Epic of Gilgamesh/The Ultimate Regret Minimization Framework

Jeff Bezos invented himself a trillion dollar company and also perhaps one of the best magnets in idea-space for when deciding on a hero’s journey: a regret minimization framework.

The way it works is that you visualize yourself as an eighty-year-old and look back on your life so as to not have it all feel like a disjointed hologram fading into bland hunks.

For some people, this means achieving the things that got people to clap at you. A World Cup winning goalkeeper may die in peace if enough of his motivation system was blind to the larger scheme of things.

However, if you have seen the truth, you cannot unsee it. If you see that there is a possibility to do something about the problem of aging itself, and can no longer make up excuses about how it is impossible because you understand the science (or people who do understand it claim as much) then it will be the greatest failure possible to age without a battle. In narratology and comparative mythology, this would be the equivalent of refusing the call to adventure, and dying because of it.

There exists the possibility of indefinite extension of a biologically twenty-five-year-old body through the development of sufficiently advanced rejuvenation medicine, but due to a confluence of overlapping factors such as that healthcare is mainly about signaling that we care (and not actually caring), status quo bias, and terror management, most humans are unable to be the hero’s the world needs.

The case for why the world needs this is easy to answer for people who score low in the psychological trait of agreeableness. It is difficult to compete within status hierarchies and not feel a sense of enmity when we are all planning to die in the end anyway. Gender-neutral bathrooms, crying about puppies in ads, and the vast myriad of other cheap signaling that is supposed to reinforce an ambient sense of cooperation doesn’t work for people who tend to be cynical. The internal life of such people perhaps tends to become a matter of war or defection under such circumstances – hence wasted potential and needless misery. But if everyone organized around something that more credibly signals commitment to each other’s welfare, such as fighting for each other’s lives, then these people would be given a reason to live up to their potential.

Why privilege giving them a telos and not take into account that most people do perfectly well wallowing in hypocrisy until they drown? Perhaps I’m just selfish. And perhaps being selfish is not a bad thing when it is channeled by the right overarching values?

The Epic of Gilgamesh Is Regret Minimization


Data Representation

Binary Numbers

As we saw in an earlier post, a CPU only listens in binary. Of the vast infinity of real numbers, it can only make out 0 or 1. (Of course, we could have called these 2 and 5, 1500000829 and 469, or whatever other pair. The point is that there are only two elements to things: Ying-Yang, Good-Evil, Light-Dark, etc.) All data is stored in a computer’s memory as binary digits.

A bit is one binary digit:

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 7.39.21 AM

A byte consists of eight slots holding eight binary digits:

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 7.39.51 AM

Since only two different kinds of values can go in each slot, we call this base 2 system. By contrast, most people are accustomed to the decimal (base 10) system, in which every individual slot can hold one of the values from 0 through 9.

There are other number systems, such as the octal (base 8) system, which uses the digits from 0 to 7, and the hexadecimal (base 16) system, which uses the digits 0 to 9 and the letters A to F.

The hexadecimal uses letters instead of going from 0 to 15 because encoding the idea of 15 or 12 or 13 using two symbols would go against the correspondence of one symbol per slot.

So lets analyze the funniest three digit number in the decimal system, one that is a Sophie Germain prime, the international calling code for Bulgaria, the year of Barbatio’s death, yup, you guessed it: 359.

3 exists in the hundreds slot (10² slot)

5 exists in the tens slot (10¹ slot)

9 exists in the ones slot (10⁰ slot)

Therefore, we can write 359 as

359 = 3*10² + 5*10¹ + 9*10⁰

Thus, the decimal number 359 is written as a linear combination of powers of 10 with coefficients from the base 10 alphabet, that is, the digits from 0 to 9. Similarly, the binary number 11011 is written as a linear combination of powers of 2 with coefficients from the base 2 alphabet, that is the digits 0 and 1.

For example, the binary number 11011 can be written as

11011 = 1*2⁴ + 1*2³ + 0*2² + 1*2¹ + 1*2⁰

Here is a list of the binary equivalents for the decimal numbers 0 through 8

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 8.53.30 AM

And here is a list of the powers of 2 and their decimal equivalents

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 8.57.42 AM

As we count in increments of 1, the last digit alternates between 0 and 1. In fact, we can see that for even numbers, the last digit is always 0 and for odd numbers, the last digit is always 1.

Because computers store numbers as binary, and people recognize numbers as decimal values, conversion between the decimal and binary number systems often takes place inside a computer.

Let’s try a few conversions. To convert a binary number to a decimal number, multiply each digit in the binary number by 2ᵖᵒˢᶦᵗᶦᵒⁿ⁻¹, counting the rightmost position as position 1 and moving left through the binary number. Then add the products together.

Using this method, we can calculate the equivalent of the binary number 11010 in our decimal system.

11010 = 1*2⁴ + 1*2³ + 0*2² + 1*2¹ + 0*2⁰

= 16 + 8 + 0 + 2 + 0

= 26

Now let’s examine how to convert a decimal number to a binary number. Let’s convert the year Shapur II halted his campaign (the decimal number 359) into its binary number equivalent. As we can see from the way we rewrote 11011, a binary number can be written as a sum of powers of 2 with coefficients 0 and 1.

The strategy to decompose a decimal number into a sum of powers of 2 is simple: first find the largest power of 2 that is smaller than or equal to the decimal number, then do the same with the remainder, and so on, until you reach 0.

The largest power of 2 that is smaller than 359 is 256, or 28 (the next larger power of 2 would be 512, which is larger than 359). Subtracting 256 from 359 gives us 103 (359 − 256 = 103), so we now have

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.26.24 AM

Now we apply the same procedure to 103. The largest power of 2 that is smaller than 103 is 64, or 26. That means that there is no factor for 27, so that digit’s value is 0. Subtracting 64 from 103 gives us 39.

Now we have

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.28.13 AM

Repeating the procedure for 39, we find that the largest power of 2 smaller than 39 is 32 or 25. Subtracting 32 from 39 gives us 7.

So we now have

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.29.23 AM

Repeating the procedure for 7, the largest power of 2 smaller than 7 is 22, or 4. That means that there are no factors for 24 or 23, so the value for each of those digits is 0. Subtracting 4 from 7 gives us 3, so we have

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.30.48 AM

Repeating the procedure for 3, the largest power of 2 smaller than 3 is 2, or 2¹, and we have:

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.33.34 AM

1 is a power of 2; it is 20, so we finally have

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.34.32 AM

Removing the power of 2 multipliers, 359 can be represented in the binary system as

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.35.30 AM


Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 7.36.06 AM

In a computer program, we will use both positive and negative numbers. Even negative numbers, such as −34, are represented in the binary system. In a computer program, we also use floating-point numbers, such as 3.75. Floating-point numbers are represented using the binary system.





Displaying System Configuration

We have explored hardware and operating systems in general. Now, let’s discover some information about the hardware and operating system on your computer. Depending on whether you’re using a Windows operating system or a macOS operating system, choose the appropriate directions that follow to display the operating system’s name, the CPU type, and how much memory the computer has.

Displaying Windows Configuration Information

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on About.

You will get something like this (although the information will vary depending on your hardware and the version of Windows you are running):

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 6.25.42 AM

As you can see, this computer is running Windows 10 Pro. The CPU is an Intel® Core™ i7-4712HQ CPU processor running at 2.30 GHz, and the computer has 6.06 GB of memory. To see how much memory is being used, press Windows +R, type Resmon.exe in the Open text box, and press Enter. In the Resource Monitor user interface, select the Memory tab, as shown:

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 6.37.39 AM

Displaying macOS Configuration Information

To display system information on a macOS computer, click on the apple icon on the top left of the screen and select “About This Mac.” You will see something similar to this:

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 6.41.59 AM

It displays the version of the macOS operating system that is running on the computer. As you can see, this MacBook Pro is running macOS High Sierra. The processor is an Intel Core i5 running at 2.7 GHz and the MacBook Pro has 8 GB of memory. Your information may be different, depending on your hardware and operating system version.

You can also click on System Report to get more info

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 6.48.32 AM



Prophet Orientation

Tendency to create own status hierarchy? It’s in the eyes.

I’ve watched myself in videos and began to see an uncanny resemblance with certain folk’s facial mannerisms and mien.

Unleash a machine learning algorithm on a population containing faces of any race; you will probably carve out a fairly crisp condition.

High openness to experience, high conscientiousness, low agreeableness?

Ahh… Okay, it’s called INTJ. Just looked up that combination. Probably should have done that sooner. Note to self: less physics and cosmology, more psychology the next time I respawn.

It all makes sense now… why everyone always thought I was angry, and was scared to approach me.



Just kidding, I knew that diagnosis already. And personalities aren’t that simple. In any case, we especially like these frameworks on a personal level because they provide avatar-molds for the mind as it swings forward through the morphological latches provided by its environment. There is sufficient truth to these frameworks, such that we enjoy them and find them useful. However, the real party begins when the prediction-grain delta approaches real-time.

Here are more thoughts on predicting people’s psychology and hidden motives with facial-recognition technology: