Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Accepting Responsibility (Score 1) 346 346

People apologize when they, or the things they sell, make mistakes. Even if it was unforeseeable.

No, they don't. When everybody involved knows that they're looking at the spurious output of a young image recognition process, apologies don't, and don't need to happen.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 1) 346 346

To cite one example, ACORN staffer Clifton Mitchell was arrested and convicted (and did time) for creating fictional voters through thousands of bogus voter registrations. ACORN as an entity was fined $25k for its supervisory role in just his conduct alone. The entire organization dissolved itself while it was undergoing investigation for identical behavior in multiple states.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 2) 346 346

Over here we live in reality, and the reality I that getting one of those IDs requires taking time off from work that we frequently either don't get or can't afford to take

Really. What sort of job do you have that didn't involve showing ID in order to submit the required federal tax forms as you were hired? What sort of paycheck are you getting that doesn't involve you using an ID in order to open a bank account or cash a check? Please be specific about the people who are working full time, so hard, that not once in their entire life can they be bothered to get a form of ID. And, out of curiosity, how on earth did they find time to go register to vote, or find time TO vote? You're saying that these are people who will have their routine trips to the polling place, year after year throughout their entire lives, thwarted because they couldn't take five minutes to stop once for a free ID?

Voter fraud is a literal non issue, a nonthreat to the integrity of the election process

So, you're asserting that there are no elections that turn on a matter of just a handful of votes? You're actually going to say that the many local and state elections (which do things like put congressional and senate representatives into power) don't sometimes get decided by only dozens of votes? And then you're going to assert that papers like the Washington Post, who have reported on elections as recently as 2012 where in just one local review there were instances of local voters fraudulently voting twice ... that, what, the Washington Post is lying? Is that because you think the WP is part of some vast, racists, right-wing conspiracy, and manufactured the records that were produced by the election officials, showing the felony-offense fraud?

Your anxious need to trot out the ad hominem shows how much you're aware that you're BS-ing, so I don't really need to go on. You know you're looking to defend fraudulent practices that primarily favor the one party whose activists have been caught red-handed generating tens of thousands of bogus voter registrations. And you're complaining about the person who suggests it's a good ID to make fraud harder to commit. Your opening comments about how difficult it is for full time workers to stop and get an ID that the already have to have was hilarious, though, so thanks for the entertainment.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 1) 346 346

Which part? The part where left-leaning activist groups generate enormous numbers of bogus voter registrations? Among others, ACORN did just that (getting busted doing it was why they re-organized and changed their name so nobody would keep bringing it up ... and you're probably hoping nobody will remember actual criminal prosecution for those actions). Or are you saying that the coordinated efforts to talk out-of-state college students into double-voting haven't, despite extensive reporting of exactly that, occurred?

Or you could look to no less a bastion of right-wing win nuttery than the Washington Post, which reported on a review showing thousands of people registered to vote in multiple states, and in one local review, caught over 150 people crossing state boundaries just in the DC area to vote more than once on the same day.

One of the county election supervisors who took time to review information in that instance found an example of where someone had been crossing state lines and voting more than once on the same day in local and national elections for over a decade. He said that in a dozen cases he'd reviewed, the purposefulness of the election fraud was plain, and the actions were class 6 felonies.

In cases where congressional seats or governorships can turn on a mere handful of votes, it's no "pile of bull" to point out that people are deliberately, systematically taking advantage of weak ID requirements and a weak registration system in order to fraudulently corrupt elections.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 2) 346 346

That said it is pretty obvious that the main proponents of voter laws are Republicans because they know it will benefit them in elections, and the main opponents of voter laws are democrats because they know it will not benefit them in elections.

Backwards. The Republicans know that the biggest source of bogus voter registrations, and the areas with the largest number of actively dead registered voters and turnout at polling places where the number of votes exceeds the eligible population, are in places where Democrat activists work the hardest to hold on to power. It's not that knowing people who vote are voting legally and only once isn't going to benefit Democrats, it's that such a process is counter to what liberal activist groups work so hard to put in place. Like huge efforts to get college students to register to vote where they go to school, but to also vote absentee in their home state. Stuff like that. When they pour so much work into it that it starts to show (like the thousands of bogus registrations routinely created by the former ACORN), you know they won't like having that work undone by basic truth-telling at the polling place.

If you're worried about people not knowing there's an election coming up, and not bothering to get an ID (really? you can't go to the doctor, fill a prescription, collect a welfare check, or much of ANYTHING else with already having an ID), then why not encourage the Democrats to apply the same level of effort they put into the shady practices described above, and focus it instead on getting that rare person who never sees a doctor, never gets a prescription, collects no government benefits of any kind, doesn't work (but whom you seem to suggest none the less are a large voting block) and, with YEARS to work with between elections ... just getting them an ID?

Comment: Re:Accepting Responsibility (Score 1) 346 346

I wouldn't go as far as to say they are saying that black people aren't smart enough to understand the situation

Sure they are. Because the only people who could possibly take actual offense at this would be those who, having it explained to them, still can't understand it. Those who are insisting that black people be offended by this are insisting that black people can't handle the simple information that would remove any perception of malice from the narrative.

Comment: Re:Accepting Responsibility (Score 4, Insightful) 346 346

It's called an "apology" - did you skip that day in kindergarten?

When the apology is a completely over-wrought bit of silly nonsense rendered in response to gleeful press releases from the Big SJW industry (who desperately NEED there to be events like this, whipped hugely out of proportion, in order to have things to get sound angry about), then it's not an apology. It's a forced sacrifice on the alter of Political Correctness gone (ever more) insane. There's nothing to apologize for here, because nobody at Google sat down to create a racist process or racist results. People who can't mentally untangle the difference between intent and coincidence should just shut up ... except, they're all media darlings now, because it's fashionable to be completely irrational on that front, now.

If Google tagged me as "albino ape" or "yeti" or "Stay-Pufft Marshmallow Man" I'd think it was hilarious. Those manufacturing faux offense at this bit of completely benign nonsense are the real racists. They are the ones who are saying that black people aren't smart enough to understand the situation. As usual, the racist SJW condescension is the most actually offensive thing in the room.

Comment: Re:alogrithms aren't racist (Score 5, Informative) 346 346

It isn't a racist outcome. It is the outcome of a flawed algorithm.

You're not paying attention. These days, outcomes that have nothing to do with intention, purpose, or simple transparent standards, but which happen to lean statistically towards results not in perfect balance with skin color as a function of population (though, only in one direction) ... the process must be considered racist. The whole "disparate impact" line of thinking is based on this. If you apply a standard (say, physical strength or attention to detail or quick problem solving, whatever) to people applying to work as, say, firefighters ... if (REGARDLESS of the mix of people who apply) you get more white people getting the jobs, then the standards must surely be racist, even if nobody can point to a single feature of those standards that can be identified as such. Outcomes now retro-actively re-invent the character of whoever sets a standard, and finds them to be a racist. Never mind that holding some particular group, based on their skin color, to some LOWER standard is actually racist, and incredibly condescending. But too bad: outcomes dictate racist-ness now, not policies, actions, purpose, motivation, or objective standards.

So, yeah. The algorithm, without having a single "racist" feature to it, can still be considered racist. Because that pleases the Big SJW industry.

It's the same thinking that says black people aren't smart enough to get a free photo ID from their state, and so laws requiring people to prove who they are when they're casting votes for the people who will govern all of us are, of course, labeled as racist by SJW's sitting in their Outrage Seminar meetings. It's hard to believe things have come that far, but they have.

Comment: Re:It's the newest political weapon (Score 1) 370 370

until politicians learn to trim their twitter and facebook timelines when they run for office

The internet never forgets. Even if they learn to purge/hide their stuff, it's extremely likely that it's referenced or stored somewhere else, especially if the person had some level of notoriety before running for office.

Comment: Re:Free Speech vs. Vigilantism (Score 1) 205 205

My experience is that people who show up for a product or service (or pizza, whatever), get what they ordered and are content ... do NOT generally stop what they're doing to run off and tell the world, "My $10 pizza was satisfactory." Anybody who has ever worked retail (and paid attention) can tell you that a hundred happy customers will simply return for more business when they want, but not take time out to communicate to the business or to anyone else that they're happy customers. Life's too short, they just carry on. People who are truly dismayed about their experience, however, will take to every communication method they can dream up to make sure the world knows of their displeasure. And some of the people who do that are just plain nuts, or have very poor judgement, or are either hobby-level or professional trolls. That's who we all hear from, well out of proportion to the real-world experiences of most people. And the internet echo-chamber tends to greatly amplify that effect.

Comment: Re:This is your Constitution on Market economics. (Score 2) 205 205

If this review were accurate, for example, it could cost Link money, but it would not be actionable.

Not strictly true -- it's possible to make a series of true statements but present them in a way that is misleading or inappropriately singles out a person or company in a misleading way. If there is evidence that this was done deliberately and maliciously, there could still be basis for an action. Contrary to popular belief, truth is not an absolute defense to defamation, especially if truth is presented in a selective and deliberately misleading way.

Comment: Re:What were they thinking? (Score 1) 177 177

there is fuck all reasonable people can do about it.

I disagree. The way that you deal with one of those types of people, who I deem "assholes", is a simple idea that is hard for many people to do: Be an asshole in turn.

Assholes are not going to listen to reasonable people, to polite requests. Certainly try these first, but do not expect them to work and be ready to up the ante. See someone throw a cigarette butt on the ground? Ask them to pick it up. They refuse? Pick it up and stick it on them.

Nice people don't want to be assholes, of course. This is a good thing. But the only way to deal with people like this, from the guy who cuts in line to the fanatic priest that wants to legalize stoning adulterers, is to puff up your chest, boost up your voice, and lean right back into them. Asshole and evil people get away with a lot today (and in history) because reasonable people don't want to be assholes themselves. But reasonable people need to be willing and ready to be a calculated asshole, causing grief only to those who already cause grief, or those assholes will continue to shit all over us.

Maybe groups of friends should have a designated asshole. Like a designated driver, the designated asshole is the one who steps to the front when someone in the group is faced with regular assholes. Someone who can turn it on and off as needed.

Comment: Re:Same old silly press (Score 2) 214 214

There is never a popular press article about how computers may never do consciousness, at least by any current definition of "computer,"

If you look up my previous posts here on AI, you'll note that I'm pretty critical of the kind of press given to AI as well. And I think that we're pretty far off from a model of computing that will effectively rival the kind of learning the brain does.

But even I think your claim here is asking the wrong question. If "consciousness" can be created using machines, it will be an "emergent phenomenon," which means the kind of complexity that will appear may be sudden and unpredictable compared to the lower-level construction.

nor an article about how there are things human consciousness can do which no deterministic process can more than imperfectly mimic.

What would be the point of such articles? How could you ever prove such a claim? Can you provide some examples of "things human consciousness can do which no CONCEIVABLE deterministic process can more than imperfectly mimic"?

And if you think you can, I really suggest you read up on emergent phenomena in some detail, including philosophers who have thought greatly about the kinds of ontological and epistemological questions you're posing. These are debates which go back thousands of years. But I'd personally suggest looking at the philosopher Daniel Dennett's work for some sophisticated discussion of how apparent macroscopic "freedom" can emerge from "deterministic" microscopic processes.

In the process of asking what people really mean by terms like "free will" and such, you end up realizing that microscopic determinism isn't so "scary" after all.

And isn't that what your post is really about? You don't want to believe that human consciousness is determined in any way, right? I'm not saying you have to accept Dennett or other philosophers' ideas about these issues, but they are worth exploring.

Both of these positions are viable, and embraced by experts in various fields.

Yes, and religious belief in all sorts of supernatural and mystical phenomena is "embraced by experts in various fields" as well. The idea that human "consciousness" is fundamentally tied up with this kind of mystical belief in a separate "soul" or something. But there's no empirical evidence why consciousness shouldn't be able to be explained by laws of nature.

By all current evidence, they may prove right.

By all current evidence 200 years ago, humans would never be able to fly.

But it doesn't make for a hero story to write about someone who argues for these positions.

That's because your two positions amount to, "Uh... gee, well, there are some things that can't be explained scientifically yet." That's not very interesting, and historical precedent says that most of the time people said stuff was inexplicable or impossible... later people managed to explain or do it. (Unless it was actually against some inherent law of nature -- is that, by chance, what you're claiming to know? That some "consciousness" processes are inherently non-deterministic according to a fundamental law of nature? If so, that sounds suspiciously mystical and/or religious.)

"Discovering" that consciousness either essentially does nothing or that some computer advance is just about to do consciousness (or both!) is a "great" story. Editors like it. The public is impressed by the "brilliant" "counter-intuitive" revelation.

Just because something is "intuitive" does NOT mean it's right. In fact, humans have a well-known propensity and actually a fundamental cognitive bias to believe that order (and "meaning") is in randomness. Humans were stupid enough to be fooled into thinking ELIZA exhibited consciousness and was not simply deterministic. Human consciousness -- whatever it is caused by -- involves many orders of magnitude more complexity than ELIZA. Yet you somehow think we should be able to trust our "intuitive" instinct that we can just "know" what human cognitive processes are non-deterministic and necessary for consciousness.

Really??

(By the way -- I'm NOT saying that your perspective is impossible, just as I would not say many people who have religious beliefs are believing in things that are impossible. But the idea that consciousness is non-deterministic is a similar belief... there's just no way to come close to "proving" that right now, and it seems to violate the idea that most scientists assume where we try to natural, logical explanations first.)

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

Working...