Joel Gustafson

VSN-C Considered Harmful

Professor Winston’s AI seminar is a vehicle for the "VSN-C" mantra, a framework for structuring messages around their Vision, Steps, News, and Contributions. But if creativity is our greatest power, then it is the wild and chaotic and expressive that we must value, not the mechanical and robotic.

The Y Combinator

A ten-minute beginner's introduction to the world's most famous fixed point combinator.

Oracles and Bicycles

There’s a very qualitative distinction between agents that are “oracles” and tools that are “bicycles”. Bicycles expand the range of what a human can do; oracles do something that a human tells them to do. Oracles receive a command, go do something else somewhere else, and maybe come back and return a result. Bicycles integrate into our own selves. But oracles are their own “thing”, a independent entity, and a foreigner that has to be communicated with.

Notes on Computation

“Computation” is a slippery, mathematical idea. In the same way that we only glimpse algorithmic complexity by the shadows it casts on time and space, we only interact with computation through little projections like “Turing machines” or “Python scripts” that are just tiny peepholes into the raw, fluid information-space beyond.