Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:"Born atheist" quite a leap (Score 1) 413

by ShanghaiBill (#49142561) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Atheism is an absence of belief, not a belief in absence.

You know that those are logically identical, right?

No they aren't.

A simplified example: "John doesn't believe God exists" is identical to "John believes God does not exist" as they both expresses, unambiguously, John's beliefs about the existence of God. That is, to the question "Does John believe God exists" both statements evaluate the same way: "no".

Wrong question. Ask "Does John believe there is no god?" and in the 2nd instance the answer is "Yes". In the first instance, you aren't provided with enough information to answer the question.

As a general rule, "yes" and "I don't know" aren't equivalent just because neither means "no".

Comment: Re:Sure, some access is bad (Score 2) 44

by ShanghaiBill (#49141675) Attached to: Facebook's Colonies

If the access was provided by a greedy KKKorporation, rather than the benevolent government, it is already suspect.

It may be suspect, but almost any access is better than no access. If the access to the Internet includes access to Facebook (which is usually among the first things blocked by oppressive regimes), and other sites that allow peer-to-peer communication, then that is even better. So I have a hard time seeing why any increase in access is not "inherently good".

Comment: Re:"Born atheist" quite a leap (Score 1) 413

by ShanghaiBill (#49141479) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

However, when I've had multiple Atheists assert that belief in God is {foolhardy, evil, insert_negative_emotion}, that does seem to be a parsimonious explanation.

Let me get this straight: You believe that atheists asserting that faith based beliefs are silly is evidence that they have ... faith based beliefs. I don't follow your logic.

Comment: Re:"Born atheist" quite a leap (Score 1) 413

by ShanghaiBill (#49140259) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

This doesn't describe most of the Atheists I've met, who affirmatively proclaim the non-existence of God(s).

Then either the atheists you have met are very atypical, or you misunderstand them. Richard Dawkins, an advocate of atheism and the creator of The Spectrum of Theistic Probability has stated that he has met no one with such an affirmative belief (a 7 on his scale), and does not hold such a belief himself, labelling himself a 6. I have never met anyone with an affirmative faith in the absence of a deity. Claims of such a faith seem to always originate from theists looking for a strawman to attack. Atheism is not based on faith. It is based on an absence of faith.

Comment: Re:"Born atheist" quite a leap (Score 1) 413

by ShanghaiBill (#49139555) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Atheism requires just as much faith as theism, since atheists still must "believe" in the unprovable.

Atheism is an absence of belief, not a belief in absence. Few people who self-identify as "atheist" have an affirmative belief/faith in the non-existence of a deities. Atheism is just the default position of an absence of belief through faith. It doesn't require "proof" of anything.

Comment: Re:Do they actually work well now? (Score 1) 41

by ShanghaiBill (#49138157) Attached to: The Believers: Behind the Rise of Neural Nets

Last time I looked there was no application of ANNs which couldn't be solved more efficiently by other algorithms ...

This is true, but someone has to write those more efficient algorithms. ANNs learn, and program themselves. Once a ANN has been trained to solve a problem, it can often be trimmed to a minimal implementation, making it more efficient, but no longer trainable.

Comment: Re:Breaking news! (Score 1) 148

by ShanghaiBill (#49134211) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

... and then buzz in before the other players can do all 3 things.

This is not correct. It is NOT who buzzes first. Alex reads the question and then a light comes on. If you push the button before the light comes on, then you are locked out for a quarter of a second. So the trick is to push the button the instant the light flashes on. It is pure response time. Of course a computer is going to be better at that. That is 99% of the reason Watson won.

Comment: Re:Politics? (Score 5, Interesting) 102

by ShanghaiBill (#49133585) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

In my experience, events like this point to some petty internal political battle.

Another possibility is that this is the Washington Monument Syndrome. This happens when an agency's budget is reduced, and rather than cutting the least important program, they cut the most visible program, in an attempt to get their funding restored.

Comment: Re:minority report? (Score 3, Interesting) 55

So, all we need to do is find three pre-cogs, put them to work and when two of them agree on a scenario we drag the perp in... simple!

This is what I hated about "Minority Report". The point of the movie was that "pre-crime" was a bad idea. But the only negative thing about it was their absurd over-reaction to each prediction. Instead of "dragging the perp in", and incarcerating them for something they didn't do, they could have just prevented the crime, warned the potential perp to be more careful next time, and then let them go about their business. If they had just used the pre-cogs responsibly, it would have been fine, and they would have had a mostly crime free society.

Comment: Re:If you want better legislation (Score 0) 344

by ShanghaiBill (#49132671) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

why do all the detractors expect the new systems to be as close to 100% efficient immediately

Of course it isn't going to be "good enough" on the first attempt. But the correct response is to KEEP TRYING, rather than spending billions on subsidies to scale up something that is NOT "good enough". Subsidies for R&D makes sense. But as long as the panels are not good enough to be part of the solution, then subsidizing their installation is idiotic. It is the worst kind of "cargo cult" mentality to believe that if we build lots of things that LOOK like they should work, then that will solve the problem. Meanwhile, actual progress on efficient solar panels is stalling, because we are sidetracked into prematurely scaling up inefficient panels.

Comment: Re:If you want better legislation (Score 0) 344

by ShanghaiBill (#49132593) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

The reality is that those governments that fail to invest, will eventually be out competed.

Paying subsidies for installation is not "investing". How is our government going to avoid being "out competed" by paying American homeowners to install Chinese solar panels?

Comment: Re:Breaking news! (Score 1) 148

by ShanghaiBill (#49132459) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

Someone made a computer that's really good at reaction time

It was done awhile ago. By IBM. Watch Watson play Jeopardy, and it is pretty obvious it won mainly because it was much faster at triggering the button. Watson wasn't better at answering the questions, it just got more chances.

Comment: Re:If you want better legislation (Score 1) 344

by ShanghaiBill (#49130685) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

your "traditional" power companies are already getting subsidies

You cannot justify a stupid policy just by pointing out that we already do something else that is even stupider. Each policy should be judged on its own merits.

At least investing in renewables has long term benefits to society.

Investing in scientific research to improve renewables has long term benefits. But subsidies for installation are detrimental, because they encourage the production of inefficient solar panels that are not economically scalable, instead of working toward something that actually makes sense.

Whom the gods would destroy, they first teach BASIC.

Working...