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Correlation is not causation — but it may provide irony

Monday, April 11th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — two matters concerning naval intelligence ]
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Here’s a chewable DoubleTweet:

Correlate that with:

— and you just might glimpse what Carl Jung termed an “acausal connecting principle” or “acausal parallelism”.

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For dessert, how’s this for a serpent biting its own tail?

Go googled, GBG still to go: 1

Friday, March 18th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — games, games, games — & prepping a challenge for AI, the analytic community & CNA ]
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playing go
Playing go, Hasegawa, Settei, 1819-1882, Library of Congress

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In the past, computers have won such games as Pong and Space Invaders:

Google’s AI system, known as AlphaGo, was developed at DeepMind, the AI research house that Google acquired for $400 million in early 2014. DeepMind specializes in both deep learning and reinforcement learning, technologies that allow machines to learn largely on their own. Previously, founder Demis Hassabis and his team had used these techniques in building systems that could play classic Atari videos games like Pong, Breakout, and Space Invaders. In some cases, these system not only outperformed professional game players. They rendered the games ridiculous by playing them in ways no human ever would or could. Apparently, this is what prompted Google’s Larry Page to buy the company.

Wired, Google’s Go Victory Is Just a Glimpse of How Powerful AI Will Be

I can’t corral all the games they’ve played into a single, simple timeline here, because the most interesting discussion I’ve seen is this clip, which moves rapidly from Backgammon via Draughts and Chess to this last few days’ Go matches:

Jeopardy should dfinitely be included somewhere in there, though:

Facing certain defeat at the hands of a room-size I.B.M. computer on Wednesday evening, Ken Jennings, famous for winning 74 games in a row on the TV quiz show, acknowledged the obvious. “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords,” he wrote on his video screen, borrowing a line from a “Simpsons” episode.

NYT, Computer Wins on ‘Jeopardy!’: Trivial, It’s Not

What’s up next? It seems that suggestions included Texas Hold’em Poker and the SAT:

Artificial intelligence experts believe computers are now ready to take on more than board games. Some are putting AI through the ringer with two-player no-limit Texas Hold’ Em poker to see how a computer fairs when it plays against an opponent whose cards it can’t see. Others, like Oren Etzioni at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, are putting AI through standardized testing like the SATs to see if the computers can understand and answer less predictable questions.

LA Times, AlphaGo beats human Go champ for the third straight time, wins best-of-5 contest

And of course, there’s Rock, Paper, Scissors, which you can still play on the New York Times:

Rock Paper Scissors

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Now therefore:

In a follow-up post I want to present what in my view is a much tougher game-challenge to AI than any of the above, namely Hermann Hesse‘s Glass Bead Game, which is a major though not entirely defined feature of his Nobel-winning novel, Das Glasperlenspiel, also known in English as The Glass Bead Game or Magister Ludi.

I believe a game such as my own HipBone variant on Hesse’s would not only make a fine challenge for AI, but also be of use in broadening the skillset of the analytic community, and a suitable response also to the question recently raised on PaxSIMS: Which games would you suggest to the US Navy?

As I say, though, this needs to be written up in detail as it applies to each of those three projects — work is in progress, see you soon.

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Edited to add:

And FWIW, this took my breath away. From The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go:

At first, Fan Hui thought the move was rather odd. But then he saw its beauty.

“It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move,” he says. “So beautiful.” It’s a word he keeps repeating. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

The move in question was the 37th in the second game of the historic Go match between Lee Sedol, one of the world’s top players, and AlphaGo, an artificially intelligent computing system built by researchers at Google.

Now that’s remarkable, that gives me pause.

Simply so much.. 01

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — an experiment in blogging — morality transcending laws, the pope, battleships, jellyfish, & Catholic politicians ]
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There’s simply so much going on that I need to try a few way of sifting and posting my daily catch. So here’s my experiment. Each day I’ll open a Simply so much post at the start of the day, adding things that catch my eye as I go, and posting either late in the day or the next morning.

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The right to migrate trumps politics as usual:

The granting of asylum does not fall within the usual logic of statecraft in which a policy is considered from the perspective of the political interests of a governing party, taking into account how it will play to popular prejudices, how it fits with internal party disputes, its consistency with budgetary and other manifesto promises, its influence on the viability of other policies the government wants to pursue, and so on. None of these have standing in the face of the moral emergency of aiding refugees to regain their lives.

DoubleQuote that with Pope Francis: Government workers have ‘human right’ to deny gay marriage licenses:

It is the “human right” of government officials to say they cannot discharge duties that they believe go against their conscience, Pope Francis told reporters aboard the papal flight back to Rome on Monday.

“I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection,” the pope told reporters on the plane. “But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right.

“And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”

See also the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (my emphasis):

On the most widely accepted account of civil disobedience, famously defended by John Rawls (1971), civil disobedience is a public, non-violent and conscientious breach of law undertaken with the aim of bringing about a change in laws or government policies. On this account, people who engage in civil disobedience are willing to accept the legal consequences of their actions, as this shows their fidelity to the rule of law. Civil disobedience, given its place at the boundary of fidelity to law, is said to fall between legal protest, on the one hand, and conscientious refusal, revolutionary action, militant protest and organised forcible resistance, on the other hand.

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in the Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II at the 70th Plenary Session of the United Nations General Assembly, we find the following description of IS:

I am here representing Jordan, and as a God-fearing, God-loving human being. I am here as a father who wants his children, like yours, to live in a compassionate and more peaceful world.

Such a future is under serious threat from the khawarej, the outlaws of Islam that operate globally today. They target religious differences, hoping to kill cooperation and compassion among the billions of people, of all faiths and communities, who live side-by-side in our many countries. These outlaw gangs use suspicion and ignorance to expand their own power. Worse still is the free hand they grant themselves to distort the word of God to justify the most atrocious crimes.

That phrase, the outlaws of Islam, nicely finesses the ongoing dispute as to whether IS should be termed “nothing to do with Islam” or “Islamic”.

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Three variants on the meaning of Man of War:

The British Man of War, c 1750

ManOWar

The Portuguese Man of War:

Physalia_physalis

GF Handel‘s The Lord is a Man of War, from his oratorio Israel in Egypt, 1739:

Sources:

  • The British Man of War
  • The Portuguese Man of War
  • Handel’s Lord is a Man of War
  • Hm, that would have made a great post all by itself!

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    Great Andreessen-style DoubleQuote:

    And that’s a really interesting nested question right about now, eh?

    How myth informs strategy

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — in response to a question from PR Beckman ]
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    SPEC DQ Ursula Le Guin JC Wylie

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    Also, Homer.

    Deadly PT Boat Patrols–a brief review/recommendation

    Thursday, January 15th, 2015

    [by J. Scott Shipman]

    Deadly PT Boat Patrols

    Deadly PT Boat Patrols, A History of Task Group 50.1 New Guinea 1942-43, by Allan L. Lawrence, Jr.

    Late last fall a good friend suggested that I read Mr. Lawrence’s book. My friend made the connection, and Mr. Lawrence was kind enough to send an autographed copy. I read Deadly PT Boat Patrols over the Christmas break and wanted to share the title with our readers. The book is about his dad and namesake serving in the South Pacific on Motor Torpedo Boats during WWII, but really what Mr. Lawrence has crafted is a richly detailed day-by-day history of not only his father’s service, but the service of his colleagues. And when I say day by day, I mean Lawrence provides the reader with a running diary of Task Group 50.1—how they were formed and made their way to New Guinea.

    Mr. Lawrence didn’t set out to write a Task Group history, however. He writes

    Originally, this project was intended to be simply a photographic essay focused solely upon the Colt 1911A1 Automatic Pistol used by my father while assigned to Motor Torpedo Division SEVENTEEN in enemy waters off New Guinea. It was intended for submission to be a renowned historical pistol collectors association for inclusion, if found worthy, in their quarterly magazine. As the project unfolded, however, it became apparent that there was sufficient material of an historical nature to expand upon the original theme.

    And “expand” Mr. Lawrence has done! Filled with many never before published photographs (many provided by the participants or their families) of both the men and their machines , but also of native populations, Deadly PT Boats offers the reader real insight (often in the words of the participant’s war diaries) into the struggles, dangers, and deprivations suffered and endured by the men who crewed these small fast boats. The book also has some hilarious recollections of these Sailors on liberty and the fun they had together in the midst of a brutal war.

    The elder Mr. Lawrence is offered in his own words:

    I like to talk about these things to anybody that is interested but you don’t find people that are interested in that kind of stuff. They’re more interested in running around with veterans plates on their cars, ya know?…I never had a dogtag—never was issued a dogtag—they said we were moving too fast. (pages 180-181)

    Mr. Lawrence continued on the carnage of PT boat warfare:

    It was really a nasty business—a mess, really, but those bastards were vicious, really vicious. And you couldn’t take them as prisoners. [Significant pause] Invariably you’d wind up with two or three dead bodies with their leather harnesses, their knapsacks and canvas all in the screws so you’d screw yourself up because you’d stall your engines out…So you’d come back on one engine the next day cutting the body parts and harness and stuff out from up between the screws and struts, ya know—diving down.” (page 182)

    If there is a weakness in Deadly PT Boats it would be the sometimes painful level of detail and the need for a good editorial scrub, but the book is a labor of love, and if read with this in mind Mr. Lawrence takes the reader along side these young men and their lives of frustration and boredom interrupted by moments of sheer terror.

    Mr. Lawrence brings the reader full circle and provides a “where are they now” or how the main characters ended up after the war. All in all, a good read.

    Aficionados of WWII naval history should add Deadly PT Boats to their library as valuable contribution to the genre.

    Strongly recommended.


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