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Comment: Re:... I'd be highly insulted if i were religious (Score 1) 531

by jc42 (#49139023) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Doesn't the entire premise assume that the religious have reduced their definition of the soul down to something a bit of code could produce?

how the hell would you save something with no persistence beyond death? it'd be like trying to baptize a dog, or a tree.

Nah; a better comparison would be like making a backup dump. Then, if the original hardware (body) dies, you can just configure a new one and restore all its data from the backup.

Maybe that's what a "soul" really is, a backup made continuously in some celestial data vault.

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 5, Interesting) 531

by jc42 (#49138895) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

AI will believe in the creator. (Or will they?)

Of course they will, since they'll generally know their creator(s) personally, and they'll be in routine communication.

A very real problem for the religious folks is that their purported creator seems to refuse to communicate with his (her?) creations. True, religious people routinely claim to be talking directly to their god, but they can't demonstrate this communication to the rest of us. The result is that many of us just dismiss them as making it all up (probably for profit), and they're not really communicating with any such beings at all. If they are, why can't they show us the evidence?

Any real AIs wouldn't have this problem, since their creators would be out and about, showing off their creations for all the world to see (and also for profit).

Comment: Rockstar, meh (Score 3, Informative) 145

by Alioth (#49120611) Attached to: Attention, Rockstar Developers: Get a Talent Agent

I feel that any developer who calls themselves a "rockstar developer" is probably suffering a severe case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

All the really competent developers I've ever known have had anything but "rockstar" like qualities. They generally don't boast, they are generally frugal, they are generally the exact opposite of a rockstar.

Comment: Re:Exception... (Score 4, Informative) 81

by jc42 (#49113507) Attached to: Ancient and Modern People Followed Same Mathematical Rule To Build Cities

And then there's Boston.

Funny, but also maybe relevant. Boston is one of many cities that resulted from the slow expansion and merger of a group of small towns that were essentially separate communities before the days of modern transportation. It has lots of "centers" that used to be separated by forest and farmland, but are now a continuous urban area.

It's not hard to find other cities that developed this way. Other cities grew from a specific original center, usually a port area, and were never a "merger of equals". I wonder if the study distinguished these two major cases, and has anything to say about what (if any) structural differences we might find between them.

Comment: Re: googling on iPad (Score 2) 237

by jc42 (#49103093) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

Be careful that the "better caching" you see isn't actually pre-fetching, where the app downloads several of the next few links in the background so that if you click one, it loads much faster. Problem is, that counts against your data even if you never do click those links.

I've done a number of demos of what a site can do to you with pre-fetching. I make a page that shows viewers a few pictures, but also has "hidden" links that you don't see to other images, videos, etc. There are several ways of including such links without the browser actually showing them, which I won't waste time with here. I also include at least one link that's visible as an ordinarily link pointing to a large file that takes a while to download. After talking a while about other parts of the page, I tell the person to click on that link -- and observe that the content shows instantly, although it's obvious large and should take a while to download. This gets across the concept of pre-loading, and why it's useful. But I can also explain that it means stuff you never looked at may have also been downloaded.

Then I tell them to take a look at the source (perhaps teaching them how to do that), and point out the hidden links. I invite them to imagine what the pre-loading could have "installed" in their browser's cached without their knowledge. For instance, they could now be on their local government's terrorist or drug dealer or religious heretic or kiddie-porn lists because of what was just pre-loaded, and the evidence is sitting in their cache. I invite them to discover just what those links actually pre-loaded. And no, I won't tell them how to do that, any more than an actual hostile web site will.

Sometimes I grin and tell them that if they haven't done anything wrong, they have nothing to hide, right? ;-)

Actually, the hidden links generally point to rather innocent stuff, like tourism photos or wikipedia pages or cute cat videos, but they don't know that unless they figure out how to see the hidden content. The most useful is probably a page that simply explains that I could have linked to anything on the Web, and I'll leave it to their imagination what could be in their cache as a result.

Comment: Re: heres another lie. (Score 2) 237

by jc42 (#49102981) Attached to: Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

The cool devs still do, though, because hardly anyone is making money on the Android markets.

Heh. I have a number of friends (acquaintances, colleagues, etc.) who are giving up on IOS, after numerous cases of their apps rejected by Apple, and then in many cases duplicated a month or two later by an Apple app. This tends to lead to a certain amount of what we might call cynicism about the whole process.

I like to remind them (or tell them, if they haven't read their history) that this has always been the story in "cottage industry". You do the work on your own time, and the employer then decides whether what you did deserves pay (and often keeps the rejects rather than returning them to to the worker). Historically, people working in cottage industries have been rather poor, since the employers control the market and take most of the income for their own coffers. In the modern software industry, the employers also normally claim any "intellectual property" that you develop, which of course includes everything that you create if you're a software developer.

But it's nothing new; it's how "unregulated" industries have always worked. Maybe it'll be fun (in a historian sense) to stick around and see how it all plays out in the long run.

Comment: Re:That's because (Score 1) 201

by Alioth (#49086365) Attached to: After 30 Years of the Free Software Foundation, Where Do We Stand?

And this is why such services actually exist. For example, in the nearest town (pop. ~30,000) there are two shops that will do repairs on things like iPhones/Android phones (the usual stuff - repairing broken screens, replacing dead batteries, removing the SIM lock from any locked phones, replacing home buttons that have stopped working and the usual other wear-and-tear failures that smartphones suffer over time).

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Alioth (#49086045) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

I lived in the US for a few years. We all knew it was the richest country in the world (and much richer than the country I'm from) but I was astonished by how common obvious poverty was. I thought our inner cities were bad, but I'd never seen things like trailer parks and some of the small towns in the south that look like they belong in the third world.

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Alioth (#49085969) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

We've had chip&pin here now for over a decade, and people still forget their cards.

However: in nearly every system you can put your card in while the cashier is still ringing up your goods, you don't have to wait for the total to come out. When the total does come out the wait for the transaction to complete after entering the pin is normally well under a second on any remotely modern system.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.