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Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1139

Frankly, college students are adults, they should be able to have guns on campus.

Not all college students are mature enough to own a gun responsibly.

Apparently the college students in Utah are. Campus carry has been legal for more than a decade. Number of student shooting rampages: zero.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1139

So what you're saying is that all (or virtually all) campuses are gun free, so the fact this specific campus is gun free is pretty much meaningless.

No, actually. Several US states permit firearms on campuses. See the map at http://concealedcampus.org/sta... (hover over each state to see its rules).

Comment Re:I much prefer... (Score 3, Informative) 278

...the way pedestrians act in Boston and New York: total chaos. People wander across the street randomly, and drivers are very aware that this is going to happen, so they slow down.

Interestingly, Boston and New York have very different pedestrian accident rates. New York has 1.52 pedestrian deaths per 100K, not much better than San Francisco's 1.70. Boston, though, has 0.79.


It's also worth pointing out that SF is actually safer for pedestrians than most big US cities. Boston appears to be the safest.

Comment Re:That'e exactly the wrong outcome! (Score 5, Interesting) 42

If they really want things to change, they should agree to work towards abolishing stupid patents---not to create semi-trusts that other companies have to fight.

Google has been spending tens of millions lobbying for patent reform, and only started to playing the patent game when it became clear that changing it wasn't going to work quickly enough -- though they haven't stopped trying to reform patents. The apparent contradiction has led some some pundits to question their motives, though I don't see that it's really a contradiction... the patent system is badly broken, but that doesn't mean Google can function in the industry as it is without playing the patent game. It's perfectly reasonable to play by rules you hate because that's what you have to do while simultaneously trying to change the rules.

Personally, I think software patents are a crock, but I'm listed as inventor on a few of them. I hate the game, but it is what it is so I play it while donating to organizations trying to change it. My rule is that I donate 50% of my patent bonuses to the EFF. I suppose if I were a better man I'd donate 100% (after taxes), but I do like to have some recompense for the effort I put into writing disclosures.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer, but I'm speaking for myself only, not for Google.)

Comment Re:Ipv6 adoption isn't that bad (Score 1) 435

It is also interesting to dive into those stats and you will notice a significant uptick of availability on weekends for north america. ISPs aren't the biggest offenders, nor is your home router, it is your company's routers and network that are the worst of the bunch here.

How did you find more detailed statistics?

I think a more likely explanation is the shift to mobile. Mobile networks tend to have much higher utilization of IPv6 and people are increasingly shifting to mobile-only for web browsing and especially for web searches. Weekends away from the office computers likely mean less time on keyboards and more time on phones.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 69

Here is Google's official description of the feature: "If you don't want Google Chrome to save a record of what you visit and download, you can browse the web in incognito mode."

What if I don't want Google to save a record of what I visit and download?

Opt out. Google provides tools to enable it. https://support.google.com/ads.... Note that you can find that page by clicking "Privacy" at the bottom of http://www.google.com/ and then following the links embedded in the explanation of the issues.

And, yes, Google takes opt outs very seriously. A Google service found to be ignoring the opt outs would be considered to have a critical, don't-go-home-until-it's-fixed bug.

(I'm a Google engineer. I'm in no way an official spokesman, and speaking only for myself. But the comment on the priority of respecting opt outs reflects my personal experience of how such issues are handled.)

Comment Re:Nail everyone? (Score 1) 618

But by such stratagems, they could set up to that one person or a few people could flip a virtual switch, and the hack would be in place.

Very true. It's also not hard to construct an only slightly different sequence of events such that it was all a result of miscommunication, without anyone explicitly intending it. It will be interesting to see the root cause.

Comment Re:I hate these stories (Score 1) 96

AI is not going to parse out every possible set of real world events which a driver may encounter. Google is finding that out now. The situations are too varied, too unpredictable (the technical term for this is "fucked up") and engage too many independent actors whose reactions are unknowable but critical.

Actually, I know some guys on the self-driving car team, and Google cars already handle just about everything safely. What they're focused on now isn't so much handling strange situations, but optimizing the car so it behaves like a human driver, to avoid confusing other human drivers -- or being taken advantage of by them.

Comment Re:I hate these stories (Score 1) 96

OK that's the conceit of NN in a nutshell- just like a biological brain, so you said it. To me that's like saying a camera is like an eye. The brain is more than just neurons firing over synapses and reinforcing the ability to communicate across synpases. For example, nitrous oxide diffuses through the brain and is used in signalling. There are other things like that going on.

Meh. So there are some additional interconnections. Are those actually essential? It seems unlikely to me, but they could certainly be added if they are.

It may be the start of a good way to model the actual working of the brain.

Irrelevant. Oh, I suppose it may someday be relevant to neuroscientists whose goal is to understand the brain rather than to create useful systems. But for the people interested in being able to create automated systems that can be taught to make complex decisions effectively, what really matters is that it seems to work very well. Sure, the fact that we don't understand how they work means they may occasionally do insane things, but that's also true of complex decision-making algorithms we do understand (or think we do). And it's also true of living brains.

AI has a very very long and ignoble history of overhawking its wares, dating back to the 60s then the 80s then the 90s.. oh fuck it, every 10 or 15 years.

You say that as though everyone here isn't fully aware of it. But it's obvious, and it's common. It's in no way particular to AI. People are tremendously bad in general at predicting future technology for the -- rather obvious, actually -- simple reason that future technology will be built based on knowledge that we don't yet possess. You can't accurately predict the results of applying knowledge you don't yet have.

the idea that we're anywhere close to "the Singularity" which a lot of naive people believe, anywhere close at all is just not true.

You're wrong. And so are they.

The truth is that we have no idea how close we are to that point, and really won't have any idea until we're there, or until we prove that it's impossible.

However, none of that has anything to do with the topic at hand. Neural networks (biological or electronic) are almost certainly not the only way to construct the information flows underlying intelligence. It's also perfectly possible that our current NN models are inadequate for producing intelligence. So what? There are huge numbers of tasks for which we don't need general intelligence. All we need is a good automated decisionmaker which makes the right decisions and doesn't cost too much to build.

That is where NNs are awesome. How many engineer-weeks of effort would it take to produce an algorithm that, fed only the raw pixel data from the screen, can play a video game effectively? With Google's DeepMind NN, it takes one week of computer time, with little or no human involvement at all.

Neural networks may or may not be useful in reaching toward general AI. But they absolutely are useful tools, enabling us to build useful automated systems now.

I give you 100 to 1 that their self driving cars FAIL as a general mode of transportation by the year 2050.

I'll take that action. How much will you put on it? Let's define the terms and work out the logistics. Also, I'd be fine with pulling in that year by a couple of decades. I'll bet that self-driving cars on Google's model (full self-driving, highways and in town, with vanishingly few situations the car can't handle) will SUCCEED by 2030.

Comment Re:I hate these stories (Score 2) 96

In a nutshell, I think it's a disguised way of doing statistics. An iterative, on-analytical way. With neural nets, after it's trained, no one can tell why the neural net functions as it does and no one can tell you when the neural net will do something completely insane.

Just like training a biological brain. And yet, those seem to be somewhat useful.

Comment Re:Maybe for urban areas... (Score 1) 112

Or get the city to improve their trash collection process to use fewer people and cost less money. The service in my town costs $15 per month for weekly pickup. No flies and maggots, no trash accumulation, and less than one-third the price. $50 per month is outrageous.

Providing unconnected figures is meaningless in a vacuum. How much do you think a dozen eggs and a quart of milk should cost? Should it cost the same in Atlanta as it does in Alaska, Hawaii, or a big dairy state like NY?

Sure, costs vary. But 3X, for the same service in roughly the same context (single-family house), indicates a problem.

I'll bet the price of a house where you live is half the price of downtown Atlanta too

No, housing prices are pretty comparable.

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion