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Comment: Re:Already happened? (Score 1) 270

by StikyPad (#47424523) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

I think you're mischaracterizing both philosophy and science. If we accept the definition of philosophy as "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence" then most sciences are a subset of philosophy. And simply because there is a hierarchal structure to their categorization or origins does not give one authority over the other, any more than the first mammal has authority over lions. Neither do we say that lions have "far exceeded" the limits of mammals. Arguments that pit philosophy against science are just as nonsensical.

Comment: Re:Most humans couldn't pass that test (Score 1) 270

by StikyPad (#47424331) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

To be fair to the GP, the output of any human is predictable and explainable if we accept determinism. The only way the Lovelace Test can be valid is if we accept that people have souls (or some other attribute not subject to physical law) that in some way affect natural brain function, and find a way to reproduce that artificially.

Indeed, the whole idea of "unpredictable, unexplainable output" seems contradictory. When people do not behave somewhat predictably, when we cannot explain their actions, we typically label them as crazy. Intelligent actions are not inexplicable after analysis, even if they appear to be in the moment. The only way to satisfy that condition is to generate random output, which is the opposite of intelligence.

Comment: Re:Moron Judge (Score 2) 118

by StikyPad (#47424071) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Except the IRS has declared that bitcoin is property, not currency.

Q-1: How is virtual currency treated for federal tax purposes?
A-1: For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property. General tax
principles applicable to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual


The money laundering statute applies to the below:

(4) the term âoefinancial transactionâ means
(A) a transaction which in any way or degree affects interstate or foreign commerce involving
(i) the movement of funds by wire or other means or
(ii) one or more monetary instruments, or
(iii) the transfer of title to any real property, vehicle, vessel, or aircraft, or
(B) a transaction involving the use of a financial institution...

Note that "real property," is real estate, not any personal property whatsoever, and the term "monetary instrument" is likewise defined by the FDIC:

Monetary instruments.
(1) Monetary instruments include:
(i) Currency;
(ii) Traveler's checks in any form;
(iii) All negotiable instruments (including personal checks, business checks, official bank checks, cashier's checks, third-party checks, promissory notes (as that term is defined in the Uniform Commercial Code), and money orders) that are either in bearer form, endorsed without restriction, made out to a fictitious payee (for the purposes of Sec. 1010.340), or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery;
(iv) Incomplete instruments (including personal checks, business checks, official bank checks, cashier's checks, third-party checks, promissory notes (as that term is defined in the Uniform Commercial Code), and money orders) signed but with the payee's name omitted; and
(v) Securities or stock in bearer form or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery.

So yes, there are very different regulations depending on whether bitcoin is or is not currency. Absent legislation specifically addressing "virtual currency," the courts will have to hash out this disagreement, which is what will happen here, I'm sure, but I think it's regrettable that someone can be punished for law that isn't yet decided. If I drive 55, should I be punished for skirting speeding laws? Are racetracks circumventing legislation against street racing? The problem with calling this money laundering isn't that this guy is punished (if he's guilty of running the Silk Road); it's that it opens up a whole other class of individuals for prosecution just because they were using bitcoin to conduct transactions -- namely everyone who conducts transactions in bitcoin.

Comment: Re:kind of like a small town fireworks show? (Score 1) 200

by StikyPad (#47403109) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

Because a) most US cities have ordinances prohibiting arial fireworks (and some prohibit all fireworks) without a permit/license, and b) Many states prohibit the sale of arial fireworks, or limit the size to a few grams, or less than N feet (meters) off the ground, or all of those things.

The better question would be to ask why these regulations exist, and the answer is to prevent this:

Also Iceland in mid-winter carries a much lower fire risk than much of the US in mid-summer.

I like setting off my own, but there are upsides to municipal displays as well:

* They're usually choreographed.
* They're cheaper (free).
* Less running away from lit fuses and more sitting back and enjoying.

Comment: Re:How big is the problem really? (Score 1) 201

If Snowdenâ(TM)s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 âoetransparency report,â the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last yearâ(TM)s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowdenâ(TM)s sample, the officeâ(TM)s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.

900k, not 10k.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 551

Do you think a salmon is 1,000,000 times smarter than an ant? Because that's the consequence of applying a linear timeline to exponential growth.

How smart is an ant anyway? Or a salmon? Or a dog? How do you quantify it? Are they 3 smart? Maybe 11?

But to indulge your arbitrary metrics for "smartness," we can simulate entire colonies of ants already:

So maybe the future is closer than you think. Six or seven closer.

Comment: Re:Amazoing (Score 1) 415

by StikyPad (#47401901) Attached to: Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

Let my preface this by saying that I believe all parallel construction should be illegal, and I hope/believe that it will eventually be ruled accordingly. Partial truths are still deceit, and dishonesty in the legal system opens it up to (further) abuse. It's either illegal to lie under oath, or it is not, and the government should hold itself to the same standard that we expect of citizens.

That said, parallel construction is precisely about concealing the impetus. The classic example is a traffic stop that appears to be random, but is actually targeting a vehicle. The targeted vehicle could well have been stopped solely for whatever reason police used, and so that's the "parallel construction," even though police knew exactly which vehicle they wanted to stop.

"You'd be told only, âBe at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

Bringing a canine unit to the storage facility would allow the officer to tell the partial truth that he got a hit on a storage unit during a walk-through, even if the impetus for bringing the dog and doing a walk-through was because of a CI (and even if the hit was prompted). The deceit isn't in saying how the contraband was actually discovered/acquired, but in what the impetus was for using that (perfectly legal) method in the first place. That part is the "parallel construction."

Now you might have been saying that GP's speculation that it was parallel construction is wrong, but we're all just speculating on what the officer might have been doing anyway. Maybe it was just a recreation for the camera and they forgot to edit that part out.

Comment: Re:The goal of 1st world countries (Score 1) 401

by StikyPad (#47401243) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

At some point costs (labor requirements) will be so low that an entire population doesn't need to work full-time, or even anything approaching full time, in order to meet them. This is most clearly visible when looking at the amount of money we spend on food -- costs have decreased so dramatically that food costs as a percent of income are lower than income taxes in most cases. So what happens when the costs of other goods and services decrease accordingly? What happens when we don't have to pay people to create those goods and services, because they're created by machines? When grain is harvested by self-driving combines, and transported to market on self-driving trucks, and vended by automated machines? Because all of the other parts of the supply chain have already been automated -- those are the few that remain. The costs of goods and services will approach zero, even if they never quite get there.

We currently accommodate this through unemployment -- reducing the size of the workforce and making people compete for available positions instead of lowering the time per individual. We leave it up to individuals to either re-task or retire. And reductions in the workforce are sustainable -- up to about 1 worker per family. After that it starts to fall apart.

Automation is happening all around us, but we keep our collective heads in the sand because *our* jobs haven't yet been obsoleted, and because we fail to imagine a day when that could happen. I'm not saying it will be a utopia by any means. On the contrary, I don't think humans are generally wired to be happy and content, and we will always find things to be unhappy about. What I am saying is that we need to plan in order to avoid the dystopia that will necessarily ensue from massive unemployment and the lack of a societal model to accommodate it.

Of course, we can't even execute an effective, collective plans for more concrete "when not if" scenarios like natural events, so I'm not holding my breath for realistic plans to address near-zero cost existence.

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.