Professional Interests

Crazy projects that I really want to do and which could change the world:

Other general interests areas:

  • low-level, performance critical technologies that increase humanity’s computational capacity: operating systems, GPUs, integrated circuit design, compilers, network programming, databases, file systems, cryptography, virtualization, optimization, numerical analysis, … The final goal of all of those for me is silicon AGI.

Things I’ll try to get my kids into because I don’t have enough time in this life:

  • https://github.com/cirosantilli/awesome-whole-cell-simulation. It’s weird, cells feel a lot like embedded systems: small, complex and profound. To reach both biological AGI and immortality. Especially excited about: microscopy, analytical chemistry (mass spectroscopy), DNA sequencing, DNA synthesis, synthetic biology and cell simulations.

    It saddens me that I’ll die and humanity won’t have understood the brain, maybe not even a measly E. Coli…

I really like open source. It gives more opportunities to the poor countries, and reduces lock-in to my current employer. Shame it is not always economically feasible…

I can speak a few languages but I strongly prefer to produce content (code, documentation, reports) in English, since it is more productive to the world as a whole. I don’t mind speaking other languages at the office however.

I’m not a big fan of working remotely, because you don’t feel people’s love as strongly, and usefulness is built on love. But please, give me a small silent office so I can concentrate instead of a silly open space, and create an internal social network so I can see what others are doing. Remote working can only be attempted if the majority of the team also does it, otherwise you will get excluded. Maybe after VR…

For large resources, I prefer textual information (e.g. wikis, issue trackers) over non-textual (e.g. videos, meetings), because it is cheaper to make, modify, searchable, often more precise, and takes less disk space and bandwidth. A sequence of well chosen images is better than any video. Videos must be short and juicy, just to share the love.

I am also interested in academia. I like to teach (people who want to learn) and produce optimal learning material.

I can’t stand crappy tools and documentation. If you have crappy tools, I will end up fixing those tools instead of doing what you tell me to do. Which might lead to me quitting because I can’t stand the tools, or you firing me because I’m not doing the job you think I should be doing.

If our interests coincide, ping me even if you don’t have an specific proposal immediately. I want to know that you exist :-)

Why I am interested in those things

I am bewildered by the beauty of mathematics, science and engineering.

I almost went into theoretical mathematics or physics just for the beauty of it, but then:

  • I got tired of seeing people begging on the streets every day and not doing anything about it
  • it was so hard to find good and free sources to learn maths and physics, even if you wanted to learn
  • the current educational system gives you very little choice or motivation to learn useful fun stuff
  • I found out that programming and applied mathematics were fun!

So I decided to devote myself to applied stuff in order to:

  • make society richer, so that people will have more free time to do fun stuff!
  • better organize information and information generation methods so information can be free
  • destroy the current educational system and replace it by one that lets people choose what they want to learn
  • still have some fun myself!

Sci-fi

Unconditional basic income is my ultimate non-transhumanist dream: to reach a state of technological advancement and distribution of resources so high that everyone gets money for doing nothing, enough for:

  • basic survival needs: food, housing, clothes, hygiene, etc.
  • two children to keep the world going. Or immortality tech, but I think that is harder and borderline transhumanist :-)
  • high speed computer and Internet

Once a person has that, they can learn, teach and create whatever they want. Or play video games all day long if they wish.

I don’t think I will live to see this, so I content myself with helping it happen faster by increasing the efficiency of the world as I can.

Wikipedia list of pilot projects.

Technologies which would help a lot towards unconditional basic income and might be required but which I don’t think I will live to see:

  • Artificial general intelligence (AGI).

    Given enough computational power per dollar, I believe AGI is inevitable.

    Either:

    • silicon based. Would be faster to achieve, but I’m not sure will ever happen given the end of Moore’s Law

    • genetically modified biological brains + brain in a vat.

      Imagine a brain the size of a building, perfectly engineered to solve certain engineering problems, and giving hints to human operators + taking feedback from cameras and audio attached to the operators.

      This likely implies transhumanism, and mind uploading.

  • affordable humanoid robots with human-like energy efficiency and power-to-weight ratio.

    But I feel that this is even less likely than AGI, since I’m alive at the end of silicon Moore’s law and at the start of the Genome’s Moore’s law: information doubles, small sizes halve, but macroscopic mechanical artifacts stay the same.

    I’m pretty certain about brain–computer interfaces, in particular full BCI as defined here. Post my life time however.

    So in the worst case we can just grow brainless bodies and replace the cavity hole with a computer that controls the body, possibly with high level decisions coming from a remote building-sized genetically engineered biological AGI brain.

Of course, it is all about costs. A human costs about 130k 2010 USD / year. So how cheap can we make the AGI / robot human equivalent / year for a given task?

AGI + humanoid robots likely implies AI takeover though. It would then come down to human loving bots vs human hating bots fighting it out. It will be both terrifying and fun to watch.

AGI alone would be very dangerous, in case it can get control of our nuclear arsenals through software zero days or social engineering. Although some claim that is unlikely.

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