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Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 1) 511

by jandersen (#49145273) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

To take the last part first:

Your post is pretty ignorant and short sighted, based on a very narrow perception of the world you have. People like you really should refrain from having discussions about the metaphysical in AI when you clearly don't understand how humans have evolved in that respect, even over the past couple thousand years.

You shouldn't be quite so keen on putting down other commenters in this way - your own comments are not deeply insightful either, even you appear to think so yourself. All you achieve is to alienate the person you are talking to, as well as others who will see you as immature and lacking in self-confidence. And you don't actually need to try to put other people down - just keep to known facts, argue logically and accept that if you are wrong, you stand to gain new insight, so it is hardly a 'defeat'.

Plus, of course, where do you see that the GP 'clearly doesn't understand how humans have evolved'? To me this sounds like the kind of arguments I used to get into as a teenager who had just realised he knew it all - no more than agressive bluster, really. You'd do better by seeing the GP for what it most likely is: humour. Otherwise you'll end up sounding like a politician.

No, they won't. They will believe based on observations and known history. You do not know even how long you've existed. You believe you've existed your entire life, but your existence from your perspective is nothing more than a collection of memories that may or may not be real, you have absolutely no way to confirm or deny that, you can only assume that its true and move forward because assuming anything else is just a waste of time.

You are making some bold assumptions here; these are issues that have been discussed very throughly for centuries; summed up rather eloquently by Descartes: 'Cogito ergo sum'. The scientific method springs from the need to address the uncertainties of cognition being subjective - it is the best way we have been able to think of, which will over time help our knowledge progress towards objectivity, if applied scrupulously.

So, you assume that all intelligence must by necessity be like human intelligence; IOW, you haven't been able to imagine any other form of intelligence. I suppose most people have difficulty doing that - myself included - but that is no reason to assume that none exists. Apart from the fact that we don't really know what constitutes 'intelligence' and whether that has any bearing on things like consciousness and self-awareness, there are actually people to who not knowing everything objectively is not a burden, and to whom the idea of absolute certainty is seen as a threat; they are called scientists.

Comment: Re:#1 slashdot article submitters (Score 3, Funny) 254

by jandersen (#49135237) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Another place where robots might be a good replacement is at the middle management level - one of the big problem with managers is that they so often combine lack of people skills with absence of useful knowledge and inability to empathise, and introducing robots could improve on all three fronts. It certainly couldn't get worse.

Comment: Re:The problem is political (Score 1) 265

by jandersen (#49099643) Attached to: The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

Hmm? Did you in fact read Das Kapital? Marx was first and foremost a theoretical economist and his economic theory is intended to be a scientific work, in as far as one can call economic theory science (not meant to be a slight on economists, by the way; after all, Mathematics is not universally considered a science either, because it isn't empirical).

Hence it follows that capitalism is, as you say, 'evil'.

I'm not sure that conclusion is valid; what you are doing is painting it as a black/white issue. In the real world there will by necessity always be some degree of inequality, but society will not really be stable unless inequality is kept in check - hence, the mechanisms that make up capitalism have to be kept in check to some extent. I think it is plain, common sense.

In the context of the article, this analysis is spot-on.

If you say so - I wasn't commenting on the article.

Comment: Re:The problem is political (Score 3, Insightful) 265

by jandersen (#49099191) Attached to: The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

I'm not sure he will be laughing - he never said that Capilism was all-out evil, only that it will by necessity come to an end, because it causes growing instability. In his opinion it was inevitable that the gap between rich and poor will grow under capitalism, and that this will lead to violent revolutions, but now a days this scenario has got competition from things like resource shortages and the fact that we will eventually reach some physical limit on this planet. As he pointed out, a sustainable society is one where we move beyond the dogma of capitalism and address the limitations in that system. It may well end up looking like a form of communism.

Comment: Re:Ummmm.... (Score 1) 318

by jandersen (#49086693) Attached to: Java Vs. Node.js: Epic Battle For Dev Mindshare on the web is kind of dwindling ...

Not really - Oracle who owns Java, are investing massively in Java tools. In fact, I would say that Java is finally beginning to take off as the mainstream programming language, because the hardware is finally cheap and powerful enough. Just to illustrate how seriously the big players take Java, consider this excerpt from Wikipedia's article about IBM System Z:

Support for zAAP processors. These specialty processors allow IBM JVM processing cycles to be executed on the configured zAAPs with no anticipated modifications to the Java application(s). This means that deployment and integration of new Java technology-based workloads can happen on the very same platform as heritage applications and core business databases in a highly cost-effective manner

Yes, mainframes have specialized Java processors as one of their many options. Believe me, they don't do this for fun. Another things is, Java on the web is no longer about applets; see J2EE - this is about Java application servers, and the number of standards alone that sorround Java is an indication that this is a massive industry. It isn't about to go away, on the contrary.

Comment: Celebrity 'get me out of here'? (Score 1) 131

Yet another variations on 'As I Walked Amongst The Fluff of my Navel One Sunny Spring Morning'? Somehow, people who are succesful in business always want to leave a legacy, but unfortunately, all they seem to able to manage is this kind of vanity publications. Most of them seem to tell us that "I struggled in the beginning, but then I got lucky and now I feel I'm better than other people." The difference between the "successful business leader" is not that they somehow possess better abilities; they just got lucky, and they somehow feel entitled to profit. We never hear about the millions of similar, mediocre people who never made it; if we did, we would see the obvious similarities.

Comment: Re:Replica? (Score 1) 80

by jandersen (#49065159) Attached to: US Military Working On 3D Printing Exact Replicas of Bones & Limbs

Bones provide much more than structure. They are awesome! :D

My dog would definitely agree with you on that.

However, although the technique is still in its infancy, it does seem very promising; there is already work being done on using 3D printing to produce functioning organs like kidneys and lungs, using living cells instead of plastics. It does not seem unreasonable at all to extrapolate this to include an ever widening range of organs over time - the hardest part will be nerve cells, I expect, not least because the cells can be so incredibly long. I think we may see the first, simple replacement organs in the next decade or so; you could even say we're already seeing the first examples: skin grafts made from a combination of artificial material and the patient's own cells:

Comment: It used to be fun ... (Score 1) 754

by jandersen (#49065065) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

It's always sad when these things happen. Personally, I'm not fanatical about this issue, but I hate it when I am dictated what to do and think, and how to work - this was my main reason for getting off Windows ASAP, and then later GNOME.

What makes it so sad is that it used to be fun - I loved playing around with DOS and later Windows, and even enjoyed programming for Windows 3, but I stopped enjoying what I was doing when they got imperialistic. The same thing with GNOME - when they started on 'simplifying' things on the desktop by taking away options and dumbing down the interface (a better way would have been to allow a form of expert mode - those of us with that ambition would be happy with vi and a config file).

And now this? I honestly don't mind, unless it forces me to use other things that I don't want, or gets in the way of what I do for a living. One of the things that annoy me at the moment is the drive towards turning Debian into a laptop/tablet OS, with lots of automatic crap going on as you log on to the desktop: network manager and the whole 'semantic desktop' or whatever it is called. It may make sense if you live your whole life on a portable device with wifi and USB, but I work on servers and I want my desktop PC to be a server with a desktop for convenience; I have no liking for tablety fashion statements.

Ironically, I chose Debian because it tends to be conservative, focused on SW freedom, but it worries me that they've recently looked like they're getting into bed with the GNOME crowd and now also systemd, if I understand things correctly. The fun - not to mention my ability to be productive - is under pressure.

Comment: Re:UX (Score 1) 323

Good joke, of course, but it is worth mentioning that there are legal requirements to electrical engineers in most countries, just like for gas engineers, building engineers, etc - not to mention things like lawyers and medical doctors. This is in contrast with software engineers, for whom there are no formal, legal requirements at all - the difference between the two is of course that a SW engineer's shoddy work can't cause building to explode, burn or collapse, although admittedly there are things out there that can severaly taint your soul.

I think the SW industry's focus on certified skills is at best half-hearted in that most companies don't really care all that much, and with good reason. Some of these certifications are at best a competence in using very specific toolsets - like eg MSCE - whereas others are too wide-ranging; a degree in computer science doesn't actually guarantee that the person is any good in a practical job, and it may sometimes be a hindrance, if it turns out that the need to understand everything in depth gets in the way of actually doing things.

Comment: Re:Such potential (Score 1) 520

by jandersen (#49060357) Attached to: Nim Programming Language Gaining Traction

...hammers don't need any training or lengthy experience to develop decent skills to use.

Oh, but that's such an easy mistake to make; have a look at just how many kinds of hammers there are and think again. Yes, anybody can take a cheap hammer and knock in nail, although even that is not as simple to do well. To the untrained eye a hammer is just a lump of iron on a stick, perhaps, but using a simple tool requires much more skill than using a complicated, automatic gadget. Which is why amateur DIYers go and buy electric tools, where the professional will often buy simple, yet surprisingly expensive manual tools.

Comment: Really? (Score 1) 291

by jandersen (#49058799) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

...everyone today needs to be an app developer...

Despite having written programs for, quite literally, decades, I have yet to produce an app; I can't see the point, really. We already enough of that kind of crap lying around, and we clearly don't need people whose only skill is being able to produce programs. There is far more need for people with skills in bio-medical sciences and -engineering, which is where things are developing at a truly staggering rate.

When business people start talking about how much we need more coding skills, what they really mean is that they want it to be even cheaper, so they can make a larger profit in what is already a slightly stagnant market. Face up to reality - all the great inventions in computing have already been made something like 20 years ago: relational databases, internet, etc. Things like Facebook and Twitter are not innovations, they are just village gossip by other means.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 677

by jandersen (#49045461) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

How about:

static int
do_some_work (context_t context,
                            int x,
                            error_t **error)
        int rv = 0;
        database_t *db;
        data_t v;

        db = get_db (context, error);

        do some work ...

        if (v = compute_v (context, db, error)){
                more work ...
                return rv;

To my eyes, the block structure makes it easier to see what goes on, and the goto is not used. In your example, the goto blends into the surrounding code, making it easy to overlook. Also, I think most people expect the TRUE outcome to be the one actioned upon, which is in fact what your example does as well.

Comment: Re:I'm not autistic (Score 1) 289

It sounds to me like you have a very remarkable child, whether autistic or not.

I'm not convinced that therapies designed for deeply autistic children are well suited in this case; without knowing too much about the subject, the autism spectrum is very wide ranging, and based mostly on symptoms, and it doesn't seem to be a one-dimensional scale either. I suspect - and this is based purely on extrapolation from my own experiences - that he will most likely benefit from learning about social skills in terms of 'technological understanding these skills, if that makes sense. It is of course very easy for an outsider to make wise about somebody else's problems, so please forgive me if I'm talking complete nonsense - but my guess is that he simply does not feel a strong need for social contact, nor does he have a strong intuition about these things, but because he is very strong in areas that require logical understanding, he will be able to appreciate the logic behind social and moral ideas, and he should be able to accept them in a positive way.

Other people with a similar personality often seem to say things like "Numbers are my friends" etc. If you start from his strong side, you should be able to help him grow towards the things he finds difficult, like social skills, expressing emotions etc. And remember, he is different; what makes you happy is not necessarily what makes him happy. As a parent, your goal should be to equip him for life on his terms, which may be radically different from what you would have chosen.

Comment: Re:Unsettling science (Score 1) 180

by jandersen (#49036211) Attached to: US Gov't To Withdraw Food Warnings About Dietary Cholesterol

When did science become the deity of a religion where its name can be taken in vain and it has agency that men are to respect?

The phrase 'taking [...]'s name in vain" is a useful way to emphasize that you think somebody is misusing a reference to something. I didn't really need to tell you that, did I? Religion is full of colourful language that most people know, and I don't have a grudge against religion as such, only against those that insist on tweaking the thruth to avoid facing up to reality. And unlike religion, science earns the respect that people show it; science doesn't need to demand respect.

When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas