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Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 495

by HiThere (#47418683) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Personally I usually prefer geany or Kate. Vim is ok if you're already in a terminal environment, or if you're in a tight RAM situation, but that is a rare condition.

Note, though, if I'm working on Java, I prefer NetBeans, because I don't know Java all that well. So it's nice to have a tool that says "you need to include this particular library", or "that syntax is invalid". If I were to really learn Java, however, I'd probably prefer geany or Kate.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 2) 495

by HiThere (#47418617) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Bad example. The $10,000 hammer was because of the paperwork required to buy a single hammer for a high security project. Yes, it was extreme idiocy, but it WAS following the rules as specified, and the CIA wasn't involved.

If they'd been buying 100,000 hammers it would have made a lot more sense, and the increment in the cost wouldn't have been so absurd.

What's really sickening is that there was a project that carefully specified the particular alloys and heat treatment that the nuts and bolts were to have, paid for them, and the contractor supplied off-the-shelf nuts and bolts from a hardware store. This was determined after the cause of failure was found to be a split nut. The spec'd one wouldn't have failed. The cheap nut ended up costing a lot more than $10,000.

Comment: Re:What we don't know... (Score 1) 550

I think your mistake lies in the word "initial". If I am correct, consciousness is a recursive process, and a break anywhere along the essential path keeps it from occuring. They've found one place where a break will keep it from occuring. I expect there are others. But you don't get consciousness until ALL the pieces are present, because consciousness requires recursion. So there isn't any "initial" piece. You can start at any of several different places, and if all the pieces are there, you get consciousness.

Please note that there are lots of pieces that aren't a part of the essential path. Late Alzheimers are conscious, even though they are separated from their memory. So is an infant. And it's separated also from intelligence. And from most sensory perception. (It's hard to be sure that consciousness doesn't require SOME sensory perception, but there's no evidence that it does. Helen Keller shows that certainly only minimal sensory perception is required.) Some trance states seem to show that it can be suppressed by certain paterns of thought...though I'm not sure, as it could be that they just reduce the level of memory formation until you can't remember being conscious. Are sleep walkers conscious? They don't remember what they were doing when they awaken, but this isn't really proof. Perhaps they are non-verbally conscious, and so the memories formed aren't indexed with verbal tags, but at the time they MAY have been conscious.

So it's quite difficult to determine from commonly available data what parts of the mind are necessary for the presence of consciousness. Even the definition is a bit fuzzy. If you don't remember being conscious, does this mean that you weren't? I don't think so, but many common uses of the term seem to imply this. E.g., the common proof of unconsciousness under general anesthesia is that you don't remember being conscious. But anesthesia commonly interferes with memory formation even while you are recovering from it to the point of asking questions. And I think that if you are asking "How did the operation go?", then you need to be counted as conscious, even if you can't remember either asking the question or what the answer was.

Comment: Re:What we don't know... (Score 1) 550

IIRC, there was an article today about the location of the origin of consciousness having been located. It's probably an overstatement, as I expect that there are many essential pieces, but it's not utter mystery any more. It's a problem that's being worked on. And there are at least some partial answers.

Comment: Re:AI is always (Score 1) 550

The thing is, the Google Car driver isn't a general intelligence. It's quite specialized. Watson, OTOH, is a much more general intelltigence. But it still doesn't have a hierarchy of goals that allows it to override what it is told to do. I'm not sure, however, that that counts as intelligence rather than something else.

FWIW, AI programs come up with ideas all the time. But they are designed to prune them to match their goal structure. (So are you, but your goal structure is much more self-centered.) Coming up with idea is not a problem, coming up with appropriate ideas, and knowing that they are appropriate is still a problem. Watson appears to be addressing that problem. Currently an incarnation of it has learned to diagnose cancer better than most doctors. An earlier incarnation learned to play Jephrody better than most humans. (Lots better.) And the hardware requirements have been shrinking. (I'm not sure how much is hardware improvement and how much is program improvement.)

I expect that a near-term target of Watson will be middle-management...though I also expect that it will be presented as offering advice rather than as replacing them. Basically what it will do is allow one manager to directly manage an increasing number of workers efficiently. This will prepare it for a career as an advisor to politicians.

Do note, however, that this isn't what he was talking about. He was talking about Cyborgs. These are held back by two things: The lack of a long term neural connector that won't destroy the neurons that they connect to, and the fact that installing significant Cyborg modifications requires surgery. I expect the first problem to be solved within the decade, but as for the second...

Comment: Re:Now thats incentive (Score 1) 550

Well, my estimate for the first "human equivalent" AI is still 2030. But I'm using a very rough estimate for "human equivalent", and I'm only talking about the first iteration.

He's talking about cyborgs. That depends less on AI than on a few crucial inventions that haven't quite happened yet, and are difficult to predict, though lots of effort is being put into them. One is a long-term neural connector that keeps working and doesn't kill the neurons that it connects to. Until that's done, we can't make cyborgs that use neural interfaces. There's also a bit more work needed on decoding the "machine language" of the brain. Parts of it are fairly well understood, for loose meanings of fairly well understood. Without the long term neural connections we can't try it out in people. And other parts are still pretty much terra incognita. But a built in calculator wouldn't require any really advanced understanding over what we already have. Recording memories, however, is a lot more difficult, much less replaying them. Still, not everything needs to be solved at the same time, and something that would automatically prompt you in response to key phrases isn't much of an advance over what we already have on cell phones. What's really missing is the long term neural connection. And you want it to be good enough to play an immersive game on, so it will sell, but it's got to be useful enough to justify the operation...unless someone comes up with a way to just avoid the operation, but that's pretty much guaranteed to be low fidelity and slow bit rate.

OTOH, to some extent we're already on the path. Consider cell phones, and the way people can no longer find their way around without using GPS. That's a totally external kind of proto-cyborg behavior. We think we understand vision and sound well enough that if we had a good neural connector, a built-in cell phone wouldn't be unreasonable within a decade...outside of FDA approval.

Comment: Re:No validation (Score 1) 349

by HiThere (#47389575) Attached to: Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice

Other reports also say, however, that Qualcomm had released that code under the GPL.

It's going to need more than a post on Slashdot to convince me that they were acting legally, much less honorably. (Given other reports, I think it's probably impossible to plausibly argue that they were acting honorably.)

Comment: Re:Before (Score 1) 74

It is. You don't even need to specify which Bush. But they didn't act alone. The administrations both before them and after them were also complicit.

I'm moderately willing to believe that Jimmy Carter was as honorable as a president can be, but not anybody since him, and damn few of those before him. Before Truman I'm relying on history, so I don't trust my sources, but believing that there was a sudden change just as I started noticing things strains the imagination.

That said, some were worse than others, and often the ways in which they abused their power were different.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel