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Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 1) 192 192

by Improv (#50008175) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

The WSJ article isn't very good (as I noted in another comment); my comment here was mostly that we should also dismiss the commentary that the slashdot poster put alongside it.

We know what most regions of the brain do. We have the ability to record some parts of the brain (at various levels) and have models that can predict activation levels based on subtasks. In the visual cortex, there are even people who can decode significant bits of the signal in V1. This is significant knowledge. It's not vague, and it's not trivial. We don't have the whole picture yet, true. We probably have a few decades to go for that.

While I agree that if we want a complete replica in code, we need much closer to a complete picture. I'm speaking from a neuroscience perspective though, where understanding is the metric.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 2) 192 192

by Improv (#50007873) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

Souls are a myth from prescientific times. There's no point in contending with such concepts - they're part of history and superstition. If you don't understand brains, that's sad but correctable. There's a lot of research that you could read up on.

Or I guess you could keep tossing that "cargo cult" term around and stay ignorant of the last 60 years.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 2) 192 192

by Improv (#50007457) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

The textbook I recommended above goes into this in much more detail, but I'll try to give a brief intro.

The currently dominant map for understanding brain structure is the Brodmann map ; it's largely anatomical (clusters of densely interlinked neurons with mappable connections to others. The visual cortex is composed of brodmann areas 17 (primary visual cortex, containing a more-or-less bitmapped visual field), 18 (secondary visual cortex), and 19 (Third visual cortex). The visual cortex is divided into two streams, a ventral stream used to identify and characterise objects, and a dorsal stream used to locate those objects in a strategic way. This is known as the "two streams hypothesis" (in case you want to look it up).

I could go a bit further, but I'm not sure how long slashdot's max comment length is and a textbook would probably give you a better understanding than what I can give you off the top of my head.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Interesting) 192 192

by Improv (#50007359) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

Probably not - weak AI is typified by directly encoding domain knowledge on human capabilities into state machines, not typically meant to be neuroplausible or human-like. I believe the substrate here is wrong - real organisms learn (either as individuals or through generational building/encoding/selection towards instinct) how to do these things, and that knowledge is integrated. I don't think it'd be easy or likely that weak AI research methods will produce an integrated being with all these capabilities.

I'm sticking my neck out a bit here though; I'm not sure that weak AI research would be useless. Sufficiency versus usefulness is a complicated topic.

Also, my research was in neuroscience (led by cognitive modeling), not AI. It's a neighbouring field, but take what I have to say with at least a grain of salt.

Comment: Re:"No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Informative) 192 192

by Improv (#50007317) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

The WSJ article links a paper from some researchers at Google:
The WSJ article isn't particularly good either; they misunderstand what's actually going on in the research, which seems to be about conversational modeling (a "weak AI" type of research, the "understanding" being very shallow). They point out a few applications of this kind of work though, and that seems pretty solid/useful. (It doesn't approach the goals of "strong AI", those being actually modeling semantics and deeper reasoning)

Comment: "No idea how... the brain works" (Score 4, Interesting) 192 192

by Improv (#50007243) Attached to: WSJ Overstates the Case Of the Testy A.I.

I'm calling the poster here out as being full of shit. As someone who's done neuroscience research, the idea that "Humans have no idea how the human, or any other brain, works" is bollocks. We have a reasonably good idea on the large scale, and in certain areas (such as the visual cortex), that understanding is quite far along. There are frontiers to our knowledge, but human understanding of brains is well on its way. Poster needs to pick up some neuroscience textbooks and get clued.

As a particular recommendation, I'd suggest Kolb and Whishaw's "Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology"; it's an excellent textbook.

Open Source

Reasons To Use Mono For Linux Development 355 355

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-tools-for-the-job dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: In the eleven years since Mono first appeared, the Linux community has regarded it with suspicion. Because Mono is basically a free, open-source implementation of Microsoft's .NET framework, some developers feared that Microsoft would eventually launch a patent war that could harm many in the open-source community. But there are some good reasons for using Mono, developer David Bolton argues in a new blog posting. Chief among them is MonoDevelop, which he claims is an excellent IDE; it's cross-platform abilities; and its utility as a game-development platform. That might not ease everybody's concerns (and some people really don't like how Xamarin has basically commercialized Mono as an iOS/Android development platform), but it's maybe enough for some people to take another look at the platform.

Apple Music and the Terrible Return of DRM 260 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-have-been-a-short-vacation dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Apple's rumored music streaming service looks set to materialize soon, and a lot of people are talking about how good it might be. But Nilay Patel is looking at the other side — if the service fits with Apple's typical mode of operation, it'll only work with other Apple products. "That means I'll have yet a fourth music service in my life (Spotify, Google Play Music, Prime, and Apple Music) and a fourth set of content exclusives and pricing windows to think about instead of just listening to music." He points out Steve Jobs's 2007 essay on the state of digital music and notes that Jobs seemed to feel DRM was a waste of time — something forced on Apple by the labels. "But it's no longer the labels pushing DRM on the music services; it's the services themselves, because locking you into a single ecosystem guarantees you'll keep paying their monthly subscription fees and hopefully buy into the rest of their ecosystem. ... Apple Music might be available on Android, but it probably won't be as good, because Apple wants you to buy an iPhone.... There's just lock-in, endless lock-in. Is this what we wanted?"
America Online

Jason Scott of Textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs 123 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-kids-know-them-as-the-small-frisbees-that-shatter-so-beautifully dept.
eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your closet, or a drawer layered with them: the CD-ROM discs that were mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case." Now, of course, the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain eccentric individual named Jason Scott has a fever — and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we're talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It's over. The time when we're going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there's going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I'm looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!

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