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Comment: "Mr. Spock" is everywhere today (Score 3, Insightful) 278

by msobkow (#49149645) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

I find it gratifying to see that Mr. Nimoy is being remembered on every website and feed that I've visited today. And not merely remembered, but remembered by more people than I've ever seen pay tribute at the same time. Even the passing of Robin Williams wasn't marked with as many posts and comments.

RIP, Leonard.

Comment: Sickening (Score 1) 177

by msobkow (#49145673) Attached to: Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch

It's absolutely sickening how many trolls have responded to this topic with comments about people "just wanting attention" or the world being better off without them, and other such tripe.

The absolute cruelty and judgementalism of people who've never dealt with chronic depression or mental illness is just shameful.

This is the "intelligent" commentary of slashdot nowadays?

Man has this place ever gone down hill. How I long for the days of harmless "trolls" posting comments about Natalie Portman and hot grits, which did nothing more than annoy instead of being outright mean, spiteful, and hurtful.

Comment: After which managers toss the "bad" estimates (Score 2) 319

by msobkow (#49143587) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

My experience has been that management comes to the developers for estimates. They provide those estimates to the end users. The end users bitch, whine, and complain that they need it to be done in half that time.

Management then comes back to the dev team and tells them they've agreed to get the project done in half the time that was estimated.

Then both management and the user community bitch when their "estimates/targets" aren't met, and who is blamed for the issue?

The developers.

The developers always are to blame for computer problems, never the bad specs, the conflicting specs, the unknown variables, the use of "new technology" that some vendor flim-flammed onto the department/team, or anything or anyone else.

Screw 'em. Now that I'm retired, I'll never have to give anything more than the most vague ballpark estimate of how long it will take me to do something ever again. Instead, on my pet project, I just bullet point some of the things I intend to work on next -- and even that is subject to change. The lack of stress and the freedom to live my life according to my own whims and needs has proven an invaluable source of improvement in my "quality of life."

What a shame I've never encountered a job that would let you do that.

Comment: Journalism has already been crowdsourced (Score 1) 247

by msobkow (#49134889) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

Journalism has already been crowdsourced. All you have to do is look at the number of blog postings and discussions at any website that references "news" articles (including Slashdot) to realize that.

Newspapers are already being forced into a co-operative model to apply the resources needed to do true investigative reporting, like the most recent HSBC scandal. None of them have enough staff left on the payroll to do it by themselves.

Software and IT have much the same problem, though the "crowd" is a bunch of cheap overseas labourers instead of the general public. But the end result is the same -- highly paid skilled professionals replaced by cheap mob mentality grunts working on the "million monkeys" theory of producing quality.

The legal profession has been impacted big time just by the ability to do keyword searches of article databases instead of paying junior staff to do the legwork of researching relevant cases for the lawyers in a firm. Most new lawyers are finding it hard as hell to get into any real firms to gain experience as a result, much less ever be offered a partnership.

Note that not one of these changes required anything as earth-shattering as "AI" -- just automation and distribution of common tasks.

Comment: Re:Strategy games? (Score 1) 148

by msobkow (#49133251) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

It's not even a good example of image recognition, because the images to be processed don't have to be "understood" to be used. On top of that, the graphics of the games in question were very simple and primitive compared to what image recognition software deals with.

Add to that the repetitive nature of old video games that were based on 99% reaction time and 1% strategy, and you can just flat out colour me "unimpressed" with this "research".

Back in University, my AI project was a game player (a simple strategy game whose name I forget.) As it turned out, the entire game mapped down to a pre-determined set of decisions, so after playing only a dozen games, the "AI" would win every time, and that was just with a simple weighted-algorithm system of play. Some problems are just eminently suited to "AI" is all that I ended up learning from that project, but it was a useful lesson on the difference between optimizing a decision tree and actual "intelligence".

Until someone comes up with a system that can deal with bad and erroneous inputs as well as humans, I will continue to be unimpressed. Yet at the same time, I don't consider it necessary for a computer to be able to think and understand per se to be considered an "intelligence." It just needs to be able to make decisions and choose between alternatives faster than it's human counterparts in order to be useful, and to reduce the number of errors compared to it's human counterparts.

I have little faith in "neural networks." They place too much emphasis on emulating simple biological components and not enough on the "art" of understanding. Neural networks basically take the approach that "if it's big enough, we'll maybe get lucky and it will start to think." That's not "solving a problem." That's "playing the lottery."

Comment: Good luck with that (Score 1) 400

by msobkow (#49122457) Attached to: NSA Director Wants Legal Right To Snoop On Encrypted Data

Overkill it may be, but I've been writing my prototype security code to generate new AES256 keys for each session, using the pre-generated keys only to initialize communications and handshake the generated keys. Even I won't know what keys are in use.

The NSA can kiss my ass. So can CSEC, GCHQ, and everyone else who thinks they have a "right" to spy on me.

Approach the service provider with a properly signed warrant in the appropriate jurisdiction of the server if you want access to my data.

Comment: Re:To answer your question (Score 3, Interesting) 279

by msobkow (#49117409) Attached to: Intel Moving Forward With 10nm, Will Switch Away From Silicon For 7nm

A buddy's brother works (or worked, who knows now) for Intel, and used to bring along demos of the latest and greatest lab technology when he came for visits. Some of the stuff he had was up to 10-15 years ahead of actual release cycles in terms of performance and capability. I'm sure some of the ideas got scrapped, but a lot of them probably made it into production in the chips we use today.

Wild stuff. Both brothers were major hardware geeks.

I'd love to see what kind of technology he's showing his brother from the labs over Christmas and Easter holidays nowadays. :D

Comment: What kills them all are the dev kits (Score 1) 150

by msobkow (#49115519) Attached to: Is Sega the Next Atari?

What kills all console games eventually is the difficulty of working with their development kits, and the paucity of documentation about how to wring maximum performance out of those development kits.

Write a game using OpenGL or DirectX, and you have millions of potential buyers. Write a game using Android or iOS APIs, and you have millions of portable buyers.

Consoles? Not so much. Your only market with those devices are dedicated gamers willing to spend money just to play games. It's a smaller market share by a huge margin.

Comment: Re:Protip (Score 4, Insightful) 395

Somebody beat me to it. :)

No matter what you do in life, you are going to die. There is no escaping that.

So live a life of wonder, mystery, and enjoyment, rather than spending it fretting about exactly what might be the thing that kills you. Eat a bacon sandwich. Put cream in your coffee. Have a steak once in a while. Have a doughnut once a month. And by all means, have a glass of wine with your meal and spark a bowl of cannabis afterwards.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.