A nice old fashioned detective story with intrigue, poison and machine learning

This story begins with an ending.

The Han Feizi is a compendium of essays about the bloodthirsty politics of the Warring States era in China. It opens with the death of its author in approximately 233 BC.

In the first chapter, we meet Han Fei[1] — writer, tongue-in-cheek contrarian, freelance politician and perennial insider-outsider — as he is about to speak before the court of King Zheng of Qin. Zheng’s armies are on the verge of sweeping across China, which he will rule under the name of Qin…

With a simple script and a free website, I created a custom sentiment analysis model to tell me which meme stock will head moonwards next. Here’s how I did it.

You’re going to need three things for this recipe:

  1. Lexikat.com’s custom sentiment tool. I have a subscription to the site because I make a lot of these, but there’s also a free tier that doesn’t require your details to sign up for.
  2. Some data. I just copied and pasted a few /r/wallstreetbets threads about GameStop into a Word document. …

In this paper we propose a system by which a self-improving general artificial intelligence could be pushed to evolve from components currently available. Such an AI would be capable of independent learning without results-verification, adapt to its environment, learn new skills without losing old ones, and be able to reason by analogy. It would grow better at learning new skills with each additional skill acquired, opening a pathway for exponential improvement.

The Problem

The development of general artificial intelligence is hampered by engineers’ inability to create a system capable of assessing its own performance, and thereby of improving itself. A…

Assume a system that uses instructions (rules or sets of rules) to transform inputs into outputs.

An infinite number of transformations are possible.

No instruction — however comprehensive — can incorporate all possible transformations, purely because some of them are mutually contradictory. The instruction “save input A” is mutually incompatible with the instruction “delete input A”, for example.

Because no instruction can be global, every instruction added to the system also adds at least one prohibition. The instruction “do A” forbids the system from not doing A. In practice, the addition of a new instruction will generally create more than…

The top mistakes people make when designing surveys

There are any number of mathematical techniques for screwing with data, but the best way to skew an output is not by playing with the numbers, but by fudging the questions.

In fact, it is far easier to write a biased survey than an unbiased one. Even professional researchers often write exceptionally poor questions by accident, without malice aforethought. So how do you avoid these pitfalls?

In this article I’m going to run through some of the worst errors that I encounter on a regular basis, to help you make sure that…

The meaning of protest in China

By Jennifer Dodgson and Ts’ang Chung-shu

In recent years media across the globe have grown increasingly interested in nationalist demonstrations in China. These demonstrations are a semi-regular response to perceived slights or attacks by a foreign country (the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Japan’s purchase of three of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands from a private owner, the South Korean government’s decision to accept U.S. THAAD missile-defence batteries on its territory…), and have been known to descend into violence and looting. …

What makes a leader in China

By Ts’ang Chung-shu and Jennifer Dodgson

Those who tame crows clip their wings, and they are thus forced to rely on humans for their food. How, then, can the birds be anything but obedient? So too does an intelligent ruler tame his ministers, giving them no choice but to share in his prosperity and no option but to accept the titles he bestows. And if they share in his prosperity and are elevated by his titles, then how can they not surrender to his wishes?

- Han Feizi

The Thucydides trap has become a cottage industry in recent years. Barely…

Why Japanese Voters Make Decisions Differently from Americans, and Why Different Isn’t Necessarily Odd

By Jennifer Dodgson and Ts’ang Chung-shu

Here’s looking at you, kid.

I think there are many people with the same perspective as me. The most important thing is to vote for parties and politicians that will realistically improve your life, rather than based on ideals.

- Japanese voter, 2018

Japanese politics is different from US politics. And not in the quirky, hand-wagging way that European politics is different. Japanese politics is not US politics expressed using a different idiom, but rather a world of its own.

When considering our own (mundane…

Ts’ang Chung-shu

Doing research on public opinion.

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