Forgot your password?

Comment: No more superstars (Score 1) 191

by aNonnyMouseCowered (#47491735) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

"Of course, old favorites won't disappear. They'll be a handful of new discoveries each year from self-publishing. Enough that books won't be "dead". But the idea that book reading will become marginal enough that it's cultural significance will essentially be irrelevant."

More books or at least book-length works are being published now than in the past. So a few percentage of good books out of a couple of million bad books is still a lot.

This development parallells the development of culture in other fields, such as music. Before the nineteenth century, you could probably count on your fingers and toes the number of composers who were as good as Beethoven and Mozart, since any would-be Beethoven would need not just be talented but had to live near a place where he could hear good live music that he could learn to imitate first then later surpass with masterpieces of his own.

With the development of recorded music and mass-produced musical instruments, any middle-class person of even mediocre musical talent could listen to good or nearly good music just just by switching on the turn table and later the cassette and CD players.

Today, people have greater access to writing and greater access to a possible audience. Many of today's "books" are actually written in "submarine" form, probably serialized in the writer's blog or written as fan faction. And so, the audience even gets access to the act of writing itself. Writers who blog their novels get feedback from readers whose collective comments effectively make them "crowd" editors, similar to the way Wikipedia works.

What you lament is the coming demise of writing and culture is no more than the death of the rock star, or the Shakespeares or Beethovens of the past because their numbers have multiplied through the spread of mass culture.

Comment: Re:Smart move... (Score 1) 127

by aNonnyMouseCowered (#47445633) Attached to: Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets

You joke. But the names are probably going to go through some sort of machine filtering that'll eliminate Fuckeroo, Sexoid, or Goatse then vetted by a panel of religious and cultural sensitivity "experts" and everybody else with a loud mouth or a big stick to eliminate names likely to get on somebody's goat like Tiananmen, Bin Laden, Zion, etc. Only then does the Internets get to vote to short list of approved names, pretty much like a Slashdot poll.

Comment: Intelligence isn't always advantageous (Score 4, Interesting) 157

by aNonnyMouseCowered (#47440287) Attached to: Chimpanzee Intelligence Largely Determined By Genetics

The corollary here is that intelligence isn't always an advantage. Or else all chimps would have evolved human class intelligence. The question I'd like answered is, what natural advantages does innate stupidity confer upon a creature that enables it to spread its just as efficiently or even bettera than an intelligent creature. Maybe the neurons required to be good at puzzle solving and the like are subtracted from the total needed for street or jungle "smarts".

Comment: Don't count on good OSS support (Score 1) 183

"Rockchip RK3288 is coming, should be affordable, and the company is spending a lot of effort making sure it's well supported in mainline."

Citation needed. Mind supporting your statement with a link? AFAIK RK has one of the poorest FOSS support among Chinese SOC makers (compared to Allwinner and Amlogic). The RK source code floating in the net tend to be "leaks" or in any case releases that aren't official supported by the company. Also for a long time there was no official way to flash firmware onto the embedded flash storage of an Android device unless you use RK's Windows only firmware tool. (This changed recently with the appearance of a binary only Linux upgrade tool.) Opensource RK flash tools are quite limited in that they are unable to partition the flash storage or to change the bootloader, needed when upgrading between incompatible Android versions or loading desktop Linux.

Comment: No human can pass that test (Score 1) 285

Well, no human alive today in any case. All so-called "original" works produced today are derivatives of older works (Shakespeare, folklore, etc) or quirks produced by the artist's mental state. Among deceased artists Van Gogh and Edgar Allan Poe are famous examples. Another reason why we should stop this "all rights reserved" nonsense of the traditional copyright system, where the artist is presumed to be a god that produces unique worlds out of nothing.

Comment: Re:It's a question of mass production (Score 1) 564

"And we currently have no idea how to create intelligent software." Of course we can't create "intelligent" software if the definition is stacked in favor of philosophically disputable notions like consciousness. Is Google Search conscious? Does the Siri system really "understand" what I tell it to? This is what's preventing machines from being defined as "intelligent". But if some future machine can exponentially compute, brute-force if you will, all the "calcuations" needed by a human to start an "intelligent" conversation, shouldn't that qualify as intelligence? Or would you say that a two-year old child shouldn't be considered "intelligent" because she can't understand what we're talking about.

Comment: It's a question of mass production (Score 1) 564

"Back in the 1960s after the moon landings, people would have expected we would be well past Mars by now. Probably Jupiter, Saturn or other stars."

Your example and the frequently quoted one about flying cars is the wrong analogy to make. There's a reason to be more optimistic, or pessimistic (depending on whether you view machine intelligence as threat), with regard the progress of AI.

Up until now, nobody has been mass producing man-rated spaceships, or flying cars and warp drives for that matter. On the other hand, computers and computer parts have been mass-produced since shortly after Jack Kilby invented the transistor. This is the reason for the so-called Moore's Law.

Now, unless you can prove that the very idea of AI is impossible, then the development of increasingly powerful computers as an aftereffect of Moore's Law and similar technologies (massively parallel computing etc) will result in systems exponentially more powerful than IBM's Watson. At some point a future Watson or Google AI system will make "decisions" indistinguishable from a human's.

Now, if Boeing and others are mass producing rocket parts at the same volume that Ford, Toyota, and their suppliers, etc are producing automobile parts (or Samsung and Foxconn smartphone parts), I'd say we'd not only be on Mars right now, we'd have a space colony on Pluto, if that's an interesting enough minor planet.

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 4, Insightful) 170

by aNonnyMouseCowered (#47372691) Attached to: Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass

You should blame Google, Facebook and other Big Data companies for making indiscriminate surveillance somewhat palatable to the masses, who'll be thinking, it's okay for Google and Facebook to spy on us merely for profit, so it should be okay for the government to spy on us to prevent (omg) TERRORISM.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.