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Comment: Re:There are ideas. Here's one. (Score 3, Informative) 209 209

by "some ideas" you mean "some theory".

Yes, of course. What else did you think I meant? It's an idea. It's not a certainty. I'm not sure what your point is. Care to elaborate?

When I say "no idea" I mean literally we have no demonstrable understanding of any one single cognitive function of the brain. Any brain

You might have meant that, but writing "no idea" didn't (and still doesn't) actually say that. The statement was made that we have no ideas. We do, in fact, have ideas.That was the assertion, and that is my answer.

Human brains? We've got nothing.

Human brains are not what are at issue here, but even so, that statement is incorrect. We have made progress at the small scale (see Numenta's work) and there are multiple ideas out there that presently have significant merit. Personally, as someone working in the field and conversant with a lot of what's going on in the technical sense, I have a fairly high level of confidence that we're much closer than the popular narrative would have us believe. Am I right? We will see. :)

Comment: Human visual processing... not so great. (Score 2) 209 209

Understanding how humans store and recognize images primarily is not a barrier to AI. It's not memory or image recognition that's the hill to climb; The fundamental algorithmic/methodological challenges are thinking, along with conceptual storage, development and manipulation (these things incorporate memory use, but aren't a storage problem per se.) Hardware needs to be able to handle amounts of ram and long term, high speed storage that can serve as a practical basis for the rest as well. Right now, we're getting close, but it'll be a few more years yet before anything really smart can be instantiated. That's even if we were to figure out precisely how to do it right now.

It is possible -- though I consider it doubtful -- that we would implement human style vision neurology in hardware for an AI, but frankly our abilities are so poor compared to what can be accomplished I really don't see why we'd cripple an AI that way. It'd be abusive. "We could have made your visual recall incredibly acute, but... instead you're like us, and really don't have much more than a general idea what was in a scene after you have seen it." [AI nukes silicon valley] (Mods: that's humor. HUMOR.]

Also, check out Numenta's work.

Of course, understanding how humans store and recognize images is (very) important to our understanding of human physiology and disease, and it's wonderful that we're working on it.

Comment: Re: Coral dies all the time (Score 3, Interesting) 122 122

"Adds heat" is a woefully inadequate simplification of whether or not it's an issue to be concerned with. When temperature goes up, other things change as a result of the relevant phsyics. For instance, the evap/precip cycle accelerates, carrying more warm air and moisture up, and more cool air and moisture down. CO2 in the upper atmosphere reduces radiation by a factor, but more heat up there, more often, increases radiation. More CO2 almost universally implies conditions better for plants. More and healthier plants means more of all sorts of things and less of others.

Dire predictions: Warming moves the zone(s) within which plants and animals flourish north. There's plenty of room to go, a great deal of northern area is frozen wasteland at this point. More CO2 is good for plants. People might have to move. They do that all the tiime. Coastlines may change and infrastructure may need to maintained, adapted, moved or replaced. That happens all the time. Currently estimated timescale for sea level changes: inches per year. Totally yawn-worthy.

In short, the issue is complex beyond any possible "on noes, warming" assessment -- hysteria is entirely uncalled for.

Science is a method. When facing something new, it involves formulating a hypothesis, testing that to validate or disprove it, and then drawing conclusions. We have not seen and do not know what happens when CO2 increases by large amounts due to our production of it. In the historical record, CO2 increases trail warming, not lead it -- which is another way of saying that historically speaking, CO2 increases herald cooling, so that is not any kind of adequate confirmation of the idea that human-caused CO2 increases will lead to significant climactic warming. Doesn't mean it won't -- it just means that this is a new thing and that drawing conclusions either requires flawless modeling that takes everything significant to the process into account (which we don't have... not only in re natural processes, but in re unanticipated technology), or actually seeing what happens. Without one of those - which again, we don't have -- it's not settled science. It is unvalidated hypothesis.

o Yes, we should be trying to figure this out.
o No, we have not figured it out.

When will we know when we have figured this out? When we have a model that accurately predicts climate change as known to have occurred in the historical record.

PS: coral does not "die when you touch it." I have multiple coral reef tanks. I touch my corals (hard ones and soft ones) all the time to move them around, frag (subdivide and transplant) them, brush them when I'm reaching for something else. I cut colonies of soft corals with a razor in order to divide them into more than one instance and place them in multiple places and/or share them with other coral reef owners. Certainly doesn't kill them (doesn't even seem to hurt them.) For hard corals, you break them into separate instances (frag them) with tools that are basically smallish hammers and chisels. You even do this out of the water. Again, doesn't kill them. They don't die because they were bothered or touched. I've never, ever seen that happen. Some of them don't react at all or very much, but the most I've ever seen them do is pull away or retract, dependably to return to their original extension and condition within minutes of the disturbance that caused it ending. Fish touch them all the time as well. Doesn't hurt a thing.

The things that I have seen be directly and immediately detrimental to corals are Ph changes, temperature changes, salinity changes, very large and sudden changes in lighting, and the actions they engage WRT each other (chemical warfare among corals has to be seen to be believed. They are nasty to each other at times.)

Climate change panic bores me. Climate change dismissal bores me. But, like a lot of other induced hysteria, it's a major component of pop culture and the media's slavish devotion to fanning same, so I have to actually work to avoid both. :)

Comment: Re: Colorado sure has nice beaches (Score 1) 937 937

That depends on what the "new economic opportunities in an area for certain kinds of people" actually are. If we're talking about gentrification in Silicon Valley because of high programmer salaries then that's probably OK. If we're talking about gentrification in South Africa because of apartheid then that's not OK. Gentrification in historically-black neighborhoods in US cities is somewhere between, and the degree to which it's OK depends on how much of the difference in affluence can be attributed to the lingering effects of segregation.

Comment: Re:sigh... (Score 1) 937 937

  1. 1. Offer sub-prime mortgages to people, enticing them to buy houses they can't afford them long term. Profit.
  2. 2. Repackage the bad parts of the debt and sell it off to chumps (like the retirement plans of the mortgagees from step #1). Profit again.
  3. 3. Foreclose on the mortgagees when they stop being able to pay. Profit a third time.
  4. 4. Use the huge losses on paper (because the foreclosed houses are now worth less) to get a gigantic bailout from the government. Profit a fourth time.
  5. 5. Incorporate an REIT and buy up almost all of those houses at below-market value. Profit a fifth time.
  6. 6. Rent them back out (at inflated "post-recovery" market rates) to the same poor chumps whose life savings you stole in steps #2 and #3. Profit a sixth time, and again and again, and then profit some more!

Unlike so many Slashdot business plans, this one requires no ellipses.

Comment: Re:I'm spending 60% of my monthly income on rent (Score 1) 937 937

Or would you claim that the video game industry is itself unacceptably narrow?

Yes, it is.

I certainly don't recommend going into that industry, but if you insist, you could try Atlanta. Georgia has a tax credit that's caused some companies to locate here. They're not making AAA games and they're startups that'll fail in a year or so, but at least you can get experience in a city with reasonable rent.

(I know this because my wife worked in that industry as an artist for several years, at a series of startups. She got laid off once a year, on average. When the tax credit expired the work dried up and she switched to graphic design. Even though the tax credit was renewed, she hasn't been able to find another gaming industry job.)

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.

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