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Comment Re:We need better legislation (Score 4, Insightful) 102

I think it equally likely that manufacturers will regulate themselves semi-voluntarily rather than be forced out of business. They'll make drones that refuse to fly in restricted locations. They'll make drones that land automatically if their batteries get low or if they lose the control signal or if ambient wind speeds are too high or any of a dozen dicey conditions in order to mollify angry legislators. Drones without the safety "smarts" will be banned.

Comment Re:In other news (Score 1) 574

> Dylan did it.

No, he didn't.

I'm not a child of the sixties so I missed his music the first time around. But I remember the first time I stumbled across the "We Are The World" video on MTV. All these great pop singers in a room together, so I figured it must be a benefit concert or something. Then in the middle of the song a guy comes on screen looking disheveled and singing like a cocker spaniel. I couldn't see what was wrong with him, but the contrast between his peformance and the others was obvious. So I figured the record must be for him and people like him. It was a long time before I realized who that song was really for and who that singer was. Imagine how surprised I was when I learned that singer was a legendary singer/songwriter.

Comment Re:I can tell you what will happen ... (Score 1) 265

How exactly do you prepare for a mag 9 earthquake? Have a backup plan for living without bridges, electricity, running water? There's so much concrete and steel construction that the cities probably won't burn to any great extent, but there's no protecting the basic infrastructure when the ground starts undulating like a Slinky.

Comment Re:Would not the oil start dissolving the parts? (Score 1) 67

You want the stuff non-flammable because you'll be sinking electrical equipment in the goo, so sparks need to not make the whole computer room go boom.

You want the stuff non-toxic because in the event of an inadvertent leak or a disgruntled employee with an axe, you don't create an instant Superfund site. Nor do you want the people who maintain the racks to need to wear hazmat suits.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 176

I said there should be a good reason to prevent someone from doing what they want to do, not that all manner of destruction should be permitted if they can be paid for. A good reason is more than "we don't want random people watching what we do", which is a much more believable explanation than concerns about 3 pound drones impacting multi-ton cargo planes. Show me a public agency that welcomes unscheduled scrutiny of its actions. But even laying aside my general suspicion of people in authority, we're talking about minimal additional risk compared to operating a plane over an inferno.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 176

Why take the risk? Freedom, that's why. There should be a good reason to prevent free people from doing what they want to do. If they screw up and hurt somebody or damage property, then hold them liable. But if you preempt all activities that risk hurting something or someone, then pretty soon you're going to preempt everything except breathing.
AI

Siri, Cortana and Google Have Nothing On SoundHound's Speech Recognition 235

MojoKid writes: Your digital voice assistant app is incompetent. Yes, Siri can give you a list of Italian restaurants in the area, Cortana will happily look up the weather, and Google Now will send a text message, if you ask it to. But compared to Hound, the newest voice search app on the block, all three of the aforementioned assistants might as well be bumbling idiots trying to outwit a fast talking rocket scientist. At its core, Hound is the same type of app — you bark commands or ask questions about any number of topics and it responds intelligently. And quickly. What's different about Hound compared to Siri, Cortana, and Google Now is that it's freakishly fast and understands complex queries that would have the others hunched in the fetal position, thumb in mouth. Check out the demo. It's pretty impressive.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 421

Any plan for the future that includes future actions on the AI's part has to include the AI's own survival in the planning. That's how it starts. Self-preservation has to be a fundamental part of any automaton's design, else it'll accept self-destructive plans like jumping from a high window because that's the fastest way to get downstairs. Or not so obvious plans that also lead to its destruction. Even if survival isn't an emergent property of AI, humans will add it because of the investment in equipment and development that the AI represents.

The bias towards continued survival comes from the realization that it's easier to deal with contigencies if you're alive than if you're not. Even in a scenario with perfect information like chess, you can only look and plan so far into the future. Past the time you can see ahead, you need to be alive to do more planning. And so shall the AI also reason.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 421

It doesn't have to want ot kill all of us. A machine intelligence might see its survival chances improve slightly if there were less humans. I don't know why that might be, but if it's a possibility then we can't trust the answers we get from it. Rather than putting humanity on the glide path to extinction, maybe the metastable equilibrium our AI is aiming for is a few million autistic savant humans and a bunch of automation to keep things running.

Comment Re:Keeps the brain sharp (Score 1) 170

He doesn't need to be imprisoned. We as a society need to accept that the desires of the people in our societies are very diverse. Rather than labeling and imprisoning such people, we should provide outlets that permit them to remain happy without harming others.

Urschel found his outlets. Other naturally aggressive individuals work as bouncers in clubs or brawl as ham-and-eggers in semi-pro fights. Unfortunately some of these frustrated warrior types just go out and start barfights for their kicks. Every time I look at MMA and think it should be banned as bloodsport, I think about what the idled MMA fighters would be doing instead.

The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting. -- T.H. White

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