Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:What comes around goes around. (Score 1) 274

"And the advantage I have is when everybody raves about some exciting new tech, I can use the good parts and recognize the parts that are either reinventing the wheel, or were discarded decades ago because they were a bad idea."

Therein lies the problem, so many things are a bad idea that isn't easy to objectively prove and because tech is younger generation heavy the bad ideas become very widespread. In the minds of the younger majority, refusing to use the bad ideas is refusing to stay current. Because they are flying by the seat of their pants implementing the bad ideas they will develop mitigating workarounds for some of the bad ideas before they come crashing down and say "see old timers, the sky wasn't falling" then when the wheel turns they'll remember all that mitigation and workaround be telling the next generation why the same underlying principle is a bad idea... rinse and repeat.

Comment Re:This is cool, but I'll be more interested when. (Score 1) 133

Let me put this another way since so many seem to think I'm talking about dumbing it down enough to be fun to play. We aren't talking about a game bot we are talking about an AI development project.

Humans are a ridiculously powerful AI's, much more powerful than AlphaGo, so why can it beat us? It isn't because AlphaGo never sleeps, in fact, AlphaGo does sleep it just spreads it among more frequent and smaller time scales. We can't beat it for the same reason we can beat AlphaGo at everything but playing go. From the moment of birth we'd need to be hard-wired into a minimal set of controls with a direct brain interface with all unrelated sensory input shut off, feeding and waste removal processes automatically handled. That is the human equivalent of the AI they are building. Except they are pre-programming it with the rules and objective even though Go has an extremely simple play mechanism.

This approach is only going to get you so far, if it weren't humans would be better go players. Human limitations exist for a reason we don't get bored with performing a single task over and over forever because we suck, we get bored as a mechanism to shift and spread mental resources among more skills which provide alternative insights that can map back as well as be combined to tackle ever more complex super skills. Mastering Go in itself is pretty useless, mastering go alongside a highly realistic warfare simulation on the other hand...

Comment Re:This is cool, but I'll be more interested when. (Score 1) 133

I'm not talking about dumbing it down to provide a useful challenge for humans, I'm talking about having it play Go, compose music, and write poetry. Using AI for anything but a toy application like this will require AI that master many poorly related skills and combine those skills to execute a complex task. If you ever want an AI to write a useful fiction crime novel that AI will not only need to be able to compose English and be creative it will need to be able to research the various topics involved come to a high level understanding of these various unrelated subjects and hypothetically apply them in some unique, plausible, and unsurprising way. You are never going to get there if you are with algorithms designed to waste effort trying to be the best at everything, you need algorithms that look for "just as much as I need" otherwise your book writing AI would spend a lifetime on each of the dozens of different things it needs to research to write the book.

Comment Re:Drug Design and Climate models (Score 1) 133

"Remember folks, "neural network" in the sense of AI is a marketing term, it does not in any way imply that it functions in a manner similar to how our brains work."

Neural network in the sense of AI is in fact at it's core an implementation of a mathematical replication of at least part of how our brains work.

"If anybody claims to know, then please ask them to describe in detail how memory is encoded in our brains, and have them demonstrate by altering a memory in a predetermined way."

We can't even do that with AlphaGo. All we can do is poke, test, replicate, and model pieces and when some pieces are simple enough maybe reverse engineer them, the same as our own brains.

Comment Re:This is cool, but I'll be more interested when. (Score 1) 133

This is one of the problems in the AI world. They should have targeted playing as well as the average human. There is minimal benefit in being the absolute best Go player that could exist. Difficult and complicated intelligences have to be far more general than that. There is tremendous value in developing an intelligence comparable to normal humans without need for it to be capable of defeating humans who've dedicated their lives to a single obsession at their own game.

Comment Re:so it got dumber? (Score 2) 133

That sentence isn't really clear. But the fact they are specifying "version of itself" suggests that they have a save state of the version that won those games but have not stopped improving AlphaGo AFTER it beat the world champion. It may well be able to beat that older version of AlphaGo 100% of the time but only be able to beat the latest and greatest AlphaGo 90% of the time. This is a fork, it might be so close as to be a major release revision number variation of the same software but it's had completely different nurture and experience and is a completely different mind than the first much like identical twins are different people.. creepy people yes, but distinct.

Comment Re:Nuclear Winter is A-OK... (Score 1) 295

What are you defining as "Aircraft?" The wright brothers first flight was in 1903 which is long after the time of the Constitution... also depends on what you consider the "Time of the Constitution", I meant when it was written but if the "Time of the Constitution" is referring to when it was largely respected and enforced you can debate the exact point it was lost but there is no question that time period doesn't extend beyond the civil war.

It's funny, the civil war may have been about slavery rather than states rights but winning it abolished the independence of states and states rights far more decisively than it abolished slavery.

Comment Re:Nuclear Winter is A-OK... (Score 1) 295

The original Constitution didn't allow an Air force but aircraft didn't exist so there is no possibility it could have. I think the air force being federal vs state level is consistent with the obvious intent of the founders though, very expensive craft that travel in a manner that need to cover more ground (air) than an individual state would control. This could have been done as an expansion to the Navy though rather than calling it a separate branch though.

Actually the federal government has hedged on all this, between the Marines, the blue angels, and the actual ships/nuclear subs we have all three branches replicated within the Navy.

Comment Re:Nuclear Winter is A-OK... (Score 1) 295

The problem is people don't trust this particular President, not that a President expects the executive agencies he is in charge of to do what they are told. That is the primary function of the President, to control and lead the executive branch. Rather than have a king with absolute authority, the President is a king with absolute authority over the execution of the law, appointment of justices in the highest court, and the ability to check congress by vetoing their laws.

The purpose of the President isn't to charge congress with making the changes people want to legislation, that is just what politicians have to promise to do in order to get elected, the purpose of the President is to command the executive and it's varied agencies. We might not approve of the orders this President is giving but we shouldn't confuse that in a way that cripples the next President from being able to run the executive.

On the other hand, the role of the federal government changed drastically after the civil war. There is nothing within the original purpose of the federal government that would require an FBI or federal laws you and I could break and go to prison for or all these government agencies. The federal government is supposed to provide a central currency, the military forces that are by nature multi-state (Navy, Air Force), and to police the state governments. The federal government isn't even supposed to have a standing army let alone additional military agencies like the NSA, CIA, and Homeland Security. These were created by acts of congress but its kind of a stretch to create these sort of entities without constitutional amendment.

Comment Re:Incentives are skewed everywhere (Score 1) 74

Informative if accurate. Hopefully someone moderates that way.

The GP was likely making a redundant snarky remark about there being a strong incentive to cheat both in the West and in China without details on the Chinese pressures. Based on your details there is even greater incentive to cheat in China although it also remains true that there is a great deal of incentive in the West as well.

Even worse than incentive to outright fake data is incentive to be selective about researched topics and slant in the direction of research not to mention slant in the conclusions and summaries of papers. For example, a conclusion that chemical x is indeed harmful because data showed any sort of potential harm and completely disregarding the relative potential harm vs other used substances either related and commonly used or generally considered low risk. When there is a very small number of large players funding an area of research an extreme bias can be presented with any search on the safety of chemical x possibly returning nothing but dozens of negative seeming papers all technically true and seeming to provide an overwhelming mountain of negative evidence which is largely vapor.

Comment Re:Incentives are skewed everywhere (Score 1) 74

While it is nice for the journal to effectively run on auto-pilot in that way it seems like a poor plan overall for peer review. Obviously the person submitting the article will be most familiar with those working on the most related research but that is just setting dishonesty as low hanging fruit tempting frustrated researchers to compromise their integrity.

Slashdot Top Deals

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith