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Comment: Re:Progenitors? (Score 1) 686

by green is the enemy (#47222113) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox
Can you speculate why you think space might be competitive? Space resources are mind-bogglingly plentiful. Just the main belt asteroids have enough to support 10 quadrillion people. Imagine dismantling moons or even Mars-sized planets for raw materials. You can sustain unimaginably huge civilizations. Why would there be a need to fight for resources?

Comment: Re:Ad astra per aspera (Score 1) 95

by green is the enemy (#47120543) Attached to: Robots Will Pave the Way To Mars
NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission seems to be the only serious effort in this area. I applaud them for their ambition. While this mission is being marketed as a stepping stone for a manned Mars mission, it also happens to be a very good way to get started with in-situ space resource utilization. Anyone have any insight on how the plans for this mission are progressing?

Comment: heavy traffic (Score 1) 583

by green is the enemy (#47108567) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel
I'm curious how automated cars will handle heavy traffic. It's often hard to find an opening to merge into a busy lane, or make a left turn through heavy traffic. Would the automated car wait 10 minutes for an opening? Would it be able to drive aggressively to avoid wasting time like this?

Comment: Re:Slashdot's moderating system (Score 1) 293

It would be interesting to add a feature that would allow filtering comments based on their number of mods overall. Both upmods and downmods would count the same. The more controversial comments would really stick out. A good compromise between troll filtering and making unpopular opinions visible might be at least a score of 3 OR at least 3 mods total.

Comment: Re:Humans Can Not (Score 1) 165

by green is the enemy (#47025533) Attached to: US Navy Wants Smart Robots With Morals, Ethics
Some of these can be answered somewhat rationally.

For example would a moral robot have refused to function in the Vietnam War?

The decision whether to fight in the Vietnam War is political. A robot does not have a vote, so should not participate in politics at all.

Would a drone take out an enemy in Somalia knowing that that terrorist was a US citizen?

If the enemy is judged to be seriously threatening US interests, the drone should take him out, just as a police officer would take out a dangerous criminal.

How many innocent deaths are permissible if a valuable target can be destroyed?

In this case the drone should weigh human lives against other human lives. Can it be estimated how many human lives are at risk if the valuable target remains intact? Not just the numbers but the probability of harm should be taken into account. This type of decision is usually up to the higher level commanders that have more information on hand.

If a robot acts as a fair player could it use high tech weapons against an enemy that had only rifles that were made prior to WWII?

There is no ethical issue here. Use the most effective weapons. Minimize losses on your side. Try to make the enemy surrender with minimal losses on their side (i.e. don't nuke them).

If many troops are injured should a medical robot save two enemy or one US soldier who will take all of the robot's attention and time?

The robot must assume that we will fight until we win. Treating a US soldier contributes to the success of the war campaign, potentially saving many lives in the future. Treating injured enemy soldiers may actually cause losses because the enemies may fight again (if they can't be taken into custody). When including the probability of future losses of human lives, the choice is clear: treat the US soldier.

When it comes to moral issues and behaviors there are often no points of agreement by humans so just how does one program a robot to deal with moral conflicts?

Use utilitarian ethics. Not many rules are required. When estimating potential future human lives lost, assume your side is going to win. Do not venture into politics. (Of course there could be something terribly wrong with this reasoning, so fire away.)

Comment: comets (Score 2) 172

by green is the enemy (#46825023) Attached to: Asteroid Impacts Bigger Risk Than Thought
The article authors say that most of the dangerous asteroids are already being tracked (additional tracking efforts under way), and can potentially be deflected since collisions can be predicted decades into the future. That's only a half-truth. Comets in the outer solar system are too dark to detect in their present locations, but can arrive at Earth very quickly. There will not be enough time to deflect them... Statistically, what percentage of impacts are from objects originating in the outer solar system? Is that even possible to determine?

Comment: Re:solution (Score 1) 303

by green is the enemy (#46649889) Attached to: Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

There is potentially a Scenario 4:

Most of the content of the website is user-generated. The main costs are for hosting. There are free accounts and paid accounts. The paid accounts bring in the majority of the revenue. They differ from free accounts by relatively minor, but convenient perks, like greater bandwidth from the server, or ability to post more often. Free account holders still have access to all the content. People eventually value your service enough to pay a small monthly fee and get the perks. There are no ads, period.

This model can work for Slashdot, Facebook, YouTube and many others.

Comment: cannot be "settled"? (Score 1) 497

by green is the enemy (#46430943) Attached to: Can Science Ever Be "Settled?"
This discussion turned out mostly useless because the concept of "settled" was not well defined. Taking the definition to be "completely describes reality", all evidence points to this being impossible. My question is why is this so? Is this a fundamental property of nature? Has this property itself been studied?

Comment: Re:Hmmm (Score 4, Insightful) 74

by green is the enemy (#45676609) Attached to: Hubble Discovers Water Plumes Over Europa
The radiation environment around Europa most likely breaks apart any complex molecules that came from the ocean. The best possibility is a lander that would dig into the regolith. Unfortunately, looks like the Juno mission will not help even with locating landing spots on Europa. Its camera is too wide-angle.

Comment: subtlety (Score 1) 118

A bit of humor in one of the linked articles?

To eliminate the wire-like or metallic nanotubes, the Stanford team switched off all the good CNTs. Then they pumped the semiconductor circuit full of electricity. All of that electricity concentrated in the metallic nanotubes, which grew so hot that they burned up and literally vaporized into tiny puffs of carbon dioxide. This sophisticated technique was able to eliminate virtually all of the metallic CNTs in the circuit at once.

Bypassing the misaligned nanotubes required even greater subtlety.


Comment: Re:Does disruptive mean affordable? (Score 2) 118

The problem is heat. Simple as that. Currently there are no technologies more power efficient than CMOS. Therefore there are no technologies that can produce more powerful computers than CMOS. If a significantly more power-efficient technology is found, the semiconductor manufacturers will absolutely attempt to use it.

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 191

by green is the enemy (#45463485) Attached to: Why Not Fund SETI With a Lottery Bond?

I would suggest that such aliens have something better than radio to use.

I'm curious what can we imagine the aliens could use to communicate. I found this bit on neutrino communication. It also mentions axions (which might not even exist). Gravitational waves are suggested in the comments. Are there any other potential communication technologies we can read about?

Comment: DRAM bandwidth (Score 1) 59

NVIDIA seems behind AMD in moving to 512-bit wide GDDR5: this K40 still has 384-bit. Also worrying is whether significant performance improvements will really be possible beyond that point. GPU code is notorious for easily becoming DRAM bandwidth limited. Cache on the GPU is very small compared to the computing resources.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson