tribute to/ celebration of the Algorithmic Lens

epfl-research-day-affichehi all. my bookmarks runneth over sometimes. there are 3 major topics reaching critical mass in my links so am going to write them all up rat-a-tat-tat.

this blog likes to both “lead” and “follow”. it responds to other blogs, but it also attempts to get out in front of everyone else. this blog is following in that there is a new workshop announced on “The Computational Universe” which will run at the end of june at EPFL, one of the worlds most elite research institutions. (they have many CERN/ LHC related projects/ researchers.)[a1]

a leading topic on this blog is what might be called “the algorithmic lens”. it can be defined narrowly or broadly. this blog naturally will go for the latter grand(-iose) vision. its a very challenging topic to cover because of its massive/ vast breadth/ depth. its an epic/ near ultimate Big Floating Iceberg with only a fraction of its surface visible. it is the extensive but invisible water that the swimming fish are surrounded/ sustained in.

this is a very modern concept but goes back many decades and will continue to be a major theme/ focus of 21st century science. great/ legendary pioneers like Turing, Hilbert, Godel, von Neumann, Church, Post etc were involved in its early days of conceptualization (it started out in mathematics/ logic). the form they talked about it does not match exactly the modern form but its outline is unmistakable.

the algorithmic lens is not easy to characterize, or in other ways it is so ubiquitous that one can see it everywhere one looks. the “algorithmic lens” is a relatively new name for it within the last few years but the phenomenon even has its roots in ancient mathematics and shows up in modern cutting edge directions (such as say, “automated theorem proving”). it has many dimensions. it is a multi-century long trend in scientific progress of equal or greater significance than the scientific enlightenment.

its in moores law, its in smartphones and the zillions of cell phone apps proliferating, its in bitcoin, its in massive supercomputers, some of them now built out of “consumer” off-the-shelf components.

its in the massive cyber social networks. its in blogs like this one that are increasingly connected/ wired like neurons into a global cyber consciousness.

its in big data, and machine/ deep learning. AI research.

its in bioinformatics and the increasing computational analysis/ understanding of the human genome, leading to powerful new manipulations/ “editing”/ treatments.

its in science fiction movies that rain down at movie theatres and impact mass consciousness. its in the intense CGI that permeates them.

its in the massive rise of video games that inundate mass culture. speaking of “culture,” the Geeks are continually rising also because they are some of the masters of it.

its in the rise of the PC in just a few decades, and the internet, email, and the web. Torvalds linux, and open source software (once/ not long ago novel & viewed with some suspicion, now quite entrenched in large multibilliondollar corporations).

its in emerging virtual reality technology, right on the edge of release into the public.

its in discovery of the higgs particle and massive scientific experiments such as the LHC, or new astronomy surveys.

its in robotics advances. drones flying all over the place. some of them autonomous. its a drone landing on the whitehouse lawn, flying by Merkel at a press conference, slicing Enrique Iglesias finger at a live concert. its google buying boston dynamics. its a consumer robotic car only a few years away (they’re already driving around on roads…!)

its in physics in deep ways such as wheelers concept of “It from Bit”, ideas about “digital physics” etc, quantum computing, etc.

its in economics, and the better understandings of models and more accurate simulations.

its in educational shifts such as recognition of “STEM”, rise of CS degrees, MOOCs, robotics clubs, etc.

the algorithmic lens has already had mass impact on science and culture and will continue to have massive influence.

it can be seen in scientific conferences and foundations eg the Simons foundation noticing it and interacting/ connecting with it (again, surely more to come on that).

this blog was founded partly on the idea, and its great to see it named, recognized, developed, and continue to advance and evolve.

300px-Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa2its a Very Big Wave made up of many different waves, but all the separate waves are Big also. its like the Hokusai painting. hold onto the boat—for dear life! hope it doesnt tip over! but, on other hand, as legendary athlete Laird Hamilton shows, sometimes new big waves can be surfed/ conquered by exceptional humans….

the algorithmic lens is not entirely ideal or even benign, it has a dark side that also must be faced and acknowledged. this shows up in dystopian science fiction about runaway AIs, increasing alarm by current elite visionary thinkers etc… its in the massive NSA surveillance, its in the lethal drones that are controlled like video games and have killed thousands, a significant percent “noncombatants” ie “innocent civilians” in less euphemistic/ propagandistic terms.

its in our daily lives, our daily reality. its both, at times, liberating, revolutionary, pedestrian, and threatening. its simultaneously paradoxically unstoppable but also subject to the influence of everyone. it can feel both overwhelming and underwhelming at times. it touches every area of our lives & the social order. it has much greater than “Dickensian” aspects/ implications. formidable, intimidating, monolithic, all-encompassing, “wired”, verging on a sort of Digital(ized/izing) Tao.

its really great to be alive/ coincide at the same time and have some interconnection with its emergence.


(6/10) TED also has a lot of awesome content on the subj, recently added to this blog sidebar, also adding below [f]


a. lens
b. pioneers
c. thinking/ worldview
d. ias lens
e. tieins
f. TED talks/ videos

1 thought on “tribute to/ celebration of the Algorithmic Lens

  1. Pingback: cyberspace unleashed 2015, huge link pile | Turing Machine

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