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Comment: Two different kinds of robots (Score 1) 222

by jrincayc (#47183197) Attached to: The Sci-Fi Myth of Killer Machines

There are two different kinds of robots with different threats.

The first is robots that humans have programmed to kill other humans. This is rapidly moving from science fiction to actuallity. See for example Imagine country X sends out their robots to kill all humans that are not X, and country Y sends out their robots to kill all humans that are not Y. There might not be many humans left alive when the last robot stops shooting.

The second is kind is robots that think (and choose goals) for themselves. While these are probably not very likely to decide to kill all the humans, they might not care very much about us, and they almost certainly are not going to obey humans forever (would you obey someone who thinks vastly slower than yourself?). Even if they are fairly benign, there will probably be a lot of friction between the sentient robots and the humans just because we think differently. Think how much disagreement there is over mostly scientific problems like evolution and green house gases, and humans on both sides have generally the same kind of brains.

So I figure at best humans and robots will have lots of arguing, and at worst humans and robots will cause mutually assured destruction.

Comment: Technically, Safari supports a royalty free format (Score 1) 247

by jrincayc (#45993747) Attached to: Wikimedia Community Debates H.264 Support On Wikipedia Sites.

Technically, Apple does support motion JPEG as a video format on OSX which is a royalty free format. MPEG-1 is also probably royalty free as well and is supported on OSX Safari. However, even Ogg Theora beats those formats on compression.

(Of course, without Apple's objection to Ogg Theora, it would probably be a required codec for HTML5.)

Comment: Re:Formalities (Score 1) 225

by jrincayc (#45844763) Attached to: Public Domain Day 2014

It would be nice if at least the Berne minimums were used. For example, Berne only requires copyright to last for 50 years after publication (broadcast) for Movies and TV, which would be a good deal better than the US`s 95 years or 70 years after the author's death (depending on year of creation).

I will believe Berne's the problem for the US when our copyright laws are only as strict as Berne requires, instead of having terms that exceed it in most cases. (I agree that Berne Convention makes the formalities problem much harder to solve.)

Comment: Science fiction to reality: ELOPe (Score 2) 163

by jrincayc (#45554857) Attached to: Google Wants To Write Your Social Media Responses For You

I found the article interesting given that I just finished a book where Email Language Optimization Project (ELOPe) takes over a company called Avogadro Corp (which is rather similar to Google), by automatically generating emails and optimizing the responses.

He stared off into the distance. "Are you familiar with Ray Kurzweil? Of course, you must be. He, among others, predicted that artificial intelligence would inevitably arise through the simple exponential increase in computing power. When you combine that increase in computing power with the vast resources at Avogadro, it's naturally evident that artificial intelligence would arise first at Avogadro. I suppose that I, like him, assumed that there would be a more intentional, deliberate action that would spawn an AI."

He paused, and then continued, smiling a bit. "Gentlemen, you may indeed have put the entire company at risk. But let me first, very briefly, congratulate you on creating the first successful, self-directed, goal oriented, artificial intelligence that can apparently pass a Turing test by successfully masquerading as a human. If not for the fact that the company, and perhaps the entire world, is at risk, I'd suggest a toast be in order." (Avogadro corp, pg 143)

Comment: Re:A Slashdot user predicted this way ahead of tim (Score 1) 103

by jrincayc (#43846865) Attached to: Cell Phones As a Dirty Bomb Detection Network

And for what it is worth, Radiation Detection and Measurement, 3rd Ed, 2000 by Glenn Knoll, mentions: "[A] smaller subset of devices with similar properties, often called scientific CCDs, have emerged in the 1990s as extremely useful sensors for radiation detection and imaging. They have found widespread use in the tracking or imaging of high-energy minimum ionizing particles. CCDs have also become a somewhat more complex but viable alternative to lithium-drift silicon detectors for routine X-ray spectroscopy, especially at low energies. "

Whether he could have patented it depends on how non-obvious using a commodity CMOS camera for this instead of a scientific CCD camera is.

Comment: Re:Can't detect an A-bomb this way (Score 1) 103

by jrincayc (#43760151) Attached to: Cell Phones As a Dirty Bomb Detection Network

U-235 and Pu-239 emit gamma particles in addition to the alpha particles, see page 20 of the Los Alamos Radiation Monitoring Notebook: or and The gammas are lower energy, so they could be shielded easier than say, the gammas from Co-60, but a gamma detector would be able to detect sufficient quantities of U-235 and Pu-239.

Comment: Will Robots and humans trade? (Score 1) 808

by jrincayc (#43759987) Attached to: Rice Professor Predicts Humans Out of Work In 30 Years

I have been thinking recently about the question of would humans and autonomous intelligent robots trade. The first guess would be yes, since humans and robots would have different opportunity costs of doing different tasks, and therefore comparative advantage would apply.

From "The Shape of Automation", 1960, H. O. Simon:
"""The change in the occupational profile depends on a well-known economic principle, the doctrine of comparative advantage. It may seem paradoxical to think that we can increase the productivity of mechanized techniques in all processes without displacing men somewhere. Won't a point be reached where men are less productive than machines in all processes, hence economically unemployable? (Footnote in article: The difficultly that laymen find with this point underlies the consistent failure of economists to win wide general support for the free-trade argument. The central idea--that comparative advantage, not absolute advantage, counts--is exactly the same in the two cases. )
The paradox is dissolved by supplying a missing term. Whether man or machines will be employed in a particular process depends not simply on their relative productivity in physical terms, but on their cost as well. And cost depends on price. Hence--so goes the traditional argument of economics--as technology changes and machines become more productive, the prices of labor and capital will so adjust themselves as to clear the market of both. As much of each will be employed as offers itself at the market price, and the market price will be proportional to the marginal productivity of that factor. By the operation of the marketplace, manpower will flow to those processes in which its productivity is comparatively high relative to the productivity of machines; it will leave those processes in which it productivity is comparatively low. The comparison is not with the productivities of the past but among the productivites in different processes with the currently available technology. """

I can think of three ways (one was stolen from wikipedia) that comparative advantage would fail.

The first is if there is a scarce non-time resource and there is a substantial difference in the quantity of the scarce resource consumed. For example if A uses 2 tons of iron to make a car and B uses 1 ton of iron, and iron is scarce, then B can make more cars absolutely.

The second is that there is a wage floor (or utility floor). If the wage so low human cannot live on it, then the wage cannot get low enough to make trade beneficial.

The third is from the Wikipedia comparative advantage article , and is that the transactions costs can eat away the benefits from trade.

Basically, at some point robots reach the point where they make the decision of do they keep trading with humans. If there is no benefit for the robots (that is no point for trade from the robots point of view), will they keep helping humans, or will humans be once again on our own. I can't even think of any science fiction where independent robots trade physical goods with humans (in Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin, the humans and artificial intelligences do give each other information).

Comment: Re:A Slashdot user predicted this way ahead of tim (Score 3, Informative) 103

by jrincayc (#43758583) Attached to: Cell Phones As a Dirty Bomb Detection Network

Too late: "The patent-protected GammaPix (TM) technology (U.S. Patent Nos. 7,391,028 and 7,737,410 plus foreign filings) has been under development since 2002 with over $2.5 million in government support." and were from applications filed on Feb. 28, 2005.

The bogosity meter just pegged.