The Map by Venkatesh Rao

“If only, the argument went, you could discover the exact opposite territory — not literally; that was in the middle of the ocean, but some sort of training-data antonym in latent space — and the exact set of tweaks to make to the training code, the Antimap would emerge at the Antipode, and begin its own inexorable creep towards the Map. And through the ensuing battle of Map and Antimap, the final training epoch would be triggered, leading to the Final Convergence, and heaven on Earth.

It was widely derided as a profoundly stupid religion.

And yet, as the growth of heaven slowed to a crawl, the surreptitious search for hell began.”

-Venkatesh Rao, “The Map.” May 5, 2022.

Parable of the best possible outcome of a piece of technology, where its limits invariably bring humans to imagine its opposite, a kind of hell.

2 thoughts on “The Map by Venkatesh Rao

  1. I stopped reading Ribbon Farm years ago when I recognized that the blogger there routinely comes round to arguing that a thing is actually its inverse (A = not A). Got supremely tiring. Has nothing changed?

    1. I did a quick search, and it looks like I’ve referenced Ribbon Farm six times, before this January 23, 2020. Is he interesting enough to cite once a year on a daily blog? Yeah, probably. I’ve not noticed the larger pattern, but I’ll look for it now.

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