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Submission + - AI Is Transforming Google Search. The Rest of the Web Is Next

catchblue22 writes: Yesterday, the 46-year-old Google veteran who oversees its search engine, Amit Singhal, announced his retirement. For much of his tenure, Singhai believed that Google’s search engine should be driven by algorithms based on definite rules that automatically generate a response to each query. His replacement, John Giannandrea is a proponent of using deep learning instead of hard coded algorithms; the "RankBrain" project uses deep neural networks to produce search results. Some at engineers at Google have shown skepticism of using neural networks for search: "...it’s hard to explain and ascertain why a particular search result ranks more highly than another result for a given query...It’s difficult to directly tweak a machine learning-based system to boost the importance of certain signals over others.”

Giannandrea's appointment shows that deep learning has arrived at Google Search. "By building learning systems, we don’t have to write these rules anymore...Increasingly, we’re discovering that if we can learn things rather than writing code, we can scale these things much better.”

Comment Re:You mean Space Coffin (Score 1) 101

These days, I have to seriously consider the possibility that you're part of a paid smear campaign by one of Musk's competitors. Because that's actually done these days. Ethical standards in marketing, never very high in the first place, have slipped that far. I suppose it's not the ethical standards of marketers that bother me so much, it's the public acceptance of such methods.

I have to agree with you. I have been watching Musk and his companies for a long time, and it seems to me that these trolling posts about Space X seemed to start appearing at a particular time, I think about two to three years ago. ULA, Space X's competitor in the US hired S-3 Group as a their propaganda and lobbying company about that time. I think what may have provoked it was that Space X was calling out ULA for using Russian rocket engines in its Atlas V rocket. They were involved in legal motions to prevent the Air Force from buying Russian engines. It seems to me that ULA likely realized that Space X was a real competitor. They likely wrote them off before as a joke because they Elon Musk kept making promises that seemed impossible. However those promises started coming true, albeit a bit later than promised. One thing that I have learned about Elon Musk is that he may make pronouncements that seem impossible, but usually they come true. He is quite brilliant and for the most part honest in what he says. He predicted that Space X would become a globally competitive launcher during a speech he made after their first successful launch, and this has come true. He predicted they would be able to land a first stage, and they succeeded last month. He predicted they would make a capsule that would land like a helicopter, and so far testing looks promising. I know the Mars idea seems unlikely at first glance, but if re-usability pans out (which seems likely because he has landed a first stage, which is the hardest part), then sending three or so astronauts on a fly-by won't be that expensive. Building a lander would be hard, but their experience with supersonic retropropulsion will help, as will their experience landing rockets. As for making fuel on Mars, I think that would require time and testing. I suspect the first flight will be a fly-by, just as it was with the Moon program. That is definitely feasible in the 10-year time frame.

Comment Re:You mean Space Coffin (Score 5, Interesting) 101

This monster is going to get people killed in the name of profit.

Imagine if the above intrepid poster typified decision makers in sixteenth century. They would never have sent out explorers such as Sir Francis Drake or Ferdinand Magellan on their great voyages to map the world. Hell, if all humans were all like this poster (and those who modded him up), these great explorers would never have existed. Judging by many of the comments on this article, we are turning into a society of Statler and Waldorfs who criticize from the sidelines while offering little of substance. So grow a pair, and remember that all of us are going to die. What are you going to do with your life?

Comment Re:Well... (Score 2) 232

Agreed. I encourage folks to check out Rocket Jump's video Why CG Sucks (Except it Doesn't). If you don't, here's the short version: we don't notice the good digital effects because they're so good or so subtle. We usually only notice the bad stuff.

One of my favourite movies, Master and Commander, uses CG, but it is not obvious that it does. I think that is the best use of CG, when it is largely invisible and not flaunting itself in your face. Mad Max, Fury Road is another great example.

Comment Re:TV ratings methodology (Score 5, Interesting) 302

In general, I prefer Netflix's system that isn't based on ad revenue but rather subscription revenue. The ad revenue system seems to encourage broadcasters to seek the lowest common denominator in their audience. Netflix has won me over with series such as Daredevil and House of Cards. Other subscription based services also seem to produce better material, the best example likely being HBO with series such as Game of Thrones. I have little sympathy for the old broadcasters. They are dinosaurs and should pass into oblivion in my opinion.

Comment Re:Does it have to be the whole booster? (Score 1) 118

Purely speaking from an economic standpoint, it would also make sense to do things differently. One could also just go for the most expensive part, which are the engines and avionics, and, depending on how you manage to retrieve them, it could actually be better.

Yeah, I hear the engines and avionics are the most expensive part of a 747. Who don't we just ditch the fuselage after every flight, and keep the engines and avionics. Would that make economic sense?

You sound like a ULA shill.

Comment Re:Actual update! (Score 1) 118

This was the last launch of v1.1 of the Falcon 9. As I understand it, v1.2 (sometimes called v1.1 Full Thrust) has upgraded landing legs. In either case, I would not call this a failure. The payload was placed into orbit. The touchdown speed was in fact normal. For some reason, one landing leg didn't lock. The landing is considered an experiment anyways. Isn't it good to do experiments? Don't you learn from them?

Comment Re:It's really too soon for this post. (Score 4, Informative) 118

The latest tweets from Musk indicate that on reading the data, the landing was not "hard". Apparently one of the legs failed to lock. Also it landed 1.3m from the center.

Elon Musk @elonmusk 6h6 hours ago

Definitely harder to land on a ship. Similar to an aircraft carrier vs land: much smaller target area, that's also translating & rotating.

Elon Musk @elonmusk 6h6 hours ago

However, that was not what prevented it being good. Touchdown speed was ok, but a leg lockout didn't latch, so it tipped over after landing.

Most of the posts in this discussion are based on incomplete information.

Comment Re:NASA who? (Score 1) 57

It's contracted out design and production since the Apollo era.

Yes and AFAIK, this was historically done with "cost plus" contracts that had no incentive for cost reduction. Basically the companies could name their cost for a project and then be guaranteed a profit margin on top. The companies would add complex management structures and build overly complex machines in order to maximize their profit. NASA became a key tool in dispersing "pork barrel" money to various congressional districts.

The model for the contracts with SpaceX and Orbital is "fixed cost for service". This gives an incentive for the companies to reduce costs, and they have. SpaceX is currently the least expensive launcher in the world, even without re-use of their rockets. And that includes China. The incumbent players, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have helped to created a PR campaign that brands the owner of SpaceX, Elon Musk as a "corporate welfare queen" partly for relying on government contracts through SpaceX. This coming from companies that, through defence contracts, rely mostly on government money. It is quite absurd propaganda.

Comment Re:Bull Spit (Score 4, Insightful) 259

You might want to get a better grip on reality. Tesla Autopilot is already 80% of the way there, and the other 20% may not be available to consumers yet, but it has had millions of miles of testing...

It seems that Slashdot has been infested with willfully ignorant ball-less trolls. This is supposed to be a site for nerds. There is no greater nerd than Elon Musk. He is infused in sci-fi. He builds rockets...he designed much of the first SpaceX rocket (Falcon-1) himself. He builds arguably the best car in the world, and certainly the most technologically advanced (the Model S). It has the most advanced auto-driving features of any production car in the world. He literally bet the entire fortune he made from the sale of Paypal (200 million dollars) on Tesla and SpaceX after the 2008 market crash; most so called capitalists in our elite would never take such risks. Any libertarians amongst the readership here should worship Musk. He is more the Ayn Randian superhero than anyone I can think of. And if they return that Musk has taken some government help (like money for building the Dragon capsule to ferry cargo to the Space station for NASA or a $7500 subsidy for clean energy vehicle purchases), I would ask them what they think of defence contractors such as Lockheed Martin who receive 75% or more of their income from government contracts, or oil companies who have literally had wars fought in their name by governments. If those so-called libertarians don't denounce such things, then they are the worst type of corporate troll hypocrites.

Comment Re:Reliability (Score 1) 163

Still, there are obstacles. SpaceX still needs to demonstrate the ability to consistently produce and launch rockets many times a year after the June accident caused an unexpected, six-month setback, something it will do with several flights planned for the weeks ahead.

Just because it's relatively cheap to use Space X, if I have a 50-50 ( better or worse) chance that my $100 million satellite that took several years to design and build is going to get blown up, I'll pass.

One could make the argument, especially during the earlier launches, that using a rocket that has been tested three or four times already might give more reliability, and not less. Time will tell.

Comment Re:Relation to the Field of Modern Economics (Score 1) 166

By mode of thought, I mean describing human behaviour with blind mathematical models and then acting on the prediction of those models as if they were absolutely true. These mathematical models are quite literally the reason we built enough atomic bombs to destroy civilization 20 times over. Decision makers, who are not usually highly educated, hear that the technocrats below them built mathematical models that say we should build many atomic bombs. And so they trust the mathematics without understanding its limitations, and build the bombs. Watch the documentary. It is quite interesting.

Comment Re:Relation to the Field of Modern Economics (Score 1) 166

Perhaps I am not really summarizing the documentary very well. The thrust of the documentary is that game theory, at least of the kind that was used both in the war games simulations and in economics systems analysis simplifies human beings into selfish parameter maximizing automatons. Though I would agree that humans can at times act that way, I do not believe that this entirely describes our nature. We are both capable of altruism and greed, good and evil. I particularly dislike how both the fields of war games and economics systems analysis ask us to put data into a model, and then to blindly accept the output of that model map to action in the real world. In the case of war games, the models said the way to win the game was to build enough atomic bombs to destroy civilization 20 times over. So that is what we did. And over the course of that history, we came close to actually destroying civilization several times by accident. Was the act of building those bombs the most reasonable thing to do? Game theory suggested it, but I am not convinced it was reasonable, to say the least.

Comment Relation to the Field of Modern Economics (Score 4, Informative) 166

In the fascinating and disturbing BBC documentary "The Trap: F**k You Buddy", Adam Curtis outlines how the field of modern economics, specifically that which relies on game theory and systems analysis, is tightly related to the type of military analysis implied in the document referred to in the parent post. Both modern quantitative economics and military analysis use mathematical models based on game theory to cold bloodedly analyze human life and death. Most people don't realize that the same mode of thought that brought us fire bombing and potential nuclear apocalypse also brought us the Chicago School of Economics.

The BBC documentary series "The Trap" utilizes rare footage from the BBC archives that you will not see anywhere else. I highly recommend watching it. More of us need to stare the unpleasant reality of the modern world in the face if we are to get out of our current malaise. In the end, the truth shall set you free.

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