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Comment: They already have quick access to social media. (Score 1) 562

by DamnStupidElf (#48842503) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications
With a warrant, that is. Same with webmail and any other hosted service. Warrents describing a particular place and person have a way of producing encryption keys from service providers. When warrents aren't fast enough for them, then you know they're doing something very, very wrong. Unlike movies where Jack Spy decrypts the terrorists' plans in real-time to thwart them, our jokers can barely even share high-priority bulletins about suspected terrorists planning to board a plane in a day or two. It's ludicrous to suggest that they need faster access to information when they can't even manage what they have already.

Comment: Voluntary key escrow (Score 1) 562

by DamnStupidElf (#48842473) Attached to: Obama: Gov't Shouldn't Be Hampered By Encrypted Communications
How about this; the 9 supreme court justices post their public keys on www.supremecourt.gov, keep their private keys safe, and I'll voluntarily split copies of my private keys into 5-of-9 shares using Shamir's secret-sharing scheme and encrypt each share to one justice and post the ciphertext publicly. Then the NSA can stop introducing weaknesses in the free software I use, and heaven forbid they need to peek at my shopping list, but if they do they can convince some actual judges to let them see it.

Comment: Re:You have been challenged statist! (Score 2) 248

by DamnStupidElf (#48837117) Attached to: SpaceX Landing Attempt Video Released

I dunno, I'm happy enough with my voluntary free association with the United States. I'm free to leave if I stop liking it, as are you.

What anti-state people don't seem to grasp is that the very same people who you hate in the government, the people who want to control your life and take things from you, weren't made that way by big government. Just look at Mexico. Big drug cartels (who may or may not be entirely the creation of anti-drug big government) are more powerful than the government. Wherever there is an advantage to be had by banding together and robbing the weaker or more honest people, you'll find that niche being filled. The job of government is to fill that niche with the least harmful and most inept robbers. That overpaid, uncooperative, unfriendly civil servant that you despite? Give them a gun and a posse and see how well that turns out for you.

Comment: Re:Just in time. (Score 1) 219

by DamnStupidElf (#48590427) Attached to: Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

Yeah, assuming you're not doing anything at all with the array while it's rebuilding, and none of the sectors have been remapped causing seeks in the middle of those long reads/writes.

To throw out one more piece of advice; RAID6 is useless without periodic media scans. You don't want to discover that one of your drives has bit errors while the array is rebuilding another failed drive. RAID6 can't correct a known-position error and an unknown-position error at the same time. raidz2 has checksums that should detect the bit flip and reconstruct the stripe from the N-2 known good copies, but at these sizes you should probably start worrying about the possibility of two bit flips in the same stripe.

Comment: Nuclear chain reactions are just tools, too. (Score 3, Interesting) 455

Putting nuclear bombs on the tips of rockets and programming them to hit other parts of the Earth is also mere tool use. Tools are not inherently safe, and never have been. Autonomous tools are even less inherently safe. The most likely outcome of a failed singularity isn't being ruled by robot overlords, it's being dead.

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 4, Insightful) 530

by DamnStupidElf (#47404861) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

Both Capitalism and Communism are supposed to be about maintaining the work force, so guess where we all are today?

A nominally capitalist country pays a communist country for much of its manufacturing because it's cheaper, instead of employing its own citizens. So the logical next step is to just buy the robot factory workers from China to replace workers in the U.S. to save on shipping costs.

Comment: Re: AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 1) 564

The machine has no fucking clue about what it is translating. Not the media, not the content, not even what to and from which languages it is translating (other than a variable somewhere, which is not "knowing". None whatsoever. Until it does, it has nothing to do with AI in the sense of TAFA. (The alarmist fucking article)

How would you determine this, quantitatively? Is there a series of questions you could ask a machine translator about the text that would distinguish it from a human translator? Asking questions like "How did this make you feel?" is getting into the Turing Test's territory. Asking questions like "Why did Alice feel X" or "Why did you choose this word over another word in this sentence?" is something that machines are getting better at answering all the time.

To head off the argument that machine translation is just using large existing corpus of human-generated text, my response is that is pretty much what humans do. Interact with a lot of other humans and their texts to understand the meaning. Clearly humans have the tremendous advantage of actually experiencing some of what is written about to ground their understanding of the language, but as machine translation shows it is not a necessity for demonstrating an understanding of language.

For the argument that meaning must be grounded in conscious experience for it to be considered "intelligence" I would argue that machine learning *has* experience spread across many different research institutions and over time. Artificial selection has produced those agents and models which work well for human language translation, and this experience is real, physical experience of algorithms in the world. Not all algorithms and models survived, the survivors were shaped by this experience even though it was not tied to one body, machine, location, or time. Whether machine translation agents are consciously aware of this experience, I couldn't say. They almost certainly have no direct memory of it, but evidence of the experience exists. Once a system gets to the point that it can provide a definite answer to the question "What have machine translation agents experienced?" and integrate everything it knows about itself and the research done to create it, then we'll have an answer.

Comment: Re:AI is always (Score 1) 564

Everything humans do is simply a matter of following a natural-selection-generated set of instructions, bootstrapping from the physical machinery of a single cell. Neurological processes work together in the brain to produce intelligence in humans, at least as far as we can tell. Removing parts of the human brain (via disease, injury, surgery, etc.) can reduce different aspects of intelligence, so it's not unreasonable to think that humans are also a pile of algorithms united in a special way that leads to general intelligence and that AI efforts are only lacking some of the pieces and a way of uniting them. As researchers put together more and more of the individual pieces (speech and object recognition, navigation, information gathering and association, etc.) the results probably won't look like artificial general intelligence until all the necessary pieces exist and it's only the integration that remains to be done. For example there's another article today about the claustrum in a woman that appears to be an effective on-off switch for her consciousness, strengthening the evidence for consciousness being an integration of various neural subsystems mediated by other regions that produce consciousness.

It's important to consider that AGI may act nothing like human or animal intelligence, either. It may not be interested in communication, exploration, or anything else that humans are interested in. Its drives or goals will be the result of its algorithms, and we shouldn't discount the possibility of very inhuman intelligence that nonetheless has a lot of power to change the world. Expecting androids or anthropomorphic robots to emerge from the first AGI is wishful thinking. The simplest AGI would probably be most similar to bacteria or other organisms we find annoying; it would understand the world well enough to improve itself with advanced technology but wouldn't consider the physical world to consist of anything but resources for its own growth. It may even lack sentient consciousness.

Producing human-equivalent AGI is a step or two beyond functional AGI. Implementing all of nature's tricks for getting humans to do the things we do in silicon will not be a trivial task. Look at The Moral Landscape or similar for ideas about how one might go about reverse engineering what makes humans "human" so that the rules could be encoded in AGI.

Comment: Re:Functionally correct, but insecure (Score 1) 199

by DamnStupidElf (#47287219) Attached to: Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

Unless all the code running on the machine is absolutely type-safe and only allows "safe" reflection then trying to hide sensitive data from other bits of code in your address space is a lost cause. Code modification, emulation, tracing, breakpoint instructions, hardware debugger support, etc. are all viable ways for untrusted code with access to your address space to steal your data.

Wiping memory is only effective for avoiding hot or cold boot attacks against RAM, despite its frequent use for hacking terrible operating systems to hope/pretend that userspace software isn't leaking data into other processes either directly via attacks or accidentally through kernel mishandling of memory.

Comment: Re:We've gone beyond bad science (Score 1) 703

Confidence bands/intervals don't make statements about the probability of certain outcomes. They make statements about the interval itself. At best 95% of the bands calculated will include the "true value". No, this is not a nitpick.

Mod up. There is quite a difference between being 95% certain of a particular outcome and a particular outcome being within a 95% confidence interval. When rolling a D20 a 10 is within the 95% confidence interval [2-20] but rolling a 10 sure as hell isn't 95% likely.

A credible interval (sometimes called a Baysian confidence interval) predicts how likely it is that the true value lies within the interval.

Comment: "Whitelisted" binaries are the ones 0-days target. (Score 1) 195

by DamnStupidElf (#46203511) Attached to: Is Whitelisting the Answer To the Rise In Data Breaches?
So, sure, whitelisting might prevent your uses from running unapproved browsers at work, but it will not secure a computer system against actual attackers. Not to mention that a good chunk of would-be whitelisted binaries actually have embedded language environments (macros, javascript, shell/batch scripts, java, vbscript, etc.) that would also need to be added to the whitelisting framework.

Comment: Re:Fuck religion. (Score 1) 903

by DamnStupidElf (#45849341) Attached to: US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

Assuming we as a society believe that widely adopted health insurance is good, then is it better to have it supplied directly by the government or better to allow wider choice provided by a more free but still highly regulated open market?

It makes sense to let the government compete with commercial insurance via Medicare/Medicaid (in the U.S.). I've heard claims that the overhead of administering those programs is lower than for commercial insurance, but I don't know if it's cheaper than employer self-insurance, and Medicare reimbursement is currently heavily discounted when it pays providers, with Medicaid reimbursement varying by state as far as I know. The ability to opt into Medicare/Medicaid for an additional fee might work. Something else that might make more sense would be to enforce up-front pricing for medical services since at this point it's very difficult to get accurate estimates and of course that also breaks the free market. Health care is generally an infrequent expense without much choice in where it's delivered, however, so it does make some sense for market forces to come from insurance providers who have better pricing information instead of healthcare consumers. Making that kind of meta-pricing available to consumers when they purchase insurance would probably help, a sort of TCO for the insurance.

Comment: Re:Fuck religion. (Score 1) 903

by DamnStupidElf (#45849113) Attached to: US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

The idea that employers have a right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees should make anyone who actually believes in freedom of religion puke.

It's slightly more nuanced than that. If you run an insurance company you have to be responsible for the pharmacy formulary (deciding which drugs will be covered under the insurance plan) and the list of covered medical services and procedures (ER visits, well-checks, mammograms, abortions, caesarian sections, chiropracty, heart surgery, plastic surgery, gender re-assignment, etc.) that will be covered. Suppose you have a moral or financial objection to plastic surgery, which isn't too uncommon for insurance companies. Most insurance companies will not cover elective cosmetic procedures unless it's to treat an injury. This is an ethical/moral decision on the part of the insurance company; they believe that enhanced physical appearance is not important enough to the insured to cover fully. It's a very similar argument that a few insurance providers use to not cover contraceptives and abortion, and in general they should be free to cover whatever they feel is appropriate and the market should decide which insurance companies prosper.

The first problem occurs when restrictive insurance providers also force their employees to use the insurance they sell, which effectively happens any time an organization opts for medical self-insurance. The second problem is when the government requires all insurance providers to provide a basic level of service and forces entities to cover medical procedures or drugs that they don't think are morally acceptable. Both problems are infringements on free choice and the free market, but the latter is definitely closer to what the civil rights act prohibited, e.g. a correction of attitudes and beliefs that are just wrong and harmful.

I think pretty much every employer would prefer not to be involved in health care. It is a stupid system. But the reason that it was necessary is that insurance does not work when the insurer knows the individual risks. The individual insurance market began to collapse in the 1980s.

It's actually surprising that employers don't do the same screening that individual insurance carriers do and refuse to hire high-risk employees, since that would greatly lower the cost of self-insurance. Maybe the ADA prevents it? The closest example I can think of are campus smoking bans which effectively fire or cure employee smokers. Maybe campus fatty bans are next.

I agree with you that some sort of mandate is necessary so that everyone can be insured, but I am not enough of an expert to know what makes sense to mandate. Mandating that every medical procedure and drug including cosmetic surgery and off-label experimental use must be covered would be going too far, and mandating only that insurance had to pay for one clinic visit a year and up to $10,000 per ICU stay would be too limited. Driving some insurance companies out of business because they can't comply with the mandate is probably the lesser harm, but it is definitely a harm if employers/employees have to pay more for equivalent insurance elsewhere. For one thing, there are presumably people who want to buy insurance that matches their ethical standards and if the buyer and seller of the insurance aren't harming anyone else I don't think it's right to interfere. Clearly, only if an employee can freely choose the insurance they want is a requirement for the preceding to be true. It would be too easy for employers to make employees a deal they couldn't refuse otherwise.

The only way to get the ACA passed though was if people who already had insurance were assured that they wouldn't lose it. Many people have subsidized insurance built into their employment package and would lose substantially if that happened. Which is why the ACA has big tax penalties for employers who drop coverage and requires the coverage to meet certain minimum standards.

Perhaps if the tax loophole was changed so that employers could only pay the subsidized insurance cost directly to employees for use in purchasing their own insurance, there would be an incentive to make insurance marketable while getting employers out of directly providing healthcare. I haven't read the ACA directly, so perhaps that's the ultimate goal with the individual mandate.

"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty. You might want to mug someone with it." -- M. Devine, Computer Science 340

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