Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Define "expert" (Score 1) 329

by TapeCutter (#49767339) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
Speculation yes, blind no. It's true that neither Musk nor Gates are AI academics/engineers, but they are both deeply involved in setting up and funding AI research, but the clincher is that they have huge wallets and have a long held personally interested in the subject. As such they almost certainly have a better grasp on AI and it's potential usest than the proverbial Joe Sixpack.

It follows that, with or without fame, they are both "experts" relative to the general population. As such their opinion ranks as an "educated guess" and is preferable to that of the majority of "Joe Sixpack's" who base their concerns on Terminator, Bender or an obscure passage from an ancient religious text. In other words, those with knowledge of what is possible today are more informed about what that may lead to tomorrow. In the same vein I have an (old fashioned 1990-ish) degree in computer science which included an AI component, I have written numerous AI toys over the last 30yrs, and recently sat through the 2010 online MIT course* for AI (just for fun). None of this means that Joe is a moron, Joe is quite likely to be an "expert" in other fields compared to you or I.

Here's the rub with "AI" (or any complex and controversial issue). Due to a messy divorce I hadn't really been paying attention to what had been going on in AI during the 2000's, it blew me away, I showed my 'wife' who happens to be a (sought after) business 'expert' who's lectures attract large audiences. She shrugged and said "The voice thing is neat, but what's the big deal, it's just looking up the answers on the internet, right?". To this day she simply does not have sufficient knowledge to recognize the problem. Just about everyone I have shown (other than fellow AI geeks) has a similar reaction. Not only don't they "get it", they don't even recognize "it" when "it" is talking to them. There's no offense intended when such an opinion is deemed "uninformed", it's actually a plea for Joe to familiarise himself with the problem before offering an opinion.

Personally, I'm not afraid of AI suddenly turning hostile, but "knowledge is power" so I am definitely concerned about what the "known behavior of the only high intelligence we've ever met" may do with such a tool/weapon. Given the track record of our species I don't think that is an unreasonable concern, in fact the last line of your post would seem to agree with it.

Now, if you actually take a few moments to (randomly) listen to what these people are saying about AI in their speeches and interviews, you may find that their concerns are not that different to yours and mine and that the "SkyNet" hype is just the MSM doing their thing to "sex up" conservative (and unoriginal) speculation about the human tendency to use tools in every endeavor, including our inhumane endeavours.

* For anyone wanting to sharpen their existing AI knowledge (and make smarter toys), I highly recommend MIT's online AI course. It took me about a month to watch and absorb all the lectures, I approached it as a "refresher" but also learnt some new tricks that were not available 25yrs ago. The guy running the show has trouble keeping his pants hitched up but he is simultaneously entertaining, intelligent, and down to earth, when I finished the series I wanted to sit down and talk "cabbages and kings" with him...

Comment: Re:Not Surprising (Score 0) 454

by ScentCone (#49767307) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment
Yeah. Except, it's the EU countries that went the austerity route that are now in the best shape, financially. And their people see that, and vote to reinforce the politicians that made that wise choice. Government largess can't make the economy grow when the government is too corrupt, and the people too indifferent (or too used to getting away with) to pay the taxes that will let the government throw around huge sums of money. "Stimulus" spending with borrowed money is right up there with sacrificing chickens or doing a magical dance when it comes to fixing what's actually wrong with places like Greece. The problem is cultural, and has been that way for decades. The Nanny State mentality is bad enough, but trying to keep it going when at the same time the entire nation plays games with tax collection so they can all lie to themselves about it is a recipe for ... contemporary Greece.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 4, Insightful) 454

by putaro (#49766927) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

That doesn't really help. If they print more than they produce, the currency will drop in value.

That's the whole point. Devaluing the currency means everyone in the country takes a pay cut, at least with respect to imports. but internal prices don't change (at least not immediately). This has the effect of discouraging imports and encouraging exports. Taken to extremes it will mean hyperinflation and financial collapse but used judiciously it's a good economic tool.

Comment: Re:Soft bigotry of incomprehensibly low expectatio (Score 1) 133

by TapeCutter (#49766649) Attached to: Al-Qaeda's Job Application Form Revealed

trying to address that overblown ultra-echochamber-progressive concept of poverty being the main driver of religious terrorism.

Hunger drove the "Arab spring" not Facebook. Everybody seemed to forget that there were rolling food riots in cities like Cairo and Aleppo shortly before the outbreak of hostilities. They were brought on by skyrocketing food prices due to record breaking droughts that were occurring in Australia, Russia, and the Fertile Crescent during the 2000's. In Syria alone, 2M people abandoned their farms and moved into the city looking for jobs, in a nation of 20M people it's not surprising that such internal displacement triggered a civil war. In fact it was shown in the diplomatic cables posted by wikileaks that at least one US diplomat predicted the Syrian war and even guessed the city where hostilities first erupted (due to the large influx of internal migrants).

Poverty alone is not enough inspire a terrorist response, but three days without bread will prompt most people to behave like a wounded animal. At that point you just need religion (or FB) to point the finger at someone they can blame for their predicament.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score 1) 454

by TapeCutter (#49766287) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The house of cards is different now. The bulk of the investment market is moving towards private equity, where things are less regulated and more difficult to game.

It's almost universally acknowledged that the GFC was caused by a LACK of regulation in the US mortgage market making it impossible for financial institutions to trust each others financial instruments ( ie: easier to game).

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 2) 329

by TapeCutter (#49766181) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI
"Mostly" is the key word in your post. Morality cannot be defined as a list of do's and dont's that are mechanically obeyed precisely because it has a myriad of "edge cases" that require human interpretation. Many situations don't even have a 'right' answer and what is morally correct will depend on the person(s) interpreting the rules.

Also notice that when the zeroth law was added it just made matters worse because more laws allow for more contradictions, loopholes, and paradoxes, exactly like the evolved tax code of any nation you care to name.

Comment: Re:Oversimplification ... (Score 1) 233

by ScentCone (#49764461) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Does the average worker have a retirement investment account?

I suppose that depends on how you define "average." In the US, over 52 million people participate in 401k plans. That's in addition to those who have other retirement vehicles (like IRAs, etc). Almost all of those funds are tied up at least in part in mutual funds. Probably most people who aren't working aren't contributing to such a plan, though many who are out of work still have money sitting in them. Alas, we have over 90 million people who aren't participating in the labor force - the highest number since the 1970's. In more recent times, when more people had jobs, there was a much more common interest in how one's mutual funds were performing, because more people were actively slicing off a piece of each paycheck to invest therein. That tended to make more people aware of, and interested in how it all works.

Comment: Re:Fear of Driving (Score 1) 155

by ScentCone (#49764435) Attached to: <em>A Beautiful Mind</em> Mathematician John F. Nash Jr. Dies

It amazes me how nutty people get over "terrorists" when the roads are like a civilized version of Mad Max. People constantly die every day. Tens of thousands of lives unnecessarily lost every year just to automobile accidents. I feel like I'm the only rational person when I experience a certain apprehension every time I get behind a wheel, knowing that while racing through space in a multi ton coffin, even a small mistake could send me careening to my death.

The difference is that while you are indeed taking a small risk every time you get on the road, you have the luke-warm comfort of knowing that just like, you the vast majority of other people on the road don't want to die themselves, or see you die. Doesn't mean they're all as careful as they should be, and some are indeed belligerent and dangerous on the road, though they are the minuscule exceptions. Most accidents are the result of inattentiveness in one form or another, or poor judgment.

People, on the other hand, who do things like blow up train loads of passengers in London or Madrid, or who try to blow up an aircraft on final approach over Detroit, or who park a car bomb in Time Square ... they're trying to kill you. It feels different because it is different. We all internalize certain risks, but bristle - very reasonably - when we learn of someone who, out of malice, wants to kill you and everyone else nearby. A dead kid is awful. But there's something substantially different between a kid on a sidewalk getting killed by an out of control car, and a kid like the one in Boston, who had his guts blown out by someone who stood there, looked right at him, and decided to set his IED down on the sidewalk right next to him.

Remember, UNIX spelled backwards is XINU. -- Mt.