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Comment Re:Robots problems (Score 2) 372

Not 'under a bus', 'in my bathtub', but 'off the roof of my employer's factory'. Workplace-releated suicides must be somewhat rarer than, say, romance- or test-score-related suicides. And, I'd say, throwing yourself off your boss' roof, indicates a work grievance.

Comment Re:No (Score 2) 312

Regards your .sig: All due respect, but science does *not* encompass the mystical ("Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen." -- L. Wittgenstein); rather the converse. Science and empirical method represents only a very tiny, self-referential fraction of what is intuited about the universe. Objectivity is more of a myth than Flying Spaghetti monsters (see Critical Theory; Post-modernism).

Comment Re:Have you not seen (Score 2) 312

Intelligent tutoring systems in education is my field, so I say with some confidence that so-called AI won't replace human tutors anytime soon. Online workbooks and computer-aided learning are a wonderful adjunct to classroom instruction, but cannot replace a live teacher. About 30% of instruction can be reasonably handled remotely (software- or video-based instruction), but the other 70% of the task of educating and motivating learners is non-trivial. File the OP under jet-cars of the future.

Comment Um, no kidding (Score 1) 253

I'm a programmer who spent the last 8 years developing a commercial language tutoring AI. The original prototype was written in Prolog, consisting of about 5,000 lines of code in a Hypercard-like environment. The current system contains back-end authoring tools in C++ (15,000 lines), various tools and utilities in C/C++/Java/SQL (20,000 lines), Java/JSP web application (75,000 lines), a 50,000 word dictionary, 500,000+ entry grammar/morphology, plus 5,000 audio and video clips. The original software was developed by 2 people; we've had 20 contractors and contributors (graphic designers, voice talent, audio engineers, GUI designers, testers, programmers, editors and linguists) involved for a total of 40,000 man-hours. So, yeah, the academic version was a bit simplistic.

Comment Re:really? (Score 1) 167

167 MB (download), 533 MB (installed) on OS X, Safari. And, because it took me 15 minutes to find all the bits and pieces, I'll add:

To uninstall on OS X (10.6), delete:

/Applications/Wolfram CDF Player
/Library/Internet Plug-ins/Mathematica.plugin
/Library/Spotlight/Wolfram Notebook.mdimporter

Comment Re:$20 million to $40 million for games (Score 1) 64

The games might be more fun if more of the $20-40M went to the people who actually design and make the games.

The bigger games have circa 100 worker bees for 6 months, at least some of whom are contract freelancers or near/offshore (i.e., not all that well-paid), plus a few hot shots, so that's, say, $4-5M per game. Add another $1M to house and equip said workers, that's $5-6M, considerably less than EA claims to spend on each game (my estimate is rough, but not a whole order of magnitude wrong, methinks).

It's quite misleading of Mr. Riccitiello, therefore, to claim that EA spends $20-40M making each game. The truth is likely considerably less. Assuming he's not outright exaggerating, the lion's share of the $20-40M must be going to league/celebrity/etc. licensing, promotion/advertising and executive salaries, and to balance failures and mistakes; perhaps, he's including some of the debt incurred when acquiring (aka, "crushing") smaller game studios.

IMHO, Riccitiello is just trying to justify charging $30-60 retail per year on franchises that gross up to $100M a year, but cost less than $10M to make.

Comment Re:Really bad idea. (Score 1) 1173

"b. more lanes" is incorrect. Build it and they will come is the rule of thumb. The English tried it; LA tried it; Singapore tried it. Adding more capacity to roadways just attracts more cars (usually at enormous expense) and is generally considering a fail. What is needed is alternate modes of transportation, and taxes, tolls or other disincentives to driving.

Comment Netflix is after $$ (Score 1) 267

Bumping a week-old story here, but... Netflix has done some cost accounting. By dumping/burying the ratings and sort function they ensure that people will watch crappier, less costly content, or watch less. They probably pay more for higher rated movies, and perhaps a bump per view. I think it's a cynical move on Netflix's part; the claim (by a VP) that "the vast, vast majority" of users tested preferred the new interface is risible bullshit.

Comment Re:Growing pangs (Score 1) 642

I think bank-issued digital currency would be worse than government-issued currency

In the U.S. during the 1800's, there were over 8,000 private currencies. Banks, or pretty much anyone, could issue paper notes. This situation undoubtedly led to some interesting travel experiences, exchange rates and collapses, but mostly I imagine it led to a lot of confusion.

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We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra