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David Eubanks Topics




A Cynical Argument for the Liberal Arts (Parts 7-12)

by David Eubanks

The preceding installments have described a tension between organized human effort and individual freedom. The former entails the adoption of a machine-like way of processing observations and acting on them (nowadays a techno-bureaucracy) that has no inherent morality: human values lie entirely with the people who make judgments within this machine.



A Cynical Argument for the Liberal Arts (Parts 0-6)

by David Eubanks

In the Winter 2014 edition of Carnegie Reporter, "The Big Picture / Assessing the Future of Higher Education," Vartan Gregorian opens with: In recent years, there has been a debate raging among policymakers, students, educators, concerned parents, and many others about the purpose of higher education. Is it meant to develop an inquiring mind and a deep appreciation for the value of how knowledge enriches one's lifelong personal and professional achievements or should it be simply focused on gaining the skills to pursue a well-paying career? [source] This roughly divides education benefits into an internal and an external domain. Over the next several articles, I will explore the richness of this approach from the point of view of classical Cynicism. Given the topic, it seems appropriate to begin with a prose poem about the stakes.



How the Singularity Makes us Dumber

by David Eubanks

In the decades since then, this “singularity” has taken on a life of its own, and is extrapolated into immortality, uploaded minds, artificial super-intelligence, and so on. There is plenty to speculate about the utopias or dystopias that may results from zooming technological sophistication. Around the same time, Norbert Wiener gave a kind of apology for his role in creating cybernetics because he saw the potential for disaster [2].



Curiosity is the Engine of Achievement

by David Eubanks

The title is a quote from a Ken Robinson Education TED talk. Another is “Teaching is not a delivery system.” It’s worth a listen



Interfaces and Education

by David Eubanks

In my last article, I used a cartoon model of intelligence to examine different aspects of whatever that thing is we call critical thinking. The usefulness of the schematic goes well beyond that exercise, however. Specifically, there's the fascinating idea of a "unit of usefulness" often called an interface. It's worthwhile examining how it works in the context of education.



Teaching Critical Thinking

by David Eubanks

I just came across a 2007 article by Daniel T. Willingham “Critical Thinking: Why is it so hard to teach?” Critical thinking is very commonly found in lists of learning outcomes for general education or even at the institution level. In practice, it’s very difficult to even define, let alone teach or assess. The article is a nice survey of the problem.



#2 Is Intelligence Self-Limiting?

by David Eubanks

In science fiction novels like River of Gods by Ian McDonald [1], an artificial intelligence finds a way to boot-strap its own design into a growing super-intelligence. This cleverness singularity is sometimes referred to as FOOM [2]. In this piece I will give an argument that a single instance of intelligence may be self-limiting and that FOOM collapses in a “MOOF.”



#9 Cracks in Reality: How our Systems Fool Themselves

by David Eubanks

In the first two parts of this series I explored the idea that a self-modifying singular intelligence may be doomed to self-destruction because of motivational interference [1]. The idea is at least as old as Epicurus, who advised: “If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.”

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Cracks in Reality: How our Systems Fool Themselves

by David Eubanks

In the first two parts of this series I explored the idea that a self-modifying singular intelligence may be doomed to self-destruction because of motivational interference [1]. The idea is at least as old as Epicurus, who advised: “If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.”



Self-Limiting Intelligence: Truth or Consequences

by David Eubanks

In “Is Intelligence Self-Limiting?” [1] I discussed the possibility that a rapidly increasing intelligence could short circuit by feeding itself pleasing inputs and ignoring the real world.

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Is Intelligence Self-Limiting?

by David Eubanks

In science fiction novels like River of Gods by Ian McDonald [1], an artificial intelligence finds a way to boot-strap its own design into a growing super-intelligence. This cleverness singularity is sometimes referred to as FOOM [2]. In this piece I will give an argument that a single instance of intelligence may be self-limiting and that FOOM collapses in a “MOOF.”

Full Story...



Breakfast Conversation

by David Eubanks

In this piece David Eubanks asks how we might react to intelligence emerging from ubiquitous computing stuff in our environment. What if our imagination about where and how self-willed machine minds will arise is too narrow, and it might just pop up anywhere? What do we owe talking stuff?

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