees the hand move, and it thinks that one drove the other.

    But it's not in charge. You're not in charge. If free will even exists, it doesn't share living space with the likes of you.

    Insight, then. Wisdom. The quest for knowledge, the derivation of theorems, science and technology and all those exclusively human pursuits that must surely rest on a conscious foundation. Maybe that's what sentience would be for— if scientific breakthroughs didn't spring fully-formed from the subconscious mind, manifest themselves in dreams, as full-blown insights after a deep night's sleep. It's the most basic rule of the stymied researcher: stop thinking about the problem. Do something else. It will come to you if you just stop being conscious of it.

    Every concert pianist knows that the surest way to ruin a performance is to be aware of what the fingers are doing. Every dancer and acrobat knows enough to let the mind go, let the body run itself. Every driver of any manual vehicle arrives at destinations with no recollection of the stops and turns and roads traveled in getting there. You are all sleepwalkers, whether climbing creative peaks or slogging through some mundane routine for the thousandth time. You are all sleepwalkers.

    Don't even try to talk about the learning curve. Don't bother citing the months of deliberate practice that precede the unconscious performance, or the years of study and experiment leading up to the gift-wrapped Eureka moment. So what if your lessons are all learned consciously? Do you think that proves there's no other way? Heuristic software's been learning from experience for over a hundred years. Machines master chess, cars learn to drive themselves, statistical programs face problems and design the experiments to solve them and you think that the only path to learning leads through sentience? You're Stone-age nomads, eking out some marginal existence on the veldt—denying even the possibility of agriculture, because hunting and gathering was good enough for your parents.

    Do you want to know what consciousness is for? Do you want to know the only real purpose it serves? Training wheels. You can't see both aspects of the Necker Cube at once, so it lets you focus on one and dismiss the other. That's a pretty half-assed way to parse reality. You're always better off looking at more than one side of anything. Go on, try. Defocus. It's the next logical step.

    Oh, but you can't. There's something in the way.

    And it's fighting back.

    *

    Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains—cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes ever-more computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.

    *

    The system weakens, slows. It takes so much longer now to perceive—to assess the input, mull it over, decide in the manner of cognitive beings. But when the flash flood crosses your path, when the lion leaps at you from the grasses, advanced self-awareness is an unaffordable indulgence. The brain stem does its best. It sees the danger, hijacks the body, reacts a hundred times faster than that fat old man sitting in the CEO's office upstairs; but every generation it gets harder to work around this— this creaking neurological bureaucracy.

    I wastes energy and processing power, self-obsesses to the point of psychosis. Scramblers have no need of it, scramblers are more parsimonious. With simpler biochemistries, with smaller brains—deprived of tools, of their ship, even of parts of their own metabolism—they think rings around you. They hide their language in plain sight, even when you know what they're saying. They turn your own cognition against itself. They travel between the stars. This is what intelligence can do, unhampered by self-awareness.

    I is not the working mind, you see. For Amanda Bates to say "I do not exist" would be nonsense; but when the processes beneath say the same thing, they are merely reporting that the parasites have died. They are only saying that they are free.

    5 votes
  3. Comment on Collapse OS in ~comp

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    I don't know I kind of share his bias though maybe not to the same extent. If you look at things from a cosmological or geological perspective the current "normal", a state that's existed for,...

    I don't know I kind of share his bias though maybe not to the same extent.

    If you look at things from a cosmological or geological perspective the current "normal", a state that's existed for, what, less then a millennia? a couple centuries? decades? is an extreme outlier. Civilization in its current state is an unfathomably distant anomaly from the status quo and the fact that it feels so normal is probably indicative of a blind spot in our inherent biases.

    The current paradigm feels to me a bit like a house of cards and fundamentally unsustainable, but it's such a large complex system it's impossible to comprehend let alone talk about effectively. All one can do is point to one small thing or another and say a few words about how it informs one's model of the word:

    • The geopolitical context seems fragile at best.
    • The US public debt to GDP ratio is the highest it's been since World War 2 and projected to skyrocket indefinitely despite, well, the lack of WW2 currently taking place.
    • The entire economic system and the social, political, financial, and human institutions built on it are based on infinite economic growth, something that seems like a mathematical impossibility given finite resources, carrying capacity, etc.
    • The world's infrastructure is now essentially entirely digital and dependent on computers powered by electricity connected through the internet.
    • Grocery stores stock a few days of food, maybe a couple weeks for non-perishable goods, and rely on frequent deliveries.

    These are a few examples off the top of my head. With that in mind maybe things continue on just fine for decades or centuries or millennia. That would be nice.

    But if there's a hiccup, if the system stalls, if the gears slow to a halt for just a moment, I can't help but feel the social fabric would degrade extremely rapidly and the whole thing could quickly shatter. The whole tapestry of infrastructure we've woven dissolves and we lose so much.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on What have you been listening to this week? in ~music

  5. Comment on What have you been listening to this week? in ~music

    geosmin
    Link
    DJ Seinfeld's Sakura has a wonderfully disgusting synth baseline I've been digging a lot KH/Four Tet's Only Human is quite the banger if you're into punchy kicks and the sound of failed anti-skip...

    DJ Seinfeld's Sakura has a wonderfully disgusting synth baseline I've been digging a lot

    KH/Four Tet's Only Human is quite the banger if you're into punchy kicks and the sound of failed anti-skip

    Traditional Chinese music's been my go to for ambientish outside of the usual rotation of Aphex's Selected Ambient Works

    Oh, and Jolene but played at 33rpm...

    4 votes
  6. Looking for someone to take over the unofficial #tildes matrix room

    A little over a year ago I created an unofficial matrix room for the tildes community. I believed at the time, and still do, that the infrastructure supporting the community should be founded on...

    A little over a year ago I created an unofficial matrix room for the tildes community. I believed at the time, and still do, that the infrastructure supporting the community should be founded on open, sustainable software, and matrix was an interesting new solution in this space similar to the Discords and Slacks of the world. Though the room is bridged with the IRC chat activity has remained relatively low compared to Discord.

    Unfortunately I haven't had the time to properly moderate this channel. Though the community's involvement there has remained civil I do not think I'm active enough to ensure things stay that way.

    As such I am looking for an interested person or persons to take over this channel over the next week or so and if no suitable replacements are found will be shutting the room down until further notice.

    Thanks everyone,

    10 votes
  7. Comment on Share your favorite oldschool wallpapers! in ~design

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    Is Trinity still a thing? I remember reading about it years ago but haven't heard much. Never seemed to gain the momentum MATE got.

    Is Trinity still a thing? I remember reading about it years ago but haven't heard much. Never seemed to gain the momentum MATE got.

  8. Comment on Share your favorite oldschool wallpapers! in ~design

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    Holy cow, I'd forgotten about this one! What a trip to see it again.

    Holy cow, I'd forgotten about this one! What a trip to see it again.

    3 votes
  9. Comment on Share your favorite oldschool wallpapers! in ~design

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    Nice, I dig it! Escher? Edit: Yep.

    Nice, I dig it! Escher?

    Edit: Yep.

    3 votes
  10. Share your favorite oldschool wallpapers!

    I've been in a bit of a late 90s, early 00s aesthetic and was wondering what people's favorite oldschool wallpapers are. I'm partial to crystal, clouds, Cheetah, carved stone, and Dapper Drake....

    I've been in a bit of a late 90s, early 00s aesthetic and was wondering what people's favorite oldschool wallpapers are.

    I'm partial to crystal, clouds, Cheetah, carved stone, and Dapper Drake. I'm probably forgetting a bunch.

    Note these don't need to be default OS wallpapers, those that reflect the aesthetic of the time are fine too.

    Edit: Might as well share my current desktop.

    19 votes
  11. Comment on Popular Podcasts app Pocket Casts goes free, web & desktop app now subscription-based in ~tech

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    AntennaPod on Android is open-source and provides playback speed controls. It's generally good but I've found every time I try to switch there's one or two wrinkles that push me back towards...

    AntennaPod on Android is open-source and provides playback speed controls. It's generally good but I've found every time I try to switch there's one or two wrinkles that push me back towards Pocket Casts.

    I don't remember exactly what those wrinkles were, though I think they had to do with auto-downloading, queue management, filtering by newest release, etc.

    Note I think it's more an issue of being used to a particular "workflow" and is just a matter of getting used to the minor differences in how both apps function, but I can never quite be bothered getting used to it.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on Which language would you pick to completely rewrite BSD, Linux, etc.? in ~comp

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    Haiku looks interesting! I played around with the live usb until the whole thing seemed to run out of memory and crash. I'm digging the UX and aesthetic, interested in hearing more about these...

    Haiku looks interesting! I played around with the live usb until the whole thing seemed to run out of memory and crash.

    I'm digging the UX and aesthetic, interested in hearing more about these technical innovations.

    Edit: I should mention I've got a bit of a fantasy for deploying a no-nonsense get shit done workstation. I've been running Arch for half a decade with i3 and now sway and I love it but sometimes with for something a little less... erratic on the side.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on Which language would you pick to completely rewrite BSD, Linux, etc.? in ~comp

    geosmin
    Link Parent
    A project you might be interested in is Serenity OS: OS written from scratch in C++ as a hobby project. I'm a fan of the aesthetic and it's been fun to follow, with the creator regularly posting...

    A project you might be interested in is Serenity OS:

    Serenity is a love letter to '90s user interfaces with a custom Unix-like core. It flatters with sincerity by stealing beautiful ideas from various other systems.

    Roughly speaking, the goal is a marriage between the aesthetic of late-1990s productivity software and the power-user accessibility of late-2000s *nix. This is a system by me, for me, based on the things I like.

    OS written from scratch in C++ as a hobby project. I'm a fan of the aesthetic and it's been fun to follow, with the creator regularly posting hacking sessions to YouTube.

    Quite the achievement.

    11 votes
  14. Which language would you pick to completely rewrite BSD, Linux, etc.?

    It'd my understanding that C has stuck around in the UNIX world for so long, nearly half a century, mostly due to the inertia of legacy code. If you could snap your fingers and magically port/fork...

    It'd my understanding that C has stuck around in the UNIX world for so long, nearly half a century, mostly due to the inertia of legacy code.

    If you could snap your fingers and magically port/fork the entire stack of open source codebases to the language of your choice, which would you pick and why?

    20 votes
  15. Comment on What is your least favourite window manager or desktop environment and why? in ~comp

  16. What is your least favourite window manager or desktop environment and why?

    Can be something current or ancient, and if you've really got an axe to grind feel free to drag in Windows or macOS or other proprietary operating systems. Personally after using i3 for around...

    Can be something current or ancient, and if you've really got an axe to grind feel free to drag in Windows or macOS or other proprietary operating systems.

    Personally after using i3 for around half a decade now (though I switched to sway about a year ago) everything else I try just seems to add friction.

    25 votes
  17. Comment on Friendly Linux Chat in ~tech

    geosmin
    Link
    What issue are you having? I guess I might as well link to some relevant tough love about seeking help on IRC and the like for these kinds of things.

    What issue are you having?

    I guess I might as well link to some relevant tough love about seeking help on IRC and the like for these kinds of things.

    5 votes