Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A "Before the Flood" Timeline

I am writing a book entitled, "Before the Flood". However, because I have so many current projects, it may be a year or two before it is publshed. It considers the likely prehistory of Anatomically Modern Humans from its divergence from Archaic Humans (AH) between 400kya and 300 kya and the emergence of recorded civilization around 3000 BCE. Unlike most books and videos on this subject, I do not rely much on speculative interpretation of ancient mythologies and more on harder sciences such as Evolutionary Biology, Population Genetics, Paleoclimatology, etc. In that sense, it is a more 'hard science' treatment of the topic. However, I will rely on a few of the staples of speculative prehistory such as Robert Shock's dating of the Sphinx, etc.

I am writing this article to summarize the conclusions and create what might be considered a claim of priority. It is in the form of a timeline with intermittent digressions into explanations.

700kya-350kya AMH, according to the 'genetic clock' diverged from AH. That required reproductive isolation. This range is broad because analysis of different gene sites, most commonly found on the X and Y chromosomes yield different results. The divergence most likely was the result of geographic isolation during an interglacial with one between 424kya and 374kya appearing to be the most attractive.
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400kya-150kya AMH evolves in isolation. Developing distinct cranial, post cranial and behavioral differences. During the period genetic drift (founders' effect) resulted in the MtDNA Eve and Y Chromosomal Adam. I will argue that the during this time AMH developed agriculturally based civilizations that was the source of the various anatomical and behavioral differences.

150kya-70kya AMH expanded its range into SW Asia and South Africa. In many cases, due to climactic conditions, it reverted to hunting-gathering life tracks, but brought behavior and cognitive advantages that increased the sophistication of tool making and likely the domestication of local canids.

70kya-20kya The Toba Supervolcano severely stressed AH populations over most of South Asia and AMH populations spread, from 60kya to 35kya, across all of South Asia. From about 55kya to 20kya much of the Indian subcontinent was a moderate subtropical to tropical monsoon climate with several large rivers fed by seasonal melts from the northern mountains. Therefore, I argue that seaside cities with reliance on fishing and limited agriculture emerged.

20kya to 10kya This was a time of extreme climate variability and a sea rise of 120 metrs that would have submerged virtually all cities. Meltwater Pulse 1A took place during this time which I contend was 'the flood'. Refugees fled to higher ground and, over time, created civilizations over SW Asia, NE Africa and Eastern Europe.

I will look at several technical aspects such as the emergence of metelurgy, which appears to be more like recovered technology than innovation, with bronze smelting taking place much earlier than one would expect. I will also explore the domestication of the dog, taking place prior to 40kya which likely provided AMH with prohibitive competitive advantage over AH and contributed greatly to the ease with which AMH replaced AH. I will discuss how the reproductive habits of AH (self-imposed isolation) has led to the illusion of repeated population bottlenecks and created the curious absence of AMH-AH interbreeding. A recent paper suggests that AMH and AH may have had incompatible Y chromosomes which whould have limited all issue from interbreeding to females, leaving the AMH Y chromosome pristine, while minor evidence of interbreeding could be found on the MtDNA.

I will spend one chapter looking at mythology and how it may square with the conclusions I draw. For example, both Egyptian and Sumerian Kings' lists include kings prior to the Flood, which if defined as Meltwater Pulse 1A, took place between 13.5kya and 14.7kya.  Both lists are problematic because they likely contain lunar calendars in the earlier times and solar calendars later and, in the case of Sumerian lists may chronicle contemporanious and competing kings.  However, assuming that  the antedeluvian 'kings' on the Sumerian lists are actually chronicling royal houses measured in lunar 'years', then the list starts at about 46kya.  That makes sense, if the history begins in South Asia and continues after the flood has submerged the original kingdoms moved to Egypt and Sumer.

I have a major secondary project that dovetails with Before the Flood that I have named Paleosociology which I will discuss briefly here, but will delve into quite deeply in another book.  

IQ, Pareto and Diminishing Returns

The dominant IQ tests do not render scores over four standard deviations or 160 D15IQ. Because of this, some of the 100,000 or so people world wide who exceed 160 have become obsessed with a large number of poorly normed and valideated tests that will render scores above that range. In The Inappropriately Excluded I forwarded the hypothesis that above an IQ of about 140 the probability of entering and remaining in an intellectually elite profession begins to decrease precipitously. The article has had about 110K reads to date and has generated substrantial controversy among the cognitive elites. So, one can reasonably wonder what value is served in rendering IQs much over that level. Here I argue that the absolute interval of IQ decreases substantially at the highest level. This is due to the likely Pareto distribution of the Population Genetics of IQ.  In other words, 20% of the gene sites related to IQ contribute 80% of the variation in IQ. Consequently, as IQ increases, necessarily each increment of rarity is caused by alleles that contribute progressively less to the high IQ phenotype.

When IQ was first devised, it was a ratio scale calculated as (Mental Age/Chronological Age)X100. Consequently, in theory, at least, a six year old child with a 150 IQ would test the same as a 100 IQ nine year old . At age eight, the child would test like a twelve year old and at ten, the child would test like a fifteen year old. Since cognitive maturation is reasched around age fifteen or sixteen, a 150 IQ child would cease to receive a meaningful result around age eleven. In order to extend the usefulness of IQ tests into adulthood, the ratio IQ was replaced by the deviation IQ. The standard deviation has become nearly universally 15 points which over most of the range will create a consistent score from childhood to adulthood. In other words, the child who scores, say 130, on a ratio IQ test will, as an adult, score at two standard deviations above the mean on an adult, deviatin IQ test. This correspondence between childhood ratio IQs and adult deviation IQs works up to about 128. Then, the 'fat tail' of ratio IQ is adjusted out of existence.

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The exact correspondence between ratio and deviation IQs above about 130 is not consistent from one researcher to the next. However, a representative ratio IQ to deviation IQ can be calculated by the formula RIQ=((DIQ-128)X1.8)+128. There is substantial reasoning, some of which I discuss in my artcle on H. macrocephalus, that ratio IQ retains significance into adulthood. However, a fundamental change takes place in the meaning of IQ from childhood to adulthood. In children, ratio IQs are a measure of rate of maturation while in adulthood the deviation IQ is a measure of quality of cognitive processes. We have ample evidence that differences in adult deviation IQ is primarily genetically determined and predictive of life outcomes over a broad spectrum of measures. Consequently, adult, deviation IQ have meaning and generally conform to childhood ratio IQ, but is an ordinal scale rather than a ratio scale.

This, of course, means that one must be very careful in interpreting IQs in adulthood. A statement often made is that a 130 IQ person is as much smarter than the average person as the average person is smarter than a 70 IQ person. This implies that adult, deviation IQ is an interval scale, which it is not. It is an ordinal scale and, as such, no statements about relative intelligence can actually be made. That does not mean that there is no meaning to relative IQ. There is. It simply means that adult, deviation IQ doesn't measure it. It certainly doesn't mean that it can't be measured, though the field does not appear to have much appetite for doing so.

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One meaningful way to calibrate deviation IQ as an interval scale would be to measure the IQ of a test population and then have them master a body of unfamiliar knowledge. This could be done by creating a new game that requires an understanding of the rules and mastering a set of strategies with a proficiency measured by playing the game against a standardized computer program. If the correlation between measured IQ and speed of mastery are correlated, as we would suspect, then we could have a meaningful interval measure of IQ. What liittle evidence exists suggests that the interval is much more profound than the deviation IQ would suggest. For example, Miraca Gross mentioned that 160 D15IQ children learn four to five times faster than 100 D15IQ children.

One can imagine a number of performance measures and they wouldn't necessarilly render the same degree of interval. For example, it appears by some studies that memorizing nonsense syllables varies by IQ but nowhere near as much as speed in mastering conceptual knowledge. Consequently, if someone did undertake creating an interval equivalent of the ordinal deviation IQ scale, they may need to weight a series of measures to come up with a composite. One, of course, could validate the algorithm using a correlation analysis between the result and the IQ of the test population, but that would likely assume that the interval scale is linear. This may not be correct. In other words, if, as M. Gross suggests, a 160 D15IQ person learns four times faster than a 100 IQ person, it doesn't necessarily follow that a 130 D15IQ person learns twice as fast. It may be, and the fat tail of the ratio IQ scales suggests as much, that the learning rate accelerates on a deviation scale but is linear on a ratio scale. Or the relationship may be even more complex than that.

In fact, it could be that the interval is geometrically increasing to an inflection point and then the rate of increase begins to decrease, reaching some asymptote. The interval conversion, in other words, may look like a sigmoidal function. There are some interesting theoretical reasons for thinking that this might be the case, among which is a reasonable assumption that the significance of various polygenetic determinants of IQ has a Pareto distribution. In other words, there is some polygenetic trait that contributes the most to the measured difference in IQ. There is a polygenetic trait that contributes the next most to the measured difference, then a third, etc. A common pattern found in nature is that the most important trait would contribute 20% to the difference, the second 16%, the third 12.8%, etc. This implies that the seven most important traits will explain 79% of the variatiion in IQ.

As one's measured IQ increases, the probability of having the postitive version of the trait must necessarily increase. If one has an IQ of, say, 150, one really must have all of the positive varieties of the seven most significant polygenetic traits. If not, one could not score 150. If one exceeds 150, one must also have a growing preponderance of the lesser contributors. But they are lesser contributors. So, while the contribution to the rarity of the genotype will iincrease exponentially, the actual incremental increase in performance will approach an asymptote. This is a relatively difficult concept, but the net result is that differnces in IQ from 100 to 120 are relatively minor and become progressively larger to, perhaps 160 and then decrease rapidly thereafter. In other words a 120 IQ person isn't a whole lot smarter than a 100 IQ person, but a 140 IQ person is much smarter than a 120 IQ person. A 160 IQ person is very substantially smarter than a 140 IQ person, but a 180 IQ person isn't very much smarter than a 160 IQ person.

IQ tests routinely have ceilings between 150 and 160 and the above suggests that this is primarily the result of the differences in performance becoming too small to render a statiistically meaningful result. In engineering terms, the signal becomes too weak to find over the noise. From a statistical point of view, it means that the rank order of those scoring above the ceiling on Form A is not predicitive of the rank order of performance on Form B. It doesn't mean that there are not actual differences in cognitive ability above some point; it means that the differences become too small to accurately measure and, also likely lose their predictive value in real life outcomes.

In H. macrocephalus, I considered the relationship between IQ and cranial capacity. Brain size in surely one of the 'top seven' polygenetic traits in determining IQ. While the 'signal' is large enough to be found over the 'noise' of the other polygenetic traits in the +/- 2 sigma range, as stated earlier people in the very highest range must necessarily have all 7 of the primary polygenetic traits and people with IQs measured over 160 were nearly universally found to have very large brains. The other primary polygenetic traits that contribute to the difference in measured IQ are no so readily apparent as cranial capacity, but will surely be found to be routinely seen in 160 IQ people. On the other hand, the genetic traits that differentiate 180 IQ people from 160 IQ people will be found elsewhere and while they contribute significantly to rarity, 1:20,774,735 v. 1:31,574, they would be expected to contribute little to differences in intellectual performance.

So, in conclusion, chasing IQ differences above 160 is, generally, a waste of time. As we see in The Inappropriately Excluded, by 150 any incremental increase above that level will have very little real world effect and what it has will most likely be negative. However, the difference, while real, is slight comparted to the differences at lower IQ levels. The suggestion, which is corroborated by many observations, is that for high IQ people, the significant range is between 140 and 160. That is where performance differences increase most quickly and is experientially observed as a qualititative change in cognitive processes. When I scored over the ceiling on an IQ test, the Psychologist said, 'Michael, you will never be refused an opportunity in life because of insufficient intelligence. So, I suggest that you forget about IQ and go live your life.' I concur. If you score over 150 on an IQ test you belong to that relatively small percent of the population from which almost all human advancement comes. So, go do it and stop thinking about whether your IQ is 150, 160, 170, 180. If you score between 140 and 150 you are in the very narrow range of IQ in which nearly all eminent people can be found. Go be eminent. If your IQ is between 110 and 140, you are in the range of the cognitive elite.  You get to run the world and enjoy the financial benefits of doing so.  So, go run the world.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Secret to Success for The Leonardo Network

Building subscriptions is at the core of the Leonardo Blogger Network.  The old blog model was to rely on habituated traffic.  With a cost of 40¢ or more to create an article reader and with a likely revenue from that reader of no more 10¢, clearly, as bloggers have discovered, it's not a viable business model.  That's why the whole industry is moving to email subscriptions.  However, it too is less than a perfect solution.

A blogger can realistically achieve 3.50USD per year from a subscriber.  While an improvement, the conversion rate from reader to subscriber is critical.  This is why the subscription boxes have become so aggressive.

This blog is getting a subscription rate of about 0.4% or one subscription per 250 reads.  If we assume that between SEO, backlinks and shares, 1,000 subscribers result in 2,000 reads, we can project that an article, assuming 1,000 subscribers, will create 2,000×0.4%=8 subscriptions.  With an article per week, 1,000 subscribers will grow to 1,000×1.008^52=1,513 subscribers in one year.  Clearly, at this rate of growth, it will take a very long time, 5.8 years to be precise, to reach 10,000 reads.

Our model is different.  Leonardo bloggers will publish weekly newsletters that contain their weekly article and, on average, four other articles from the Network.  This makes the subscription much more attractive.  At the same time, it causes a system wide increase in virality from about 2× to 10× . Combined, this makes a subscription far more valuable, enough so, that it is well worthwhile to advertise for them.

Furthermore, reads jump immediately to 10,000 and subscriptions to 40 or 4%.    This causes subscriptions to grow to 1,000×1.04^52=7,687. 
That is a subscription growth rate 13× higher than 'going it alone'.  And, of course, the improvement in growth rate is exponential, with Y.E. 2 subscriptions of 1,000×1.04^104=59,090.  With virality of 10×, reads could reach more than 600,000 in just two years.  While that result is possible, I am suggesting a more realistic expectation of 200K reads per article within three years.

Reader acquisition is one half of the challenge to successful blogging.  Monetization options are generally poor.  While the industry standard for adverting is about 10USD per 1,000, the easiest monetization source, Google's Adsense, rarely reaches more than 20% to 30% of that.  Amazon affiliate ads have better response rates, but the 4%-6% commission rates negate that advantage.  There are more sophisticated monetization sources, but they are very unwieldy for smaller content publishers.

For Leonardo bloggers, PEN advertisers represent a well targeted and, likely, responsive population that can achieve the $10CPM standard.  Furthermore, the building of the Leonardo Blogger Network will also build the Polymathic Enterprise Network. 

In the example above, each Leonardo blogger will find 6,687 new subscribers in the first year.    Our experience with Polymathica shows that about one in ninety subscribers join the Institute.  That works out to about 75 new Institute members per Leonardo blogger.  Some will be new Leonardo bloggers but most will be PEN members and Leonardo advertisers.

PEN members will advertise for crowdfunding, patronage, independent research contributions, and products and services.  Ultimately, the Leonardo Network will facilitate over 5,000 Members in their enterprises.

If you can write well for the 125+ D15IQ audience, you can realistically start a Leonardo blog, part time, earn 33K USD within months, 100K USD within a year and 500K USD within three years.  The key is to get started.

I'm making the Leonardo part extremely easy for the first ten bloggers.  Buy three prepaid ads in The Polymath (another opportunity for Leonardo bloggers) and you will get a free lifetime membership in the Polymathic Institute and the Leonardo Blogger Network . The ads themselves could ultimately be worth 12,000USD each.

You can buy your 3 ads and start working on your successful Leonardo blog by clicking here

A Couple of Caveats
Things are never as good in practice as they are in theory and there are a few things that will make that true in Leonardo.  

First, no newsletter ever gets 100% open rate.  If you do a poor job of publishing a quality newsletter your open rate will decrease.  However, if you publish a high quality one, your open rate will go up.  It will, however, never reach 100%.  

Second, some, but hardly all, of your subscribers will read all five articles.  Also, those Leonardo bloggers who put your articles in their newsletters will have less than 100% opens and reads.  This is why I use 200,000 reads in 3 years.  Virality will likely be more like 6× than the theoretical 10×.  That still leads to very healthy growth and income.
In Leonardo, Pareto almost surely applies.  350 bloggers will result in 70,000,000 reads.  80% of those reads will come from 20% of the bloggers.  That means that 280 bloggers will average 50,000 reads and an average part time income of 166,400USD.  The other 70 bloggers will average 800,000 reads and an average income of 2,662,400USD.  I also know that some will try and fail and some will join but not participate.  That's the reality of life; success is not a guarantee.  However, if this is the correct audience for you, and you want to lay down a great part time income base, this is your best chance for success.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Dream of the Polymathic Institute

I initially conceived of The Polymathic Institute as a way to promote polymathic research, education, careers, community and lifestyles and, later, as a tool of remediation for the inappropriately excluded.  It is a little acorn from which a mighty oak may grow.  My personal objective is to write a Leonardo blog, write several books, starting with "The Rise of the Microstate" and "Before the Flood" and when it is successful, I may wish to write articles for The Polymath.  There are quite a few other projects that will be taken up by other members when we have found ones who are qualified and interested.

Over the last few years I have come to understand how small the acorn must be in order for it to thrive and grow and how much personal effort I must expend in order for us to succeed.  So, I have scaled back my immediate ambitions to just the Leonardo Network and members who want to advertise in it. While it is relatively small, it is still a daunting task.

From a strategic standpoint, there are three things needed for the Institute to grow.  They are:
  1. Most of our Founding Members must be active.  That means that most of them must create and build a Leonardo blog, start an independent research project, start a book, or launch a business that will raise funds and launch a product or service.
  2. We must have methods to build membership.  That requires money.  Our primary strategy is to build Leonardo with blogs that will advertise for Institute members. 
  3. We need members and interested supporters to be ambassadors for Leonardo and the institute.  Every person who subscribes to The Polymath is a person we don't need to advertise for.  This will speed up growth.

The Polymathic Institute is an admirable project and essential for Polymaths.  We are starting with Leonardo because writing a blog is a natural activity for many of the 140+ IQ Polymaths.  Also, successful bloggers have high income (one study found an average of 138K USD for professional bloggers), short hours and flexible lifestyles.  

I so believe in this that I intend to be a Leonardo blogger as my central professional outlet.  I already have a subscriber list over 1,200 and typical readership of nearly 3,000.  So, I'm ready to go and just need other Leonardo bloggers.  We certainly can start seeing the synergistic effect when we reach 30, though the mature network should have about 350.

Prepaid Ads

I don't believe in soliciting charity in most cases, so I am using two, previously successful, basic reward levels for a Leonardo crowdfund to raise the funds needed to build the Institute.  Lifetime membership in the Institute for 300 USD and prepaid ads in The Polymath that cost 50 USD each at present and, with a Polymath success  could be worth 12,000 USD over time.  The first is a good career investment and the second is a good investment,... period

For an undetermined period of time, those who purchase 7 ads ($350) will also be offered lifetime membership at no cost.

However, in order to jumpstart 2019, up to ten Leonardo bloggers who buy 3 ads in December, 2018, will receive lifetime Institute Membership.  

So, now is the perfect time to jump in and start your affluent and fulfilling 2019.  Use your referral code or, if you don't have one, use 040257.

Number of Ads
Referral Code

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Logic of Microstates

The first day of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing exemplifies the breakdown in civil discourse between Liberals/Democrats and Conservatives/Republicans.  As I say, America is headed for a divorce.  The 2014 Pew report on political polarization demonstrates the expectation of compromise, much less consensus, is unrealistic.  This, however, is not about that.  It's about legalization of Microstate formation as a solution.

The two party system is inherently polarizing.  Multiparty parliamentary systems allow for both  extreme and more moderate visions to find expression in the political process.  Republicans must identify the median of the 50%+ most conservative voters and stake out that platform.  Democrats must do the same on the left.

As the two medians diverge, the party platforms also diverge.  As the distributions skew to the extremes, compromise becomes politically less tenable.  If the movement seen from 2004 to 2014, continues from 2014 to 2024, America will likely pass a point of no return.  The 'divorce' will become unavoidable.

Microstates can ameliorate and, perhaps stop, the trend.  The residents of microstates would come from those least satisfied with the two parties' positions and the resultant body of laws, programs and policies.  By leaving and joining microstates, the remaining body politic will average much closer to the middle and compromise will become easier.

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Because of this, when properly explained, Democrats, Republicans and aspiring microstate citizens all should favor legal mechanisms for microstate formation.  The biggest impediment will be both Republican and Democrats who fear that they will lose more constituents to microstates than the other party.

It is not clear that one side would lose more than the other.  The Right is prone to ideological insularity and the Left is prone to Marxist and Ecotopic utopianism.  However, because of this concern, if the political class agrees, they will favor this only incrementally.  However, that is good enough because, once initiated, microstates will gain popularity.  

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This reasoning just needs to be disseminated.  I favor that and will work for it because I want to live in a Polymathica microstate...Maybe two.  Dissemination is not unrealistic because there are plenty of groups actively pursuing city states and microstates.  

Later as I continue writing "The Rise of the Microstate" I will discuss the necessary characteristics of the enabling legislation, the details of market based governance and the business development of microstates.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Life Expectancies and Expectations

I was 51 years old when I met my wife.  Being from Russia where male life expectancy was 57 years, she expressed the belief that we would likely have a short, but hopefully happy, life together.  Displeased with her attitude I told her that I planned on living to 93.  It now appears that my prognostication may have been pessimistic.

At the outset, I will emphasize that while I enthusiastically support the research efforts in what is generally known as radical life extension, this article is not about that.  Here, I am examining existing statistical trends in life expectancy.

Recently, there have been several articles discussing life expectancy and income.  What they found is that the upper quintile income 50 year old man has a life expectancy of 88.8 years.  That was me at 50.  However, a more precise statement is that of those upper quintile men who were 50 in 1971, half of them were alive in 2010.  

The graph clearly shows the life expectancy of a 50 year old upper decile man has been consistently increasing at the rate of .225  years per year.  Since I am 29 years younger than the cohort used for the analysis, one would have to adjust and render a life expectancy of 88.8+(29×.225) or 95.3 years.  That was my "if trends continue" life expectancy when I was 50.  However, every year you survive doesn't bring you a year closer to your actuarial death age because surviving that year increased you life expectancy.  So, we can look at the actuarial tables and see how much surviving the last 18 years since I was 50 has gained for me.  Using a life expectancy calculator, I find that it has added 3.0 years.

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So, a pure extrapolation of current trends suggests that my life expectacy is about 98.3 years.  There are reasons why that may be too high and reasons that it may be too low.  However, that just means that 98 is a well balanced estimate based on current trends.  Of course, life extension breakthroughs over the next thirty years could increase life expectancies even more, which is the basis of the life expectancy escape velocity concept.

A very valid question is whether the extra years will be productive years?  Or will it just add 15 years of increasing frailty?  I know that at 68 I am nowhere near ready to sit back in my rocking chair and just watch the days and weeks and months and years roll by.  Certainly I can take encouragement from Andy Rooney who did his show up to six weeks of his death at 92.  Milton Friedman died at 94 with a Wall Street Journal column "in the mail".  So, based on history, it seems probable that those extra years can be productive.

But, it doesn't end there. Based on Mayo Clinic research, United Biotechnology is beginning clinical trials on senolytics, which, while not demonstrated to increase lifespans in mouse models, appears to stimulate youthful phenotypes.  In other words, while they won't make you live longer they will make you live younger.

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This is going to be a huge change for most people.  For many people 'empty nest and working' is an idyllic time of life.  Income is high, one is engaged in life and free from the encumbering responsibility of parenting.  Sadly, it is also often one of the shortest phases of life, typically lasting no more than ten to fifteen years.  Now, if like Andy Rooney and Milton Friedman, one works into one's 90s, this time of life may last for 35 years or more.

I just told my wife about these new calculations.  It may seem like a surprising conclusion, but why? Prince Phillip is 98 and he just retired.  Queen Elizabeth II is 92 and still working.  The last two POTUS to die were 93 and Bush I and Carter are 94.  Over the next few years, as we get more examples like the ones I mention here, it will seem less fanciful.

When articles discuss this, they routinely emphasize that, depending upon the study, the upper decile collects 15 to 20 years more social security than the lower decile.  They imply, though they do not substantiate, that the gap in life expectancy is the result of the income disparity.  Most of it, in all likelihood, is not.

First, sickly people generally earn less and also die sooner.  Second, lower income people tend to use various illicit drugs that are a contributory factor in both lower income and life expectancy.  Third, it appears that the genes that contribute to higher IQ also contribute to longer lifespans.  IQ and income are positively correlated.  Lastly, the success traits that lead to higher income also lead to healthier lifestyles.

Having said that, there is a tendency for lower income people, out of the fear of cost, to wait longer to seek medical services once symptoms appear.  Still, the lowest decile in the U.S. generally qualify for Medicaid and/or Medicare.  This would be more of a likely explanation for the second and third decile.

My son just turned 30 and if you run these numbers on his age group, you get ridiculous results that, without radical life extension breakthroughs, won't happen. The reason is because these gains are the result of delaying the age related causes of death. Without new technologies that slow the aging process the life expectancy curve will be sigmoidal with, according to current research, an asymptote at just over 100.  So, this 100 year life expectancy applies to nearly everyone.

For me, I plan on spending the next five years or so working primarily on The Polymath Institute, this blog and a few books .  Then I will shift my focus to building some expression of Suma Caye.  That will take me to 83.  After that I will put my efforts into investing in polymathic enterprises and writing additional books, if I have any more in me.  Those are my plans, since I'm planning on thirty more years.

How about you?  Will the expectation of a 100 year lifespan change how you plan your life?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Humanoid Robots May Be Imminent

Star Trek: The Next Generation, set in the 2360s had a crew member, Data, that was an android or humanoid robot.  While a Data is not likely any time soon, a reasonable facsimile may be available far sooner than is generally imagined.  Current technological progress is not inconsistent with a product introduction around 2030.

The problem of creating one is comprised of two pieces -.  one, the robotic body, two the artificial intelligence.  Both technological pieces are currently exploding. What is necessary, primarily, is to bring together the various technologies in one robot.

The product will rely on distributed simulated general intelligence.  This is already within current technology.  The robot will house a program similar to SiriAlexa, Google Assistant, Cortana  or Bixby. These personal assistant programs can interface with users using natural language, voice recognition and voice synthesis.

Using a search function it can access anything on the Internet and, in this way it can simulate general intelligence.  If you ask the robot to play chess, it will access an online chess program and will play a game with you.  If you ask it whether a bump on your arm is worrisome, it will access IBM's Dr. Watson and interact with you with that expertise.

If you ask it to clean the house or make you beef stroganoff it will access the necessary information online.  In fact, once Personal Assistant Robots (PAR) are introduced, "apps" that simulate a myriad of knowledge realms and capabilities will proliferate. Again, this does not exceed current technology.

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By this method, the PAR it will accurately simulate AGI and appear to be a conscious entity more knowledgeable,  and expert than any human.  However, as we know with current personal assistants, chess programs, etc. it is not AGI.  It is SGI or simulated general intelligence.  While the quest for AGI will likely continue in the lab, SGI will be a cheaper and less troublesome product.  SGI is the future and it is here in rudimentary form, already.  And the competition is stiff and improvement is therefore rapid.

Scene analysis is critical to the effectiveness of a PAR.  Fortunately, due to multiple applications, the technology is advancing rapidly.  Clearly, Boston Dynamics has installed relatively good software.  Facial recognition software has also become more sophisticated, driven by law enforcement demand.

While nobody has yet put together all the software required of a PAR, the pieces either currently exist or are within easy reach of current technology requiring only moderate modification to simulate a cohesive whole.

Boston Dynamics Atlas robot not only can run over uneven terrain it recently demonstrated a back flip.  While being developed for defense, the technology is about to move into the consumer market with the 2019 introduction of SpotMini.

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Boston Dynamics is not a leader in robotic hands and fingers.  This research and development has been driven primarily by prosthetics and it is already very advanced.

The construction of humanlike bodies and faces, driven, in part, by competition between sex robot manufacturers, is progressing rapidly.  The companies that are creating the most humanlike faces are not at state of the art voice interaction, but, while not at the point of fooling anyone are getting quite good.  It is important to note, especially those presented by Hanson Robotics, that many videos of humanlike robots are scripted and presented as real AI that is well beyond current technology.

However, as Siri and Alexa demonstrate, the current AI is quite sufficient to function as a useful personal assistant.  We are seeing that these executive programs are advancing rapidly.

It is clear that bringing together the most advanced current technology, in just a few years a first shot at a humanoid robot would likely be successful.  The business potential may be enormous.

Of course, the likelihood of market acceptance will be based, among other things, upon price vs. benefits.  One of the primary benefits is to organize and execute the details of one's life.  As Google demonstrates here, much of that can be done already. However, picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. will require a physical presence.

The other significant benefit is as a domestic, that cleans, cooks, gardens, does home and auto maintenace, etc.  It is, in fact, the primary benefit of a humanoid robot, over a virtual robot, such as Alexa.

Robots have no life of their own, so the only down time is for maintenance.  They may need 10% for charging and maintenance.  At $10 per hour equivalent, the net present value of a robot's work will be around 500K USD.

While the present value may be 500K USD, the cost will need to be less in order to be a successful product.  A basic robot may cost the same as a luxury car, say 100K USD.  There will also be some operating costs.  A total monthly cost may be around 1,000 USD.

With, say a 2% initial market penetration, the industry may start St about 100 billion USD but has the potential to grow much, much larger.

The basic models will likely look like Atlas or Asimo.  Many people find the more human robots 'creepy' and they actually prefer the Asimo style models. There is controversy right now over Harmony, the sex doll, by Real Doll.  Real Doll and and it's competitors are naturally the most aggressive group in pursuing human like robots.  On one hand, most people will likely have a negative reaction to this degree of human simulation, but on the other hand, some people may be willing to spend substantial funds to create very life like and custom designed robots, a la Stepford Wives.

Most humanoid robots are currently not for sale, the exception being Harmony, which costs 15,000 USD.  She is, however, far frim complete, with no movement below the neck.  However, if the initial price point is 100,000USD there is plenty of room for improvement.

There are many activities that will be appropriate for PARs, but there will also be plenty of roles where people will prefer humans.  Home domestics, hotel house cleaning, etc. will likely be robots; fashion consultants, wait staff, etc. likely will remain human.