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Comment Re:Plain stupid reasoning (Score 1) 186

You know what, I was having exactly the same thought regarding the Fermi paradox. Why don't we see alien civilization? Because we expect them to be massively large scale, and they probably aren't.

If we look at ourselves and our future. The human race might probably survive for a long time, but probably not in its current population levels. If we want some growth in our standard of living, that means more energy consumed individually, which we can't achieve at a global level. That's the gap you are talking about. So probably the great great grandson of the richest of today will be spacefaring, while the great great grandson of today's poor (well, today's 90% of the population) will probably just don't exist or at a civilization level that's invisible from far away.

Comment Plain stupid reasoning (Score 1) 186

Because things were worse 50 years ago than they are today, it means that they will be just incredibly good in 50 years? Yeah, like we had rain yesterday and today is just a bit cloudy so tomorrow will surely be sunny.

Everybody agrees present days are probably the best humanity ever had. How how close to the apex is it? How will it be in 50 years from now? What's you argument to say it will be better?

Comment Re:This is a breakthrough? (Score 1) 29

Also, it has been done for many years. You can date the stigmergy based robotics back to the mid-nineties (cf the work of Alexis Drogoul for example) and the mathematical modelling dates back to the eighties (Deneubourg et al.).

What is presented here is nice engineering stuff, but has nothing to do with research breakthrough.

Comment Re:Athiest Symbol (Score 2, Insightful) 518

This photos shows how absurd the world is getting. Religion has to bend over the law, not the other way around. It the law says "no hat", it should be no hat, and fuck religious zealots that want to have their hat of the photo.

If sate laws and your religion laws are incompatible, then forget about your religion laws, they just don't apply.There are many religions - all of them incompatible, and pretty irrational to say the least -, whereas there is only one state law at a given place, and in many decent countries it gets decided by collective discussion. So the state law always applies while the religious laws are just a pile of bullshit.

Sadly, people that are not OK with that are bombing Paris, and our response is to make more space for religious bullshit. At some point, it has to be enough. Religions have to get the fuck off politics. You are free to believe whatever bullshit you want, to do whatever fucking dumb rituals you like, but it has to have no impact whatsoever on society. Simple, reasonable, and safe for everybody.

Comment Re:Simple (Score 1) 246

Besides, anyone here who can honestly say he never did the "magic" thing, i.e. delete a line and retype it only to have it suddenly work for no good reason whatsoever?

I dare say that most programmers would simply delete the offending line and retype it once everything that does actually make sense has been tried.

Black magic. Do it. I get the candles, Fred brings the voodoo doll, you can start chanting.

It's not black magic at all! It happens all the time with my students: they copy/paste some code from the pdf containing the exercises and then scream for help as the compiler complains. Truth is, they pasted some non-printable characters. When I tell them what happened, that they should never copy/paste code for whatever reason, erase the faulty lines and advise them to type their own version, they almost always seem so disappointed. It's amazing how the young people can be lazy...

Comment Re:Uhhhh (Score 1) 65

Not really. You should read mainly 2 books: "The elements of statistical learning" by Hastie and Tibshirani, and "the nature of statistical learning theory" by Vapnik. That would clear all the fuzzy things you have with ML. ML can be described as the study of inference producing algorithms based on empirical data. Or in more simple terms: you have a bunch of observations and you want to use them to predict something.

Examples: you have the past transactions of market shares, and you want to predict the future transactions (regression). Or you have a bunch of biological and chemical measurements and you want to predict if it corresponds to a specific disease (classification). Or you measure some socio-economic data (salary, diplomas, etc) and you want to infer the probability of doing a terrorist attack (density estimation).

As you can see these are examples that are well defined with algorithms you can identify. Now, what probably disturbs you is the fundamental difference with the other types of science. In physics, you make the hypothesis of a model, which gives you a bunch of equations, and you use these equations to predict the future. In ML, you fit the model on past observations so as to minimize the errors it will produce on future observation. There are no hypotheses, and ML isn't an explanatory science (well, they can be hypotheses and results can explain things, but that's secondary). The whole point is just to build algorithms that produce sufficiently good inferences given a fair amount of observations. That's why we are talking of "data science", because the core of the thing is fitted on available data. Sometimes the output model is impossible to interpret (kernel SVM for example), it only has a useful prediction value.

Comment Re:Lessons (Score 1) 497

Nice ones.

There's also a Goldilocks size for functions: functions too long are a pain to decipher, and it's easy to get lost between calls when all functions are too short. The same applies for OOP with the trade off between one Godzilla class and the Lasagna of too many classes.

Comment back to the 2000's (Score 1) 106

Maybe I'm getting old, but all these stories about uber remind me a lot of the fuss about napster back in the 2000's. And these where probably the same as everytime a new disruptive technology appears.

Now, get over it. With the ability to instantaneously have a decentralized communication between someone needing a service and someone providing a service, all hopes of regulation are dead. Labor laws are dead, they've been rendered obsolete by the massively connected world. Uber is centralized, so you can punch the company. What will you do when a decentralized equivalent service comes up?

Comment Occam's razor (Score 3, Insightful) 622

Well, in absence of scientific evidence, if you just read the thing and have to decide between:
- The guy made it up to fit his political agenda
- The guy got it from a superpowered entity

Honestly, there's no way you can find the later simpler and more plausible. Especially after reading that part where men are allowed to marry up to four wives except the prophet who could marry as many as he wanted...

But it is always cool to have scientific evidence when you can get ones.

You are in the hall of the mountain king.