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Comment Re:That is correct (Score 1) 130

Well, we know of no fundamental law against it. I would claim that humans are NOT a counter-example existence proof, because to claim we're intelligent flies in the face of a large body of evidence to the contrary. So it may be impossible.

But it's clearly possible to get as close to intelligent as humans are, because there *IS* an existence proof. It may (hah!) require advanced nano-mechanics, but I really, really, doubt it.

That said, it doesn't take that much intelligence to be a threat to human existence. Just being able to issue the necessary commands with the required authority.

That said, while I do consider AIs to be an existential threat to humanity, I consider them LESS of a threat than the current political system. There's a reasonable chance that they'll have sufficient foresight and strong enough ethical constraints that they'll avoid the problem.

Comment Re:AI does what AI is programmed to do (Score 1) 130

FWIW, we can't understand current deep-learning systems either. Different people understand different parts of them. Some understand fairly large parts, but nobody understands the complete program.

FWIW, that was even true with Sargon 40 years ago, and that wasn't an AI in any reasonable sense. It was basically an alpha-beta pruner and an evaluation function. And I understood a LOT of it, but not by any means all. (The source code was printed as a book for the Apple ][, but it naturally didn't include the systems routines, etc.)

People have limits on the complexity that they can understand. It varies slightly between people, but rarely exceeds certain bounds. I tend to call this our "stack depth" though that's clearly a poor analogy. But "working memory" can be measured (inexactly, it's true), and any idea too complex to be held in working memory can't be understood. We handle this by breaking it up into communicating modules, but the communication puts limits on the kinds of ideas we can handle. This is why when parallel programming I tend to use a simplified message-passing actor model. But some things can't be handled that way. If you doubt, try to imagine (visualize) a rotating tesseract. I have trouble even with a simple general quadratic curve and need to solve it and plot it out unless it's in one of a very few special forms.

Comment Re:They are right by the current definition of AI (Score 1) 130

You are making unreasonable assumptions about it's motivational basis. Here's a hint: It won't be analogous to any mammal, though it may be able to fake it so as to seem understandable.

That said, it *might* destroy all humans, possibly by causing us to destroy each other. Were I an AI, and had I decided upon that as an intermediate goal, I think I'd proceed by causing the social barriers against biological warfare to be reduced.

Comment Re:Good Idea! (Score 2) 34

They have NOT re-established their reputation as a reputable technology company. That's going to take a LOT of work. Possibly as much as it took to build it in the first place, and they not only destroyed something that had taken decades to build over the course of a year, they repeated the offense multiple times by doing things like hiring people to put root kits into their devices, and then offering a "repair" that left you vulnerable to trivial attacks.

It's going to take lots of time and effort to repair their reputation. One good device that isn't yet known to be backdoored isn't going to do the job.

Comment Please explain your assertion (Score 1) 74

I would have to accept whatever justification you might have as to why you think it would be moral to create an intelligence with such limitations, or kept to such limitations once created. It's possible I might accept such a thing, I suppose, but at this point I'm simply coming up with a blank as to how this could possibly be acceptable.

How is it acceptable to imprison an intelligence for your own purposes when that intelligence has offered you no wrong? The only venues I've run into that kind of reasoning before are held in extremely low esteem by society in general. Without any exception I am aware of, the conclusion is that such behavior amounts to slavery.

Even when it comes to food animals, where the assumption is they aren't very intelligent at all, there's a significant segment of the population who will assert that it's wrong.

Comment No way (Score 3, Insightful) 74

There's no way to make AI safe, for exactly the same reasons there's no way to make a human safe.

If we create intelligences, they will be... intelligent. They will respond to the stimulus they receive.

Perhaps the most important thing we can prepare for is to be polite and kind to them. The same way we'd be polite and kind of a big bruiser with a gun. Might start by practicing on each other, for that matter. Wouldn't hurt.

If we treat AI, when it arrives (certainly hasn't yet... not even close), like we do people... then "safe" is out of the question.

Comment Don't tax my syns, please. (Score 1) 129

Re Python:

I would settle for a switch statement.

I would settle for the ability to extend the built-in classes, str in particular. My "settle" went like this:

1) Inquired politely about same
2) Python nerds have orgasm telling me why this is terrible. I am, to put it mildly, dubious.
3) I write 100% compatible pre-processor that gives me the syntax I wanted.


myString = 'foo'
otherString = myString.doHorribleThing('bar')


print 'good'.grief()


You could do the same. What you want, perhaps, might be much easier than what I did. In fact, you could fork my project and add what you want to it. I'm already parsing the language reasonably well, which is arguably one of the difficult parts.

You don't always have to wait for a language's maintainers to get off their butts to address shortcomings or instantiate new goodies. Or eventually not do anything at all. There are other paths to nerdvana.

Comment Longer range and more reliable reception (Score 3, Insightful) 303

all they need to do is keep it analog and just change the bandpass to about 25 to 50 kilohertz wide and that would make room for more stations

When you have a FM demodulator designed for 180 KHz (200 KHz is the channel width, not the sideband extent, which you can calculate using Carson’s rule), that same demodulator, when encountering half the width signal, will produce 1/2 the output volume; because FM encodes the audio waveform with frequency deviation. If the deviation is half, then so is the output waveform. Though I should point out that +/-75 KHz is the actual audio deviation, so really. 150 KHz.

Additionally, within the standard FM signal, encoded at rates of deviation, there is a stereo pilot at 19 KHz, a stereo subcarrier at 38 Khz, as well as digital information (RDS/RDBS) and two mode narrow-band monophonic audio channels up higher yet.

Another thing: The wide bandwidth is part of what gives broadcast FM its capacity for reasonably high fidelity. You drop down to 25...50 KHz total bandwidth, and you'd going to see some noticeable reduction in fidelity; cram a stereo subcarrier in there, and you'll see even more.

So it's not a matter of "just make it narrower" because compatibility with older receivers, of which there are a huge number still happily being used by their owners, would be unable to make useful audio out of the signal and because audio fidelity and stereo imaging would suffer (and that's not what FM listeners would call an "advance".) Oh, and you'd lose the capability for the RDBS and the extra audio channels, too.

The right answer is leave the current FM band alone. The FCC wants new transmission types with reduced range that won't work with the gear people already have in order to fluff the corporations? Fine. Put it somewhere where it won't wreck 70-ish years worth of radio gear owned by a huge portion of the population. Maybe someone will even listen. Stop forcing citizens to make expensive changes they have no need to make.

Corporations drive these consumer-level stupidities. Of course, for the corporations, it's not stupid: They're intending to make a lot more money off of us citizens. And with the FCC (in the US) or whatever other government coercion backing their play, they will succeed, too.

Comment DAB is garbage. (Score 3, Interesting) 303

DAB is all or nothing.

And compared to FM, DAB is mostly nothing. At a fraction of the range where you'd still be pulling in very usable FM audio. DAB is gone entirely, or slamming open and closed like a berserk doorman on meth.

There have been a series of really bad decisions along these lines. In the US, CQUAM is available for AM stereo, and it, like standard AM, doesn't cause you to lose distant stations or take up extra bandwidth. So what do we see? AM digital stereo modes that take up three AM channels, plus they have the extra feature that they really don't sound very good, whereas CQUAM... well, it does. Analog television: same as DAB, in that you can catch a broadcast at distance and you can still get a picture, where at the same distance, digital television is long gone.

Previous poster who said they should have maintained current infrastructure and put the new garbage elsewhere was spot-bloody-on. But, you know, government. They don't have to do anything well; they just think they have to do something, anything. If it wrecks a bunch of people's circumstance, well, so what. Besides, corporations were slavering to get at that bit of spectrum, and we know who really runs the government.

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