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#721
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Published a (litRPG) novel today:
51uKM66j0sL.jpg
 
Tournament of Titans

It's a Battle Royale!
 
Vash Daniels was born without arms or legs, and his family is a dysfunctional mess of outcastes in a post-war corporate-authoritarian society.
However, he still loves life and living, and he wins a high-end cortical modem in a contest. With it, he's able to enter the MetaVerse and have fun with his otaku father.
But when tragedy strikes and his already precarious life falls apart, Vash must enter a guerrilla battle royale-style eSports tournament known as the Tournament of Titans just to survive. As a first-timer, he must progress through the Noob's Tournament: the lowest tier, but one which still rewards the winning 3-person teams with $10 million, more than enough for Vash to save his family and himself.
 
This won't be easy, for ToT requires all entrants to be level 80— and he had only started playing a few hours prior. Even worse, he has less than a month to meet the challenge, which will require him to sacrifice all his time and energy during a time when his mother is weakest and the corporate-run state hounds them for every last penny. And even if he achieves this titanic goal, he will face off against players who have spent years practicing to pass the Noob's Tournament, who have mastered the ways of the game and are just as eager to stake their claim to riches.
 
To the world, he says, "Bring it on."
 
As part of an experiment, several passages totaling roughly 4,000 words (out of 112,000 words total) have been generated by OpenAI's text synthesis network, GPT-2, but have been edited for greater unity and clarity with the narrative

I'll also be republishing a vastly enhanced version of El Sexorcisto! shortly.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#722
wjfox

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Wow, you actually used an AI? Impressive!

 

I'm intrigued by the storyline.

 

Just a (minor) typo in the synopsis:

 

"With it, he's able to enter the MetaVerse and have fun his otaku father."

 

Should be:

 

"With it, he's able to enter the MetaVerse and have fun with his otaku father."


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#723
Yuli Ban

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^ Sweet, thanks for catching that. I was quickly copying it from the blurb on the back of the paperback and skipped a word...

 

As for the AI: yes, I had to edit and work with a lot of Talk to Transformer's results, but it was surprisingly easy. And it also assisted with writer's block when it happened. 

What's more, the "editing" was actually editing down. It was closer to 7,000 words (I think) in the raw version. The big problem, as is obvious, is that it would sometimes go on about things that don't fit with the rest of the narrative since you can only use a short prompt rather than the rest of the story.

 

It was an experiment more than anything. If I was more willing to take risks (perhaps in the case where I'm making more money to afford to take risks), I'd probably have used GPT-2 even more. That's my big longer-term goal: publish a novel (i.e. at least 50,000 words) that's at least 50% AI-generated. Maybe by 2021 or 2022, that'll be possible.

 

On that note, I am AMAZED that I actually have the opportunity to do such a thing. If you told me this time in 2018 that in a year I'd have published a book that was at least slightly co-authored by an artificial neural network, I wouldn't have— well I would've believed you, but I'd still be shocked that it was happening that quickly, I'll tell you that.

 

Go back to 2014, when deep learning itself was still so new in the mainstream and I had just become a "Born Again Futurist" earlier that year, and say that I'd publish a partially machine-written book in five years, and just wow. I'd probably have thought the Singularity was near. Er.

 

 

 

 

Speaking of which, what's happening with that book? I could've sworn we'd hear more about it this year.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#724
wjfox

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Speaking of which, what's happening with that book? I could've sworn we'd hear more about it this year.

 

Expected publication: June 2nd 2020 by Viking


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#725
wjfox

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Saw a foot specialist today about some pains I've been having. The good news is, I probably don't have arthritis. However, I need to take better care of my feet when doing exercise and general outside activities. So she gave me a pair of special insoles to wear, and recommended that I get some better shoes.


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#726
Yuli Ban

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I feel nostalgia over my early years with the site. Particularly 2011 and 2012, where I'd read the main site and imagine what the 2010s would be like. I was often disappointed that so much of the decade sounded "boring". Yet in retrospect, the 2010s have been a mixture of better than early-2010s!me hoped as well as even less exciting that I feared. Luckily, it failed in the areas where the 2010s also wound up actually being better than I hoped, so it all balances out.

Here's a capture from late 2011

https://web.archive....y/2010-2019.htm

 

 

The most notable thing in my mind has to be the rise of deep learning & media synthesis. We're playing with artificial neural networks right now, having our fun.

 

But bionic eyes are a no-show, as are robotic military insects (probably for the best on that one, because as drones have shown us...). Electronic paper fell by the wayside because smartphones are just so versatile that the market desire for flextronics hasn't taken off (and really, there are plenty of practical problems with it anyway). Nowadays, I'm not quite as excited for e-paper, but back in the early 2010s (especially around 2011 and 2012), that was what I felt was the defining tech of The Future™. When I imagined the world of tomorrow, it was with the likes of this:

6526803_orig.jpg

 

 

So in that regard, I'm sad about there still being so few bionic eyes— except that's a dirty lie, because there are bionic eyes. They even look like what the prediction itself said they would— more like glasses that connect to the ocular nerves. They're just not commercially available since the FDA's never going to let such a technology go through without extensive testing. 

 

As for the exaflop barrier being broken this year, well... It's not lookin' too good.

 

 

So what I can ascertain here is that a lot of the "futuristic" predictions were shifted around the decade, usually getting pushed back by several years, mostly due to external factors like funding or practicality rather than any limit to tech. For example, those aforementioned insect spybots: we probably could do that nowadays, and who knows, maybe we are. But we're really pushing drone tech at the moment. Robotic pack mules? Well, that didn't work out because of a variety of reasons, starting with the fact Boston Dynamics' machines were way too loud. And then because Boston Dynamics left DARPA. We could do robotic pack mules nowadays however, what with SpotMini being electric and commercially available. But BigDog could've been available on the battlefield circa 2015 as well— it was ready and prepared, but there were just some practical issues.

 

The James Webb Space Telescope should've launched in 2018, but was pushed back. There was nothing wrong with the tech there, nor is there anything wrong with our spaceflight capabilities. Just a matter of technical issues and timing. 

 

The old FutureTimeline didn't even mention the beginnings of 5G in the 2010s, and that started late last year!

 

No, when I say that the 2010s section of the old FutureTimeline bored me, I meant because of the numerous architectural and geopolitical sections. There's nothing wrong with those especially since those are based on actual timelines of major projects. But when I was 16/17 years old and hoping for the future to really be The Future™, seeing that the 2010s is largely rooted more in building infrastructure, sporting events, and anniversaries was disappointing in comparison to the wild tech era of even the 2020s and especially 2030s-onwards. "Man, this decade's gonna be so frustrating!"

 

And it really was for a while there, up until about 2015 or 2016. I still remember that downer period in the summer of 2014 where the high of going full futurist wore off and I realized that the Singularity wasn't actually about to begin, that driverless cars were still fairly experimental, that humanoid robots were definitely still experimental, that DeepMind wasn't going to plug in a special line of code and create AGI, that VR was still years away, and so on. Instead, I still had to live daily life with these fleeting mentions of high tech. How disappointing! 

 

I'd say things have definitely turned around in the past 2 years, though.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#727
Erowind

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I can't stand this society. I should be able to walk to the park without almost getting run over and harassed by jagoffs. This is the second time something like this has happened to me this week. My house is on a formerly peaceful residential road that became a main artery for 10s of thousands of people (maybe hundreds) after a highway exit was built about a quarter mile down the road. Now there are convoys of semi-trucks that shake the house and speeders who go 60mph on a 25mph street. But the worst of it has got to be the crazies.

Let's set the stage. Outside my front door there is a 3 way stop sign intersection on a wide two lane road with no sidewalks or crosswalks. On the left side of that intersection relative to my front door there is a wall of rock left from where the road was carved into the hillside. The hill is a good 300-400 feet tall from the narrow valley floor so the road immediately curves up to the left and you can't see what's coming if you walk up it. I have to safely but quickly get across the small highway level traffic and am forced to walk in the right lane and pray no one hits me because I can't see up the hill.

So today I get to edge of the road and check for traffic. I do what I normally do and claim the lane in front of my door as soon as a gap forms in the traffic I can fit into. Normal people will stop and wait for the other lane to clear, for me to cross and give me the room i need. I have to stand in the middle of the lane and stop traffic or else it's impossible to cross the road. I'm as polite as I can be given the circumstance and won't do this unless people are at least a good few hundred feet away.

Cool, everything is going alright and oncoming traffic forms a gap in the other lane so I begin to cross. Keep in mind the lead car is a good 300 feet down the hill. Normally I'd have plenty of time to cross and they wouldn't even have to hit their brakes. Not today. The lead car sees me crossing and decides to floor it up the hill right at me. I barely sprint across as the nutter screeches on his breaks and slams to a stop right behind me. He then rolls down his windows, puts his parking break on and sticks his torso out his passenger side window and tries to grab my jacket while repeatedly shouting, "you motherfucker, you motherfucker."

I reflexively turned around to face him, flipped him the bird and grunted loudly while getting out of arms reach. For some reason my reptilian brain can flip someone off but not let me talk to tell the guy to back off/deescalate. The grunt was unconscious, I once got startled by a deer once and did the same thing (no middle finger for the deer though.) Thankfully the guy behind him saw the whole thing from his pickup truck and took matters into his own hands to defend me I think. He pulled his truck right up to the crazies back bumper and hit his horn as loud as he could.

After that the crazy backed off and I ran up the hill wanting to get as far away from the madness as I could. Had he tried to fight me I have no doubt in my mind that the pickup guy would have rammed his car. I've seen similar things happen from road rage before and while I was to believe he was trying to help me he could have also just been furious that traffic was blocked in the same vain that the crazy was furious that I dare safely walk on the road in front of him.

That was the first time someone tried to get physical with me but I get cussed at and sped towards regularly. Why did fate have to place me in a place filled with planet killing multi-ton death machines piloted by psychos. I just wanted to watch the sunset from the hilltop in peace.
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#728
wjfox

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If you believe in karma, it's obvious this "crazy" will get what's coming to him, eventually. Hopefully his car gets trashed (without anybody else getting hurt), and he ends up in jail.

 

Also, you should consider moving. I lived on a busy road from 2010-2015 and it caused me severe stress. I moved somewhere much, much quieter and with barely any traffic, and it greatly improved both my mental and physical well-being.


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#729
Outlook

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Ugh, guy sounds like trash. People who can't control their composure in a speeding metal-box of death shouldn't be allowed on the road. I had a lot of that kind of stuff in Libya too. I got used to it and eventually followed after this model of pedestrian behaviour, which I encourage of all pedestrians if we're to fight against the gas-guzzlers. My advice is that any cringe/embarrassment you suffer will dissipate with time if you just stop thinking about it long enough, so I wouldn't dwell on it, unless to tell friends since that helps a lot too.


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Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A


#730
Erowind

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I'm moving by next spring at the latest. It's a matter of getting the disposable income to move and being mentally ready. Moving is stressful in it's own right and this house was fine before the city put that exit in. You guys are both right though. I'll do my best not dwell on it and I'll check that pedestrian model out :)


Edit: Pedestrian model! xD that made my day
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#731
Erowind

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Update. This is what the park looks like on the other side of that hill after about a 20 minute walk. 

 

UBvrVcC.jpg

 

bpBAJbD.jpg


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#732
wjfox

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Just ordered a home testing kit from Thriva. I intend to monitor my health on a regular basis from now on, so I got a quarterly subscription package.

 

When I return my blood samples they'll generate data for all this, and flag up any potential problems:

 

Vitamin B9 & B12 (Active)
Free testosterone profile
HbA1c (Diabetes)
Advanced iron profile
Liver function
Cholesterol (Lipid profile)
Thyroid profile

 

I'm also hoping to get my DNA sequenced at some point, although that's probably a way off. I'm guessing around 3-5 years based on sequencing costs.


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#733
Yuli Ban

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Came across this interesting looking book that tickles every part of my interest:
 

Now You're Talking: Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence


51eNYHqBoiL.jpg
A history of how humans developed our capacity for conversation—and what might happen now that computers are catching up.
 
 
 
Trevor Cox has been described by The Observer as "a David Attenborough of the acoustic realm." In Now You're Talking, he takes us on a journey through the wonders of human speech, starting with the evolution of language and our biological capability to speak (and listen), and bringing us up to date with the latest computer technology.
 
Language is what makes us human, and how we speak is integral to our personal identity. But with the invention of sound recording and the arrival of the electrified voice, human communication changed forever; now advances in computer science and artificial intelligence are promising an even greater transformation. And with it come the possibilities to reproduce, manipulate, and replicate the human voice—sometimes with disturbing consequences.
 
Now You're Talking is the fascinating story of our ability to converse. It takes us back to the core of our humanity, asking important questions about what makes us human and how this uniqueness might be threatened. On this illuminating tour we meet vocal coaches and record producers, neuroscientists and computer programmers, whose experience and research provide us with a deeper understanding of something that most of us take for granted—our ability to talk and listen.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#734
wjfox

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Just ordered a home testing kit from Thriva. I intend to monitor my health on a regular basis from now on, so I got a quarterly subscription package.

 

When I return my blood samples they'll generate data for all this, and flag up any potential problems:

 

Vitamin B9 & B12 (Active)
Free testosterone profile
HbA1c (Diabetes)
Advanced iron profile
Liver function
Cholesterol (Lipid profile)
Thyroid profile

 

I'm also hoping to get my DNA sequenced at some point, although that's probably a way off. I'm guessing around 3-5 years based on sequencing costs.

 

 

Just got my results back. A fairly wide range of metrics provided. Mostly good/optimal, which I was quite surprised about.

 

The one area that's cause for concern is a high cholesterol level. Oh, and they were unable to process my HbA1c (blood glucose), so will have to get that redone.

 

Their website is brilliant and has personal advice from an actual doctor. I thoroughly recommend it.

 

Basically at this stage I need more exercise, more green vegetables and wholegrain foods. Next blood test will be in three months.


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#735
Outlook

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The whole 20 million tree thing is another example, along with my girl Greta, of why we're ruined.

 

https://youtu.be/CmXl7FLDK_o

 

The guy did the math on how much 20 million trees is, and it's ~69.5 miles2 worth of land. More than 300 miles2 worth of Amazon rainforest is cut down every day, globally 29218.75 miles2 are estimated to be cut annually. We're ruined. The west is so far gone from reality that I'm having trouble understanding it.


Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/DGe_Sluth3A





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