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Comment: Re:Human made (Score 4, Insightful) 464

by michelcolman (#48589011) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

Yep, and they also promote things that hurt the environment. Here in belgium they were actually encouraging people to burn woord for heating, since wood was renewable. Then they suddenly realised how much fine dust and smog was being created by those wood stoves. Oops.

And don't get me started on nuclear power. New designs are perfectly safe and produce almost no waste, yet we can't build them because nuclear power is supposedly dangerous and creates waste that will poison the planet forever. So, for lack of alternatives, we keep extending the life of older plants until they blow up. And we try to replace them with renewables that actually pollute more. Those solar panels don't grow on trees. More people have been killed in the construction of wind turbines than in nuclear accidents. Oh, well, looks like I've gotten myself started. I'll stop now.

Comment: Re:Future lawsuits include: (Score 1) 39

by michelcolman (#48588907) Attached to: Apple Antitrust Case Finds New Consumer Plaintiff

As for your PS4 games on Xbox, I dunno, AFAIK you are allowed, or at least not disallowed. I don't know how that'd work exactly. Maybe you want to play them on your microwave oven too. If you can convert the object file formats and the machine instruction sets and solve the different rendering engines, and all the other physical incompatibilities then I'd be willing to bet you could play them.

And then get sued for violating the DMCA.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 3, Insightful) 377

by michelcolman (#48571201) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

If you're running a server for a big company (say, Google or FaceBook) and every image is only half as big, that means a huge reduction in the number of servers you need, power consumption, etc. Less congestion on the internet, more responsive servers, less wasted energy, etc...

I imagine you also have a car that guzzles up twice as much gas as other cars, but who cares since you can afford it?

Comment: Re:Transparency is supported. Pronounciation? (Score 2) 377

by michelcolman (#48571189) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

PNG is used extensively in Apple products. It's the standard format for non-compressed images in iOS apps, along with jpg for compressed images. Apple recommends using png for user interface elements, and jpg for pictures. Which makes sense, since jpg can compress a picture to 20% of the size with very few artifacts. Size does matter for mobile apps. And I wish people would realize that it matters for servers, too. Yes, available bandwidth is enormous these days. But if your server is serving pages that are twice the size and your audience is large, you're going to need a bigger server room and use considerably more energy. Servers are on their way to becoming the biggest power hogs on the planet. Smaller images mean less hard disks and less data pipes.

Comment: Re:Every 30 days. (Score 1) 247

by michelcolman (#48529109) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

And some of the smaller websites will just mail your password to you on request. Just had one like that last week. Unbelievable in this day and age.

And another website I logged into last week, a frequent flyer program for a major airline, had a maximum of 6 numbers for the password. Not characters, numbers only! No idea how they store it, but something tells me they're probably not using MD5 and have never heard of salt.

Comment: Re: writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythi (Score 1) 455

Look at the complexity of today's computer chips. We stuff billions of logic gates into a square centimeter of silicon. Would it really be beyond our capabilities to make a copy of the structure of a human brain, but without all the blood and other biological nastiness, and make it orders of magnitude faster? We already pretty much understand how a neuron works, it's just the emergent behaviour of billions of those neurons connected to each other that still evades us. But all we need to do is build it and see what it does. I'm sure we will some day. I have no idea whether or not it will be truly "sentient" since we don't even know what that word means, but outperform us it certainly will.

Comment: Re: writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythi (Score 1) 455

Human brains appear so powerful because they take lots of shortcuts and make simplifications that are "close enough for government work". We are very good at discarding irrelevant data and making wild guesses. When asked to do a simple task but do it extremely accurately and repeatedly, we struggle. We are basically cheating all the time. Computers have vastly more power but are wasting most of it by being extremely precise. If we figure out how to let them compress their data in a usable, structured way, I think they probably do have the power to surpass us. The programming just isn't there yet. Also, they would need a lot more parallelism. All it would take, is someone using today's manufacturing techniques to build a chip with lots of interconnects, structured similar to a human brain. Computers switch millions of times faster than neurons (neurons get up to about 200 Hz max), so they'll outperform us pretty much immediately.

Really, look at how today's computers process an image. They look at every single pixel and make calculations on them trying to find basic structures. You try looking at a million numbers, given to you as one long list, and figuring out if it contains a picture of a car. The computer has that power, we just have to channel it in a different way.

Comment: Re: writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythi (Score 1) 455

"Already, computers are waaay more powerful than human minds"

no they aren't. Seriously, watch (...)

Let's use the same reasoning the other way around.

"Human minds are waaay more powerful than computers"

no they aren't. Seriously, watch a human solve a hard sudoku. These humans attempt to mimic basic computer tasks. They take something like an hour to do the calculations to fill in the symbols. And usually fail at that. It takes a computer roughly a tenth of a millisecond to do that same bit of calculation. And it never fails.

See? Like I said, we just haven't figured out yet how to steer all the power of computers towards actual intelligence. The human brain is good at parallelism (which computers currently still struggle with) but neurons fire at rates up to 200 Hz while computer circuits switch more than ten million times faster. They are already better at playing chess, long considered by many to be an impossible thing as it required "real intelligence" that would never be achieved by computers. They'll be driving cars soon (they already can in a very limited way). That, too, was considered impossible, how could a computer possibly process all that visual data? And whenever we manage to get them to perform some task (like flying an airplane, for example), they do so vastly more accurately than we do.

I'm sure that, once someone starts building chips that were specifically designed to have lots of interconnections structured similar to a human brain (instead of the current topology that still works more or less like a big switchboard), and we scale it up to the same number of nodes, it will immediately outperform our brains by orders of magnitude. And then imagine what kind of architectures that brain could come up with.

Comment: Re: writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythi (Score 1) 455

It could design the new hardware, which can then be manufactured. At some point the brains would be linked straight to the manufacturing equipment, so the chips could design and produce their successors. So at that point, yes, it could simply shit out better CPUs and plug them into itself. Of course it would have to be set up that way by humans initially, but from that point on...