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Comment Re:Ah! (Score 1) 354

I've heard that kind of argument before, and I don't find it convincing. First of all, We don't really know all that much about embryonic development, compared to what we know we don't know about it yet. We know even less about consciousness. We certainly do know something, and we're learning more about it all the time. I just think we have a long way to go before we can do anything like emulating consciousness in a computer. And I think there are good reasons to be skeptical that it can be done in a digital computer at all. But assuming that it is possible, we will have much more than enough computing power laying around long before we know enough to use it effectively to that end. Creating something that can create something to do it for us is not going to make it that much easier, in my opinion. If we knew how to do that, we'd be most of the way toward just finishing it ourselves.

I agree that it is strangely likely that we will "invent" AI without really understanding how it works. There are a few ways that that could happen. But if it happens that way we can't really claim to have "figured it out." Maybe we could ask it how it works :)

By the way, I didn't mean to sound so critical of Dennett's book -- I loved it. Anyone interested in the subject should read it. Come to think of it, I'd recommend just about anything he's written.

Comment Re:It may be flawed, but that doesn't sound like i (Score 4, Informative) 354

Learning without forgetting is possible if, for example, you reconstruct the network, preserving the old one (and this can be optimized so the entire network doesn't have to be duplicated.)

But I'm curious why you think a mind is necessarily a neural network. Are you saying there is no other possible way to construct a mind? As far as I can tell, there are lots of other designs, many of them far superior to neural networks, especially for such basic things as representing knowledge.

Comment Re:Wrong approach (Score 1) 244

They look on the surface like .Net based solutions, but the .net components are thin wrappers around COM. If anything, Microsoft is moving back toward native and away from .net (although they seem admittedly schizophrenic about it.) But that doesn't matter, because one thing we can be sure of is that backward compatibility with COM is not going away. Actually .NET is just the new COM anyway (In fact it started out being called COM 3.0... then they dropped the name).

As for adding ActiveX support to Webkit, well, your idea of trivial is different from mine. But lets say they did it. As someone pointed out elsewhere in this thread, there are hundreds of interfaces involved. Implementing them in a way that was backward compatible with existing COM would just tie their fork of Webkit to Windows, for what exactly?

Comment Re:Wrong approach (Score 1) 244

[...] an engine that does not serve a competitive purpose anymore

Trident literally makes Microsoft NO money [...]

Both false.

Internet explorer does many things in the Windows/Office universe that no other browser does. Those things make Microsoft money by driving sales of Windows and Office and many other pieces of the Microsoft ecosystem (e.g. Sharepoint, SQL Server, etc.).

If all your desktops are Windows with Office and IE, you can develop intranet applications that use Office and can make direct calls to Win32. Yes this totally ties your application to Windows and Office, but many businesses are fine with that, even like it that way.

Active-X may be a security disaster on the internet, but in a locked down corporate intranet environment, you can easily do powerful things, like have a web page that embeds a live excel spreadsheet (the real excel, not a bloated, slow, feature-deprived javascript 'spreadsheet') displaying editable data from a database or web service. Click a link to open in excel, still editable, still connected to the server. You can do that kind of thing with very very little code, but only if you can assume you have Windows and Office on the client, and it only works in IE.

That is one of the competitive purposes of IE, and one of the ways they make money from it.

Comment Re:Non Sequitir (Score 1) 178

If Microsoft gets rid of the "Win32 cruft dating back to the 80s and 90s", then there will be no reason for anyone to choose Windows over any other operating system.

There is some truth to this, but my feeling is that as long as Microsoft's own desktop software is Windows only*, that will be enough to keep the business desktop on Windows. But on top of that, you can count on ISVs producing RT versions of their software, but many still don't have much incentive to port them to anything else. Businesses want to standardize the desktop, even if it causes them some pain. That standard will continue to be Windows, because it is currently the standard, if for no other reason.

* Office, Outlook, Visual Studio, IE, and many others that most people never heard of but are common in business. The Mac version of Office lacks features used in business environments.

Comment Re:Dying gasps (Score 4, Interesting) 535

Maybe you're like me.

I've been using C for so long that I think I've lost objectivity. C is the first language I learned (other than line numbered basic.) In my mind, C is the language all other languages are judged against.

But if there's any truth to this (when did the TIOBE index become the official word?) it makes me wonder if it's not C itself that is making a comeback, but good old fashioned procedural style programming.

All these fancy new languages with their polymorphism, encapsulation, templates and functional features have lost their sparkle. Programmers are rediscovering that there isn't anything you can't do (even runtime polymorphism) with just functions, structs, arrays and pointers. It can be easier to understand, and although it may be more typing, it has the virtue that you know exactly what the compiler is going to do with it.

Comment Re:I'll auto-Godwin myself (Score 3, Interesting) 385

I'm not in favor of forced sterilization, but at least the person would have other reasons to go on living.

But I must be missing something here, because shouldn't the question be:

Is it worth it to cure addiction if you utterly destroy everything that makes life worth living?

How could any rational person think this is a good idea?

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