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Comment More consequences besides cryptography (Score 1) 700

People always talk about the impact P==NP would have on cryptography, but a much more world-changing impact would be on mathematics:

...it would transform mathematics by allowing a computer to find a formal proof of any theorem which has a proof of a reasonable length, since formal proofs can easily be recognized in polynomial time. Example problems may well include all of the CMI prize problems.


Comment Re:Well, this is no good (Score 4, Informative) 170

As humans, we do exactly what physics mandates we do. Unless you're purporting that the human brain uses some sort of hypercomputation or that there's something special (ie outside of our current understanding of physics) about what neurons do, you're not being consistent.

That said, I understand where you're coming from; most AI research is in very narrow domains and has no intention or hopes of solving the problem of achieving human-level intelligence (Watson is an example of narrow AI, as it clearly lacks a genuine understanding of the question or the english language). But the fact remains, that is how the term AI is used.

There's a growing separation between this "Narrow AI" and the kind of AI you seem to be hoping for, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). There are some AGI projects out there, such as the open source opencog. Since there's no hope of people stopping calling things like computer chess AI, I prefer to use the term AGI whenever referencing "real" AI.

Comment Re:Well, this is no good (Score 5, Informative) 170

Chess has finally been solved to the point that there's now unbeatable AIs available to the average user (assuming it gets to move first)

There are no unbeatable AIs for chess yet, that would imply chess is a solved game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solving_chess). It doesn't make much of a difference who moves first, either.


Ranking Soccer Players By Following the Bouncing Ball 142

sciencehabit excerpts from an interesting report on statistics for soccer, in the stats-obsessed world of sports: "Only a handful of soccer ranking systems exist, most of which rely on limited information: the number of goals scored in a match, the number of goals assisted, and some indices of a match's difficulty and importance. ... So researchers turned to an unlikely source: social networks. Applying the kinds of mathematical techniques used to map Facebook friends and other networks, the team created software that can trace the ball's flow from player to player. As the program follows the ball, it assigns points for precise passing and for passes that ultimately lead to a shot at the goal. Whether the shot succeeds doesn't matter. Only the ball's flow toward the goal and each player's role in getting it there factors into the program's point system, which then calculates a skill index for each team and player."

Comment Re:Laptops in High School? Meh (Score 1) 1217

It reminds me of how my high school wasted so much money on smart boards, which were little more than digital whiteboards (sure, they had some other functions, but most teachers didn't use them, and I don't blame them...they're useless). The only difference was that it's much easier to make a smartboard malfunction than a whiteboard.

It may look good to be able to say you're "introducing technology into the classroom," but often it makes things worse. In this case I bet a lot of students will be on facebook during class.

I think the problem is that the people who start these programs begin with their solution (technology) and try to find a problem to apply it to, rather than begin with the problem and look for the solution.


Exotic "Electroweak" Star Predicted 68

astroengine writes "A new type (or phase) of star has been characterized by Case Western Reserve University scientists in a paper submitted to Physical Review Letters. The 'electroweak' star is a stellar corpse too massive to be a quark star, yet too light to collapse into a black hole. It crushes and burns the quarks inside, generating an outward radiation pressure that acts against gravity. Interestingly, the interior is predicted to be a 'Big Bang factory,' forcing the electromagnetic and weak forces to collapse as one (hence 'electroweak') — a condition that hasn't been seen elsewhere in our universe since moments after the Big Bang." The article notes that the first calculations on electroweak stars pegged them as an intermediate stage on the way to a black-hole collapse, lasting at most a second. The new calculations suggest that electroweak stars could persist for millions of years.

Comment It begins (Score 5, Insightful) 154

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Comment Re:Bit early... (Score 1) 269

I'd say that we won't achieve near human intelligence /unless/ we try to give the AI curiosity. Curiosity in this context means a desire to learn, or a desire to find new patterns in the world, which seems pretty much necessary for any near-human AI to have (indeed, I think it would be more challenging to build an AI that achieves near-human intelligence but does not exhibit curiosity).

Comment Here I was thinking this would be more than trivia (Score 1) 383

Based on the headline and the fact that I was not in the idle section I expected this to be some sort of examination of incoming freshmen' opinions on things like education, drugs, and sex. Of course the article is instead just a collection of celebrity trivia and popular culture from the past twenty years.

Comment Re:Singularity ain't going to happen! (Score 1) 67

Actually the singularity is not really about exponential growth -- I mean, sure, Ray Kurzweil writes about it a lot and uses it as evidence to get people excited, but the main idea of the singularity is that once we can create a high-level AI (at or greater than human), it can modify itself to become "smarter", and then that modified self could modify itself, and then it recursively continues. "Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an âintelligence explosion,â(TM) and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make." Also, I don't know about Cerf, but Kurzweil definitely doesn't use this idea to incite fear -- he has been criticized for being too optimistic.

Comment Just narrow AI (Score 1) 45

When I saw this headline I was hoping it was about using virtual worlds to train an artificial general intelligence, like Ben Goertzel is focusing on with his "novamente" project http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=memelist.html?m=3%23710. So far he's only implemented virtual dogs (well, he's done a lot more than that, but only really experiemented a lot with dogs, I think), but parrots are next up I believe.

Comment Re:Billie Jean (Score 5, Insightful) 658

"What is happening to our young
people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They
ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions.
Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?"

- Plato

People just love to see the past as better than the present in some way, and of course to use that as justification for whatever stupid ideas or traditions they're trying to keep around despite reams of evidence pointing to their bad effects.

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