应不应该看伴侣手机?

继续我们的奇葩说系列。感谢老婆推荐的好节目。

这个问题的本质是,为什么人有隐私权?

大概半年前我也想不通这个事情?我在去年NSA出事儿的时候还在组里的邮件列表上问过这个问题。难道增加信息透明度和对称性不是好事吗?这样人们就都对真相更了解了,做事也更有效率了,判断也更公正了,多好?

当时问的结论是,大部分西方人也只是被教育说隐私权是一个重要的东西,而其实也不知道为什么重要。

很多人论证隐私权是从己所不欲勿施于人的角度去说的。但是和生命权不一样,愿意放弃自己隐私,觉得自己(至少在伴侣或者朋友面前)可以坦坦荡荡问心无愧没什么可瞒着的人还大有人在。如果伴侣中的一方不在乎隐私,那么另一方就也必须放弃隐私吗?所以,要讲隐私权,光有对等原则是不够的。

我自己(觉得自己)想明白隐私权这事儿是今年夏天读《易中天中华史》的时候发生的。

隐私权的本质是自由。自由的本质是不需要伤害别人,也不会受到别人伤害。而不会受到别人伤害里面很重要的一方面是不需要担心会受到别人的伤害。一个人伤害一个人不一定是恶意的,有时只是因为经验不同背景不同信息不对称科学技术不发达而带来的误解。而这种误解有时可以立刻带来巨大的伤害,而需要很大努力很长时间才能把这个误解的威胁消除。生在红旗下而望子成龙望女成凤的父母特别担心你早恋,可学校你最能谈得来的同学却是个异性,怎么办?当然最理想的办法是能改变父母的想法,但这需要漫长的时间和精力,现下最好的办法只能是瞒着。隐私权给这个社会上的异类一小片自由发展的空间,而异类的自由发展往往是社会进步与创新的重要推动力。

那么伴侣呢?

这涉及到另一个问题,就是伴侣是什么人?很多人都觉得伴侣是那个世界上爱你的人,懂你的人,心心相印的人。父母可能不理解你,但是伴侣肯定理解你。

有个能懂你的人当伴侣当然是件幸福的事情,但如果觉得凡是伴侣就一定什么事情都懂你,那这纯粹是自己骗自己,一定是金庸琼瑶看得太多了。每个人都是不同的,没有谁是天生就懂谁的。相互的深入理解都是在长期的艰苦摩擦之下慢慢建立出来的,而这能在这长期的艰苦摩擦中挺过来,隐私权是一个非常非常重要的工具。

如果想尽快了解伴侣的真实生活,多和TA聊点深入的话题,并少一点轻率的judgement,多给他一点自由,让他能尽快放下防备放弃自己的隐私权,恐怕是唯一健康有效的办法。

漂亮女人应该拼事业还是拼男人?

女人其实在这个世界上挺可怜的。漂亮女人就更挺悲惨了。这个世界对女人一直都是不公平的。

女人生得好看,就好像在一个傻驴乱跑的世界里发现自己是一只好吃的萝卜,注定这一生将难得片刻安宁……

如果我有一个长得很漂亮的女儿,我不求她一定要事业有成,也不求她一定要嫁个好人。我只希望她能独立自由,看淡看破各种躲不掉的成见和诱惑,有自己的想法,能坚持善良,但也不为这个世界给她带来的不公而感到太多的难过和悲伤。希望她能找到自己喜欢做的事情,有机会有能力去追自己喜欢做的事情,也希望她能遇到自己爱的人,也有机会有能力去守护自己爱的人。希望她不需要利用自己的美貌去生活,也希望她的美貌不会给她带来太多的负担和烦恼。希望她能明白,人不管拼什么,拥有什么,不管别人怎么想她,怎么看她,她死的那一天这一切什么也带不走。事业也好,男人也好,观察并享受这份生命的过程,经验一个个随机的量子突变是与这个世界的因果律交融交汇,才是这一生唯一的意义。

女人——其实男人也一样——最值得去拼的是自由、独立和在人性上的自我超越。

高晓松批梁植

作为一个小学二年级开始搞竞赛,高中读了最后一届全国理,大学在清华读了第二届姚班,现在UCSD博士快毕业,用将近20年的时间亲眼见证了身边无数少年精英隐没人群的人,在这里掏心窝子说两句。

我觉得梁植同学挺可怜的。

我记得《晓说》里面以前高晓松还批判过中国的伪精英主义教育,不知道为什么高晓松同学最近又这么精英主义……

高晓松的论调是,因为一个学生在清华大学学习过或者拿到过博士学位,所以这个学生就应该甚至必须胸怀天下,而不能担忧自己找工作的事情。

我一直觉得这种论调完全没有道理。

大学生是不是普遍近年来显得更功利了呢?是的。情怀更少了呢?是的。有时想想这事儿是不是觉得有些凄凉与悲哀呢?是的。因此就觉得所有清华博士都应该胸怀天下以彰显名校的国之重器呢?Nonsense!

高晓松自称是一个自由主义者,但他的这论调却实际是与自由主义矛盾。如果是自由主义的话,那么我喜欢想什么事情,做什么事情,只要不伤害别人,就都是正当的,别人都应充分尊重其选择而无权干涉。不管梁植是否优秀,他是否显得胸怀天下,是否真的胸怀天下,都是他自己的选择,只要没有伤害他人,他即便是毕业了想去开一个面包房,想去街边卖猪肉,想去管理好一间厕所,想去做一个清静无为的和尚,也都是好的。不伤害别人,自己开心,做什么都好——这才是自由主义的观点。

当然了,梁植在现场也是表现得不够聪明。前面说三个专业其实多少有点炫耀的成分,而炫耀总是让人讨厌的,后面提的找工作的问题其实也是一个很实际的问题,但很明显不是谈话的这三个人想听的——恐怕讲个笑话都比问找工作要效果好一些……这三个基本都是有头有脸的常上节目的人,梁植同学如果重视一点的话至少应该上节目之前做做功课,了解一下这三个人都喜欢说些什么,想些什么。不知道梁植同学到底是不知道他们喜欢什么,还是心高气傲清者自清所以不屑于投其所好。

最后说点我最想说的:关于伪精英主义教育。伪精英主义教育之所以是伪的,是因为它根本就培养不出精英,压根就不好使。就像钱学森之问对中国人拿诺贝尔奖丝毫没有帮助一样,对学生的精英期盼并不能培养出精英,只会给学生增加长期的额外的心理压力,反而会起到不必要的消极作用。根据我的观察,精英的产生,当然首先需要很多基础的教育条件:比如物质条件基本充足,能接触到丰富的学习资料,学习过程中有良好健康的学友关系滋润监督,有科学的学习计划和时间压力。除了这些基本条件,往往最重要的是这个人是否内心里有内部推动因素。这个内因可能是兴趣,可能是单纯而强烈的好奇心,也可能是自己对这个世界上不合理现象的深深的困惑。之所以需要这个内因,是因为一个人成为一个方面的专家大师,需要长期的学习、积累、思考,需要不断的对细节的十分专注的关注,而这个内因,往往是唯一的能支持这个人克服各种困难和诱惑一直坚持走下去的长期推动力。相反的,外部的社会期望只会让这个人不断分心,去常常自觉不自觉地去想自己应该表现成一个什么样子好让身边的人满意,而不是去想我要研究的这个东西究竟是怎么回事什么道理。

所以,可能一个大学成了事儿之后可以回过头来吹吹牛,说自己是国之重器,但是成事之前,要专注把大学的学问和管理办好,就必须先不把什么国之重器当回事儿,才有可能最后成事儿。一个精英可能成了事儿之后可以回过头来说自己一直立志改变世界,但是成事之前(尤其是做学问),要专注在自己的学识积累、困惑消解和成长执行上,就必须先不把什么国家栋梁当回事儿,才有可能城市而入。本来每个人就难免有自己的私心和人性在其中作梗,时不时就会做不到淡泊宁静,能专心扑在事情本身上已经是很难的事情了。如果不幸还活在一个伪精英教育体制中,外界不断地对你说你是精英你是重器你要报国你要这样那样你不能这样那样,专注就变得非常非常非常困难,而且做得越好越拔尖,承载的各种社会期望就越多,专注就越难。而没有长时间的专注是很难很难出大师成大事儿的。

所有人都想让你成事儿,你自己也想成事儿,但是某一天却发现自己终究成不了事儿,这给人(尤其是年轻人)带来的沮丧感,很容易就让人犬儒并且转而报复性地功利:我这么牛逼素质这么高受的教育这么好,做事情专注不下去,大师做不了,挣钱混日子难道还灭不了你们这些弱人么?

一切伟大的事情都有一个——并且往往必须有一个——卑微而渺小的开始。而自由主义之所以能成为很多伟大创新的土壤,恰恰是因为它对卑微与渺小的宽容、尊重与漫不经心。

依法治国

美国是依法治国,一部大宪法,用了200多年。

大秦国想当年也是依法治国,但是15年就被灭了。

原因呢?一个依的是民法,一个依的是王法。

若依的是党法,两种可能:要么大家都入党,党法被稀释成民法。要么小部分人党内专权,党法被集中成王法。

关键在人大。

我还是乐观的。党虽然有军队,最终胜利的永远是生产力。当生产力与自由平等互惠共生的时候,自由平等不会太远的。可能自由派真正需要努力做的,不是大声和权威唱反调,而是每天都让扎扎实实的好日子与自由平等都互惠共生得更带劲一点。

走着瞧吧。

香港

大部分政治问题背后往往都是经济问题。

香港问题的本质是大陆经济结构的畸形,导致大陆虽然有了和香港匹配的购买力,但很多商品和服务却是香港才有而深圳没有。这恐怕和是否回归甚至是否民主都没有关系。假如巴黎不在法国而在泰国或者韩国,恐怕都会出现类似的问题。

即便本质是经济问题,当香港老百姓觉得自己日子过得不如以前好的时候,想到的第一件事情永远是谴责政府。谴责的理由具体是什么,对不对,有没有道理,解不解决问题其实都并不重要。

香港从来就没有民主过。香港之所以成为香港,除了很多随机因素,最重要的恐怕还是因为其城市执政者的执政能力:开放的政策,明确的法律,便捷的政府服务,高效的决策执行,交通管理,公共安全,自然环境保护,城市规划,文化和媒体氛围等等等等。这些都和民主与否其实没有直接关系。

在经济全球化已经是定局的今天,人们只会越来越联通,而国界和区域界限应该只会越来越淡薄。在这样的大形势下,香港如果想回到原来的香港,必须要教给已经富起来的大陆怎么做好那些需要软实力才能做好的事情,帮助大陆进行经济结构转型,才能共同发展得更好。当然这也需要大陆首先有虚心学习的精神,而且本质是大陆人自己的事情,只有自己才能真正解决(所以在大陆推行切实的法制和民主远比香港要重要……)。如果做不到,大陆经济结构没有变化,即便香港明天就民主了也屁用没有,大陆畸形的经济结构必将进一步影响这个世界的各个角落,而香港恐怕永远会是这场瘟疫的第一站。

当然了,民主还是个好东西,香港的民主诉求没有什么错。但是今天香港积累的民怨恐怕本质不是民主问题,也不是民主能解决的。

My View on Free Will

Okay, I decided that I will write my (somehow unique) view of free will in plain English. I have told this view point to several friends of mine and successfully convinced them, but this is the first time I put this in English (so that my friends that are born and raised in the country of “freedom” can also see my view.) As a second language speaker, I am not a very good English writer, so please bear my writing (or at least bear my not being confident).

Abstract

The world is not deterministic, as physics have shown. This means that we can say that, at any point of time, there are many possible futures. However, free will “in the common sense” do not exist: even though many futures are possible, a human being has no way to “control” which future will become true. The free will concept in the common sense is an illusion or subject feeling of the first observer that knows which future has just become true.

This conclusion of free will shakes the foundation of some of the moral systems. For example, it is hence unreasonable to blame a person who could have done better in his life for not doing his best, because he acts only as the first observer but not the chooser of his own life, and he did not actively chose to live a worse version. Punishment can hence only be justified as a filtering system for selecting more good entities from the past and also as a pressure to force more good in the future, but can no longer be justified in a way that assumes every one could have avoided being punished.

What is free will?

There are many different definitions of free will. I try to narrow the discussion using the following thought experiment:

If we assume that a common sense normal human-being has free will, then it at least means that this human being can choose to raise either his left arm or his right arm in the next minute. I assume that raising either arm will not have any positive or negative outcome for this human, i.e., the man is not threatened or tempted to raise either arm. I assume he has the ability to raise either or both arms, i.e. he is not handicapped in any sense. I also assume that his free will is “strong” enough to overpower his orientation habit, which means that it does not really matter if he is a left-handed or right-handed man. In short, if he raise an arm, it is only because he “chose” to do so, and this serves as an evidence that he has free will.

This setup has some important structure. Before the choice is made, there are (at least) two different possible futures: he raised his left arm or he raised his right arm. After the choice is made, the future pictures collapse into one possible future, and before the man exposes the choice (assuming there is no fancy brain activity monitoring cables on the man’s head), the man is the only person in the world that knows which one is likely to be the possible future. The view of the future is asymmetric for the chooser and a non-chooser of the matter. I call this asymmetric view of the future “the advantage of the chooser”.

As a simplified model, there is an exact time point in the procedure when the chooser made the choice. The question is how the choice actually comes out? Before that time point, the man did not choose, because the choice is not out yet. After the time point, the man also did not choose; the choice is already made. Right at that time point, the man made the choice, but how did that happen? At that time point, did the man have any sort of control on how the choice is made that is stronger than anyone else in the world?

My claim is that the choosing is completely an objective random outcome, probably derived from an observation of a quantum state in the man’s body (or some other inherently random entropy source). The chooser himself has no capability to control the result of the choice any more than any other men in the world.

How to prove that claim? Here is the proof:

Let’s build a robotic machine that has two arms and does one and only one thing: upon requests, it can raise one of its arms based on a random number generator that derives from some quantum state in the machine (or some other entropy source). From an outside observer’s point of view, this machine is no different from the choosing human that I mentioned above, in terms of having a free will or not. The choosing procedure is exactly the same, and there is no observable or measurable difference that shows the human chooser has more control on the choosing result than the machine chooser. Applying Occam’s razor, with no observable difference, the two entities should be considered equivalent. This means that if we admit that the machine does not have free will (because it seems too dumb to be able to choose), then we also have to admit that the human chooser also does not have free will; similarly, on the other hand, if we say that the human chooser has free will, then we also have to admit that the machine we just built also has free will.

Even when I am actually the human chooser myself, where I am totally aware of the choosing procedure and my mind activities, when I review the entire choosing procedure afterwards, I also have no clue where the choice comes from at the choosing point. I can observe no difference if the choice happen to be derived from the moving direction of an object, say a bacteria, in my brain.

In short, free will (if exists) is nothing more than a boxed machine equipped with a random number generator.

Why we strongly feel that we can choose?

So we cannot choose with free will, then why we strongly feel that we can choose?

First, most of the choices are largely algorithmic; they do not come from completely nowhere. Some come from reasoning, some come from external threatening or tempting, some come from our habits, some come from our feelings. These choices are largely the result of an execution of existing deterministic and predictable algorithms, though the algorithms might take random variables as inputs at some (critical) steps, which makes them not completely deterministic. The point here is that we do make choices by executing our own deterministic algorithm in our body, but since it is deterministic, it is not free will (in common sense), although it often gives us a strong feeling of being able to control the outcome during the execution. The input for the algorithms (including the algorithm itself, if you think of it a program) is often already determined. Just that this execution procedure is often the very first time that we really understand where this particular input leads us.

Second, for the non-deterministic part, we strongly feel that we can choose mainly because of “the advantage of the chooser”, because we are the first one that observes the result of the choice, and we can even “choose to” hide it if we want for many cases (again, whether we “choose” to hide it or not here either deterministically based on an the algorithm execution in our body, or non-deterministically based on another choice that derives from the entropy source in our body). It is this chooser’s advantage that distinguishes ourselves from all the other human-being existence in the world, and makes us individuals.

In short, we strongly feel that we can choose because we observe the non-deterministic result of “choice” as the first observer, and deeply embeds these choices in our (largely deterministic) execution of our own thoughts.

How it breaks our moral system?

Many concepts of our moral system is built on the assumption that human beings have free will. We think that a man is morally responsible for his past behaviors because he could choose on his own behavior. (I still remember the scene in Minority Report, where the oracle girl tells Tom Cruise that he can choose.)

However, if we admit that nobody can choose based on free will, a reasonable man can no longer blame a student for not working hard enough much more than blaming the result of a quantum state measurement, a reasonable man can no longer blame a criminal that kills innocents much more than blaming a boxed machine that equipped with a random number generator, a reasonable man can no longer blame North Korean or China not having enough human rights and democracy much more than blaming there is no life existence on the planet of Mars. The world is not deterministic, but it exists in its current form purely due to chance, where nobody has any control over it.

Bad things happen because it is unlucky.

How it won’t completely break our moral system?

Not everyone uses Occam’s razor for understanding the world, and the society is not organized purely based on reasoning, but also based on people’s belief. Just like people will continue their belief in God even there is no evidence for God’s existence; people will also continue their belief on free will (where a reasonable man that cannot blame them for believing their own believes, because they do not have any control over it.)

We Chinese often really care about how to succeed in career and life (and often success here often just means being both rich and happy, and sometimes only rich). For these matters, it is still true that if a person succeeds in its career, with high probability he worked hard and acted wisely. It is still true that if a person does not work hard and act wisely, it is unlikely that he will succeed. However, it is not true that a man succeeds because he chooses to work hard and act wisely; it just happened by chance. Also, it is not true that a man can always succeed if he will choose to work hard and act wisely; he has no control of choice over if he will work hard or not.

So if you are already working hard and acting wisely, you should keep doing it. Although you do not have free will to choose, it should not affect how you execute your deterministic algorithm to maximize the chances to have a happy life in the future if your algorithm is based on reasoning. All the reasoning and real-world causal relationship still remain unchanged. If you now think that it does not matter if you work hard or not, then you are understanding my view on free will incorrectly; it still matters. I just mean that you do not really have any sort of control over this thing.

If you are a man that want to live a life based on reasoning, a man that believe that an unexamined life is not worth living, then you should now understand that whether you can or will work hard or not, or succeed or not is purely by chance, where you have no control over it. The foundation of your moral system should be built based on accepting the reality and embracing all future possibilities and enjoying the entire life experience, rather than based on the existence of free will where you can choose your future.

In short, it only affects the moral system for those who want to live a life based on reasoning, which is not the case of all men.

Implication on building “free will” AI systems

Since free will (in common sense) is no different from a boxed machine with a random number generator inside, it is hence entirely possible to build a robot that has free will (or at least gives us feelings that it has free will). Free will is hence not a fundamental barrier for passing the Turing Test, although it still remains as hard as it is now to build a machine that has no observable difference from a human to an arbitrary observer (mainly due to the complexity of how human brains work).

Conclusion

Nobody make free will choices. The world exists as its current form purely by chance. Moral systems that are built on free will choices hence no longer hold their reasoning.

One of my friend feels sad after I convinced him that free will choices do not exist; I do not intend to break anyone’s world view and happy life, although I still happen to “choose” to write this down anyway. I sincerely hope that we can just carry on our own execution of our own algorithms for doing good (and not doing bad), and at the same time happily and peacefully accept and embrace all possible futures.

Windows Phone

如果Windows Phone能重头让我来做,我会抛弃Metro界面,而做一个漂亮的文件浏览器,自动同步到用户电脑上一个叫“我的手机”的目录。手机插到电脑上就会自动登陆/切换到自己的账户。如果电脑上没有你的账户就自动建一个临时的,拔下手机之后就销毁。目录里除了应用,还可以存照片、电影,没有容量限制,实际都存云端,少部分存在本地的右下角加个小图标。底下再做一个类似任务栏一样的东西,都借用Windows里已有的元素,不过可以重新做一下风格,以显示一些区别。任务栏最右边显示手机各种状态之类的。

想象你到一个陌生的地方,可能是酒店、机场、咖啡馆、甚至朋友的家里,找一台连着互联网的电脑,连接上你的手机,就可以像在家里和班上一样工作,一切就都自动同步了。

马后炮回头看,Windows Phone真是有些做砸了……

乔布斯传

一直断断续续地看。今天看完了。

关于开放和封闭的争论,本质的矛盾在于选择既是权力,也是负担。在原型阶段,测试的是想法,是需要开放的。但问题在于,原型设计其实是个技术活儿,而不是一个大众活儿。大部分热爱技术的人都是在玩儿。玩儿当然是很重要的起步,但并不能保证设计的质量。对于一个产品来说,设计者有责任为客户做出各种细节上的技术选择以保证产品的质量,而不是把太多可能的选择留给客户。封闭一体的设计,带来良好的用户体验,这是好事。但故意把螺帽搞成普通螺丝刀打不开的形状,不管乔布斯怎么解释,都是对他人的不信任甚至鄙视。

就像github上成千上万的代码,很多都是hobby一样,能做某个特定的事情,做得将将巴巴,但其实大部分很难真直接拿来用。大部分人没有那个专注,也看不到那个需要专注的需求,找不到那个需要专注的市场。因此大部分代码也就消逝在岁月里,只成为个人的练习曲。

为达成正确的设计而无情且不择手段,很难评价这种风格的是非。它短期内会伤害很多人,因为它强调执行,而没有耐心来微笑地和你慢慢解释为什么这个一定要这样做才可以,甚至它本身也在当时其实就没有自我了解到那个程度,但它一旦执行达成了,设计的正确性最终通过产品显现出来了,却能把整个社会装点到一个新的文明高度。

鉴别一个好的产品是困难的。大部分人其实不懂一个好产品为什么好,而通常是因为有判断能力的少数精英说好因此就觉得好。但另一方面,一个好产品区别于坏产品的原因在于,即便是鉴别,认同一个对好产品的好评还是比认同一个对坏产品的好评要更容易发生一些。就算这个世界可能是一个精英的世界,这个世界本质还是一个客观的世界。做产品不是奉承,不是奉承百姓,也不是奉承精英。

但做产品一定要伤害吗?乔布斯虽然无情,但恐怕也常常并不想伤害谁。至少,伤害不是目的。只是专注做事的人往往太少了。很多人只是把做事情当做生活的手段,而不是把成事当作最终目的。或者说,更本质的问题是认为身边的人当下的幸福感更重要,还是认为达到一个更高的理性和文明高度更重要的问题。这真是一个很困难的问题。爱和真理,哪个是更值得追求的呢?大部分人,不管能力如何,还是会多少犹豫辗转在两件事情之间吧。

爱和真理,可以同时是最终目的吗?这又需要多少能力呢?

有邻社

很多社科学者在讲中国问题的时候都谈到了社会团体的建设。最近有邻舍举办活动,活动有一段自我介绍:

有邻社是自治的公益社团,我们没有领导,每一个加入我们社团的人都可以凭借自己的兴趣找到自己的同道,只要可以让我们这个城市更加温暖和富有人情味什么事都可以做,比如有邻助学活动,通史我们也希望通过这样一件件处于自己和对自己负责任的事情,让每个人都学会在公共场合下如何进行自我表达,如何通过妥协与他人达成共识,我们通过讨论和投票学会对个人偏好进行加种,我们有邻社的社员是一些不抱怨的人,因为我们深知我们的生活要自己去过,我们对自己负责,不论这个世界多么冷漠,人心多么坚硬,我们都愿意向我们的邻居表达温暖和信任,因为我们知道我们就是社会,我们就是现状,我们就是别人眼中的别人。今天我们正深处矛盾和破碎的时代,人人都在表达,却没有共识,每个人都心怀不满,但无能为力,我们熟知的道德观正在破碎,我们正深处一场深刻的危机当中,正如多科威尔所言,历史不再把他的光亮投入未来,人类的未来在光亮中徘徊,越是这样的时候我们越需要跟别人讨论和交流,我们还能多大程度上依赖我们理性和经验进行判断,以及我们每个人应该承担的责任,以及这个责任的意义。

p.s. 什么是加种?