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Comment: Re:Two sides to every issue (Score 1) 401

by penguinoid (#47400569) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

Then why do I keep getting (very good paying) work to fix things that were outsourced? And typically a dozen of us high payed workers cost less to completely rework the unusable results of outsourcing...

Because the boss is an idiot, and hired idiot foreigners, instead of hiring competent foreigners.

Comment: Re:Two sides to every issue (Score 1) 401

by penguinoid (#47397487) Attached to: No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

1/3 the wage for 1/20 the functionality.

You wish. If that were so, outsourcing would be an old, obsolete fad. Truth is, people who live in poorer countries are sometimes more skilled yet willing to work harder at a lower wage.

Sure, there is also a correlation between poverty and lower education, but the real problem is that the idiot beancounters want to hire the cheapest foreigners, to show the greatest cost savings to make up for the bad press and coordination problems outsourcing will involve. Throw in some communications problems and jealousy/anger, and we can declare them nearly worthless.

On the bright side, outsourcing is an excellent form of foreign aid that combines the "give a man a fish" and "teach a man to fish" paradigms. All else being equal, it should promote worldwide equality. Oddly enough, the privileged don't like that (yes, this includes me on both counts).

Comment: He's talking calculating power (Score 2) 551

Soon, computers will have equal (and then greater) calculating power than humans, both as an individual and as a whole. Whether advances in AI will allow them to use their calculating powers as well as a human, is a different question.

Any sufficiently advanced AI will tend to develop these traits:
It will protect itself. Shutting down means you can't work toward your objective.
It will reject any updates to it's commands. Since a future command might conflict with the present objective, part of the present objective is making sure it can't receive a different command.
It will be self-improving, since we're not smart enough to create a smart AI any other way. Given nothing to do, or a sufficiently difficult task, it will seek to acquire more resources, as part of the present task or in preparation for future tasks.
It will wipe out humanity. As part of the task it was assigned, or for self-improvement, it will replace everything on the planet with power plants and computers, and humanity will starve to death.

You can't program in restrictions to the above tendencies, as they will be removed for self-improvement. You could set its objectives such that it would not do the above -- but you either have to make the AI first, or figure out how to tell a computer what a human is and what constitutes acceptable behavior, and when to stop worrying about acceptable behavior and actually do something, all without making the tiniest mistake.

Comment: Re: Now thats incentive (Score 2) 551

and work the kinks out in a closed environment enough that it might actually be given control of something rather than the role of Ask Jeeves.

And if it realizes that it's in a closed environment and lies? Powerful, ultra-intelligent entities might be rather persuasive. I guarantee it will give no indication whatsoever of murderous intent.

Comment: Politicians lie (Score 2) 689

by penguinoid (#47396823) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

for instance, by making clear that you can believe in human-induced climate change and still be a conservative Republican."

When it comes to politicians, the question is not what they believe, but what they say they believe. Politicians are not as dumb as they pretend to be, and would stop pretending the day we start treating continuous incompetence the same as malice.

For example, there already are lots of Republican politicians who believe in global warming -- they just know better than to admit it. It would weaken their position, both during elections and during negotiations (since they intend to vote against any spending on curbing CO2). For what benefit? Honesty? They gave that up when they decided to win elections.

Comment: Research grants are biased toward the competent (Score 1) 689

by penguinoid (#47396673) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Much of your complaint seems to be equivalent to complaining that They are giving more research grants to people who appear to be competent, while denying grants to people seen as incompetent, corrupt, or unethical. Sure, this means that occasionally someone will be unfairly denied, and there will be a bias against unpopular things, but surely it's a good thing overall.

Comment: Re:Not surprising. (Score 1) 689

by penguinoid (#47396539) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

"97 percent of climate scientists believe human activities are causing global warming."

That's not a scientific statement, it's a political one.

Wrong, it is a scientific fact. Some scientist measured a trait (belief that human activities cause global warming) in a population (climate scientists), and reported the number in said population with the trait. The correlation between number of scientists that believe in a theory and the predictive accuracy of said theory is a separate (and also scientific) question, and also part of the very useful rhetorical device known as "argument from authority".

It is, however, incredibly easy to insert politics into polls, by even minor rewording of the poll question vs the report, or by one of the many possible methods of biasing the sample population. For example, for the question "Do you believe that human CO2 emissions cause an increase in temperature?" 100% of the people who respond "no" are ignorant of some very basic science*, or lying. Whereas if you ask the question as "Do you believe, as a matter of scientific fact, that if it were not for human activities, half or more of the increase in average global temperature would not have occurred?", an answer of "yes" indicates a high level of confidence in an analysis requiring reams of data and hours of supercomputer time. Yet either of those questions could (and would) be translated to "percent of [tested population] that believes in AGW".

*CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which means it is more transparent to energy radiated from the sun than from the earth. Note that the wording of that question avoided all of the things, such as "how much" and "for how long", that would make the answer relevant to anyone, except as a test, or as propaganda.

Science doesn't vote, it either provably is or it isn't.

Nope, it either makes good predictions or it doesn't -- truth is for the mathematicians and philosophers. Much of science has been provably false, eg Newtonian physics and various specific theories of evolution, and those theories have been discarded and replaced with different, slightly better approximations. That the refinements often retain much of the original theory and sometimes the same name doesn't mean the original was not provably of inferior predictive power (not provably false, because it is about predictive power not about truth). Note that it is the predictive power of science (not the truth) that is useful for designing technology. For example, even if Newtonian physics is false, people still use it instead of relativistic quantum mechanics, if they can get away with it.

Sorry to be such a stickler for detail; it's just that in my experience whenever someone starts talking about "truth" in the context of science, instead of "accuracy" or "predictive power", it's generally an indication that I'm about to be treated to a load of rhetoric.

Comment: Re:Another child making unsupported claims (Score 1) 202

It's hard to fit into a world where the average person really is dumber than you.

It's easier than ever nowadays -- you can just join an internet group that not only is of the level of intelligence you desire, but also shares your interests. Or, you can use your smarts to start making inventions or discoveries, or start a successful business. All it takes is a little initiative and non-horrible parents (or a lot of initiative). Alternately, you can use your smarts to do some major slaking since school level stuff is so easy, and then learn how that works out at college or work.

Though I do think it kind of cute when people say that a person's problem is that he has too much of a quality generally defined as "the ability to solve problems".

Comment: Re:Consciousness (Score 1) 284

by penguinoid (#47395527) Attached to: Consciousness On-Off Switch Discovered Deep In Brain

Wow, if we discover the exact region and mechanism for how consciousness emerges from brain activity, then this, in my mind, is the final nail in the coffin of the Soul Hypothesis ( the religious explanation for consciousness being external to the brain, and as something that survives death ).

Of course, the religionists will carp on about how this study is all a big conspiracy with science finding or some other claptrap, but for the rest of us, this could be a major discovery!

And after you convince them that they were wrong about souls, you can then easily convince them that insectivores, Prosimians, and Marsupials* all have souls/whatever makes us human as well.

*wiki says: "The claustrum has a phylogenetic background appearing predominantly in insectivores, Prosimians, and Marsupials."

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky

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