Roger Anderson birthday; Oct 09 2020; Would have been Age 69

Today would have been Roger’s 69 birthday but he passed away Nov 09, 2012 at the age of 61. It is hard to believe that it was only eight years ago we were celebrating his 61st birthday with his family and a friend from across the street. Since his daughter’s friend across the street also had the same birth date, we did a joint celebration with a cake for both of them. Initially, we were not sure to have the cake on the 19th or not, since Roger’s mother in law passed away a little after 5pm the day before, so no one felt too ‘happy’ enough to be having a birthday party (What would Miss Manners say, or the protocol be, about having a birthday party the day after a relative has passed away?); but since the friend had been invited days before we didn’t think we should delay having the cake for her also since it was still her birthday so we went ahead with the joint birthday cake for both of them.

As it turned out, it is a very good thing we went ahead since Roger passed away only 21 days later. If we had delayed having a cake for him for something like a month, he would have missed it.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr. – Monday, October 19, 2020

LouisDesyjr@gmail.com

Building an AGI/SGI (Artificial General Intelligence / Super General Intelligence) The path forward – Post 002 in a series

In general, I see the progress towards an AGI in two phases or parts; the first part would be part of a general overall total automation of the entire workforce. The second part would be the automation of the directing of that workforce. I also see that once the full automation project reaches a certain point that it would become in effect an AGI, which could then build a SGI.

From looking some of the writings and research on the subject, I think there are many problems with the approaches being taken in AGI:

1: Too much focus on pure research and not enough on applied. MY recommended approach would be to follow applied through the automation of the workforce and eventually an AGI would result. The pure research seems to be going no where or making any progress. I am reminded of a story from the book Hackers, where some teen working in one of the labs, maybe MIT, was able to coble together enough information and parts from other researchers to make a robot that could coral an object thrown in front of it into a goal area. As I recall the story, this was the 1960s or 1970s and the other people in the lab ‘went nuts’ because it was something they had not been able to do but this ‘kid’ beat them to it. While the kid may have been much better at it than them, I think part of the reason for his success was that he was focused on an end object and making something that did something; where as the other researches were mostly focused on pure research.

2: Computing power – We have more than enough computing power to do something useful towards full automation of the workforce. There are now available single board computers that cost as little as $9. I would put it to people that the problem is not of computing power, but what to do with it or how to program it. Many of the current processes that are being done for work add little to no value to producing goods and services. A fully automated workforce would be an opportunity to eliminate those items.

3: Question on what happens to the workers – This is a question that needs to be considered now, while it may be a decade or two before there is a fully automated workforce, a discussion needs to be had as to what to do with the large numbers of people that will not need to work. While I expect there would still be a need for the creativity from people, at least until the SGI come online, there is a question as to how to structure to run things. My present idea is that if we can get things to where people and governments are not in debt, and running things on a current budget, that either each person would have its own collection of machines that would work for them or there would be some kind of taxing system on a weekly basis where part of the profits from the automated workforce would be paid into a system and then everyone gets an equal share of that on a weekly or month basis, and the amounts would be such that a person would be able to maintain a reasonable lifestyle like our current middle class. I expect that under such a system that finance and banks would still exist but not as large as they are now, since if people could get enough to have a reasonable standard of living then there would be little to no need to borrow or finance current spending from future income. Many other things would need to be changed, like the constantly inflating of assets would need to be stopped by central banks since that would create problems with the value of the weekly incomes being handed out.

4: Programming methods that do not make sense – I have noted that most of the Machine Learning or AI are all centered around ‘big data’; we take a huge set of data and setup some kind of learning conditions for a machine to come up with the best spaghetti web of code to do the task. While it is clear this is better than some of the traditional programming, I do not think it is the best long term. As an example, self driving cars. We are collecting all kinds of images and photos and the car ‘learns’ from what it is told and feedback what it all means; but if you think about how you are thinking when you drive; are you searching through millions of patterns to figure out what to do? I would put it to you that no one thinks that way, and people think a lot slower than a computer, so we are going about it the wrong way. To me it seems like since we could not figure out how to program vision or driving in a car, that we instead are collecting this huge set of data and running a million IF/THEN statements against it to get it to work. While better than nothing, it is not a very good way to program. We need to figure out how things really work and then model the systems on that, not going off and making millions of IF/THEN statements.

5: Better uses for our computing power – In the books AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order and Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy the only things this big data seems to be being used for is to sell advertising and more and more things to people who already have houses full of stuff. Where is all of the world changing innovations that were supposed to be coming from all this computing power, cures for diseases, productivity improvements, automating the workforce? Instead, most programming seems to be focused on remaking software that already exists or selling advertising to sell more products to people who already have houses and businesses that are overloaded with stuff. Google, for all its computing power and wealth, is really nothing more than a seller of advertising space! What good is that in the long run, especially when everyone has a house full of stuff they mostly do not use?

These are some of the considerations and plans for fully automating the workforce.

Good Luck and Take Care

Louis J. Desy Jr., Wednesday, October 07, 2020

LouisDesyjr@gmail.com

The New Normal – Part one of a series discussing of how the world will be after COVID-19

The New Normal

Within the last few weeks, people have started talking about ‘The New Normal’; basically, how the world will have permanently changed due to effects from the recent virus outbreak of COVID-19.

Some of these changes are due to the nature of COVID-19 itself, and others are the secondary effects caused by these changes.

1: Social Distancing – New measures, and recommendations, have been put into place for people to maintain a distance of at least 6 ft from other people, or at least people that they do not live with. The thinking and idea is that being more than 6 ft from other people makes it hard for COVID-19 to spread. Some places are experimenting with various kinds of Plexiglas dividers to keep people semi isolated from each other. I have seen examples for use in restaurants, beaches and parks. All of them seem interesting but I do not think any of them really will work well enough for people to want to put these into enough use to keep business at the pre outbreak levels.

2: Wearing of masks and goggles and other personal protective equipment (PPE) – New recommendations for everyone to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) of masks, goggles and even gloves when out in public. While wearing PPE out can’t hurt, unless worn incorrectly, there are problems with this approach. I have seen people wearing PPE when they were out by themselves and even driving alone in a car. These are two examples of PPE doing nothing since there was no one around the person for COVID-19 to spread to or from and the person was simply wasting a mask. Currently there is a shortage of masks so bad that many medical facilities are reusing masks, which is something that would have never been done pre COVID-19 outbreak. My best estimate of world wide mask production is about 110 million masks per day; but since there are about 8 billion people on the planet, that would mean that on average each person could have a new mask every two or three months or so.

I am particularly alarmed at medical facilities have to reuse masks instead of the standard practice of using a new mask every time a new patient was seen. It seems that a more defined standard of use of masks should be published to the public with:

A: Supply enough masks to medical facilities so that a new mask can used each time a new person is in contact.

B: Masks for people that are in contact with elderly or people with health conditions; like nursing homes or senior centers

C: Anyone else that is in close contact with people and can’t maintain a distance of 6ft.

I have also noticed that many people are wearing masks as though they think the mask will protect them from COVID-19. This is not how mask wearing really works. When you wear a mask, you are mainly making it so you do not spread germs from yourself. The mask acts as a barrier to stop particles that the virus can ‘ride’ on from spreading to other people. In the same manner, when you come across other people that are wearing a mask, protection from the spread of COVID-19 is provided by the mask the OTHER person is wearing. I have noted that some people are wearing the masks when they are outside even though they are not near anyone and will not be near anyone. Wearing a mask in that situation is simply a waste of a mask.

The best studies that I have come across indicate that mask wearing is, at best, 90% effective, so it is not 100% and a better choice would be to maintain distance.

3: There will probably be a second and even a third wave of COVID-19. If the Spanish Flu of 1918 is any guide, there will probably be a second wave and even a third wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. I expect COVID-19 progression to follow the same course as that outbreak. Assuming this is correct, we can expect the first wave to end in June or July and almost seem like the whole thing with COVID-19 is over. Then in late fall or early winter 2020 the second wave will start and it will be worse than the first wave. After several weeks that wave will be over and then a third wave will be in late spring 2021. The third wave will be worse than the first wave but not as bad as the second wave.

From looking at a charge of deaths per 1,000 for the Spanish Flu of 1918, it looks like the first wave peaked at 5 deaths per 1,000, the second wave peaked at 20 deaths per 1,000 and the third wave peaked at 10 deaths per 1,000. My impression of what I have seen of COVID-19 so far seems to be a peak number of deaths in the first wave of 1 per 1,000. Based on that it looks like COVID-19 is about 20% of what the Spanish Flu of 1918 was which would mean a second wave of COVID-19 we can expect 4 deaths per 1,000 and the third wave of COVID-19 2 deaths per 1,000.

4: There is a question if a vaccine will be developed in time to matter. – From looking back at the Spanish Flu of 1918, it looks like there was never a vaccine developed. The most recent discussions about a vaccine for COVID-19 is 12 to 18 months, and some estimates put that it will not be until the end of 2021 that a vaccine will be developed. While useful, if it works, by that time COVID-19 will probably have already spread through the entire population making a vaccine not needed anymore. There are also discussions that COVID-19 may undergo various mutations over time and make it something like a seasonal illness, like colds or flus are today, and something that can’t really be vaccinated against because it keeps changing too much. hopefully this is wrong but if it turns out that is what happens then it will be a difficult time for the elderly or anyone with any kind of medical problems.

5: Multiple secondary effects on the economy. With the massive disruptions to many lines of business there are many industries that will need to completely redo how they conduct business and restructure how they are financed. Many loans are probably going to go bad in these businesses. Foreclosures and repossessions may not work as well in the past to cure default debts since what good is to foreclose on a building if there is no market to resell the building and no one to rent it out to. Many lenders are probably going to be forced to renegotiate the amounts of the loans they extended in an effort to keep businesses going so they can recover at least some part of the debt. While not ideal, I can not see any other way for things to move forward. At the moment there are a number of lenders that seem to be acting and pretending that things are going to go back to ‘normal’ within a few months, but I think they will be shocked when it is clear that in ‘The New Normal’ things have changed and are not going back to the way things were.

One example are comic book stores. Comic book stores, at best, get by in good times in recent years but with COVID-19 they had had no new shipments since mid March. Some stores are doing curb side pick up and at least are getting some sales, but I fear that many stores will not be able to recover from being closed for a number of weeks plus having large numbers of their customers on unemployment. I have been surprised to hear of the efforts that a number of customers have made to do what they can to keep their local comic book store going and hopefully these efforts will help them to make it through all of this. So far it seems that the only stores to close during these COVID-19 lockdowns were ones that were already scheduled to close in March, April or May 2020 and the lockdowns just caused them to move the final date up by several weeks. Diamond Comic Distributing is supposed to ship a weekly order this week so starting on Wed, May 20 there will be new comics in the stores for the first time since mid March and hopefully that will keep the stores going.

I will write move about the economic and social changes in my next part talking about ‘The New Normal’.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr. – LouisDesyjr@gmail.com

Sunday, May 17, 2020

UPDATE ON Projections On the Number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Within the United States – Part 5 of a Series

First, some good news. The total number of deaths is LOWER than my projections from March 2020 of a doubling of cases every three days. So it looks like those projections were too high. Now, the bad news, is that with about 40K deaths in the USA, at the moment, the actual amounts are still running higher than my earlier projections with a doubling a cases every four days. (That set of projections had number of deaths at 33K for 04/20/2020 so with about 40K in deaths as of 04/19 we are way above my earlier projection.) Hopefully the trend will continue to, at least, slow down, and eventually start to drop below those projections, and then things will look like it is improving.

In any case, I am expecting that any wide scale reopening of business and work to not happen until June 2020/July 2020; and even then will still have some parts that will take a long time to recover.

Any one that can work remote may find themselves in that role for a number of months, since anyone that can be kept off site lessens the number of people in contact or risk of COVID-19 spreading to; and it also helps people that have to be on site to do work since there will be fewer people in a facility to risk being infected or spreading an infection from.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr.

Sunday, April 19, 2020 6pm

LouisDesyjr@gmail.com

UPDATE ON Projections On the Number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Within the United States – Part 4 of a Series

Looking at the official numbers being reported, it looks like today or yesterday, for the first time, the official numbers are finally starting to come in at below what I had projected around March 15, 2020. From my last set of projections I had 04/08/ 2020 at 830K cases with 16,609 deaths. For 04/11/2020 I projected 1.6 million cases and 33K deaths. According to the official reported numbers at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ for April 10, 2020 GMT, the United States is at 486K cases and 16,697 deaths, so it looks like things are starting to ‘slow down’ as far as the rate of increase for the outbreak, which is good, or at least better then my March 15 projection. Hopefully over the next few weeks the rate of increase will slow and then the number of cases will start to ‘drop off’. In some countries there are signs that maybe the end of the outbreak is starting; like South Korea.

Good Luck and Take Care,

Louis J. Desy Jr.

April 09, 2020

LouisDesyjr@gmail.com