The White House is hosting a “festival of ideas, art, and action” today on the South Lawn (the SL in SXSL). We will have someone from USV there to participate.

If you want to check in on what is happening, you can watch the live stream on YouTube which I have embedded here.

#hacking government

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    SL = South LawnSX = ?jacking government would be a faster route to better lives and societies.

    1. Girish Mehta

      Austin has a famous festival called South BY SouthWest, popularly known as SXSW.I expect that SX here stands for “South By”.

      1. jason wright

        I’m familiar with SXSW. So the SX has become a generic prefix used in other event titles? Thx.

        1. Girish Mehta

          Don’t know re generic prefix. But I see SXSL is featured on the SXSW 2017 site if you scroll down a bit -

          1. charlieok

            yeah I think the organization behind SXSW is directly involved in putting on SXSL

          2. jason wright

            Ah, that would explain it. A form of branding.

          3. LE

            See my comment about that.

          4. jason wright

            Or is the WH in the SW quarter of Washington DC?

        2. Jess Bachman

          Yes, its totally a generic prefix now.

          1. awaldstein

            Wouldn’t say generic but brands do grey around the edges when they become common parlance.A great challenge to have to deal with but one nonetheless.

  2. Twain Twain

    See this is the type of intelligence AI researchers (who are mostly logicians and Rational Scientists) don’t have.When they think in terms of search SPACE, they never think about it in terms of experiential context and how our perceptions of things change over time-space and light conditions.They think in terms of risk reductions in standard errors.They can’t and don’t think in terms of cultural appreciation with subject-observer dynamics.And that’s at the roots of why 99% of AI … is “stupid”, imo. Without art and culture, the maths has almost no meaning.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Art, culture, math, meaning? Okay, I will respond with an example I do know something about:As I’ve written here before, my startup is for honoring meaning about art, culture, and more, and some abstract math is the key, that is, doing well approximating meaning, including for art, culture. Oops, for each user and each of their interests, the meaning approximated is that of the user and their interest, with each such interest treated as unique in all the world. The number of different interests? Essentially infinite.Are there issues of errors, numerical errors? Yup. Actually some of the math shows that the math techniques can in principle approximate the meaning as closely as we please, i.e., essentially exactly, and stands to get quite close usually in practice.That we can approximate personal meaning about art, culture, and more, including personal artistic taste, is surprising. That in principle the approximation can be essentially exact is from surprising to shocking! But, it’s true, and the argument is based on some really nice proofs. That we can work with, handle, honor, etc. meaning at all with some math and numerical computation is also surprising. But, it’s true.Right now? The main memory on my computer seems to have some intermittent memory errors. For the diagnosis, I thank the program MEMTEST86! I have some new memory DIMMs on the way from Amazon, due by Thursday, maybe today. Then back to the alpha test of my software. So far, all the software, nearly all needed to go live, runs and apparently correctly. There has been a lot of testing so far. But I want some more testing.Well, is my code, technology, and math AI or ML? Not a chance! That AI/ML stuff is for handling meaning a pea shooter against the battleship Iowa and for my work a spit ball compared with a JDAM!AI? F’get about AI. For AI, get your heavy hat, coat, gloves, and boots: We about to enter the AI fall of failure and then the long, cold AI winter and may never again see the AI spring of hope again. That AI stuff has a little behind it that is good, and it has some, a few, a tiny fraction of what should and can be done, interesting applications, but nearly all of the AI stuff is just hype.AI is seasonal: It has the spring of hope, the summer of sweat, the fall of failure, and again AI winter. Typically the winter lasts several years, and then there is another spring of hope with the next winter not far ahead.Instead of AI, for good, practical problem solving and the future of computing, start with the QA section of a good research library. There look at the good problem solving tools of the past from pure and applied math, abstract algebra, geometry, analysis, functional analysis, numerical analysis, optimization, statistics, stochastic processes, control, etc. as applied in physics, astronomy, chemistry, operations research, experimental design, quality control, electric power engineering, aeronautical engineering, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, mathematical finance, medical research, especially US national security, etc. Then for a particular practical problem, do some original applied math research, right, complete with theorems and proofs.For such work, the computer science people are poorly educated, didn’t take enough of the right courses in pure and applied math. Too many of the chaired professors of ML, etc. don’t even know how to write math.Computer science is going after AI and the future of computing with big scale curve fitting like the medieval charlatans went after healing people and the future of medicine with boiled tails of rats, etc.We’ve been over this before: Apparently quite broadly you are convinced down to the center of the cells at the center of your bone marrow that somehow there is some permanently impenetrable barrier between (A) math and (B) human emotion, feelings, art, culture, artistic taste, natural language, meaning, intelligence, etc.Yes, using (A) to address (B) well is rarely easy, but flatly there is not some permanently impenetrable barrier, or anything similar, between (A) and (B).But apparently current work in academic computer science and information technology in business for AI/ML 99 44/100% does not have crucial prerequisites, is at the evaporation rate of granite reinventing the prerequisites, and is incompetently floundering around. The people doing that work just didn’t take the right courses in school, and they will NOT quickly reinvent that content.Their fundamental mistake: That computing would be needed meant that the key ideas were in academic computer science. Nope.Wait! This just in! On the temperament of our candidate US Commander in Chief, the person to whom we want to trust US national security,…from someone with long experience in the West Wing during the Clinton Administration, Linda Tripp, at…we now have:EXCLUSIVE – Linda Tripp on Hillary’s Temperament: Threw Hard Objects, Endless Screaming, Profanity, Paranoiaby AARON KLEIN3 Oct 2016NEW YORK — In an exclusive interview, Linda Tripp, a former White House staffer whose workspace was located directly adjacent to Hillary Clinton’s second floor West Wing office, confirmed long-reported accounts of the former First Lady throwing hard objects at Bill Clinton.Tripp further described what she characterized as Hillary Clinton’s significant temperament issues, including “endless screaming” and the constant use of profanity, as well as a general disdain for the U.S. electorate, the Armed Services and the honor and dignity of the institution of the American presidency, calling her public persona a “smoke and mirrors act.”

      1. Lawrence Brass

        The mathematical models of intelligence are yet unknown to us, the same way we still ignore the intimate details of most of the neurochemical processes and molecular constructions that happen inside our brains as a whole. Research has been producing a lot of new data, thanks to imaging and more computing power, but it still is not enough.So we have this biologic machine, the brain, which scientists are trying to simulate, at least at the functional level, using for now digital computation. It is a huge problem.…Trump bad pics are just too easy.I want my skittles! 🙂

        1. sigmaalgebra

          You are 100% correct and not in conflict with what I wrote.Here we have three positions: (1) Math can’s handle art, culture, meaning. (2) Sometimes math can handle those, but the current approaches to AI/ML are in a hot summer of effort and will soon be in a fall of failure and then another long AI winter,. (3) So far we don’t understand even as much as dip squat or jack sh*t about how human or even kitty cat or even insect intelligence works. I disagree with (1). (2) and (3) are not in conflict.For a guess on how to proceed with (3), that is in…On the Skittles, I propose double down on November 8th! So, if you win, you get 3 bags, and if I win I get 1 bag.

  3. Susan Rubinsky

    A friend of mine was there yesterday. She’s a teacher in NYC and her class put together a video that was selected for a student film festival at the White House. Wondering if that was related to this event?

  4. William Mougayar

    And The Lumineers to boot. Wow! I’d go for them. Forget innovation 🙂

  5. LE

    The use of “SXSL” here is interesting to me for the following reasons. The trademark is owned by SXSW but the event is not run by SXSW.a) No, it is not run by SXSW, and is not listed under “family of events” on the SXSW site.b) They talk about it on their site but just say “inspired by SXSW”.c) They seems to be ok and/or have granted use of a clearly confusing mark to the government event.How likely would they be to do that for another non-profit that wanted to use a similar mark for their event? (I won’t even touch what I think would happen for a profit event). My guess is that they wouldn’t allow it they have such strong branding going on.What’s interesting is that a SXSL trademark has 1b intent to use registration application in on Sept 8 2016 [1] with the owner the same company that runs SXSW.Edit: Of course they could grant usage by charging for it to anyone if they wanted.[1]…… https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  6. pointsnfigures

    Here are two companies that can have social impact by making govt more efficient:, and Save govt’s swaths of money in different ways. On the other hand, I am only focusing on the MLB playoffs……

  7. Susan Rubinsky

    Oh, cool. Thanks for posting this!

  8. awaldstein

    Thanks! Been struggling a bit with what we can do to change the status quo. This gives me thought and pause.

  9. Matt Zagaja

    Which part of the status quo are we trying to change?

  10. Matt Zagaja

    It makes sense. We are more connected than ever but more divided than we have been in a long time thanks to our technology. It is easier than ever to opt-out of relationships and people we do not like nor agree with. The Washington Post had a sobering article about a Trump supporter over the weekend that is worth the read: https://www.washingtonpost….Ultimately the question that stews in my mind about this is how can we scale our prosperity and innovation? Is it increasing diversity in tech? Stringing fiber across America? Is it providing civil legal aid to the poor?I do not think there is a poverty of ideas, but we do have a poverty of funding, talent, and trust.

  11. awaldstein

    Well said and I agree.I think trust is the largest honestly. Been on a bit of a walkabout the past few weeks giving myself the leisure to think on these items.

  12. Matt Zagaja

    It makes me feel better to know others are thinking of these issues as well. Thank you for sharing.