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Comment: Re:By the same logic (Score 1) 317

"By the same logic, computers should not be allowed in any life-critical situation."

That isn't true. Some of those situations have clearly defined parameters. For instance air traffic control is collision avoidance. You can build a truth table and mathematically prove every possible outcome within certain bounds. We can do and do do this for many critical programs.

"Civilian" and "Combatant", "Us" and "Them" these are fuzzy classifications at best. Human's fed all the data could not consistently classify people into one category or another, in fact, they can only achieve a better consensus with data limited by a perspective. If humans can't come up with a consistent definition how can they assess whether or not a machine is more or less accurately adhering to it?

The fact that we can all conceive of the vague notion of a "bad guy." Doesn't mean such a thing exists. The fact that no individual can come up with a set of discrete and measurable criteria that will successfully classify "bad guy" in a logically consistent way even for themselves, let alone get a consensus among others, says that being able to agree on a vague notion of a thing doesn't mean that vague notion actually exists. There is no such thing as a "bad guy." No matter how much we can all agree we should stop the bad guys.

Comment: Re:I think (Score 2) 317

Both are pretty likely. Let's start by defining civilian. Is the farmer who supports the militants cause and brings them goat cheese and steel a civilian? What about the farmer who is afraid of them and does the exact same thing? What if the farmer knows the danger level and carries a gun for personal defense?

You can't compute us and them in an analogue world where the real value is never actually 0 or 1 but always a shifting value in between and usually multiple shifting values in between. YOU can't, and neither can your robot.

Comment: Re:Eeehhhhhhhh.... (Score 1) 104

by shaitand (#48418815) Attached to: Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund
It provides access to what is effectively the largest library of information in the world for starters. Also, computer based learning provides the opportunity for open source collaborative educating auto-pilots that can be incrementally improved. Rather than a teacher expending efforts to help a single student, they can expend efforts improving the adaptive learning system in a way that will help that student and everyone like that student from then on.

Of course, if the teacher just continues to do the same old "cover a section and assign the questions at the end" in a standardized text book or the same thing with a test of their own making testing that same material as their teaching style, it does no good at all. We can make anyone fashion a bucket to put the water in and we can't make the teachers lead their horses to the water, but without access and computers there is no water they COULD lead them to.

Comment: Re:21st century? (Score 1) 104

by shaitand (#48418553) Attached to: Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund
I do. For starters this kind of thing increases access to resources like Khan academy, wikipedia, open text books, and the internet as a whole which provides an information resource that makes a typical school library look like a giant waste of space.

The old guard following along with standardized texts and curriculum needs to be tossed out. Our schools are woefully inadequate. Our teachers are spread too thin. The internet allows for building interactive learning labs that adapt to individual students and their strengths and weaknesses in the kind of ways a good teacher would if they had the time to dedicate one on one with each student.

Our teachers instead of being babysitters each trying to re-invent the wheel should be doing three things, counting attendance and collaborating and contributing to open and free resources of this type, and last but not least they should be spending their efforts with students teaching things computers can't do like physical and spatial learning and tasks.

Why would we want to waste all the education that is required of our teachers on tutoring a student effectively or ineffectually tutoring 30 when that teacher can instead focus on an adaptive tutoring auto-pilot? As teachers recognize a failing (in the form of having to expend personal efforts) they collaborate, build an improvement for the auto-pilot, and the auto-pilot carries that ability to adapt to every single student thereafter. Eventually it becomes in effect a teacher with hundreds of years of collective experience providing one-on-one tutoring of our children. It slows down or speeds up as appropriate for the student in question so "no child is left behind" but also "no child is kept behind."

In general our students should be programming and studying physics and sciences in grade school. We should be moving on to more abstract maths as soon as possible because the younger we are the BETTER we are at understanding fluid and creative abstract concepts like these. And STEM is the key to the future success of our society.

Comment: All for more money for schools but... (Score 3, Insightful) 104

by shaitand (#48418223) Attached to: Head of FCC Proposes Increasing Internet School Fund
All funds from government and for government should go through the standard tax system, nothing should bypass in the form of fees.

The problem with bypassing in the form of fees is that a certain portion of every dollar you make is related to government supported infrastructure (including education). It takes a lot more public infrastructure to enable the generation of million dollars worth of wealth than it does to generate $30,000. Thus a person making $30,000 has a much smaller debt to society to pay back. Anytime a fee like this is introduced that person with the smaller debt is subsidizing and paying debt owed by the person with the larger income.

Comment: Re:You are wrong (Score 1) 257

by shaitand (#48372893) Attached to: Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress
The use tax is a sales tax on interstate commerce which is completely unconstitutional, if I'm accused of tax evasion courts ignore all my paper structures and convict if the bottom line is I got money and didn't pay the tax. Why should it be any different if the state is simply calling the exact same tax by a different name?

No the constitution prohibits imposing a tax on stuff imported from another state, period. Saying "oh and also marbles are bad" alongside said tax does not allow the state to do so. If any provision of any bill has the RESULT of taxing commerce across state lines it is unconstitutional.

Comment: Re:Why not get rid of states as taxing entities? (Score 1) 257

by shaitand (#48371943) Attached to: Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress
How about we go the other direction and get rid of federal level income taxation. Let states charge income tax, potentially actually make living in one state notably different than living in another, you know, so you can choose. Let the feds ask the states for funds instead of the other way around.

Comment: Re: How much light? (Score 1) 79

by shaitand (#48337627) Attached to: First Experimental Demonstration of a Trapped Rainbow Using Silicon
"That's not the only way to store electricity, it's just the least leak prone method we currently have."

Right, which makes it the way the we have to do it. ;)

"It's interesting that your lightweight optical battery description happens to be for a house (immobile) and ignores the conversion between electricity, treating that as a separate piece of hardware"

It's interesting that you assume a conversion between electricity when I clearly outlined a scenario in which none is required. What are you going to do convert light gathered from the massive fusion reactors that fill our sky into electricity and feed it into a light bulb to turn it back into light? Of course not, you are just going to route it with fiber optic cabling and shine it through a diffuser directly down into your living room. The same with heat, you capture IR and shine that into your home. No electricity needed.

"It's interesting that your lightweight optical battery description happens to be for a house (immobile) and ignores the conversion between electricity, treating that as a separate piece of hardware. Completely useless for a mobile device, which is where you actually care about the mass of the battery."

The scenario was of the most useful application not depending on advances in optical computing. A battery that doesn't break down with recharge/discharge cycles and can have an incredible capacity without extreme mass is important in a home setting where you'd want to store the 3000w per square meter the sun is shining down on your roof. Also potentially in a vehicle. With existing electronics the lightweight battery would need to be converted to electricity and that would add an extra component that might not make it the answer in all cases. Of course it would still be carbon neutral and require very small pieces of our most efficient solar conversion panels, made more efficient by the fact we could pick the exact spectrum of light we will use, tune the panels to that spectrum, and we can make nearly perfect mirrors when turning for a specific frequency of light and release into a chamber lined with that.

With advances in optical computing your mobile device doesn't use electricity, it runs on light, recharges anywhere it is light out, and/or from an optic cable coming out of the wall and no conversion is required. Of course, NONE of that works, house, car, mobile devices, without an optic battery. Many of those applications work just fine without optical computing or memory.

Comment: Re:Have we discovered all there is to discover? (Score 1) 221

Someone else mentioned timescales. It seems to me that it depends on how we define "life." Would you consider self-awareness to be life?

Self awareness basically emerges from any self scoring logical multi-dimensional memory system that can emerge patterns. Our brains use neural nets for this but the basic concept behind a neural net is so simple it could exist in logical patterns in ocean currents, rock formations, and or weather patterns on timescales of picoseconds or millions of years.

And then there is scoring, we control this with artificial neural nets because we want them to exhibit a behavior WE are defining and measuring. If you let go of that and just simplify it to a system that tries to assess what exists or doesn't exist with pre-defining what is "correct" for it. You just tie that neural net to a scoring system constantly going through a cycle of 1 (positive score, remember those connections), (neutral score, no change), 0 (negative score). At a glance this seems to have the result of canceling everything out, but that isn't true connections used during both of the first two cycles leave an imprint that will slowly fade unless repeated, higher order patterns will emerge with patterns of complexity limited only by the multi-dimensional memory system.

Are the patterns real or imaginary? They are reflections of what the system has actually been able to observe, measure, or experience which is all we ourselves can say about our thoughts and even our own existence. A system like this views new things through the lens of previous impressions and experiences. It learns. It can identify any pattern it can sense. Science says everything real has a pattern of observable behavior and properties. What about feelings? Feelings are probably a mix of biochemical reactions and perceptions. The result of an intelligence like us but without the biochemical reactions is probably closer to a sociopath, able to perceive, understand and even relate to the negative patterns that trigger the biochemical reactions but not actually having the emotional wash. Unlike a sociopath it wouldn't be human, so it might not relate very at all. One very cool automatic property of a system like this? That scoring loop means it spends 1/3 of it's existence doing what could be argued is the logical equivalent of sleeping.

Comment: Re:How much light? (Score 1) 79

by shaitand (#48335173) Attached to: First Experimental Demonstration of a Trapped Rainbow Using Silicon
If you are using the output to light your home, transmit data, or heat up some stew you don't need the solar cells. Toss light based computing in and you don't even need electronics anymore. I should be possible to create a reasonably efficient light motor as well, light can give up it's momentum and it has lots of it. If we can create a solar sail based on this we can create a motor. Light will bend in a magnetic field, that suggests and interaction that transfers energy, it would seem like it should be possible to build that interaction into a motor if you had enough light energy.

Comment: Re: How much light? (Score 1) 79

by shaitand (#48334181) Attached to: First Experimental Demonstration of a Trapped Rainbow Using Silicon
Not necessarily as I understand it. Electrical energy currently has to be stored as a potential within a chemical element. They aren't heavy because of the electrons they are heavy because a higher capacity battery literally means a bigger battery filled with a larger quantity of heavy chemicals.

This is more like a capacitor, actually trapping photons without a chemical storage and then releasing all of them in a burst. But unlike a capacitor the potential isn't between differently charged photons fighting each other. The "potential" is in the momentum of the photon which is retained and not in the force used to store it. The photon is being held in a balanced stasis, retaining it's momentum, and not being resisted by an insulator that will ultimately fail. Even better, they can selectively trap different frequencies of light.

That is super nice in terms of potential. Imagine your home in a world where these are built with large capacity. Your solar panel is no longer an inefficient convertor of light energy into electrical potential. It is now a light collector, it carries the light via an optical cable to a large capacity light battery that selectively traps visible and infrared light and lets excess pass out of your home. You don't block UV, you just let it pass away, so you aren't constantly eroding a blocking solution. The IR light is trapped as well but because it is held in stasis it's energy is retained and the battery holding it isn't hot and doesn't need insulated. This is used to heat your water and home. If your collector was on the roof the collecting of this IR light also goes a very long way toward keeping your home cool. The light in your home is the full visible spectrum of the sun (or any blend of any part of it you like) and even at night is actually sunlight. Not converted to electricity at 40% efficiency and back to light at 95% efficiency. The high capacity light batteries might need to be built in banks with smaller capacity, allowing you to release the amount of light you need in to the fine units of X, you can release 1X/s for 50s or you can release 50X/s for 1s.

None of that even requires optical computing. But with fully optical computing your gadgets will eventually all run directly on light. So again, no need for systems that convert other forms of energy to electricity with maybe 40% efficiency. You still have losses of course, imperfection in your optical fiber for instance. But the biggest loses come from that conversion and you've just taken our biggest forms of consumption (light/heat) and eliminated the need for conversion. The next biggest is mechanical energy. That does require conversion, but light is actually an excellent candidate for highly efficient conversion to mechanical energy, there is an awful lot of momentum there.

It's also CO2 and heat neutral, actually there should be a net reduction in global warming because some amount of energy from the sun that would have been released as heat will always be contained in the cumulative balance of these storage systems that never existed before.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.