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Comment Re:American Justice (Score 2) 255

I don't think it's any surprise that a developing country isn't as good as the US in many ways, even though the US has been flagging a lot in the last decade or more.

Instead of comparing the US to various underdeveloped countries rife with corruption, or with autocratic governments, we should be comparing it with the countries which lead the world economically and in many quality-of-life indices, such as Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, and Japan. America always claims to be #1, but compared to countries like this, it's not.

Comment Re:Only the stupid (Score 1) 166

Should we frustrate the efforts of people who design advertising, when they are just doing their jobs by trying to improve the targeting and effectiveness of ads? No

Yes, we should. Killing off parasites is in everyone's interest. If they can stay alive by preying on the weak today, they might evolve enough to prey on me tomorrow. And even if they don't, they still distort the marketplace so that the best product might not win, which will end up hurting me. And even if they fail at that, as long as advertising remains a viable career it draws capable people off from actually useful occupations, thus resulting in an opportunity cost for the society as a whole.

So yes, you should do anything you can to frustrate the efforts of advertisers. Doing so serves both your own interests and the common good at the same time.

Comment Re:Helps to remember... (Score 5, Insightful) 277

There are two basic forms. One involves training the human on the commands the computer will respond to properly and the other involves training the computer to recognize an individuals speech patterns.

And neither helps here. The fact is, you don't know if an alligator can run the hundred-metre hurdles. When you're asked to answer the question, you imagine the scenario - construct and run a simulation - and answer the question based on the results. In other words, an AI needs imagination to answer questions like these. Or to plan its actions, for that matter.

Comment Turing test (Score 2) 277

Intelligence implies usefulness. Intelligence is a tool used by animals to accomplish something - things like finding food, reproducing, or just simply staying alive. We've abstracted that to a huge degree in our society where people can now engage in developing and expending intelligence on essentially worthless endeavors simply because the "staying alive" part is pretty well a given. But when it comes down to it, the type of strong AI we need is a useful kind of intelligence.

The problem with the Turing Test is it explicitly excludes any usefulness in what it deems to be an intelligent behavior. From Wilipedia: "The test does not check the ability to give the correct answer to questions; it checks how closely the answer resembles typical human answers." That bar is set far, far too low, and is even specific to a generic conversational intelligence instead of something useful. The Turing Test is far too overrated and synonymous with the field of AI and really needs to just go away. It reeks of the Mechanical Turk kind of facade versus any real metric.

Comment Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (Score 1) 282

Suppose the ancient Greeks were considering homeopathy, before they had confirmed the existence of molecules and so forth. Homeopathy could have been plausible to them.

Not really. Ancient Greeks had wine, and were familiar with the practice of diluting it to control (lessen) the effects. It seems unlikely they wouldn't had made the obvious connection.

Comment It all makes sense... (Score 3, Interesting) 198

The other day a Google tech recruiter (not a headhunter) contacted me about an interview at Google. This after I turned down a second interview with them seven years ago. Yes, seven years ago. It got me to thinking: Is Google that desperate for qualified employees that they are having to dig that deep into their interview files to find talent? After doing some research, it seems as though they want to interview me for a "technical sales engineering" position or some such thing. Still, this article and the fact that Google is searching their archives for help seems to point to a dwindling supply of technical types in the market.

And since I'm a few years older than Vince Vaughan, I seriously doubt I'd quite fit in anymore. Say what you want about The Internship, but Google's imprimatur was all over it.

Comment Re:Object lesson (Score 4, Interesting) 198

Because money is tempting. Imagine this, there is a LOT of money (use your own definition of LOT) being dangled in front of you with the promise to not take any direct influence in your decisions. Hey, as long as I hold 50%+1 of the company I call the shots, right?

It usually doesn't take long to realize that those 50-1% hold a LOT of power over you when they can afford losing them and you cannot.


That's a great observation -- that the consumers of medical services never know the prices they are paying. That begs the question of whether or not this has always been the case. I would argue it didn't happen until after the insurance industry effectively took control of medicine as a practice and transforming it into an industry.

Comment Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (Score 1) 282

"Polygraph machines" are nothing but a tool that facilitates the accusation and judgement of the person operating it. If the person wants to find you suspicious, they will conclude that the results from the machine indicate suspicion. This has been demonstrated repeatedly and there's a strong reason why polygraphs are not admissible in court (except the few states where they are -- but only if all parties involved agree to it).

Comment Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (Score 3, Interesting) 255

The development of the USSR is an interesting one, and one that is a showcase of how good intentions are easily perverted into the most heinous reality, provided that power hungry megalomaniacs are allowed to rule. Sadly, it is the power hungry megalomaniac that WANTS to rule.

The USSR started as a hope for a "worker's paradise", and in Marx' theory, it sure is. People worked hard towards that goal because they were promised a glorious future, and they believed it. By and by, they noticed that nothing gets better, or that it does only for the few on top, and the rest was a tyranny that tried hard to keep up the status quo, i.e. the good life for the "party people" and the struggle for the rest, until it just couldn't be propped up anymore.

Now replace the promise of the glorious future for everyone with the promise that you, too, can be rich if you work hard, and by and by people noticing that working does not get you rich, and I wonder if I really imagine the parallels here.

Comment Re:They Thought They Were Free (Score 4, Interesting) 255

Anyone in security will go "duh" when you tell him of the mutual exclusivity of security and freedom. Oddly, people seem to want to have their cake and eat it too, and pretend that it is somehow possible.

Personally, I'd prefer freedom. That entails responsibility, and the chance to be harmed. By definition. When I am allowed to do what I want, there is a chance that I will do something that is harmful to me. People tend to do things that are against their best interest all the time, because it is convenient, because it is fun or because it gives them pleasure. From fatty food to cigarettes to alcohol to other drugs, from veggin' away on the couch in front of the idiot box to pushing themselves into a burnout syndrome. If allowed, people will make "wrong" decisions, all the time, every day, throughout their lives.

But that is their RIGHT. Of course, they waive the right to complain about it. So I really don't get the smokers that have the audacity to sue if they get sick from smoking. Hell, I was a heavy smoker, and I knew bloody well that it is unhealthy and likely deadly. I accepted that risk because I enjoyed it. Suck it up and deal with it, you bought the good, you got the bad for free on top of it. That's what freedom is about, you have to make a decision and you, and you alone, will bear the fallout if it is the wrong decision.

Isn't that what Americans want? The freedom to choose?

The freedom to choose whether they want health insurance and what kind thereof caused a big shitstorm, with the whole mess being labeled "Obamacare". No problem there. But if you decided against it and you're having cancer, shut up and die. Don't come and beg me to save you.

But that's the point I don't get. The very same people that demand that "the man" stays out of their "business" are calling the loudest to "do something" against those terrrrrists and applaud every kind of action the government takes to rob more of our liberties.

What the hell is wrong with American people?

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