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Comment: The New Magic (Score 3, Insightful) 74

by lorinc (#48396275) Attached to: Machine Learning Used To Predict Military Suicides

Stop speaking of machine learning as if it's a new kind of black magic. I know it sounds better than "using a mathematical algorithm" or "performed statistical analysis", but to me it sounds as ridiculous as the "quantum whatever" of the 90's. Seriously, ML is being hyped beyond reasonable.

Comment: Re:Home storage (Score 1) 488

by lorinc (#48366639) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

This is nothing compared to the price of the house. Let the company that builds the house install them, like they install isolating windows (which are more expensive than that, btw). Or rent it from your electricity provider. Yeah it's expensive for an egoistic individual, but it is not for the entire society.

Comment: Re:I disagree. (Score 1) 145

by lorinc (#48213585) Attached to: Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

You should probably take some lectures in computer vision, it would change your view on it. It's either that, or you have a misconception about what a human does when he's learning.

I'll take the Turing view on humans: big and horribly complex machine running a big and horribly complex algorithm. A part of this algorithm and its dedicated hardware is something we call "vision". Of course, it's a big an clunky part, and we even don't know its exact boundaries.

Now suppose you have a computer that does run an algorithm which is equivalent to the one of the human. Wouldn't you call it "computer vision"? I think that's a pretty good name that reflects correctly what the thing does.

Here comes the tricky part: we don't have the algorithm yet, nor do we know all the things it should do. Hell, we don't even now how to measure the equivalence with the human one!

But things are advancing and we're getting more and more pieces that seem to behave closer to the human algorithm (same inputs, same outputs). Some pieces are easy (depth estimation from calibrated stereo cameras), some are more involved but we can do it pretty well (OCR), some are really hard and we begin to do them not so badly (object recognition) and some are just so crazy nobody is even working on it (animal identification comes to my mind. Example: which of the wolves in the pack is Titus?).

I have no doubt we'll have one day a collection of algorithm that can do anything a human can do with his vision, whatever the environment. If that's close or far away is still debate though. I guess it will be much quicker than anyone expected, myself included. Will that collection be the same as the one in the human brain, i.e., will we have deciphered the human algorithm? No. That's not even a question in computer vision, that's a question of cognitive sciences. Although some parts can be inspired by what cognitive science tells us about the human mind (see, e.g., the recent developments in deep neural nets).

Suppose you now have that algorithm, wouldn't you sell it as "a complete solution comparable to a human" to quote your words? Of course you would, that's exactly what you tried to achieve from the beginning. Now, if a magazine sells it a already done while it still is being research, blame the journalist, not the scientists. It's been 50 years that journalists have sold nuclear fusion as our energy revolution coming next year, and still you wouldn't say physicists in the field are only good at marketing without strong stuff behind them.

(disclaimer: I also work in the field)

Comment: Re:Limited Vision (Score 1) 287

by lorinc (#48210569) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

I don't agree with you. Scientific expansion in ML is of exponential growth: what took 20 years to achieve will take only 10 to be doubly improved. When I see the state of the art in computer vision 2014, I have almost no doubt the vision problems associated with automatic cars will be solve in a fewer amount of time that anyone expected.

Comment: Re:I hate this strategy of justifying exploitation (Score 1) 164

by lorinc (#48162497) Attached to: For Game Developers, It's About the Labor of Love

On the contrary, when a job is paid too much, people are doing it for the sake of money and not because they love to do it. Think of the politicians. They don't care that much about ideas, they are into opinions, and more favorably the ones that will get them the cash. That's why we get all these crappy laws.

Think of a fireworker paid a million dollars. At that rate, you'll get a bunch of real assholes that will do anything to get the job because of the money, but when the day comes they have to risk their life to save your ass, they'll just flee saying "f**k, that's not worth it".

So while I totally agree with you on the low pay justified by passion bullshit, my point is that we should not rely on high pay to expect the jobs to be done correctly. A job is done correctly iff the guy in charge is happy with his job done correctly.

Comment: Re: Monitoring software (Score 1) 236

by lorinc (#48105077) Attached to: Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

That being said, it can surely be further automated in the next decade to get rid of another 1/3. How many decades until there is only one guy at your factory that is in charge of rebooting the whole system if ever it fails?

It's not that automation is bad, it's actually great for the human condition, it's our society that cannot handle such evolution.

Comment: Re:People (Score 2) 481

by lorinc (#48066667) Attached to: Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

Self-preservation. We are people, hence by social contract we (no longer) eat each other. That way each of us can feel safe that others will not consume him. We consider people who violate that rule criminals or insane and deal with them appropriately.

There is no such social contract with animals. We can eat them and they, occasionally, eat humans too.


You can even extend this to why we don't eat cats and dogs. Dog owners don't want their neighbors to eat their precious family pet, and nobody want such a mess in society. These are self preserving rules of our society, and not things based on some fancy individual reasoning. Note that in not so ancient time, people did eat dogs in most Europe, but that was before dogs were common pet.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340