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Comment I see .... (Score 2) 169

I see...Artificial general intelligence is hard so anyone worrying about its consequences is uninformed. Wait. What? And as long as it doesn't have artificial general intelligence, there shouldn't be any problems with giving a machine control over lethal weapons. Wait. What? Maybe instead artificial general intelligence is a long term existential threat independent of whether current technology is particularly close to achieving it, and Elon Musk knows a little more than they give him credit for. And maybe the transfer of decision making about the use of lethal weapons to machines is always a very bad idea. Unless you hope to make money from selling such devices to the military. In which case, this report sounds like an excellent strategy.

Comment Re:I agree Apple is losing its' panache (Score 1) 230

This is going to come back to bite them. Their ipods and iphones were able to acquire market share rapidly because they combined innovative design with the reputation of the company that had the best laptops of their era. The company that overtakes Mac as the main laptop of serious computer users will have a platform from which to dominate more lucrative markets as well.

Comment Re:AI replacing programmers (Score 1) 107

Clearly the singularity often becomes a 'rapture for nerds'. But there is something unique they are trying to comprehend. When human intelligence reaches a level of understanding of the universe that it is able to make intelligence better than human intelligence, and soon after when that intelligence starts to upgrade itself, then we have reached a milestone on par with the origin of life or the origin of consciousness. The short term consequences are inevitably less dramatic than the fans at singularity hub fantasize about, but the long term consequences are almost by definition bigger than any of us can comprehend.

Comment Who is doing the building? (Score 2) 107

AI will change "the Nature of the Applications that developers Build?" Sure the first step will be to replace coding teams with a developer who uses AI to generate the code. (cutting jobs) But the next step is to replace the manager plus developer with a single AI manager who tells the AI what code needs to be built. (cutting jobs) And then the AI will be deciding for itself what kind of code it wants to build. (eliminating the need for any people at all)

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 468

Yes economics is a difficult subject for which our theories are not very successful. But they are not apologists. The problem is they don't have first principles to work with, so they can only study what humans do in actual situations and so their theories are rooted in existing power structures. There are theories that clearly explain why Marxist, authoritarian, and other non-market economies usually fail. You should check you utopian idealism about leisure from machines doing the work and markets being harmful against history. Humans don't cope well without meaningful work. They also don't cope well with non-market organization of economic activity. Name a successful economy that wasn't mostly market based. There are of course different levels of central planning, regulation, and intervention, but the left wing dream of human harmony in a post market economy just never works. If you are convinced you have solved the age-old problem of how to untie humans in harmony without them competing economically in a market economy, please demonstrate your ideas in some voluntary utopian community.

Comment Re:k.i.s.s. (Score 2) 143

There is good logic in "When you try new things, there will be errors, and a main purpose of defense spending is to find and resolve these errors so that our capabilities can remain ahead of our enemies". But there is also a point at which staying ahead of our enemies in high tech weaponry can makes us vulnerable to lower cost ways to win wars. Right now it seems clear to me that the US is erring toward high-tech highly fragile military systems. The future is probably very high tech, but it will be high tech simple, redundant and cost effective systems. Maybe it will be unmanned submarines with large tender subs. Or maybe it will be swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles with mobile landing zones for support. But it seems unlikely to be small numbers of large surface ships. They are just too vulnerable to missile and drone attacks.

Comment Re:I completely agree. (Score 1) 522

It is a nice dream...build a Moon colony, let it develop industry and grow into a jumping off point. But what economic benefit will it provide while we spend 10s or 100s of trillions of dollars getting it going? The analogy to colonies on earth is just not relevant. We evolved on earth and developed economic models that worked on earth. So new land was naturally economically productive. There is plenty of desert and polar land on earth that is much more hospitable than anything on the moon. You underestimate the difficulties of colonizing a planet when a pressure vessel failure is catastrophic. We are 100s of years from an economically viable moon base for humans. We could build one that functions like the space station right now...transport supplies and food from earth to allow people to survive. But we would need to allocate 10s or 100s of billions of dollars per year to keep it afloat. But there are no reasonable ideas for an economically viable moon settlement based on earth biology. If you instead base it on harvesting energy to support machines, it might eventually work, but we are very far from building that also.

Comment a totally arbitrary guess (Score 4, Insightful) 522

This critical issue deserves a more subtle discussion that guesses about when humans will go extinct on earth. Without human foolishness (nuclear weapons, pollution, etc) we would expect we have millions of years. But humans are foolish, so we really don't know. I am suspicious of claims that the human future is in space. Both because there is no plausible way for sustainable human settlements off planet to be manufactured with current technology and because it enables a short sighted approach that treats this planet as a disposable stepping stone to better things. More likely, intelligent machines we make will colonize space before we do since it is much easier to design them to tolerate the harsh environment than it is to modify biology to survive off planet. Maybe we will teach them to build habitats for us, but in that case, it will really be the machines that are doing the colonizing. And this is much further off than many people suspect.

Comment Re:A poor craftsman blames his tools. (Score 2) 531

Are flawed programmers creating bad code? Yes, but there is a bigger cause. Our era assumes that complicated things should be able to be done by a small number of people in a tiny amount of time. It is the failure to simplify and allocate adequate resources to creating great code that are really creating bad code.

Comment Re:How does this compare to 3d-xpoint stuff? (Score 1) 145

3d Xpoint is a fairly different technology. It is much faster than NAND and much cheaper than DRAM while still being non-volatile. Initially some people may use it in expensive high speed SSD configurations like Optane, but I think the real potential is in new architectures with huge non-volatile fast memory. Maybe it will replace Flash in mobile devices that currently operate without off-processor DRAM. It is possible that manufacturing becomes cheaper and it will compete with NAND Flash for non-volatile storage, but except in applications where write speed is much more valuable than total capacity, current 3D Xpoint can't compete.

Comment Re:Not a surprise... (Score 3, Insightful) 269

That is an insightful article. Hopefully we can keep this conversation at a high level. The usual thing when energy supply in transition runs into a rough patch is for many to argue that we should just keep depending on coal and natural gas. But any time you do something new, there is trial and error. Hopefully more of the forseen problems could be avoided, but humans seem to have to make mistakes before they can learn from them. As integrated wind, solar, transmission, and storage systems become more mature, we can run a stable energy system with mostly renewables and much less damage to the ecosystems we depend on. But there will be a learning curve.

Comment Re:old wisdom (Score 1) 387

They are simply important problems. It doesn't really matter what category of fundamental theory you place them under. Planet formation will be solved with continuum mechanics and standard chemistry/quantum mechanics to describe dust formation and aggregation. The solution will ignore general and special relativity. Emergent problems can't be solved with more computational power. Try to calculate the properties of a tree by solving the many body quantum problem. We can't even fully compute 5 particle scattering problems using quantum mechanics.

Comment Re:old wisdom (Score 0) 387

"General physics is more or less solved" That belief is precisely the problem. Could you predict the mechanical properties of DNA from quantum mechanics for us? Could you calculate the viscosity of water from first principles? Could you determine how the albedo of clouds on earth will respond to changing CO2 concentrations? Could you determine the distribution of sizes, chemical makeup, and orbital radii of planets we have discovered? If not, in what sense is "general physics" solved? What people do is redefine these problems as not physics because they are useful enough that they attract a community of non-physicists to work on them also. You seem to believe in the reductionist idea that once you know the underlying equations you have solved a problem.

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