Distant Constructs


Computer Magazine interview of Ken Thompson from 1999

2017-09-29 0450 EDT

I like his description of the garbage collection in limbo - "It’s not the theoretical top-of-the-line garbage collection paper. It’ s just a way of doing it that seems to be very , very effective." His perspective on the importance of both designing and implementing software is also insightful, and stands in contrast to the division of labor in many current software development approaches.

Self fulfilling neural nets

2015-06-28 2247 EDT

What would be interesting is if this were used as to automate art consumption. Take a collection of AI's and train them each on different concepts. This can already be seen in the realm of visual arts, with the nets in the article generating animals and scenery that they were trained to see out of images and random noise.

This application could also be extended to other forms as well, such as literature. Consider the following experiment:

  1. Pick a set of corpuses (corpi?) to train your nets. This could range from CSPAN Transcripts, to YouTube comments, to pop lyrics.
  2. Train a different neural net on each of the sets.
  3. Give a name to each net based on the corpus it was trained on.
  4. Pick a sprawling modernist work like Finnegan's Wake or Gravity's Rainbow.
  5. Laugh at the multitude of interpretations.

The results of this could even be sold to students desparately trying to write a paper on one of these tomes or to critics fishing around for a new take on the classics.

Library of Babel Art Project

2015-06-28 2246 EDT

Interesting art project which helps bring the Library of Babel from Borges' short story into reality. I've thought about how engaging it might be to have the Library as a location in a video game, and this website demonstrates some of the interesting things that can be done with the concept. Even this page is in the library.