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Comment Personal vs Research? (Score 2) 362

As a senior engineer I'm expected to keep an eye out for technology that may be useful for the company. I set time aside to poke around, see what's out there, and play with new stuff. Some of this may end up being only of personal interest, while some of it may end up being useful for the company. Until I have a look at it, I won't know.

I'll spend half a day on something on my own responsibility, a morning or an afternoon, before I seek buy-in from my boss to proceed further.


Comment Re:The Ministry of Truth (Score 1) 117

You are missing the point: the point is that if many different "mainstream" news sources agree on something *despite* their differing editorial slants, than the sort of claim being made that this is somehow due to them being part of a "ministry of truth" or anything remotely like that is very dodgy.

Comment Carrier comparison (Score 2) 208

Many who comment here will have a reason that they chose one carrier over one other carrier. They may have switched carriers. I always found that the latest carrier plan was better than the competition, and that it would go back and forth or be too confusing to come up with one clear answer. I actually have iPhones and aPhones on 5 carriers. I also travel the world quite a bit. Domestically, all the carriers are good for most unless you live in an area not covered by some. I remember times when Verizon was faster but now it seems that AT&T is faster for me, most of the time. I remember when you could buy international data from Verizon that covered 200 countries, while the AT&T list was only about 50 countries. That affected me in places like Russia and South Africa, back then. T-Mobile has incredible data plans for here and away but they don't seem as fast as claimed unless I'm in the store. Sprint has gone far out of their way to help me with issues, including a stolen phone number. Right now I believe that the best carrier I have, for my own needs, is Google Project Fi because the plan works in over 100 countries. You can even order a free data-only SIM for free, without even a shipping charge, to use it on iPads and the like. I would never say that anyone's choice of plan is bad in any way though.

Comment ALGOL-W (Score 1) 629

I played with Basic in high school but did my first undergrad stuff in ALGOL-W. As an undergrad I messed with Pascal, Fortran and PL/I. One of my profs at the time was an author of the ALGOL 68 report, thought BCPL was cool and that C (a relatively new language at the time) was a mental disorder. He gave us an assignment in APL once. I guess I'm showing my age.

Now I do 99% of my work in C. My boss and I agree to disagree on scripting languages. I like Python. He thinks Python is ridiculous and insists on Perl for production work.


Comment The thing that always worries me about this (Score 3, Interesting) 97

In the very long-run, once we have functionally built in direct brain to computer interfaces, what is going to stop people from sending a lot of half-baked emails and the like? At least with a phone, you can take it away from someone when they are drunk, but frankly given how incoherent my very late night/early morning thoughts are, I'd be more worried about accidental shitposting that way, or sending really stupid emails.

Comment Re:No. (Score 5, Informative) 198

A whole interview rarely carries over. I was asked if I thought Apple would be around in 100 years. My reply even referred to IBM, along the lines of what you can do and how many restarts you can get when you are that big. I facetiously jabbed at the idea of Trump seeking advice from today's huge internet companies by telling the reporter that they would all ask for lower taxes and become larger yet.

Comment This should lead to more concern about AI (Score 1) 115

This should lead to people being more concerned about general artificial intelligence rather than less. While it is pretty clear that the methods used in things like Alpha-Go cannot by themselves do much beyond what they are intended to do, it should also be clear that we're in a situation where many rapid improvements in AI are occurring, and some of these are tackling problems that were thought to be decades away. If it turns out that general AI requires only a few additional breakthroughs, or if it turns out that it can be effectively duplicated with a tiny amount of new things and a lot of processing power, then we could be in a situation where general intelligence, with all its accompanying existential risks, arises suddenly. For an excellent, detailed book on the potential gifts and perils of AGI, I recommend Bostrom's book "Superintelligence."

Comment The objection ignores Bostrom's basic argument (Score 5, Insightful) 418

The objection in question ignores Bostrom's basic argument. Bostrom's primary argument for being in a simulation boils down to the observation that it is very likely that an advanced civilization would have the ability to run very accurate simulations. Moreover, one of the things they'd be obviously interested in would be their own past ancestors; if that's the case, then over the very long period that such civilizations will exist one will expect many more "copies" of people on ancient Earth than any of the originals, unless one expects civilization to die out well before we get to that technology level. If the laws of physics are simulated badly enough that we can notice, then they aren't doing an effective ancestor simulation, so the objection here doesn't make sense.

There are a lot of issues with Bostrom's argument; for example, one might question whether simulations of that level of detail will ever be able to be made on a large scale. But the argument being made here doesn't grapple with the fundamental issues.

Comment Re:FTLOG -WHY SHOULD WE CARE? (Score 1) 90

Sure, it is possible that these will turn out to be useful and cheap enough to be common devices in the home. My comment was what was likely. And if that does happen, it will be very far off (just as there were about 40 years between that IBM remark and when personal computers were a thing). In order for quantum computers to be common enough for personal use, two things need to happen: first, the computers will need to be small and cheap enough that they can be in fit in the home attached to a classical computer; one might imagine something like a special quantum processor for the processes that take advantage of it. Second, and this is really important: we would need algorithms that the quantum computer can use to do things that are common that a classical computer does slower. Right now, most of the things that a quantum computer can do asymptotically better than a classical computer are highly specialized things like factoring integers that most people don't need. If we found good quantum algorithms to do things like graphical processing that might change.

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