Heyo, I’m Asara Near and this is my personal website. Sometimes I post things about topics I’m interested in, but more often than that I do nothing. I love talking about, creating things in, and learning about a variety of topics including machine learning/AI, software engineering, web development, information security, digital privacy, decentralized systems, cryptocurrencies and finance, rationality and incentive structures, music and music theory, Japanese culture and anime, and probably way too many others. As of 2022 I now spend the vast majority of my time in VR and (occasionally longevity as well) and their applications to end-users as I believe this field will have, by far, the largest impact on the lives of others in the near-future.
My DMs are open on just about any platform you can find me on, and I’d probably love to hear from you if you’re still reading this page. Feel free to chat with me about anything at all via Twitter, email (first letter of the English alphabet @ this domain), Discord (ask me via email or anywhere else! I don’t bite, this is just to stop spam/scraping and I’d love to chat!), Matrix (ask via another medium), IRC (ask via another medium) or Signal (ask me if you’ve met me irl or have some form of reputation/reference to show as this requires sharing my phone number). I also have an anonymous feedback form on this website that you can find here.
I run various websites on the Internet, with the most recent and popular being ThisAnimeDoesNotExist, a website showcasing state-of-the-art AI-generated images drawn in an anime style (>4,000,000 page views, ~1TB of anime girls served every day!). The last service I made before that was Tagmap (a website to help people meet others near them that share the same Internet communities with >10,000 users), webm.red (a dead-simple webm host with >50,000 videos), and this website, NearCyan (a concise personal website and part-time blog). Other websites include my current project, Koe.ai (launching soon tm, or eventually..), a real-time voice-cloning startup, and autogen.ai (not yet up), a curated list of services that let users directly interact with powerful AI models. I have about 10 other websites, most of which are small personal domains or services that I run.
If you want to read some of my recent writing on this website (which I sadly
rarely have time to do keep ignoring), consider reading my Supplements page on the long list of longevity supplements and drugs I take, my Against ReCaptcha page that discusses the many downsides of Google’s ReCaptcha with alternatives and best practices, or my Fact Checking Is Really Hard page for a slightly more political post that attempts to explain why fact checking is a much more difficult problem than many assume.
More random person information
I love music and play many instruments, with my favorite currently being piano and my past favorites having been 8-string guitar and drums. My favorite genres of music are artcore (examples: Xi, An), symphonic video game music (examples: FFXIV OST, Nier:Automata OST), progressive, instrumental, melodic, and djent metal (examples: Animals as Leaders, Uneven Structure, Undead Corporation, Arch Enemy), and Japanese/Weeaboo (examples: Touhou remixes, anime OP/EDs). My favorite games are currently Beatsaber and VRChat, with past favorites including various MMOs such as FFXIV, Runescape, WoW.
I’m generally self-employed and self-directed, with my income coming from various sources such as independent projects, freelancing, and failed startups (half joking). I’ve spent a lot of time in infosec, full-stack web development, machine learning, cryptocurrencies, linux and networking, and reading pretty much anything on the Internet that catches my interest. I started making a page with some links to blogs I commonly read here, although it remains unfinished
AI is likely to have an absurdly large impact on our species over the next few decades. After working in the field only briefly I decided I’d like to spend significantly more time in it, and also updated my timeline for when I think humanity will achieve AGI from my previous range of 40-100+ years to ~10-50 years (this is obviously pretty hard/impossible to predict, but I am definitely more bullish). Although I used to be on the fence on it, I now also think that AI alignment is probably the most important problem we can work on, and the largest existential risk, along with some feedback loops related to biology and bioengineering.
I don’t currently work on alignment myself, but I think spreading awareness of it is a good thing. My current focus is on moving ML projects from the research stage to the product stage, mostly because I think we’re doing a terrible job at that right now, and I would like people to be able to have more fair and broad access to all of the amazing things we’re already capable of. Things are going to get pretty weird over the next decade (and beyond, of course).
I’m interested in optimizing human diet and lifestyle for longevity. I think it’s possible for the majority of us to live mostly-healthy lives to an age of 90-110+, although we face greatly adversarial environments that make this much more challenging than it should be. There are, in my opinion, already many substances that will slow aging down by as much as 5-15% in humans, even if we currently lack the rigorous level of evidence we’d prefer to have to state this with confidence. It’s worth noting that curing cancer would grant us only an additional 2-3 years of life, and that slowing aging by as little as 5% would therefore have a broader impact. I don’t personally focus on optimizing my athletic performance, but rather on trying to make optimizations and tweaks that have a good chance of notably extending my life span. I think we can already extend human lifespan, on average, by several decades, and that it’s quite likely this will significantly improve in the near future, especially if AI turns out to scale out as impressively as some of us think it may. I would say longevity is perhaps the second most important field I can think of behind machine learning, although anything in biotech and bioengineering is definitely up there, especially when combined with it. Although I can’t spend anywhere close to the amount of time I’d like to researching and experimenting with it, reading my supplements page (including the bottom list) will give you part of how my interest in this area affects my life.
Software Engineering, Linux, etc
I use Linux as my primary operating system (generally Manjaro, Arch, and Ubuntu Server) and spend quite a bit of time writing software in various languages (most recently: Python, Pytorch, Django, Laravel/PHP, SQL, HTML/JS/CSS). I’m a big fan of FOSS and computing environments that truly empower users, rather than just give an illusion of power like most modern platforms, services, and devices. Similarly I love encryption, decentralization, and anything that helps people express themselves and form their own groups of like-minded individuals to enjoy life with.
Wanna chat? Scroll back up and read the contact section and say hi!