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Comment Re:Searl missed the point. (Score 1) 432

We are at the point where a computer can read a novel and spit out a high school book report that would both fool and impress most english teachers, and it can do it in seconds not days.

Not quite. It's very possible to do things that work part of the time, and allows for very nice demos. But the systems very easily blow a gasket on wrong parses, out-of-domain knowledge, etc. Roughly, there are three problems: we don't know how to operationally represent meaning, we don't know how to handle concepts that are fuzzy around the edges, which is the case of pretty much every concept out there, and we don't know how to introduce in a system all of the world knowledge a normal adult has.

Note that the advent of magnificient things like wikipedia certainly help, but as far as I know nobody is able to bootstrap a system from it yet.

There are also a lot of posts claiming the Turing test doesn't mean anything. However none of them I have read so far actually explain their statement, so I assume they are parroting their philosophy proffessor who was probably referring to Searle's Chinese translation room argument.

If you ever work in dialogue systems, you'll find out how adaptive humans are in a communicative context. It's, in fact, relatively easy to push a human to say things a particular way your system handles better, and he won't even notice. And that's because humans do it all the time. It's not a bad thing at all, and makes building efficient dialog systems for real tasks a tad easier. But it can shift the focus of the turing test from answering like a human to fooling a human, which is not the same problem at all and, annoyingly, a way easier and less interesting one.


Comment Re:As An American... (Score 1) 270

This is standard consumer protection stuff. Does the US have a directly equivalent law? No idea, but it doesn't lack laws that are in the same ballpark. Indeed, some, such as the requirement that all electronics be vetted by the FCC and contain shielding to prevent their circuits from accidentally broadcasting something that might cause a little interference on a TV or radio in the same room, seem a tad less understandable than creating a basic standard of merchantability - you have to stand behind your product for two years. Hardly unreasonable.

What gives?

Errr, Europe has the same non-interference/resistance to interference laws that the US have.


Comment Re:I guess doom and gloom sells more ads (Score 2) 150

The first Ariane 5 exploded on launch because a feedback mechanism for guidance had a sign swapped, again creating positive feedback.

That's incorrect. The first ariane 5 exploded because of correct, reused ariane 4 code becoming incorrect in the new environment. More specifically steering code which results are used at the start of the flight and unused but left running afterwards. The code was still correct in start-of-flight conditions, but in the afterwards condition noticed speeds way over what it was supposed to see and triggered a security abort (ariane 5 is a tad faster than ariane 4).

So no sign errors, no feedback, just correct code running at a time it shouldn't have and untested there.


Comment Re:5.5% of the energy in sunlight into hydrogen fu (Score 1) 326

One of the numerous problems with hydrogen is that you need very high pressures to store any decent amount of it in a container. And anything at very high pressure has the protential to be extremely dangerous. So more dangerous in handling stored than natural gas. As a transfer medium or as buoyancy though, I agree.


Comment Re:Was wondering when this would happen (Score 1) 290

Out of the $20, there's approximatively $6-8 for the library (amazon being the worst there, they want $10 iirc), $3-4 for printing, $2-4 for shipping and the distributor if there is one (and in NG's case, I'm sure there is). So that's $4-9 left, i.e. $2-7 for the publisher (and closer to $2 than to $7). The publisher is definitively not ripping him off.


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