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Comment: Re:Define "program itself" (Score 1) 446

A FORTRAN compiler does not run continuously and add additional functionality as it goes along.

In the debate that followed the opening remarks (video with very bad audio because the batteries on the lapel microphone ran down), someone suggested that intelligence requires consciousness. I suggested a Linux daemon could be considered conscious: it runs continuously and takes actions based on input and conditions. So my argument is that for the singularity you just need a daemon that continuously adds functionality to itself.

Comment: Don't need amoebae to fly (Score 3, Interesting) 446

As I note in my doom and gloom YouTube, it's a 50-year-old analogy in the quest for AI that artificial flight did not require duplicating a bird. Artificial intelligence may look very different, and in fact in my video, I avoid defining intelligence and merely point out that "a computer that can program itself" is all that is required for the singularity.

Comment: Bill (Score 1) 215

by michaelmalak (#48407897) Attached to: Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

If Bill Murray doesn't need an agent, why do I?

On a serious note, this makes little sense for full-time employment, which usually comes with golden handcuffs. It's not like FTEs are hopping from gig to gig, and with the number of transitions low (as in substantially fewer than one per year), I think rockstar programmers can handle their own agency.

For contractors, it seems like an agent could feed qualified leads to some of them, especially if they're just starting out. But is that really agency? There are already localized medium-sized consulting firms that contractors can associate themselves with.

Comment: Re:Sci Fi Really Ages Quickly (Score 1) 186

by michaelmalak (#48402013) Attached to: Battlestar Galactica Creator Glen A. Larson Dead At 77

I think you're really looking at the show unfairly. When it came on the air (over 36 years ago) there was nothing else like it on television.

Also, I just now Googled "Battlestar Galactica cheesy 2009", "Battlestar Galactica cheesy 2008" etc. on backward, and it seems to have become a meme only when BSG came on in 2004. So it appears to be some revisionist history based upon post-BSG experiences rather than cheesy-at-the-time experiences.

Comment: Conservative design (Score 1) 127

by michaelmalak (#48395219) Attached to: US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

For 20+ years, HPC systems have relied on the same conservative design of compute separated from storage, connected by Infiniband. Hadoop kind of shook up the HPC world with its introduction of data locality, especially as scientific use cases have involved larger data sets that distributed data storage is well-suited for. The HPC world has been wondering aloud how best and when to start incorporating local data storage for each node. Summit introduces some modest 800GB non-volatile storage per node for caching (which they call a "Burst Buffer"), but no bulk data storage.

I blogged about how the Summit design seems very conservative, especially for a system to be delivered in 2018, and especially for a supercomputer that is billed to be the most powerful in the U.S. if not the world.

Comment: Since 1909 (Score 4, Insightful) 669

by michaelmalak (#48259639) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
Nothing new since the 1950 Humani Generis by Pope Pius XII that defined the relationship between evolution, immortal souls and faith. And that was just final infallible confirmation of what the Vatican Biblical Commission determined in 1909 in its On The Historical Character of the First Three Chapters of Genesis.

Comment: Re:The Model F is even better (Score 1) 304

by michaelmalak (#48100239) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

The layout of the 88-key Model F is more functional, although less attractive. The function keys on the side are much more useful, and even the Microsoft Windows function key assignments reflect that to this day (and most Linux desktop GUIs that I've tried, too, actually). Ctrl-F4 closes a window while Ctrl-F6 cycles through the multiple documents in an application (originally MDI documents, later extended to multi-SDI controlled by a single application). F4 and F6 are adjacent to each other when the function keys are on the side (one column for odd-numbered function keys and the other column for the even-numbered, with the even-numbered being more convenient being closer to the Ctrl and Shift keys).

The whole switch to the 101 "Enhanced" keyboard like the Model M is because IBM wanted to standardize keyboards across its entire product line: PC, workstation and mainframe. Workstation and mainframe had function keys across the top, and it looked cooler, so we've been stuck with only "Enhanced" keyboards for nearly 30 years now.

Yes, the Model F and Model M are clicky, but I've gotten over the nostalgia of it. They're clicky because they click on both the downstroke and the upstroke, so they make it sound like you're typing twice as fast as you really are. I now consider it as fake as wearing elevator shoes or a toupee.

Comment: Space Trilogy (Score 4, Interesting) 534

by michaelmalak (#48032543) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

C.S. Lewis, Anglican and actually closer to Catholicism in theology, wrote, from 1938-1945, a science fiction trilogy known as the Space Trilogy that explores alien races in the context of Christianity.

I first read the trilogy when I was an atheist, and it helped remove that particular hurdle in my later study of the world religions that lead to my conversion to Catholicism.

Comment: Re:Pixels (Score 1) 277

by michaelmalak (#47997305) Attached to: Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

You have finally gotten something from iCupertino.

Not me. I tend to shy away from Apple products. In fact, as an early adopter of smart phone technology in 2005 with the Audiovox 6700 PocketPC, after it died in 2009 I just camped out in a dumb phone for four years to avoid the keyboardless iPhone mania, and jumped back in in 2012 with the S3, which was ahead of its time then (and compensated for lack of keyboard with swipe-typing, which iPhone didn't get until very recently).

If my S3 were to die today, though, it'd be a toss-up for me between getting a used S3 off eBay for $200 or $750 for an iPhone 6 Plus.

I've never had trouble seeing small things (though these days glass are required), and I prefer the smaller screen of the S3 over the Note for privacy.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack