Blog: Age of Synthetic Miracles

Age of Synthetic Miracles
Age of Synthetic Miracles
Date: 2018-Feb-07 02:24:55 EST

A month or so ago, another marker of how powerful CNNs are, when configured in the right way, was revealed to the general public when Google Arts offered to take one's self-photo and find works of art that most resemble that. The match of mine that I like the most was that of Charles Simon Favart; I can see that he has a face similar to mine. Not quite a dead ringer, but still intersting. CNNs are a little less magical for me now because I'm used to them; I'm involved with two projects at work using them, and I've been learning Tensorflow. This (and other neural networks) are I think one of the most significant advances since the SVD. It's amusing how tools for thought are suddenly the most interesting technologies. We can ride these pretty far.

This article on nonfunctional harmony is pretty interesting; I was not aware of the idea before.

Migraines are probably the worst part of my life; I spend over 8 hours a week in agony that ranges from deeply distracting to effectively blocking my ability to think (or sleep, or do anything but experience pain). Migraines are frustrating in how many different forms they take between people; I keep an eye on efforts to understand and treat them. This looks promising, although the high cost is unfortunate. I'm already as of recent on cholesterol meds. Not eager to add something else to the mix.

In less pleasant news:

  • More of the almost-daily embarassments from our nutty president; calling people who didn't applaud him unamerican, and more recently getting jealous of another nation's military parade and ordering one
  • The White House wants restaurant owners to be able to mess with tips. In fairness, the existing tips system is imperfect in that non-visible restaurant workers don't usually get tips, but I don't think that's an excuse to let employers control tips; the tight loop between how much a server can control the other variables to provide a good experience and how much tip they get can't take much meddling. The one tweak I'd do to the system is not allow restaurants to count tips as contributing to meeting minimum wage
I find this effort worthy - to take past presidential norms that worked well and cement them into law. This might be touchy in that without a constitutional amendment, legislation aiming to restrict the executive branch may easily be considered unconstitutional. Our legal system is surprisingly complex because of the balance of powers thing.