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Comment the problem with Kevin Kelly (Score 1) 229

The problem with Kevin Kelly is that he tickles the part of your brain that wants more Richard Feynman, and then this.

This thesis is not new.

Kelly on the Future, Productivity, and the Quality of Life — January 2013

Guest: The basis of my non-worry comes from the fact that I think the idea of universal computation is a myth. And by universal computation is the belief that starting with the mathematical idea called Turing-Church hypothesis, which says any computation is equivalent to any other computation. The full version of that is: Any computation is equivalent to any other computation given infinite time and space.

From my original notes:

There was good stuff, but he also went on irritating rambles I wouldn't wish to consume again. ... The weirdest one is where he challenges universal computation as applying only when infinite in time and infinite in space.

Kelly seems not to comprehend the challenge involved in proving near-equivalency of computational systems (over any ingenious metric) in the finite case. You'd be walking straight uphill in the general direction of Chaitin's constant.

Although there are infinitely many halting probabilities, it is common to use the letter omega to refer to them as if there were only one.

Is lumping omega actually a real problem?

Kelly seems pretty sure that omega comes in flavours marsupial and mammal ("substrates").

Feynman had a supreme knack of not screwing this stuff up, even when he was skirting a field he really didn't know much about. He had such a strong sense of when his own feet were on solid ground, and was extremely clever is turning the discussion to where his solid footing generally carried the day.

Kevin Kelly not so much.

Comment Re: Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth (Score 1) 229

The human population is composed of experts, with divisions of labor. It is not unreasonable for AI programs to have areas of expertise.

In fact this is not true. The human population is composed of experts, some of whom have required in addition specialized skills due to division of labor.

Comment Re:Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth. (Score 1) 229

Oh, and here's another example I just thought of.

I once read a book by an early aviator on techniques of navigating by landmark from the air. He recounts a number of feats of navigation by what were then called "primitive people", including one account of preparations for raid by a group of 19th Century teenage Apaches on an enemy village. None of the boys had ever been there, and so they sought out an elderly man who'd been there once when he was a boy. He described all the landmarks along the way, e..g. turn south at the hill that looks like such and so, a process took almost two days because the village in question was almost five hundred miles distant.

Now if a 19th C Apache had devised an intelligence test, chances are you or I would score retarded. There's no way I could give turn-by-turn directions to a place I'd visited just once thirty years ago. And if I could the chance you could just hear them and then go there without any difficulty is nil. We are simply too unfamiliar and unpracticed a task that is second nature to them.

Comment My computer in elementary school. (Score 1) 33

That raises an interesting question. Do Slashdot readers remember the computers that were used in their own high schools -- and did that instill any lifelong brand loyalty?

I remember the first digital computing aid I had in my elementary school. I still have it and I carry it everywhere. I have grown quite attached to it, over the years. It was more than a computing aid. It had lot more uses and in fact serving as a computing aid was just an after thought. It was a truly digital system, 5 on the left palm and 5 on the right. And, yes, I do have great loyalty to it.

Comment Yeah, you do... but no, we don't. (Score 1) 231

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:Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth. (Score 1) 229

You have to look again at how the tests are devised. Let's say you just invented an intelligence test. How do you know it's any good? You give it to a bunch of people and see if it confirms what you already believe about those people.

This culturally biases the tests in several ways. Let's say your test evaluates verbal and spatial mental performance. Naturally the verbal part will be biased towards not only native speakers of your language, but native speakers of your dialect. Then how do you weight verbal vs. spatial in your net socre? That's a cultural assumption. Even if you decide to weight them equally, that's still a weighting and represents a de facto judgment that one is not necessarily more indicative of intelligence than the other.

Then there's the stuff you don't include in your test, for example social reasoning and perception. Inferring other peoples' mental states and intentions is an extremely important aspect of intelligence, but it is also intrinsically culturally specific. Let's say you ask your neighbor whether you can borrow his car and he tells you it's broken. You know it's not broken. What can you infer from that? It depends on where you live. In the US you'd take it as a sign of disrespect, but in some cultures you'd infer that it would be inconvenient for him to loan you his car. Social perception and reasoning is one of the most important aspects of intelligence, but it is nearly inpossible to get a culturally unbiased mesaure of that.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 110

And property values in the flight paths of airports tend to suggest that people very much dislike close proximity to operating aircraft. Airports tend to have enough clout to avoid being shoved out into the sticks entirely(though getting an expansion to an existing airport can be deeply fraught); but selling people on "helipads on every street corner"? Have fun with that.

Comment Re:Fine (Score 1) 103

Most stuff on youtube isn't worth a dime any way... Hateful or not.

I don't know about most stuff. I find the tutorials on how to do stuff around the house pretty useful when the washing machine won't drain. Also, there are some rare clips of musical performances from years gone by that are impossible to find anywhere else (Bill Evans Quartet playing in someone's living room in Finland comes to mind)

But the videos advertisers are running away from are the ones where some guy in his mom's basement is looking into a camera and telling you his Very Important Opinions on why bitches are ruining video games or something.

If you read some of the AC comments above "The blacks have lower IQs. FACT!" you get an idea of why the entire YouTube jackoff culture might turn off people with money to spend (advertisers). I'm not sure it's fair to blame Google or YouTube for the fact that the advertisers choose to look for other avenues.

By the way, here is an excerpt from the Bill Evans video I referenced. For jazz musicians and fans, this is like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls. Eddie Gomez is especially impressive on bass.

Comment Re:Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth. (Score 1) 229

in the middle range, 90 - 110 points,

IQ tests are also unreliable at the tail ends, for epistemological reasons.

How do you construct an intelligence test? You start with a collection of reasonable-seeming tests and you have a sample population perform them. You then rank them on test performance and assess whether your ranking confirms your preconceptions. So here's the problem with the tail ends: it's really hard to get a large enough sample of subjects to test the predictive value of your test with people who score three or more standard deviations away from the mean.

So while you can probably make predictions about differences in accomplishments between someone who scores 90 on IQ and someone who scores 110, I don't think you can predict much from a difference in IQ between 150 and 170, other than that people with an IQ of 170 will likely consistently score higher on an IQ test.

Comment Re:The Singularity (Score 1) 231

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) 229

You seem to be confusing the concept of intelligence with *measuring* intelligence.

You know you're right. But I think there's a good reason for this: magnitude is an intrinsic part of the concept. I've never heard anyone talk about intelligence except as a concept that allows you to rank things (e.g. Chimps are more intelligent than dogs, which are more intelligent than gerbils). So to apply it to an entity like a human or a program is to implicitly measure that thing.

What I'm saying is that the concept is useful but of intrinsically limited in precision.

Comment Re: I didn't notice (Score 1) 103

They can provide a subscription service

YouTube does provide a subscription service. YouTube Red.

I've been test-driving Google Play Music as an alternative to Spotify recently, and subscribing to Google Play Music includes a subscription to YouTube Red. It's nice to not worry about ads or anti-adblock measures from YouTube any more. It's a couple of bucks a month and for people who watch a lot of YouTube, it's pretty reasonable.

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"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.