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Comment Impending Doom (Score 1) 149

Using well known and solid techniques along with vast computing power, Google has finally broken into the majors of Go. The next question is whether a home computer can run the neural network now that it's been trained;.. or do the CPU and RAM requirements still place this level of play into the corporate-only bracket.

Once we can run our own purpose-designed expert systems on commodity hardware, that's when the social change AI will bring will be nigh. Whether it's beneficial to everyone, to just the 1%, or whether everything goes tits-up I have no clue. But we aren't there yet, because things like this are still hugely expensive to train and operate. A government can make a single person fly with a jetpack, but that has had zero impact on our daily lives. Social change rarely occurs until revolutionary capabilities are available to the masses (or at least the small business owners).

Comment Re:New technologies? (Score 1) 123

I was wondering if it maybe actually lends credence to people who claim they have allergies to various types of EM.

When they can reliably detect the presence of active EM radiation, rather than only reacting to the presence of blinking LED on non-functional devices, then credence will be lent.

Pass the double-blind, or GTFO.

Comment Who Listened? (Score 1) 174

You have had the ear of many a policy maker over the years. Can you give any examples where they listened? Where you felt you made a difference? Someone who voted yes on a law you recommended, or a wording that was changed because you commented on it?

Or the reverse... do you instead feel like the time you put in never seemed to make a difference?

Comment Filters (Score 1) 90

Statistics is a mathematical filter we use on raw data to extract meaning. So give the students some raw data (a field full of virtual people; a forest full of trees and animals; a toy chest full of different toys, a crowd of video game characters) and give them statistical filters and widgets they can drag over these seas of data to extract information.

  • - Drag a 'Plants' filter over the forest to eliminate the fauna (visually the deer and rabbits vanish as well), then drop an Weight bar chart on it to show how the forest is full of tiny mushrooms and ferns as well as giant trees, but perhaps lacks in-between weights.
  • - Filter the crowd with a 'T-Shirt' filter, and compare the resulting Age graph with the same graph after applying a 'Buttoned Shirt' filter.
  • - Give them filters that have a limited radius, and see if they can find pockets of the toy chest that have an un-representative number of Lego Blocks than the whole population. Is the result from the bottom of the toy chest different than from the top?
  • - Filter by gender, and compare the representation of female and male characters in video games. Compare the same result when you also filter for Protagonists and NPCs

There are a lot of ways a simple picture (that's actually a bunch of sprites, one per data point) can turn into a learning experience for a different aspect of statistics. The subject matter and questions can be easily tuned to different age groups. With a robust set of filters and visualizations you can teach advanced ideas in an engaging and clear manner to almost any audience.

Comment Governmental Spying (Score 1) 22

The more IT equipment is traded between nations, the more they can all spy on each other with embedded malware and hidden backdoors. Makes complete sense.

And no, I don't wear a tinfoil hat, and this post is half joke, but only half... I'm sure that at least one NSA official nudged a bureaucrat somewhere that this would be good for national security.

Comment Institutional Knowledge (Score 5, Interesting) 169

On a site that frequently ridicules the short-sighted behavior of eliminating experienced employees to bring in fresh (cheap) college graduates, it seems out of place to have a positive outlook on pervasive outsourcing.

If everyone is a contract worker doing works-for-hire, then nobody has extensive institutional knowledge. You are constantly explaining and re-explaining how your business works, and bugs are repeatedly entering codebases because the developer hasn't spent years understanding the business and its workflows. It doesn't matter how well documented your business is, developers will make mistakes when they are unfamiliar with your processes. When they can't look at a workflow or data structure and go 'that's not right' because they have spent years at the company learning how things work.

Experience has value; not just experience coding, but experience with the company understanding how it works. Systems are rarely generic... they are embedded directly into the business logic unique to each company, and the less you need to learn and relearn the requirements of every system the more productive you can be.

Comment Re:I hope that Imprimis Pharmaceuticals make a pro (Score 1) 168

They've been losing money for four years, about 10M a year. It's a startup. All in all, this is pretty cheap advertising for them. But be aware that this is an advertisement. When Chevy says that they're truck will get 50MPG, get you to Colorado, and get you laid by the model onscreen you don't take them at their word.

Don't assume Imprimis is amazing because they put out an ad for their services.

Comment Re:Read the paper. Disagree with "symbols" (Score 1) 103

You failed to demonstrate your point. You show that symbols are not used in a way that would create the most entropy in the password. But that's not what the statement said... it said that symbols generally add more entropy than capitals or numbers. And unless you also compare the entropy added by capitals (barely 1 bit most of the time, capitalizing the first letter) or numbers usually a 1 at the end, or just a few digits at the end (and even fully random digits are only 3.2bits of entropy per character).

Symbol usage may be poor, but capital usage is shit, and number usage not much better. So poor beats out shit.

Comment Re:Best? (Score 5, Informative) 98

The 960 was only a barely behind the 750 in performance per dollar... which means you are getting nearly double the performance for that doubling in price.

Or, to put it another way, the 960 is 90% faster than the 750, for 100% more money. The 970 is 160% faster for 200% of the price. Those are actually great stats... when you normally look at high end cards, you often get 50% faster for 100% of the price.

Finally, all the games he tested were rather old (common for Linux). If I'm buying a new steam machine now, I don't want to buy one that can play three year old games for $100, I want to buy one that will play next years games.

Comment A long way. (Score 1) 58

The reviewers in this are not pushovers. They stress the AI, rather than just chatting normally. And that's awesome. All of the questions were stuff that most humans could easily handle, but often required a basic understanding of reality from our point of view. Unsurprisingly, the AI flubbed it. Perhaps some decade one of those knowledge engines will get a firm enough grasp to be able to answer this kind of basic reality trivia.

Comment Re:When Windows - Windows 10? (Score 1) 165

While I largely agree, the issue is not quite as black and white as you paint.

There are something around 2 Billion users with Windows installed on their computer. Regardless of your personal opinion about updates, they should be enabled by default, with no user prompt asking them at install time if they want updates. This is the same argument for mandatory immunization; the species as a whole benefits from herd immunity. If you are arguing against automatic updates, and malware-scanning-by-default, then I think you have a fundamental confusion about how the Internet will survive when infected devices are counted in the billions rather than the millions. Regardless of your distaste for the business practices of companies like Adobe and Oracle, their auto-updaters save the world billions in damages by reducing the number of vulnerable users.

There are other areas where best practices should not be up for debate by the user. My car doesn't ask me if I want to use my ABS brakes when I stop, nor does it stop dinging at me if I drive without a seatbelt on. You may value your personal freedom to choose, but society at large benefits when fewer people crash or die. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

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