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Comment: Re:Advanced malware controlling industrial systems (Score 2) 124

You are wanting to be commenting here.

Heh, thanks. While self-commanding killer robots are the obvious focus of our fear, it's not always the most obvious expectation that bites one in the ass. Killer robots would either never get used or have so many safeguards they'd be half useless amidst the chaos of war and the treachery and adaptability of humans. Though they'd have some degree of self-preservation, they would have no desire or ability to reproduce. Malware on the other hand is designed to do anything to avoid removal and replicate through any means possible. What better way to avoid being deleted than to make the infected facility uninhabitable or exceedingly dangerous to those who could remove it? This logic could be extrapolated to "protecting" surrounding areas, or distant areas connected by network infrastructure that could be used as access points. It's the seeming innocence and perceived weakness of something intangible like software that could reduce the consideration and implementation of safeguards when crafting malware. Right now malware's just an expensive pain in the ass, but a day may come when during your coffee break all the doors lock, the ventilation system halts and the facility begins flooding with CO2.

Comment: Advanced malware controlling industrial systems (Score 4, Interesting) 124

This thought began as a joke, but this actually does sound how something like Skynet could be born. Malware is infamous for aggressively trying to preserve itself. We all joke about how stupid the idea of programming an AI with a strong sense of self-preservation is because of the obvious dangers, but that is exactly how malware is programmed. Programming it to control industrial systems as well (giving it a "body") seems like a really bad idea, particularly if the aim is not to sabotage the infected industrial system, but to cause as much damage to the target nation as possible (a reasonable wartime goal).

Comment: Cheapest and simplest solution (Score 2) 55

by Kevin Fishburne (#48422879) Attached to: Nielsen Will Start Tracking Netflix and Amazon Video
Write a bot to track The Pirate Bay. They give you the program name, upload date, and number of seeds and peers in real-time. They don't even require registration for this information, much less payment. Sure the data would require a little interpretation and extrapolation, but I can think of no better measure of success and popularity.

Comment: Borg in "good mood" mode (Score 1) 327

Maybe killer robots should be designed as peace keepers, with their primary function being to search out and disarm armed non-allied personnel and confiscate their weapons. It would only use lethal force when fired upon and could identify the shooter with near 100% accuracy. There would also be a timeout period per target so they wouldn't hunt them indefinitely. If the target surrendered, dropped or ejected the ammunition from their weapon the robot would break the target's kill AI. So they'd basically roam about like the Borg and only fuck you up when you attacked them. The robot could respond to lack of compliance to surrender a weapon without an attack with non-lethal force, then take the weapon from the incapacitated bearer.

I suppose my point is that there's a big difference between designing a robot that can kill when necessary and designing something like a walking gun turret from Aliens. Since they're robots (more expendable than people), the strategy of provoking the enemy into attacking them merely by their presence and continual demands to surrender weaponry (and thereby clearly identifying the attackers as proper targets) seems like a good one. Even when the bad guys finally figure out, "Hey man, whatever you do don't shoot that damn thing," if the robot is faster than they are it will attempt to disarm them manually which could again provoke an attack.

Comment: Re:Games are getting to be like TV shows (Score 1) 33

Good luck with your project. I've been working on something similar for the last four years, minus the customized, player-run servers. I think both projects share the same goal of bringing MMORPGs back to what their roots promised; freedom and infinite possibility. The real key to success I think is to ensure the systems and rules address from the bottom up (fundamentally) what allows a real society to flourish. Most MMOs systems start from high level concepts, resulting in systems that are poorly integrated and easily exploitable with no countermeasures available to the victims other than GM moderation or developer-implemented "invisible wall" style bandaids. If you get your systems just right and keep them basic enough, players will be able to construct their own defenses against would-be griefers, just like in real life.

Comment: Re:A good idea (Score 1) 106

by Kevin Fishburne (#48406445) Attached to: Tor Eyes Crowdfunding Campaign To Upgrade Its Hidden Services

The FBI, GCHQ, BND, etc are going to tear apart the finances of every person that donates to this project.

Under what pretense? Funding terrorism? Tor, Ter, not too much a stretch I guess. Seriously, they can't do a thing to stop Tor funding without resorting to breaking or seriously misapplying their own laws. I don't think they'll go that far.

Comment: Re:Memory mapping? (Score 1) 200

by Kevin Fishburne (#48400359) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body

Pride is not what is "holding us back" in this field.

Pride has held us back since we were first capable of feeling it. The inability to admit to being wrong because the evidence offends one's vanity has always plagued science and every other part of our culture and personal relationships.

After thousands of years of attempts, not one man out of the whole of humanity can tell us what intelligence is, much less how it can emerge out of any observed natural process. We only assume that it is possible because we are operating on a presumption of materialism.

Considering how little we understand life mechanically, much less life as mind bogglingly complex as a human, it's no surprise that we currently have no answer outside the realm of philosophy and general description. If "materialism" is what can be directly or indirectly observed by people, unfortunately there's no escaping that without divine intervention.

Once we can fully measure the state of every particle in a human brain and run a simulation with complete accuracy, we should not be too surprised if it turns out to be only a simulation of a comatose state.

I think a lot of people, particularly atheist scientists, would be so surprised they'd immediately fall to their knees and ask God for forgiveness. Ironically I'd be overjoyed to discover we all had souls. Unfortunately the smell prevents me from believing it.

Comment: Re:Memory mapping? (Score 2) 200

by Kevin Fishburne (#48400335) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body

Call me when you show non-biological free will. Emulation of deterministic life processes is interesting, but it's free will that needs to be demonstrated in silicon.

Life is extremely efficient, from the micro to the macro scale. To attempt to recreate even a simple organism using current technology (including a purely logical recreation in silicon) would be like building a modern supercomputer out rocks and sticks. When you speak of "free will" being recreated, you've pretty much chosen the highest possible level of what we'd consider a property of advanced life. What excited me about the article is that it suggests instead of tackling the mountain it may be more fruitful to attack a single grain of sand first. Perhaps once we understand a grain of sand, we can start working our way up to the higher and more complex relationships and functionality.

For example, rather than trying to create AI using programming, try reverse-engineering a single-celled organism's molecular composition and chemical processes. If that can be understood completely it provides a starting point for how to reproduce and modify it. Being able to "run" a bacterium in a simulated environment, and later being able to create one physically, is the first step toward truly understand how life works as a machine. Until we have that kind of understanding, the idea of creating real intelligence or artificial life will be confined to cheap imitations which work nothing like the real thing. If we don't understand how a human works as a massive ongoing chemical reaction, we have zero chance of creating one out of gears and silicon.

Comment: Memory mapping? (Score 5, Interesting) 200

by Kevin Fishburne (#48399695) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body
Emulating the connectivity and functionality of neurons is pretty awesome, but it would seem the next logical step would be to map and interpret how memories are stored and processed, as well as organ feedback (skin, smell, glands). What's really interesting about this is that it shows, at least to some degree, that a simple brain can be reproduced using mathematical relationships (programming) and "run" with a I/O feedback loop. As far as the philosophical stuff, I think eventually we'll be forced to accept that life is a type of machine and that the "ghost" is an illusion emerging from its complexity. Other than better neuroscience, the main thing holding us back is pride.

Comment: Re:Gerald Bull was an amateur. (Score 1) 337

by Kevin Fishburne (#48393587) Attached to: Philae's Batteries Have Drained; Comet Lander Sleeps

Drill a 2-3km shaft into a salt dome, excavate a cavity at the bottom, suspend a 150kT nuclear warhead at the centre surrounded by a reaction mass, such as water laced with a neutron absorber. Above the cavity, at the bottom of the shaft, put a large shock absorber (such as a few hundred metres of oil backed by an ablative-coated pusher plate), with your 3500 tonnes of payload on top.

Most of the radiation would be contained underground, and a dome over the launch site would capture most of the rest.

Is that like the geek's version of "hold my beer"? Holy shit.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau