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Comment Will we ever get any intellect that ... (Score 1) 228 228

According to the article the definition of "superintelligence" of Oxford U's Nick Bostrom is "any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest."
Should we, the human race not hope to have some sort of "superintelligence" some day, or do we want to stay just as we are eon after eon.? If we do want "superintelligence" some day, are we supposed to wait until we evolve, (and then would we be afraid of homo superior like in so much pulp science-fiction?) or should we go ahead and try to achieve it through AI?

I say go ahead and try to achieve the superintelligence thing through AI. There's been a lot of research on human behavior, to find out why we do irrational things that may cause long term harm. That needs to taken into account if developing conscious AI to be sure. There's a lot that needs figuring out about human nature (denial, spitefulness, prejudice...), but of course, there's a lot that needs to be figured out about AI too, so maybe the understanding of both will develop more or less in step. I'm aware that that sounds incredibly optimistic, but what's the alternative?

Comment If there had been cyberattacks in the early days (Score 1) 76 76

When networking of smart devices was still on a relatively small scale, a cyberattack wouldn't have done much harm, but afterwards, manufacturers, and more importantly, their customers, might have wised up. Stuxnet was a warning, and I think it has to some extent been heeded, but already by then the existing infrastructure was so vast that a major overhaul would have required a commitment and leadership that isn't there.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 1) 549 549

Insurance for these autonomous cars will be lower than manual cars

Exactly what I was thinking. I'd have modded you up if I had points. I remember reading Mark Twain's Life On The Mississippi. He talked about how some riverboat pilots created a monopoly (he became part of it), with secret handshakes, and special signals they would give each other if their riverboats were passing, and they would warn fellow pilots in the monopoly of dangers up ahead. Eventually, riverboats would only employ pilots who were in the monopoly because of insurance. They had fewer accidents so the insurance companies offered lower premiums to the riverboat owners.

I expect something similar with self-driving cars.

Comment Re:This is why physics is the king of the sciences (Score 1) 95 95

I don't so much disagree as consider it a narrow viewpoint. Darwin's Theory of the Origin Of Species by Natural Selection was pretty damn regal in my opinion, and, I daresay, has even influenced the thinking of many physicists. Computer Science has had a big influence too. (I think Computers are the 'steam engines' of the 20th Century in the sense that physicists learned about thermodynamics in the 19th Century from studying the steam engine, which led to all kinds of stuff, and studying what computers can do has had a big influence on thinking and paradigms and what not in the 20th and on into the 21st Century. On top of that computers help physicists compute.)

Comment I saw a documentary about sleep (Score 4, Interesting) 159 159

It's been awhile since I saw it, but I was struck by one thing in particular. One of the researchers talked about a period of 4 hours during the sleep when participants usually could not remember dreaming, but apparently they were. They could be awakened during this time and recall their dreams. The researcher would also disturb the sleeper somehow without completely waking them up but it would still disrupt their sleep somehow. When the subjects woke up they believed they had gotten a good night's sleep and felt fine. But cognitive tests showed they were not operating at maximum potential.

Generally sleep is poorly understood, but it seems to be an almost universal phenomenon and need in the animal world. Muck with it at your risk.

Comment Re:Computers cannot create real Art (Score 1) 50 50

Real art, in it's natural form, from humans anyway, comes from discovering new truths of the world

I disagree with that. Science might lead to discovering new truths, but I don't think art typically does that. I think art is a kind of outlet for stuff simmering inside the mind. Whether that stuff is 'true' or not is almost irrelevant. The art may lead to self-discovery, which could be a kind of truth, but it doesn't necessarily do that. It could lead to self-deception instead.

This project, as it mentions in the article, is a kind of Turing test. It's not about being 'intelligent' in the normal sense, but it could shed light on how the creative process works. I think a lot of creativity might just be an almost random juxtaposition of concepts where somehow somebody sees some utility. It seems that synesthesia might be a mechanism for such juxtaposition and maybe computers could do that also. The hard part would probably be recognizing utility. For more on what I mean about synesthesia see the Scientific American Article "Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes" from April 15, 2003 by Ramachandran.

Our insights into the neurological basis of synesthesia could help
explain some of the creativity of painters, poets and novelists.
According to one study, the condition is seven times as common in creative people as in the general population.

One skill that many creative people share is a facility for using
metaphor ("It is the east, and Juliet is the sun"). It is as if their
brains are set up to make links between seemingly unrelated
domains--such as the sun and a beautiful young woman. In other words, just as synesthesia involves making arbitrary links between seemingly unrelated perceptual entities such as colors and numbers, metaphor involves making links between seemingly unrelated conceptual realms. Perhaps this is not just a coincidence...

Comment Re:Internet accounts, and I watch broadcast TV (Score 1) 194 194

I found the less internet accounts I have, the less I feel the need to be heard. Since ditching my slashdot account 3 years ago, I post only 10% as much. Back when I had an account, I had the urge to post on a variety of topics where I was frankly talking out of my ass or adding my worthless uninformed opinion. Basically I was just another droplet in a river of BS.

I used to read and post a lot on Usenet back in the 80s and 90s when it was the biggest game in town. (To the point where I felt guilty about it, and needed my usenet 'fix' every day.) When Usenet degraded I felt an acute sense of loss. I got on slashdot, which is slightly reminiscent of old usenet, and I also was on IMDB for awhile, slightly reminiscent of another part of usenet. (That , the IMDB, is where I got tired of all the BS from fatuous, self-important posters). Nothing quite replaces Usenet back in the glory days though. (Or maybe it just seems that way because I was relatively young then.)

Slashdot's moderation system helps filter out a lot of noise, though I'll admit that here too, it seems harder to pan for those golden nuggets of insightful comments than it used to. Mainly, in my opinion, too much snarky schoolboy humor gets modded 'up' nowadays.

Anyway, getting back to the original topic, I keep hearing how 'nobody' watches broadcast TV anymore. I guess that makes me nobody. Digital TV has excellent video quality, and you see those programs on PBS like Nature and Nova in glorious detail. Even the quality of the commercial shows is , for the most part, better than it was 'in the old days', and for me the old days goes back to the 50s.

Comment Re Brit self-deprec: Megacities 'Londoners' book (Score 1) 410 410

The thing about 'megacities', based on my own admittedly limited experience, but also on what other people have said about places like New York City, is that they are composed of neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has its own flavor, its locals who are comfortable there and so on. (Of course, that may not be true of every megacity.)

I read a book called "Londoners" (don't remember the author), in which the author had people from various walks of life talk about their experience and take on London. It started with an airline pilot talking about flying in, and ended with him talking about flying out, but there were illegal immigrants, city planners, wiccans, American tourists (the most inane of the lot), old timers, people who hated it, those who loved it, etc. A very interesting read, and yeah, it seems like London would fit in with the neighborhoods description pretty well. The big problem with London and most megacities is their high cost of living. In that Londoners book someone commented on how it might become difficult for the needed working class people to live close enough to work there.

Comment Do they have support by email? (Score 1) 479 479

In my limited experience with these things, I find that sending an email to support gets a better informed answer than talking to someone on the phone. It's less stressful too. Of course, if you're a "customer on fire", that may be too slow. ('Customer is on fire' was the expression used by one of the managers at a place where I worked for when a customer had an urgent problem.)

Comment 3 of the 5 titles for MS & 'rusted on'? (Score 3, Informative) 26 26

I actually read the first 3 or 4 paragraphs of the Microsoft link. That 60% is 60% of 5 exclusive games, which doesn't sound all that statistically significant.

There was a line "Whether you're a rusted on fan or still on the fence looking to make a purchase decision" (italics mine). Is 'rusted on' a new expression or was that a typo for 'trusted on' (which doesn't even sound as good as 'rusted on' to me)?

Comment I actually think the metric system is worse (Score 0) 830 830

I realize I'm in the minority here. I wonder how many people have ever actually thought about it though. A looonng time ago this came up on slashdot, (back when my 5 digit slashdot id was a 'high' number); a European who had moved to the US posted that he liked the US system at least for linear measurements because they were 'about right' for things you wanted.

Yeah, I know, it's hard to calculate how many inches is in a furlong, etc, but who needs to do that? It's nice to be able to say 3 inches is a 4th of a foot and 4 inches is a third. Also I like 2 pints to a quart and 4 quarts to a gallon.

The metric system is a child of the French Revolution and has about as much warmth as a painting by Jacques-Louis David, and as much bonhomie as Marat or Robespierre.

Temperature could probably go metric without much bother though.

Comment Re:Doesn't surprise me (Score 1) 170 170

I remember reading years and years ago about this. The San Diego Chargers were a football team way down in the cellar of the rankings, so they hired a psychologist to try and figure out what was wrong with the team. He noticed that the defensive players had messier lockers. He ended up giving a personality description of the typical players in each position. The only one I remember is that he described the safeties as 'assassins'. I remember that because I always kind of felt that if I had become a professional football player (not that that was ever going to happen), the position I'd probably have wanted was safety, partly because they seemed to be the most 'individualistic' players on the field, opportunists, reading the situation and reacting rather than following a set script. (Yeah, I know, the coach or captain may call for something like a safety blitz, but relatively speaking, they seemed to be the most independent players on the field.)

Comment Re:A nuclear power plant -(actually hydroelectric) (Score 1) 403 403

I saw one of those documentaries about what happens if humans disappear, and, as part of the show, they visited a hydroelectric plant to find out what would happen there. It seems that one of the problems hydro plants have is shellfish growing on the turbine shaft. As I recall, without regular cleaning and removal it would stop turning after a few months.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.