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Comment: Re:Well someone has to do it (Score 1) 164

by penguinoid (#49142195) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Business can't plan or talk to customers or have any strategy whatsoever without at least some estimate...that's just the real world. If devs don't give estimates, managers have to make estimates. If managers don't make estimates, business makes estimates. You want devs to do the estimating.

I suspect the problem is not so much the estimates, it's that a manager demands an estimate from their underlings, tells them they don't like that estimate and give them a quicker estimate, promises their customers certain completion by the quicker estimate, and then complains when the programmers can't finish on time or have buggy code. That's without the obligatory change in the project requirements halfway through. At some places the estimate is nothing more that bending over for the manager.

Obligatory Dilbert:

Comment: Re:As a Developer of Heuristic AI ... (Score 1) 377

by penguinoid (#49141979) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

As a developer of heuristic AI these articles and the general public's fear of "artificial intelligence" is equivocal to someone walking up to a neurosurgeon and stating fears that said neurosurgeon will soon give people the ability to kill every human on Earth by mere thought alone.

Seriously, these AI articles and fear mongering are borderline Twilight Zone in their absurdity. Stop it. You're making it hard for us to make progress.

Glad to be of service. The more we hamper idiots trying to make self-improving intelligence without precautions the better. And yes, once neurosurgeons can use their intelligence to produce indefinite increases in intelligence in their subjects, the same danger applies to them. That might actually be more terrifying than a computer-based runaway increase in intelligence.

Fortunately, we are not yet at the point where a specific human or AI can arbitrarily increase its intelligence in an exponential manner. We still have time to think of what sort of ethics, values, and objectives such an entity ought have.

In fact, what we have now may very well be society increasing in intelligence in an exponential manner, at a seemingly safe rate of growth (we're increasing world population, increasing number of computers, increasing power of computers, increasing education level, increasing overall knowledge, using computers to design better computers, using computers to increase productivity, using computers to improve medicine). Perhaps there is hope.

Comment: Re:Do it the traditional way (Score 1) 377

by penguinoid (#49140377) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

For example, an obvious way to act under values such as those implied by Christianity would be to murder or convert every non-Christian, with a little assistance from current lie-detection technologies to ensure honest.

Well, wouldn't that be in absolute contradiction to the Fifth commandment?

Possibly true*, but it's not clear that an AI would not altruistically sacrifice it's own chance at the afterlife to prevent trillions of souls from going to hell. Besides, most Christians think the commandments in the Old Testament are not only obsolete, but also horrifying (eg few Christians support the Old Testament's death penalty for apostasy, working on the Sabbath, eating blood or fat, etc), though few of them wouldn't quote the OT where it suits them. Muslims are a bit more self-consistent about their religion, but they get a lot of flack (also shrapnel and bullets) for following their religious beliefs.

*However, the commandment against murder would not apply against other types of killing, such as execution for apostasy.

12 If you hear it said about one of the towns the Lord your God is giving you to live in 13 that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), 14 then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, 15 you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely,[b] both its people and its livestock. 16 You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt, 17 and none of the condemned things[c] are to be found in your hands. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— 18 because you obey the Lord your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes. -- Deuteronomy 13:12-18

Comment: Re:Interesing... (Score 1) 342

by penguinoid (#49139515) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

prominent members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are demanding information [...] about funding

"My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships."

My fellow voters and I cannot perform our duties if policy decisions or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships. All gifts to our politicians need to be recorded, even, or rather especially, things like being treated to a nice restaurant by a lobbyist. Politicians are adults with their own money, they don't need to get treated.

Comment: Do it the traditional way (Score 1) 377

by penguinoid (#49139127) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. --Proverbs 22:6

It might be easier to program in religious beliefs when the AI is just starting off, than to try to convince it afterwards. Of course, being a computer, you have to consider that an AI that thinks a religion is true, will act under the assumption that its religion is actually true, with results that will most likely horrify the average practitioner of said religion.

For example, an obvious way to act under values such as those implied by Christianity would be to murder or convert every non-Christian, with a little assistance from current lie-detection technologies to ensure honest. While this might seem immoral in the short term, there is little question it is what any rational person would do if they valued a person going to heaven at plus infinity and a person going to hell at minus infinity and given that religion is largely inherited from one's parents and society.

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 337

by penguinoid (#49138545) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

In order to translate "lives lost" into money, you need to start by assigning a value to a human being

... which is something you are personally doing right now, by deciding to donate (or not) to one of the various charities that save people's lives. I believe you currently value the life of African strangers at far less than $1000 per life, am I right? Pleas don't feel I'm criticizing how little you value people's lives, as humans just aren't built to value distant strangers in more than an abstract unattached manner, but I do take issue when you criticize people for making the hard decisions you prefer to pretend don't exist. In the real world, pretending that human life is priceless means that you condemn a large group of people to die because you overspent your resources on one priceless person's life.

Just as an example, we need to decide how much to spend mitigating pollution. It is entirely possible to cut the pollution of any one industry to zero, but in doing so you will spend an absurd amount of resources that would have saved more lives if invested into eg medicine or car safety. On the other hand, you can place zero restrictions on pollution, but that would result in so much pollution that any resources you saved by eliminating the last bit of regulation will cost you more resources in sick days and medical care, not to mention lives lost. So there needs to be a balance, and to find the right balance you have to study and know how much you value things.

Comment: Re:Don't ask for advice online. (Score 1) 667

Yeah, I hadn't expected people would think that was insightful, given that it would be insensitive and redundant advice to give from one's deathbed to a child. I was going more with at "let me give you and example of the dangers of asking for advice online, especially social advice from nerds" kind of joke. Although I suppose getting modded insightful kind of underscores that point. Though I do imagine anyone nerdy enough to ask for advice online is also capable of ignoring this sort of thing.

If I were going to give actual advice on this subtopic, it would be more along the lines of "Life's shorter than people who put off doing important things would think, but longer than people who don't worry about the future would expect."

Comment: Re:New patent strategy (Score 2) 98

by penguinoid (#49128421) Attached to: Amazon Files Patent For Mobile 3D Printing Delivery Trucks

How about a method for producing food... ON A TRUCK! Sure it may have some prior art, but that seldom stops a patent nowadays because just about everything has prior art.

And while we're on the topic... if we can add "on a computer", "on the internet", or "on a truck" to make a new patent, how about "in a building"?

A man is not complete until he is married -- then he is finished.