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Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 4, Funny) 335

by presidenteloco (#49143761) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

My methodology:

If someone gives me their estimate for a software project or task, I double it and add 30.

If someone asks me for an estimate for a software project or task, I rough it out, then double it and add 30.

It's really amazing how much stress that avoids (oh, and it also does a passable job of converting Celsius to Fahrenheit.)

Comment: Re: Cost savings (Score 1) 103

by presidenteloco (#49134017) Attached to: Argonne National Laboratory Shuts Down Online Ask a Scientist Program

"You want this kind of thing to continue? Make sure there's funding (and paid time) earmarked for doing it."

So let's see. A simple web-app with a database hosted on a crappy server computer somewhere.
That's going to cost the whopping sum of what $50 a year to maintain right?

I for one welcome our new fiscal watchdog overlords.

Comment: Another way of stating the problem (Score 1) 389

by presidenteloco (#49075385) Attached to: What To Do After Robots Take Your Job

4) We've engineered the world to produce our needs and material wants without much supervision or labor.
      a. Now what do we do with our time, and
      b. how do we value ourselves and
      c. each other?

Personally, I would have no trouble with a. I have an infinite capacity for defining new questions and projects and explorations to fill more than my lifetime.
b. I suspect would not be an issue for most people if it weren't for nasty tendencies in our nature or aculturation around c.

So for my money (or should I say my issued-at-birth crypto currency barter economy exchange tokens), c. is what we need to think hard on and be culturally ingenious about now.

Comment: Social health benefits (Score 1) 305

by presidenteloco (#49029655) Attached to: Alcohol's Evaporating Health Benefits

I suspect the positive benefits found were because people who are relaxed and pro-social enough to have the occasional drink and a laugh with friends are going to be less solitary and stressed individuals.

It's well known that people with a support group do better on several health and longevity metrics than solitary stoics.

Comment: Re:Not "written by a computer" (Score 1) 187

by presidenteloco (#48995171) Attached to: The Poem That Passed the Turing Test

Except it's easy to write a maximally complex program, with sensitive dependence on initial conditions, and have it consume random data as its initial conditions.

In such a case, the programmer cannot know what the program will generate, nor even, in some cases, the general pattern of what the program will generate.

In the same way, no programmer who wrote part, even a substantial part, of Google's search program knows what answers you'll get when you type in your next query.

The algorithms are doing it all by themselves, with random input, and complex autonomous alteration of their behaviour based on feedback from that input.

Comment: Google search would fail the Turing test (Score 1) 187

by presidenteloco (#48993995) Attached to: The Poem That Passed the Turing Test

because it is too knowledgeable, when you ask it very specific questions about a wide range of domains. No single person is that good, and we would know that.

That's one of the reason's why the Turing test is not a terribly useful test for presence of intelligence.
Why should a computer have to simulate human knowledge gaps and attention-wanderings and unjustified personalizations of answers, typical of human conversation, in order to be considered to have intelligence?

And no. It's not the human contributors of the answers who are responsible for Google being able to answer your specific question. It's the google algorithm and digital memory structures which are answering your question, based on a very general process of matching your new input (the query) against lots of related memorized old input (the knowledge base).

Comment: Moral philosophers have long speculated (Score 1) 124

by presidenteloco (#48993861) Attached to: Programming Safety Into Self-Driving Cars

About the ethical rules that should govern decisions like saving one baby who's lying on the railway track to the left vs 5 grannies toddling across the track on the right, when you're at the controls of the track-switch.

Now someone gets to actually program these rules into a car.


Comment: Re:AI is too unreliable (Score 1) 124

by presidenteloco (#48993751) Attached to: Programming Safety Into Self-Driving Cars

Except that no traditional automation method can handle the situation generality and complexity, combined with the massive and varying uncertainty in multiple sensor information sources whose inputs must be combined to create a (probably) good-enough-for-action state model.

If anything can do that, it's natural general as well as specifically trained intelligence, and possibly, in the future, AI.

Comment: Re:Why Evolve? (Score 4, Informative) 138

by presidenteloco (#48974901) Attached to: Deep-Sea Microorganism Hasn't Evolved For Over 2 Billion Years

In a simple and stable environment, the critters could have adapted a locally optimal form and strategy (given the evolutionary path they had already taken), to the point where all variations reachable from the current form function worse and are selected out. "reachable" is key here. You (your lineage) are very unlikely to evolve into spherical iron rock crystal creatures of roughly the same mass. The relative Kolmogorov complexity to get your form to that form, as well as the energetic infeasibility, mitigate against that direction, no matter how random evolutionary variation is. There are always constraints, not only on survival probability, but also on variation direction possibility.

This has zero to do with religion. It's about combinatorics, complex system constraints, and non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

Comment: Re:the 60s idea of environmentalism (Score 2) 458

by presidenteloco (#48943479) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

You mean as opposed to all the other decades of the 19th through 20th century's idea of "let's just slash and burn and pollute all the ecosystems on the planet with our newfound technological power, and see how that goes for our descendants, because we don't give a rat's ass?" That genius idea that we are pretty much living by today? Remember that "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose".

I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning. -- Plato