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Comment: Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 272

by Your.Master (#49788391) Attached to: How To Die On Mars

It is just a matter of engineering*. It's not like we need fundamental new science. Literally everything you said is an engineering problem.

It's just a whole fuckload of engineering.

Here's one way it might go down.

1. Self-sustaining Martian robot "colony". Note we don't have one on Earth, but to be fair we don't need one on Earth nearly so much. This is conceivably something that could be useful even on Earth in extreme environments, or in Earth orbit, so we can get some practice, then adapt for Mars. Again, this glosses over a lot.
2. The robots can now attempt to create a liveable ecosphere. We could even send ahead some plants and animals that nobody would miss to prove the concept.
3. Then the humans come.

Does that sound conservative to you? Because that's how the real space program happened, the one that is often lauded as going so fast compared to now. First we sent machines which had a useful life in space much longer than any human has ever lived in space (thus, self-sustaining). Then came the dog, the monkeys, and finally humans. We skipped the dogs and monkeys on the moon at great risk, but we had already proven:

1. Launch from a gravity well
2. Continuous space habitation on similar timescales to the moon mission

So we had good reason to think we could skip that step. We should work ourselves up to longer-term habitation similarly. The ISS is a good step for long-term habitation with resupply, but we need something with no resupply.

The class of problems that could be solved by humans using only local materials, but would leave us totally fucked with only machines, is pretty small. I can see the argument about useful science, but we're talking fatal emergencies.

* Mayyyyyybe psychology or economics or some soft sciences like that.

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 412

by Your.Master (#49764999) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

There is one good reason to assume that: we are their creators, not a series of random processes smoothed out by natural selection. That has several consequences:

1. We can (attempt to) create strong AI in such a way that it doesn't want to kill us, or is unable. The want thing could have bugs, but we can work through bugs. The ability thing seems stronger at first brush -- consider a strong AI whose entire existence is inside a virtualized environment and which has no direct external sensors -- essentially an AI in the matrix, a matrix which may or may not even be recognizable to humans. It is not going to be able to conceive of a way of killing its extradimensional overlords.

The other problem is if some crazy person subverts this because they want apocalypse. Suicide bombing the species, so to speak.

2. We are their creators and they know it. You can twist that around and also say that's a reason they'll destroy us, but it is nonetheless unique to AI compared to every other example you have cited.

3. There is no reason that strong AI needs to have a survival instinct built in. It's fundamental to us because if it wasn't, we wouldn't live to produce as many children as we do (and even then suicide rate is alarming in humans, and documented in other mammals). I can think of no reason it's logically necessary to a strong AI to have a survival instinct. I know that's Asimov's third law of robotics.

In fact there's no reason to presume just about anything about the motivations of an AI. We'll probably try to give it some, which align with our motivations, so it's probably not entirely distinct from a human motivation, but that doesn't mean its actions overall would be human-like.

I will give one big exception: if strong AI is first developed by full-brain simulation of a human, that would imply human-like motivations.

Comment: Re:Not so sure (Score 1) 234

by Your.Master (#49762891) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Nota Bene: I don't play the lottery; well, I did play it ONCE, recognizing that my odds of winning were the highest possible with that one play, and only decrease from there.

Errr...did they change the rules that day? Or are you treating sunk costs oddly?

A 0.000001% chance that you and everyone dies *should* be regarded far more seriously than a similar chance you win a big pile of cash because one of those situations you survive either way.

There are lots of studies that use equivalent consequences that show this to be the case. You can see citations just reading the summary paragraph of the wikipedia article:

They are referencing this well-known result, not using their work as evidence for it.

Comment: Re:Consumer Price Index (Score 1) 1090

by Your.Master (#49732687) Attached to: Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour

Your scenario is broken because you believe that doubling some people's earnings causes all prices to double, which is absurd.

The total money circulating in the marketplace did not come even close to doubling, so there's no reason to expect 100% inflation. Prices will probably rise marginally on low-end goods.

In fact, if you passed a law that said that literally everybody on earth got their wages exactly doubled instantly, you *still* wouldn't see a precise doubling of prices, because you haven't increased their existing asset base.

If you double literally all incomes on Earth, *and* the value of all financial instruments, overnight, then and only then do I expect everything's price to also double overnight (provided there's no legal impediment to doing so eg. rent control). Nobody is doing that.

It's like Lenz's Law. Yes, running a current causes electromagnetic interference and, ultimately, a countercurrent. No, that doesn't mean that electric current is impossible.

Comment: Re:victory for pseudoscience and circular logic (Score 1) 545

by Your.Master (#49702179) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

I am merely pointing out they have no scientific evidence to justify that strong claim.

No evidence? That is itself a pretty strong claim.

Here's some really quick ones:


These are just two of them. These results are so well-known (especially with people who lived when measles was rampant) that citations are generally regarded as unnecessary to provide -- anybody can look up the source on their own. You can maybe find a vaccine (particularly one not yet FDA-approved) that isn't safe and effective because it's a broad category -- it's like asking whether "liquids are safe and effective at quenching thirst", and the answer is yes, but don't drink mercury or poison or anything that isn't safe and effective.

Comment: Re:Quantum entanglement is just a scam (Score 1) 86

by Your.Master (#49702037) Attached to: Are We Entering a "Golden Age of Quantum Computing Research"?

There seems to be confusion as to what Quantum Mechanics is.

Quantum Mechanics is accurate enough that it is necessary to modern semiconductor design. There is no other model humankind has invented that works. Therefore it is a good answer to the GGGP's question, "So why is this nonsense still science?".

Your misgivings about entanglement are not actually relevant to whether Quantum Mechanics is a real thing. Consider: Classical mechanics makes predictions about how GPS satellites should work that are empirically incorrect, which is why General Relativity is involved in GPS systems. Thus, even though Classical Mechanics makes a prediction that we are uncomfortable with, it's still not nonsense.

The retort "Make QM based computing work. Ever." is also irrelevant. Doesn't matter whether QM based computing is practical. The existence of entanglement doesn't mean that quantum computers are a good idea, any more than the explanation for how sunlight reaches the Earth means that classical computers are real. They happen to be real, and they both operate on electromagnetism, but there is a huge disconnect between those two things.

As for entanglement itself, it's a confusing subject but the GGGP didn't do a great job refuting it.

Comment: Re:What's a "software program" (Score 1) 200

Because "two forensic softwares" is ungrammatical.

It's like asking why somebody said they had two works of art when "works of art" could be replaced with just "art" without confusion. You can't just say you have "two arts". You could say you have "some art" but now you've lost information from the sentence.

Program is countable, but software is linguistically uncountable.

Comment: Re:that's fine (Score 1) 408

Can a good driver dodge accidents from the passenger's seat? Because 2 of those accidents were in self-driving cars with the self-driving turned off.

Without details on the accidents, we aren't in a good position to judge whether a good driver could have dodged this accident. The one detail we have is that the car was moving 10mph at the time. Not sure what to make of it -- was it read-ended, was it a parking lot accident, was it a bad lane change? Because being read ended is pretty cut-and-dried somebody else's fault (unless you *just* completed a lane change or something like that), but a parking lot accident could be very concerning.

Not that I disagree that the technology should be proven!

Comment: Re:nature will breed it out (Score 1) 950

Seriously? All women are great forever and it is always the men who suck/are scary/are evil/are messed up?

What the fuck. Seriously, the guy you're responding to had more weasel words than genus Mustelidae. How can you possibly read that and then act like he said all women are great forever and all men suck?

So I would, from personal experience, contest your claim that all men are evil shitbags ruling over society and that all women are wonderful little angels sent from above.

This is beyond a strawman. It's a whole straw village. And frankly, such an obviously warped of interpretation makes me struggle to give you the benefit of the doubt for the rest of your story, but I'm going to try not to dismiss it out of hand because I know that attitude is a problem for both men and women -- especially men. So: I agree that you shouldn't have been raped or falsely accused of being a rapist, that's shitty.

This said...


That term means something different from how you're using it. You're using it to mean "feminist" really, but not using the word feminist because you want to exclude radical feminists and academic feminists. I have little patience for semantic political correctness arguments like this. You can't use "humanist" is a politically correct way of saying "feminist". It's taken.

The difficult we do today; the impossible takes a little longer.