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Comment: Artificial stupidity (Score 1) 309

From Every news outlet is currently covering the story that a chatbot pretending to be a 13-year old Ukranian boy has deceived 33% of human judges into thinking it is a human, thereby "passing the Turing test for the first time". There are so many problems with the Turing test (even with the numerous refinements to it that many have proposed) that I don't know if it will ever tell us anything useful. The creators of the above chatbot hinted that part of their success in convincing the judges was that “his age ... makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything” -- in other words, to make a believable bot, you can't give your bot super-human knowledge or capabilities, even if this is technically possible to do (e.g. computers can multiply large numbers almost instantly). Limiting computational power to appear human-like is known as "artificial stupidity". The need for artificial stupidity to pass the Turing test illustrates one of the deepest issues with the test, and one that cannot be fixed by simply tweaking the rules: the Turing test is a test of human dupe-ability, not of machine intelligence. I'm pretty sure we'll start seeing several claims per year that a bot has "passed the Turing test", followed by a flurry of discussion about what was actually tested and whether the result is believable or even meaningful, until it becomes so cliche'd to say that your bot passed the Turing test that nobody with a halfway decent AI would actually *want* to claim that their AI passed a test of this form. Hopefully we see the day when the Turing test is inverted, and we realize we need a test to establish that someone is a "genuine human" and not a bot ;-) But until then, we still have a heck of a lot of work to do!

Comment: FTL = Faster Than Light (Score 1) 170

by thisisauniqueid (#47005163) Attached to: WebKit Unifies JavaScript Compilation With LLVM Optimizer
In Physics, FTL = Faster Than Light. Nice pun. However, the sheer horrendous complexity of the system they described in the blog post indicates all that is wrong with Javascript as "the assembly language of the Web". Why, oh why, haven't we replaced Javascript with something cleaner, more robust and more efficient? It's 2014, people.

Comment: Riiight (Score 1) 66

(1) So since it works in worms, it will work in humans? (2) And of course nature never thought of this before or tried this before. Reminds me of a TV character in the 80s (was it ALF? or Steve Urkel?) who was modifying car engines to get 200mpg. Trouble is, 500 miles down the road, the engine fell out of the car. (3) Maybe nature doesn't want us living for 200 years? See (2).

Comment: Why is anyone still using C++ in 2014? (Score 0) 634

by thisisauniqueid (#46964133) Attached to: Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014
Forget Fortran, I want to know why anybody in their right mind is still using the obtuse juggernaut mongrel of a language known as C++ in 2014. (Even with the 11 and 14 versions don't make things any better, they only wallpaper over obtuse features with other obtuse features... very few people alive truly know all the weird quirks of C++ inside and out.)

Comment: Bedouin nomads (Score 2) 280

by thisisauniqueid (#46325293) Attached to: Who's On WhatsApp, and Why?
I just got back from traveling through Bedouin country in Jordan, and several Bedouin men who live miles from civilization without wired electricity and whose extent of knowledge of technology is how to drive their truck and charge their feature phone from solar panels separately told me that they use WhatsApp to communicate with other Bedouin families and friends. The cost savings over SMS is key, but the brilliance of WhatsApp was the decision even in this day and age to implement Symbian and J2ME clients.

Comment: This is ridiculous (Score 4, Insightful) 732

by thisisauniqueid (#45949439) Attached to: If I Had a Hammer
This is ridiculous. The capabilities of man + machine will always be greater than the capabilities of a machine by itself, so we're not going to run out of intellectual jobs just because machines can do smarter things. Machines, including computers, are just power tools for the brain. (And I say this even as a full-time AI researcher with a PhD in the field, developing new AI algorithms for my day job at a major tech company.)

Comment: The real problem with the laws (Score 1) 153

by thisisauniqueid (#45756107) Attached to: How Asimov's Three Laws Ran Out of Steam
The real problem with Asimov's Laws is that for them to be followed, they must be understood, and we are so far from being able to build any system capable of genuinely understanding anything that it is not realistic to believe we can impute laws with social nuance to an algorithm anytime in the immediate predictable future. Mounting guns on robots that run computer vision algorithms to detect and kill humans, however, is last decade's technology. (Disclaimer: I am an AI and NLP researcher at Google.)

Comment: Re:Classic... (Score 1) 85

by thisisauniqueid (#45756035) Attached to: Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found

An open source project stuck in "refactoring hell". Seems to have happened to Inkscape too. Such a waste.

Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

That's why when we don't like code, we should start reimplementing it from scratch immediately.

Comment: They deserve the $10M (Score 1) 464

by thisisauniqueid (#45751121) Attached to: Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA
Since there are only about three people in the world that could actually tell you whether one set of elliptic curve constants are inherently more secure than another set, I'd say they deserve the $10M, probably a lot more. (Whether or not what they did is ethical is a totally different issue. It clearly was not ethical to betray the whole world's trust like that, especially for a company where half their core business is verifying trust.)

Comment: Re:What about contributers? (Score 4, Insightful) 133

PS granted, Steve is a very good hacker and a generally all-around good guy, the only thing I'm pointing out is that, at least at that point, he wasn't about the Utopian ideal of sharing around the wealth with the commoners that work in the fields. But maybe not being a communist is a good thing, or he may not have landed the most recent round of funding.

Comment: Re:What about contributers? (Score 4, Interesting) 133

What do people that have contributed to the code base get? Who is getting money for this? I don't understand how you can go from an opensource project to a for-profit project.

They get nada. I implemented one of the features that caused CM to explode in popularity very early on, and cyanogen did very well out of donations from it, but I never saw a cent of it. I gently raised the issue one day, and he made it pretty clear that he had no intention of divvying up the wealth. Granted, he has put a heckofalot more time total into hacking on CM than I have, but actually, I would have spent a lot more time hacking on it if it weren't for that experience. That was the last code I wrote for CM.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.