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Comment Re: Guess they advocate Basic Income then? (Score 1) 104

The "owners of AI" will be anyone will a cellphone.

Who is going to stop you from running an AI engine on your GPU? The same people that stop common people from owning cars and computers?

The catch is what data set is your pocket AI going to operate on, and to what end? You think the same information that multinationals, big financial institutions, and governments will use to rule the lives of billions of people is going to be available to you?

Comment 1 truck, better than 20+ shoppers... (Score 5, Insightful) 145

As a cheap-skate, before the age of reliable internet shopping, sometimes I'd go to a shop 5 times before any significant purchase.

Now, most of that browsing is done online. plenty of folks still go for the 'mall experience', but I'd say that for every truck winding down the alleys, you're avoiding a much larger number of folks routing to a set of shops, then back.

In terms of road damage, the single truck likely does slightly more wear over time (more weight at once, worse than many smaller weights), but in terms of congestion, the truck is going to be spending much less overall time on the main roads every day, than the shoppers would.

But really, are we actually going back to "is the internet bad for our shared resources" discussions?

Far too late to put that genie back in the bottle - it's granting too many important wishes to go back now.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Yeah, you do... but no, we don't. (Score 1) 256

I drive on highways with 55-65 MPH speed limits, just like everyone for the last 50 years, with cars built for those speeds.

From time to time, I drive a 2016 corvette on Montana highways with 80 mph speed limits. It is fair to say that the car loafs along. It was absolutely built for these speeds, and speeds considerably higher. I often reach those higher speeds. [Um. Allegedly. Cough.] Many other models are built with similar capabilities. The highways here are well designed for those speeds. Even many of the secondary roads here are pretty good for them, though not as good.

Methinks you are thinking well inside your own box. Poorly. Which makes me raise my eyebrows at your assertion that you are a physicist. That may be unfair; many people are notably vertical in their strengths. But still, my eyebrows are raised. :)

We can also (if we are honest) observe that progress, and the potential it unleashes in many cases, is not all that closely linked with what's commercially available or common around the time of the fundamental invention. In the first decade after lasers were invented, for instance, there was no significant commercial application. When the integrated circuit was invented, it wasn't much to look at and functionally speaking, for decades, it was outright pitiful compared to ICs today. We're still dealing with developing a full understanding of how neurons do what they do. In laser parlance, in 2017 we are yet pre-laser, and anyone who tries to tell us that lasers can't do X at this point should be considered, at most, a hand-waver in the grips of a fit of profound hubris.

WRT the subject at hand - intelligence and consciousness resulting from information processing - nature has, fortunately enough, provided numerous models at various levels. So we know it can be done at least one way - neural-like systems. Sure, it's obviously not easy. Brains use very small, very complicated, and very difficult to understand computing elements.

But achieving a manufactured intelligence is also obviously highly interesting and to many, highly desirable. Assuming only that our technological progress doesn't actually halt due to some unrelated factor (war, asteroid, runaway climate, alien invasion, etc.), there are many reasons, all supporting one another very, very well, to assume that we will "get there from here." Not the least of which is there are many (sub-)reasons to presume that will be a great deal of economic leverage in such technology.

And, perhaps most relevant to you, there are no known physics related reasons to presume that we won't get there eventually. As you should know very well. If one is (or multiple are) discovered - for instance, should it be determined at some point in the future that brains use some heretofore unknown physics mechanism(s) to do what they do - then we may quite suddenly be on different grounds in terms of ultimate practicality. But there isn't even a hint of this as yet. It definitely appears to be chemistry, electricity, and topology all the way down as far as brains go. That stuff, we can do. Larger and clumsier and perhaps even slower... perhaps even only as emulation... yet we can do it. We just don't know exactly what to do. Yet.

Comment Re:The Singularity (Score 1) 256

I did, and I found it quite difficult to believe that the authors had read any of the originals, let alone any notes. They completely missed all of the subtlety from the originals and made all of the characters painfully two dimensional. Reading the bit in the foreword when Brian Herbert opines that Kevin J Anderson (who has yet to write a single book with an ending that didn't feel like he got bored and had 5 pages to tie up all of the loose ends and is best known for some embarrassingly bad Star Wars novels) was the only person who could write something on a scale of the Dune sequels tells you that it's not going to go particularly well.

Comment Re: Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth (Score 1) 256

Exactly. It's something that works at the level of a human subconscious: the leftover bits of evolved junk in our minds from before we developed sentience. The sorts of things that let us shout at the sky before a thunderstorm and then assume that we've made Thor angry, not the sorts of things that allow us to build a modern technical society.

Comment Re: But how will I trick investors!?! (Score 4, Informative) 256

Except that the claims of strong AI 'real soon now' have been coming since the '60s. Current AI research is producing things that are good at the sorts of things that an animal's autonomic system does. AI research 40 years ago was doing the same thing, only (much) slower. The difference between that and a sentient system is a qualitative difference, whereas the improvements that you list are all quantitative.

Neural networks are good at generating correlations, but that's about all that they're good for. A large part of learning to think as a human child is learning to emulate a model of computation that's better suited to sentient awareness on a complex neural network. Most animals have neural networks in their heads that are far more complex than anything that we can build now, yet I'm not seeing mice replacing humans in most jobs.

Comment They're still people (Score 2) 387

The expectation is that the salaried position is a 40 hr/wk position.

If you treat your employees only as a measurable commodity, entering into no acknowledgment of their worth, individuality, and personal potential, while attempting to mine every second of their time like a greedy, annoying crow, or worse, if you attempt to sit on those things and repress who they are, then your employees will not be loyal. This is inevitable.

When the first even nominally better opportunity (which might not even be better on grounds of pay, since everything else at your place sucks so bad) and they'll be gone. Because you made them hate you.

Which you deserved.

Sane employment is pleasant, goal seeking and reward-rich. For everyone. Not based on counting drops of sweat and screaming when the count is short. Balance liberty against compassion in tension as you encourage your employees to chase your goals and their goals. Otherwise you run the risk of just turning out to be considered another reviled prick.

I've run several very successful businesses. I'm not guessing here. Happy people do better work. Period.

Comment Re: How about a 4th option ? (Score 1) 372

You might like to pay attention when the muck spreaders are out - the stuff that they're coating the fields in is not plain old organic dirt (or even soil, which is an incredibly complex substance in its own right). It's not even shit anymore, it's a complex growing medium that's covered by numerous patents.

Comment Re:COBOL isn't hard to learn (Score 2) 372

Given that most of this code was originally targeting systems from the 1960's and 70's, I can't imagine there being an insurmountable number of lines of code

According to Wikipedia, Gartner estimated about 200 billion lines of COBOL code in 1997. To put that in perspective, that's more than the total amount of open source C code tracked by OpenHub.net. Can you imagine persuading someone to rewrite all of that C code in a newer language?

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