How to `pkill` unwanted thoughts

Your brain acts like a computer. How would you like the ability to kill any processes that you’d rather not have running? I developed a technique to do exactly this while recovering from a series of manic episodes that lead to intense, unwanted paranoia.  One of the difficult things about dealing with delusions is that […]

Could AI benefit from Sleep?

Sleep is a Computational Technique The best evidence that our brains are computers is what happens when we sleep. Our reasons for sleeping are explained in ‘Why We Sleep’, by Dr. Matthew Walker, the Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Human Sleep. It’s an excellent read, and it has encouraged me to take sleep far […]

A First Principles Faith

I think from first principles. I can translate every aspect of my experience – including the messy, emotional, human bits – into physics and mathematics. What follows is my faith. I believe that I am a locus of conscious experience, in which appear shadows of a massive mathematical structure that contains all possible states of […]

Potty Training, Predictive Processing, and Agency

We recently potty-trained our three year old daughter. This process was a great chance to integrate my understanding of predictive processing with a real life case of personal growth. Potty training a child is also a great example of how understanding yourself as a computational system can help you achieve your own personal growth. One […]

Faith as Rational Technique

A common belief among rational, materialist adults is that faith is destructive.  People like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins argue that all of our beliefs should be based on reason and evidence. By ignoring reason and evidence, they argue, faith allows people to believe all kinds of destructive falsehoods that end up having strongly negative […]

Empathy, Agency, and Turing Completeness

The ability to simulate other computational systems is incredibly powerful.  When a human mentally simulates a machine, we call it debugging or reasoning.  When a human mentally simulates another human, we call it empathy. Yet in both cases, the process is the same: a computational system (human or machine) models and predicts the behavior of […]

Predictive Processing Explains “Show, don’t Tell”

The predictive processing model of whole brain function gives a pretty good explanation for why the advice “show it, don’t tell it” works so well. When you tell someone, you’re giving them a higher level narrative, which ostenbily generates sensory predictions. These sensory predictions don’t necessarily line up with the current observed sensory inputs, and […]

Code as Writing, Version 2.0

It’s impossible to understand humanity without understanding how we store and transmit information. The technology of writing has heavily shaped the human experience. When writing was invented, it enabled new kinds of human cooperation, such as governments and commerce.  Most people don’t think of writing as a technology, and most people don’t think of governmental […]