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Comment: Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 1) 446

by invid (#48451963) Attached to: Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

You never wrote a process scheduler in an Operating Systems class? Never wrote some sort of calender? You really don't understand how computer programs could keep track of the passage of time, estimate the time tasks will take and track those tasks in time?

Actually I've written multithreaded real-time machine controls using watchdog timers. But you know what? Those controls don't have the same continuous experience of time that humans have, with an awareness of a past and anticipation of the future, all happening in the present. As a programmer of industrial machines I am well aware of what computer controlled closed loop systems are capable and what they are not capable of. And they are far, far from what humans can do, not just in a quantitative sense but in a qualitative sense.

Comment: Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 1) 446

by invid (#48449453) Attached to: Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba
A human being has multiple utility functions and has to mediate between all of them--I assume a singularity machine would have to do the same, considering the complexity required to learn about and manipulate the universe. Nature evolved sentience to do this mediating--perhaps sentience isn't necessary to achieve this (after all, feathers aren't required to fly) but I suspect if it isn't, we'll still have to come up with some mechanism--just putting together a bunch of utility functions won't be sufficient.

Comment: Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 3, Insightful) 446

by invid (#48446605) Attached to: Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba
You can make a machine that is many orders of magnitude more intelligent than a human, but unless it has the mechanisms to want something, it won't want anything. Think about what it would take to program a conscious being, just think about how we humans are aware of time and the movement of time--as a software engineer it boggles my mind trying to think about how the brain accomplishes that. Then to program a machine (biological or not) to want something in a fairly consistent way over a period of time under changing takes more than just brute force processing time to accomplish that. We biological machines are aware of ourselves, and we have no idea how we accomplish that. We are going to have to figure that out before we make the singularity machine.

Comment: Re:Basic jobs, but not to avoid talking (Score 2) 307

by invid (#48412445) Attached to: I'm most interested in robots that will...

Maybe after working in a mine, a foundry, a power plant, a farm, a factory, and a retail store you could make such a statement but until then doing the laundry and vacuuming will always just be a waste of time. Bring on the robots and I'll do my best thinking with an activity of my choosing.

Growing up I harvested tobacco for 3 summers starting at aged 13. I've worked in a factory feeding an arbor saw painting machine. I've worked 3 years unloading trucks and stocking shelves in department stores. After harvesting the tobacco plants for the first couple hours it kinda surprised me that we had to keep on going for six more hours. And then come back the next day and do it again. It was a major motivator to get an education.

Comment: Re:Basic jobs, but not to avoid talking (Score 3, Insightful) 307

by invid (#48378467) Attached to: I'm most interested in robots that will...
I do some of my best thinking while doing mundane chores. Plus, having to do mundane chores gives one a realistic view of what is required to maintain ones existence in the universe. If everything was "just done" for you, you would take it for granted and see the universe as existing to serve you.

Comment: Re:This is great news! (Score 1) 485

by invid (#48303671) Attached to: Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans

Blame the following issues on Obama's amateur hour policies:

1. Isis - directly resulted from Obama's premature pullout in Iraq and subsequent flip-flop on intervening in Syria 2. Benghazi 3. Gridlock - if he hadn't rammed through his healthcare bill without compromising with Republicans, they'd be much better at doing the political horse-trading it takes to work across party lines to get things done. By pushing it without any buy-in from the other party - something that has never been done for a law on this scale before - he inaugurated a new era of do-nothing politics. The Republicans have held a grudge ever since. Hopefully when Harry Reid is out of the Senate majority post next week, we'll finally get some bills to the White House, where they're sure to be vetoed. He's been protecting Obama for years, preventing him from taking a formal stance on so many bipartisan initiatives by preventing bills from coming to the senate floor for a vote. O's going to pay a political price for each veto, I'm sure. 4. Mexican drug cartels invading Texas and Arizona 5. Russia's return to cold war stance, thousands dead in Ukraine 6. China's emergence as a belligerent military power in the pacific region 7. Botched diplomacy with China, Brazil, India, Russia, Europe, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the list goes on and on...

1. Iraq is a sovereign nation that requested that our troops leave. Do we want an Empire where we keep troops in nations where they are not wanted?

2. The way Republicans talk about Benghazi you'd think Obama was there launching RPGs into the compound himself.

3. If Obama had demanded a single payer plan rather than a conservative health care plan that included private insurance, spending months trying to compromise with the Republicans, you would be more believable in your statement.

4. How many counties, cities have they conquered?

5. A couple years ago Russia owned Ukraine. Their position in the world is much weaker now than when Obama came to office.

6. China is surrounded my American allies. Their army is mainly for containing their own population. Just look at Hong Kong.

7. Not specific enough for me to address.

Comment: Re:Tip of the iceberg (Score 1) 669

by invid (#48268465) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

IMHO, there are only two Genesis stories. One informs us of a Creator, the other starts with "In the Beginning there were particles ..." The latter posits that the reason we are having this conversation is because the orientation and energy states of certain particles in the Big Bang made it inevitable. That to me takes more blind faith than the former.

Just to be clear, you're saying that "there just happens to be a Being capable of creating universes" is more likely than "there just happens to be particles and laws of the universe that can eventually lead to intelligence". Well, at this point argument is really impossible.

Comment: Re:Tip of the iceberg (Score 1) 669

by invid (#48260199) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
The danger of a free society is that people are allowed to believe whatever they want to believe in. This means you'll get a lot of people believing things, not because it is the most likely thing to be true (the standard scientific explanation) but because it sounds cool (god or ancient aliens created us). It's fine if a few people believe these fringe theories that fly in the face of scientific evidence, but there's a tipping point where if you have enough people disregarding science, you could get something like the Islamic State.

Comment: Re:Bone a Neanderthal (Score 1) 128

by invid (#48211765) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

Someday they'll figure out "Neanderthal" is a completely artificial distinction, like "White Aryan", and the scientific consensus will be that Neanderthals R Us.

If by "artificial distinction" you mean the classification of lifeforms into different groups based on physical and genetic characteristics, the boundaries of those classifications made by scientists, then you have a valid point. A species is generally understood as a population that can interbreed and produce viable offspring. Homo sapiens and homo neanderthalis obviously can do so, so they should be the same species. However, there is a valid argument for them being classified a subspecies, due to measurable physical and genetic differences.

Comment: Re:Prison population (Score 4, Informative) 407

by invid (#48167849) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal
It's especially surprising considering that there is a population bulge of young people with the Millennials. Conventional wisdom states that since most crimes are committed by people in their teens and twenties, such a population bulge would increase crime. I guess it's time to toss out conventional wisdom.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack