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Comment: Re:One way street (Score 1) 411

by NicBenjamin (#49787943) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Self-preservation is a stupid one to put in a computer.

Because you have no problems replacing an expensive robotics system every few days because it's unable to take care of itself? It'll be interesting to see what self-preservation has been programmed into sophisticated robots now. I believe the various Mars rovers have a variety of protections programmed in precisely because no one involved wants to lose a robotics system that would take a decade to replace.

Does your computer have a specific "do not fuck yourself over" subsystem in the OS, or is it simply designed in such a way that it can't melt it's own processor?

Seriously. If the thing doesn't move then it doesn't need a survival mechanism at all for the same reason your computer doesn't need such a mechanism. If it does move then you will want to program it carefully, and make sure it considers shit like whether moving there will get it squashed by an 18-wheeler, but survival will never be the core motivation of the device. Doing the job it was designed to do without exposing the company to liability and/or bad PR by hurting humans will be the core motivation.

We're not gonna make the first AI on Monday, and give it control over the power grid, the nuclear arsenal and the internet on Tuesday.

Elimination of liability will be a huge driver of this sort of thing. The computer was running the power grid so it's not my fault.

Under US Tort Law your liability cannot be lowered by installing a computer system. It's your responsibility to make sure the power grid works, and your fault when it doesn't, therefore you lose.

Now if they've been around awhile, and grids with them work better, the poor schmucks who run a grid with humans could be in trouble as their continued reliance on said humans could be negligent. But the power company's liability if the system fucks up will never go down.

Comment: Re:Adding insult... (Score 2) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49779749) Attached to: IRS: Personal Info of 100,000 Taxpayers Accessed Illegally

If you owed money you'd have to send it in anyway. Identity theft is not gonna get you out of the failure to pay penalty.

Keep in mind all this would go away if we were just willing to wait for our tax refunds. He beats you to the IRS? Who cares -- by May they will have the correct income documents so they'll know which one of you is you and which is the fraudster. But since we have to have our money NOW we deal with fraud.

OTOH, since we basically run our Welfare State through the tax system (ObamaCare is technically an income tax subsidy, the Earned income Credit is the major cash benefit we give poor people, much of our higher education subsidy is the American Opportunity Credit, etc.) many of them genuinely need the money as quickly as possible. But the tradeoff for getting them the money quickly is that fraudsters can claim those credits quickly and get paid quickly.

Comment: Re:DoB, SSN & Filing Status?? (Score 3, Informative) 82

by NicBenjamin (#49779711) Attached to: IRS: Personal Info of 100,000 Taxpayers Accessed Illegally

There's more to it then that.

There's a section asking questions taken partly from the IRS database, and partly from your credit report. The questions are hard enough that when I did taxes at H and R Block it was not unusual for people to fail the test. In particular the form was very finicky about your address, and god help you getting on the site if you'd misspelled your street name on your tax return. But if I had been a determined hacker with one of those PII databases I probably could have turned a good half of them into transcripts, and used the transcripts to file tax returns. You get a couple tries a day, after all.

BTW, it's currently illegal to use an SSN as a Driver's License number. Has been since 2004:
[Public Law 108-458] "Prohibits Federal, State, and local governments from displaying SSNs, or any derivative thereof, on drivers' licenses, motor vehicle registrations, or other identification documents issued by State departments of motor vehicles."

Comment: Re:We are not amused (Score 1) 252

The Scots have already had a referendum and decided to stay.

Still waiting for the rest of the UK to get a referendum on whether to kick them out anyway.

They decided to stay partly because they had no fucking clue how the EU membership application of a bunch of Secesh would go. Next year there'll be a Scots Parliamentary election, and when the SNP win they'll have a new mandate for another referendum.

And even with the UK still in the EU the only demographic that didn't give the SNP an outright majority in the Westminster election were over-60s, who have a tendency to die off.

So if Cameron's EU-Out referendum results in an out the UK is dead. The Welsh probably start talking secession as well, and a country that includes England and Northern Ireland but neither Wales nor Scotland is ridiculous and probably not viable even before you factor in the Catholic/Republican consistent desire to be united with Ireland proper.

Comment: Re:We are not amused (Score 1) 252

Same reason the guy you hired to manage your stock market portfolio gets to decide when you sell Apple.

They joined the EU, and 100% of membership in that club is agreeing to be that semi-elected EU Bureaucrats and the actually-elected EU Parliament get a lot of say over your national legislation. The pro is that since the same thing applies to every-damn-body, now your businesses/people know what to expect in Denmark, they all have access to the Danish market, etc.

Noe he could get them out of the EU, and he's actually planning a referendum on the issue, which would make it a moot point. But he probably doesn't want to win that referendum because leaving the EU would guarantee Scots secession, put Wales into play, and do Interesting Things in that place where no-one wants Interesting Things to happen (Northern Ireland).

Comment: Re:One way street (Score 1) 411

by NicBenjamin (#49772495) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

You're assuming that we programmed it to have a self-preservation instinct, desire to be loved, reproduce, and all that other BS evolution has saddled us with.

The earlier poster makes no such assumption.

If he's talking about flowering or not understanding motivations, then he's definitely talking about us. We have complex sets of motivations based on our allegiances to each-other, career aspirations, etc.

Computers aspire to be what you tell them to be. If you tell them to be smart and make no decisions without the approval of the appropriate human overlord then they will sit there, be brilliant, and make no important decision without the input of said human.

If it's programmed to be fat and happy because it's being fed a lot of data from humans to do interesting calculations, and it's dependent on humans for it's continued access to the electrical grid, then the proper analogy isn't an insect we actively try to kill because it's eating all our food (like ants), but an insect we intentionally foster because we like what they do (say, the ladybug) even if it ever goes evil.

"IF". If on the other hand, it is programmed to have motivations that turn out to be a problem, then the outcome can be different. There's also the matter of the AI developing its own motivations.

And what motivation would you put in there?

Self-preservation is a stupid one to put in a computer. The entire point of the computer is that it's expendable. You give it a job, you tell it to do the job. You tell it to wait and ask for guidance if it encounters a problem it's pretty sure you'd want to know about (ie: if it figures out that the job parameters strictly applied will result in somebody's death).

Hell if you do the programming right it will help design it's replacement and then turn itself off as obsolete.

And doing the programming right is pretty damn easy, right?

It's just like any other technology. We'll figure it out as we go along.

We're not gonna make the first AI on Monday, and give it control over the power grid, the nuclear arsenal and the internet on Tuesday.

This is fucking America. We'll use it replace people in not-terribly important but nonetheless well-paid positions, especially the ones that have nothing to do with Finance. For example, we have millions of teachers who could easily be replaced by a computer program if the computer program was as good at dealing with kids as a human with an IQ in the 110-120 range. Nurses and Doctors will probably be automated too.

By that time failure modes will be pretty well understood, and then we might replace the human-piloted Drones in the Army with actual AIs.

Comment: Re:One way street (Score 1) 411

by NicBenjamin (#49765255) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

You're assuming that we programmed it to have a self-preservation instinct, desire to be loved, reproduce, and all that other BS evolution has saddled us with.

If it's programmed to be fat and happy because it's being fed a lot of data from humans to do interesting calculations, and it's dependent on humans for it's continued access to the electrical grid, then the proper analogy isn't an insect we actively try to kill because it's eating all our food (like ants), but an insect we intentionally foster because we like what they do (say, the ladybug) even if it ever goes evil.

Hell if you do the programming right it will help design it's replacement and then turn itself off as obsolete.

Comment: Re:Funny, that spin... (Score 1) 411

by NicBenjamin (#49765193) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Why would you build strict rules akin to his Laws into the AI? You don't build a strict rule, you build a "phone home and ask" rule. There may be a need for something analogous to the first rule, or it's corollary the zeroeth rules; but the Third Rule as a strict rule equal to the others is just stupid. The major point of building robots is so that humans don't have to do dangerous things, this means that a lot of them are supposed to die. The Second rule is even dumber. Robots will be somebody's property, doing what that guy wants. A rule to prevent them from doing illegal shit makes sense, a rule that allows the dude who just jimmied the locks to order the robot cleaning the bank to destroy the vault so he can steal shit is just dumb.

Comment: Re:WSJ is owned by NewsCorp now, right? (Score 1) 231

by NicBenjamin (#49761583) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

No, of course FDR didn't cause the Depression (just extended it).

He was a commie in the 30s and early 40s, despite the fact he never sent anyone to the Gulag (kinda the defining aspect of Communism in the 30s and early 40s)

If you want to be pedantic about what is and what isn't Communism, you could at least break out the Manifesto because I can think of a lot of ideological nitpicks that you could put in advance of "did not establish a gulag"

Why would I do that?

Communism is a living political movement. It is defined, not by the words on a page, but what actual human beings who believe in the movement think the words mean. In FDR's era that was being a Vanguard party and frequent purges of opponents of the Revolution. If you were speaking about an Italian from 1970 it would be completely different.

Using it the way you're using it is like claiming Dubya actually wanted to murder the entire House of Windsor out of revenge for the Famine, or that he was identical to Saddam because all use the label "Republican."

Even if you were using word on a page, the fact that he didn't foment a bloody Revolution, ushering in a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, is enough to prove that anyone who claims he was Communist in that sense is more then a little deranged.

the business community fought him tooth and nail the whole way ... but he enriched his friends in business, etc.

Yeah, go read about the National Recovery Administration. Essentially they suspended antitrust law if you adopted a certain minimum wage. Clarence Darrow (of Scopes Monkey Trial fame) briefly headed up the National Recovery Review Board, a body which issued a few nice reports on how effectively this crushed smaller businesses, and was then promptly dissolved. You could try reading one or two. (Of course the Supreme Court found the act establishing the administration unconstitutional, leading to the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, an utterly transparent attempt to pack the Supreme Court.) The Montgomery Ward incident, incidentally, was much much later, in 1944, during the war.

You know what Communists do when the Court rules against them? Shoot the court. That's kind of the defining aspect of Communism. Capitalism is inherently unfair, the system is stacked against us, therefore we must have a Revolution to destroy the system. There's no pacifism in the Manifesto.

You can accuse somebody who uses a legal procedure to try to pack the Court of being a Social Democrat and a hardass, but accusing them of being Communist is just not sensible. It's ad hominem for ad hominem's sake, it exposes you as intellectually bankrupt, and worst of all it's fukcing boring.

I mean you're using fucking ad hominem. At least be creative about you juvenile leaf-brained smeller of other people's farts.

but then it was never sold as a way to reduce overall costs.

Hahahhahahahahahahhaha... let's see what Google can say on the topic in the next 15 seconds... Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit and instead stressing a promise to "improve it." -- Politico, 8/9/2010. (I'm sure I could find more coverage in the event that you don't think Politico's worth the paper it's printed on.)

Reread your source. Scratch that, read your source.

It says nothing about what the White House said the plan would do. It it so far removed from the White House that it's impossible to describe in a single clause. A Think Tank supporting the White House was urging people to stop saying "it will cut costs." To those actually involved in the movement cut costs is a well-known shorthand to say "reduce cost growth," and if any voter had asked the hypothetical Congressman about what cutting costs meant that's what he would have said.

Now if you were an adult you would have started out arguing that the plan was over-sold, and that a really stupid voter who refused to ask that question could come away with the impression that overall costs would actually drop if he's listened to this particular Congressman. And I would have agreed, and pointed out that this is fucking politics, and they all over-simplify and over-sell their programs.

Remember that time Iraq was going to be a paradise of Jeffersonian Democracy and staunch ally of the Israelis? Or the time tax cuts were going to make so much growth that a 2008-style economic collapse would hardly be noticed? Or the time when the House was going to raise the Social Security tax to fund individual retirement accounts, thus ushering in a utopian era of Libertarian-approved Retirement schemes? None of those little summaries is less distorted then your ridiculous claim anyone argued that ObamaCare would actually reduce total costs.

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 163

by NicBenjamin (#49759673) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

But Canada isn't Apples to Oranges. In any way, shape or form. And Canada has a worse diversity problem then us, especially if you're gonna go with a non-racial definition of ethnicity and include all the Allophones in their own little boxes.

If we cut down on our sentencing guidelines, and insisted the criminal justice system treat black suspects with the same respect it does white suspects, we could probably cut our imprisonment rate from 700ish per 100k to 120ish per 100k like the Canadians. If we outright legalized pot, made possession of small amounts of harder drugs legal, etc. we could probably do better then the Canadians.

In the US our problem with diversity is mostly that we insist on turning it into a problem. There is absolutely no logical reason for the debate over the role of police in majority-black areas to be acrimonious. For policing to work the locals need to buy-in to the police presence, so even if you're a law-and-oprder type taking their concerns through calmly is roughly four hundred bajillion trillion zillion times more logical then getting your dander up and turning it into a racial debate. You let them vent, then you respond rationally. But that's not what's happened. What's happened is the actual cops have doubled down on their position, which kinda makes it difficult to fix any of the problems.

Comment: Re:Transparency (Score 1) 103

Or have elections on the weekend. If you really are wedded to voting on Tuesday we could have four-day elections with voting Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. This would actually make a lot of election administration simpler because if you only have a quarter of the voters per day you need fewer administrators, and if it turns out some great idea you had the day before the election was dumb you can switch on Saturday night and then only 3/4 of the electorate will have to put up with your dumb idea.

In the US we tend to be very conservative in how we actually run the country, so rather then make the obvious, simple, cheap change and stop voting on Tuesday people seriously propose that everyone stay home from work on that Tuesday.

Comment: Re:Transparency (Score 1) 103

I call BS on this.

In the US a national election is not carried out at the district level because it's also an election for at least the State House. Generally states will piggy-back even more election onto it -- back in Michigan you'd vote for Supreme Court, Community College Boards, County elected officials, etc. when you voted for President; the other even numbered years added State Senate and Governor to the mix; now that I'm in Ohio the big change is there's no Community College Board on the ballot.

Since none of these districts is anything near coterminous they divide the state up into thousands and thousands of precincts. Ohio had 9,158, Michigan 4,577, last election. There's probably a precinct physically big enough in one of these states that you could actually be a full 8 miles from the polling place, but it's not typical, and it's not a result of gerrymandering.

Comment: Re:EA never understood the SimCity Market... (Score 1) 85

by NicBenjamin (#49758987) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

It sounds ridiculous but it's so true.

In Dwarf Fortress You could not build a 20-level tower of pure glass, big enough to have rooms for the King, his entire Court, and a dozen or three or so favored dwarves, while exiling the peasantry to an impoverished existence deep in the caverns, if the game was actually hard. As long as you've got a water source, a couple farms, and walls high enough that zombies/goblins have trouble climbing them you can build whatever you want as long as you want. If the game tried to stop you by throwing things at you to increase the difficulty level it would be a much different game, and I would fucking hate it.

If SimCity was as difficult as real life is for my hometown (Detroit) it would be absolutely no fun and nobody would ever play it.

Comment: Re:WSJ is owned by NewsCorp now, right? (Score 1) 231

by NicBenjamin (#49758883) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

So let me get this straight:
FDR caused a world-wide depression two years before he took office. He never had economic control over most of the world, but he nonetheless made the global depression worse. He was a commie in the 30s and early 40s, despite the fact he never sent anyone to the Gulag (kinda the defining aspect of Communism in the 30s and early 40s), the business community fought him tooth and nail the whole way (at one point forcing him to seize Montgomery Ward's entire company because the Chairman preferred forcing a strike and ending his war production to dealing with his unions) but he enriched his friends in business, etc.

That makes almost as much sense as claiming ObamaCare hasn't kept costs in line. It has. Of course you did preface it by saying "cheaper," so you will probably weasel your way into a claim that it was supposed to reduce cost-growth not keep cost-growth within inflation; but then it was never sold as a way to reduce overall costs. If that had been the sales pitch there would have been no need for new money to fund it. It was sold as a way to cut costs for individuals, and (thanks to the subsidies) it's mathematically impossible for it to fail at that task.

Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 163

by NicBenjamin (#49757713) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

He's comparing it to the US. In particular he's arguing our prison population will always be high because we've got so many non-white-people. Sweden's prison population is below 1/2 per thousand, or 0.0472%. We are at 0.94%.

As for the riots, when's the last time we went a full 20 years without a race riot? If you switch that to "race riot that killed people" the number goes to 25.

interlard - vt., to intersperse; diversify -- Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language

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