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Comment: Turing Test (Score 1) 122

by codeButcher (#46440145) Attached to: iRobot CEO: Humanoid Robots Too Expensive To Be the Norm

A lot of comments mention that it would make sense to make a robot along the same pattern as a human: Can use same tools, access same spaces, etc. etc. My question is: if your {AI | robot} can't be distinguished from a real human, why can't you just use a (cheap, ubiquitous) human? Answer: we invent machines precisely to augment our abilities, to do what we aren't so good at: computing faster and less error-prone, be stronger, access spaces we can't, don't get bored, tired, damaged by some harsh environments, etc. etc.

I'm with Angle: see what job (or collection of jobs) your machine needs to perform, then build the best possible machine given the contraints, for that job/s. (Not that they have achieved it with the floor suckers, but hey...)

Comment: Re:This could be a big problem for Republicans (Score 1) 216

by codeButcher (#46418447) Attached to: NASA Wants To Go To Europa

One particular example is the Religion vs Science angle

One could well ask why it would be advantageous to eliminate both vigorous religion and rigorous science in the general population? My guess is that a dumbed-down populace that also does not have any hope for something better are easily controllable consumers and tax payers.

Comment: Re:This could be a big problem for Republicans (Score 1) 216

by codeButcher (#46418405) Attached to: NASA Wants To Go To Europa

Everything is either black or white. How did it end up like this?

I'm no philosopher myself, but you might want to read up a bit on Hegel's dialectic for a possible answer (Out of the clash between Thesis and Antithesis arise Synthesis.)

One of the corollaries of this theory is that if you manage to build up some of these opposing poles with sufficient skill, you can control the "synthesis" (midpoint) being arrived at as well as neutralize the two extreme poles in the process.

You could look around at the world for 2 opposing poles being somewhat artificially being built up, mostly through "media" working the sheeple into a frenzy. One particular example is the Religion vs Science angle, and our beloved /. does it's own sweet part in the polarization. (And I must confess that with both a strong religious conviction as well as a scientific training, I do not find the subjects conflicting, to the contrary... It is simply the agendas that some elements in both camps push that are causing conflict.)

It's a bit of a guess what Marxist Philosophy in real life officially means, but one view is that the Marxist Dialectic (based on Hegelianism) is that it is not the synthesis that is the ultimate goal that needs to be arrived at, but the struggle between the two is the end. So should a stable state be arrived at with some synthesis, a new opposing pole to that synthesis is to be found so that a new struggle may ensue.

Perhaps highly academic, but once one learns about the existence of such ideas, one starts to see patterns fitting those ideas all over the place. I see the previous paragraph in practice practically every day in the politics of the country where I live.

Comment: Re:Web Bubble 2.0 (Score 3, Insightful) 136

by codeButcher (#46294325) Attached to: How Jan Koum Steered WhatsApp Into $16B Facebook Deal

Nineteen billion for a glorified instant messenger.

well, you have to admit that it is an instant messenger that sends the address book of the user to the company's servers for further "use" (spamming, so far, so far we know). IMs did not use to do that. Fits well with FB's business model. The service being delivered is not communication. It is advertising.

Comment: Re:The Thirteen Floor (Score 1) 745

by codeButcher (#46264991) Attached to: Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?
I believe the so-called Dream Argument may be the precursor to even these modern works of popular culture: that one could "exist" in a very believable virtual reality separate from one's real existence. Descartes' argument from 1637 (in Discours de la Méthode) and subsequent works refer to this and he refutes this by his "cogito ergo sum" ("Because I can reason, I know that I exist in reality") (Which has it's own problems, just mentioned because it is so well known that it has become somewhat of a cliche). But the idea traces back much further and is found in Aristotle, Plato, and the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (4th century BC).

Comment: Re:This is the problem with engineering these days (Score 1) 125

Working hard to solve non-existent problems that any reasonable human being doesn't give two craps about. Unless you live in a 60,000 sq. ft. mansion, in which case you already have "vision system vacuum cleaners": they're called indentured illegal immigrants.

In the meantime, the rest of use in our 600 sq. ft. urban condos made of ersatz materials can easily vacuum the damn place ourselves in 5 minutes. It's not a big deal, it's not a problem that urgently needs solving.

I live in a roughly 1600 sq ft (150 sq m) house. Unfortunately, alone, at this point (I have reasons to stay for the time being). This is not in a North American or European locale, so your mileage may vary.

Cleaning the place is a b***tch and takes most of a weekend. Therefore, I do not do it too regularly, only when the dust is not ignorable any longer :-(.

Hiring the local version of the III has been an option. Then again, in my locale, crime seems to be a slightly greater problem than in the US/EU, and my perception is that an III can in some cases increase this risk - it will be mostly an unknown person being hired, and since I am away during working hours will need full access on his/her own.

On the other hand, having a simple function like having floors swept/vacuumed once or twice a week will greatly diminish the time needed for cleaning - a quick mopping will be quite adequate and could be done some weekday evening.

Due to these considerations I have been keen on cleaning robots since way back. The first model I owned was the Kärcher RC3000 (joint development by Kärcher and Siemens). It was a fairly robust machine with low intelligence (basically random pattern cleaning with obstacle/stair detection). It did the job admirably well. The downside was the steep price of the damn thing, and when something went wrong on the motherboard, I did not have it repaired. A few years back I then got a Samsung model for much cheaper. It was also more sophisticated, with a room mapping (ceiling-pointing) camera and whatnot. Despite more intelligent functions, it didn't clean as well. It was also quite flimsy and didn't outlast the warranty period. I am still looking for a model that will be my third....

I don't care much about all the AI progress. The random pattern-thing works quite well. What manufacturers can however improve on is:

  1. Edge and corner cleaning (walls and around furniture legs)
  2. Lower height to clean under furniture
  3. And if it could clean stairs, that would be great.

Comment: Re:"fertility skin pigment"? (Score 1) 202

by codeButcher (#46107823) Attached to: 20% of Neanderthal Genome Survives In Humans

You may be interested to know that pale skin genes appeared in the European genome only as recently as 6000-12000 years ago. Or maybe not, as it seems you do not want your opinions messed with by fact.

Interestingly, as Homo sapiens appeared in Europe 40 000 years ago or longer, the thinking is that pale skin should have evolved much sooner to enable vitamin D synthesis from the lower UV levels found there.

Comment: Re:You've brought up a very interesting point ! (Score 1) 197

by codeButcher (#46098651) Attached to: Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

Does it mean that USA no longer has to pretend to be that "Good Guy" anymore ? That it can start wantonly violating the liberty of anybody it wants ?

If that turns out to be true, then USA no longer has the authority to criticize _anybody_else_ regarding human rights, regarding liberty, regarding democracy, regarding so many things that USA used to stand for.

Can you comprehend what kind of world we are living in now ?

I guess people without any hope for something better are so much easier to control. And by "control" I mean "manipulate" into serfs and canon fodder.

Comment: Re:Wheat and corn fucked over the human race (Score 1) 144

by codeButcher (#46088903) Attached to: How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes

Wheat is particularly hard to eat because it needs milling and cooking. There are dangerous components in it raw.

Wheat (and most other grains, beans and seeds) can be sprouted easily, which turns them into an easy-to-eat-raw food (which is also more nutritious and easier to digest than the dry kernel), and also makes them easier to fashion into a sort of dough for bread (lightly pounding with hand tools, instead of milling). This is a process that has been in use for thousands of years.

I have heard it said that before industrial wheat farming, harvesting and storage, bundles of harvested wheat stalks might sit a day or two in the fields, with sufficient moisture from dew to start sprouting some of the grains. Of course, sprouts spoil easily and don't store, so it has been beneficial for modern agriculture to harvest, dry and store the grains as quickly as possible to prevent this.

Pie are not square. Pie are round. Cornbread are square.