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Comment Re:Okay, but someone wrote the algorithm (Score 1) 389

Its those failures that will terrify lay people. When the computer does something that most people could not understand and the experts say "sure, there was a chance this could happen" bad new rules and regulations get introduced. I think we need to make sure there are fail safes wrapping the decisions of any critical NNs to try and constrain the errors, but I'm not sure that's any easier of a task.

Comment Re:Okay, but someone wrote the algorithm (Score 4, Insightful) 389

Uh, it's simple .... No, it's not easy. But it's absolutely knowable and testable.

I agree that it's completely doable, but the poster I replied to was stating that the programmer who wrote the algorithm must understand how it's making decisions and that only the less skilled maintenance coders would be confused. That's simply not true. I know people who could write a neural net from a reasonable spec but doing the steps you described above would blow their minds. I'd also argue that a NN with even a few layers of nodes can get complex fast enough that what you're proposing would result in a document the size of a novel and still not capture all the nuances.

I really appreciate your point that

Getting any useful info out of that will be an issue though. You may find out that somewhere deep in your neural net it's looking for a seemingly random pattern of contrast or checking against some strange distance/angle.

If the net is using some seemingly random pattern that's where you can get some bizarre (to human thinking) failures. We tend to understand when something goes wrong in a way we can comprehend. If the seemingly random pattern the computer finds happens to call a slightly obscured "stop sign" a "no u-turn" sign that would be incomprehensible to a human, but might make perfect sense to the NN.

This all isn't to say that you can't reduce the odds of this sort of problem to such a small number that it's meaningless especially in comparison to human error. Still, when crap like this happens it makes the news and gets blown all out of proportion, so expect "the sky is falling" stories to follow any uncertainty AI behavior.

Comment Re:The same can be said for human learners. (Score 2) 389

I completely agree that simulation and training are the solution and that the bar to beat humans at driving is pretty low. That doesn't make it any less of a nasty task to figure out WTF the neural net is actually basing decisions on or make it any more understandable to the programmer who wrote it. I'd gladly give up my vehicle for a well tested self driving car. I'd still like the option to drive sometimes, but the normal day-to-day is just a dangerous waste of time.

Comment Re:Okay, but someone wrote the algorithm (Score 5, Informative) 389

Based on this statement I'm guessing you've never worked with statistically based machine learning. Take a "simple" artificial neural network trained to do classification. The person who wrote the algorithm knows how samples from the training set are presented to the network, i.e. what features hit the first layer. The author also knows how data propagates through the network (i.e. a value is propagated to the next layer along the edges connected to a previous layer's node) and even how the weighting on different edges connecting the nodes are updated based on classification failures.

Once that network is trained it may spit out correct answers time and time again, but the author who knows the algorithms inside and out doesn't know exactly how the network decides that it's looking at a lunar crater and not a volcano. Not knowing those details means that it is incredibly hard to define how the trained AI will fail when faced with an unexpected input.

There's the problem: if you have a trained AI and not some sort of expert system based on a collection of human knowledge it's nearly impossible to say how it will handle the unexpected near-garbage input.

Comment Oh fun (Score 2) 163

I hope the security is better than I expect it to be. Roving hotspots with mediocre credentials could make for some interesting future problems. If someone comes up with a reliable way to crack the current wireless encryption standards any time in the next 10 years some of these vehicles will still be on the road. At least with an uplink they can theoretically update the firmware, but given the examples of just about every company I've dealt with, especially companies that make "smart" anything, I'd be surprised if that happened.

Comment Re: This stuff makes me feel old (Score 1) 296

True, but as a portion of my payment all those things total just under 20%. Even if taxes went up 20%, and people would be up in arms about that, it's still less than a 4% change in my monthly payment. These BC fluctuations are a whole different ball game.

Comment Re:What!? (Score 2) 255

It's also definitely colored my view on trusting a third-party to continue to maintain services on my behalf that are not locally-hosted on my own equipment. After all, I don't really know when they'll yank the rug out from under me.

This is incredibly important and I wish more people would kind of come to terms with this issue. I remember a while back when a javascript library was changed and broke a bunch of online applications. For a deployed project there is really no reason you should be pulling live from someone else's server/repository. Host it on your own server and periodically snap everything forward after testing that no one you rely on broke something you need. At the same time, make sure you actually DO test and move forward as things are updated, but if your app breaks because someone changed a library then the customer see the egg on your face, not theirs.

Comment Re: This is excellent, excellent, excellent news (Score 4, Insightful) 114

Bullshit. The company that can cure a major cancer type will make money hand over fist for years. Given society's emphasis on short term profits the executives and investors will happily walk away with billions before any patents run out. There will also always be something else to cure especially since almost every cancer is different. if you cure cancer 'a' then someone might live long enough to get cancer type 'b' and pay you again.

Comment Re:Censorship is out, but what about this? (Score 1) 499

It's not just the newer models. There are a lot of older Trump voters forwarding around the same garbage. I'd love to see some sort of "that's bullshit" flagging, but no one would ever trust it from a single source. You'd need at least several competing sites. Maybe facebook could just add those flags w links to external sites about the "fact". Then there's at least a slim chance of impartial flagging?

Comment Re:No, no, no... It was Twitter... (Score 1) 499

The polls were off by a fairly normal amount. People treated a 3-4% majority off he popular vote as an absolute prediction of victory. That's garbage. Polling sucked as much as it often sucks. An error of 2ish% has no consequence if the polls show you 10 point up. If you're only in 3-4% that's a completely different story.

Comment Re: yes they should (Score 2) 1081

I'm completely with you up till the statisticians needing to get new jobs. Silver gave about a 1/3 chance of trump winning. The polls were off by only a couple points and 538 (mostly Silver) pointed out a number of times that the election was still in the normal polling error range. In fact the polls were closer here than in other recent events (brexit for one). I don't know how much clearer he could have been that this wasn't a done deal. It seems like most of the complaints people are leveling at why polling failed were things specifically called out before the election: must model states not just popular vote, states are correlated, polling errors are commonly in the couple point ballpark, etc.

A 1/3 chance is a pretty big chance especially for an outcome that supporters see as such a catastrophe. That's two rounds in a revolver for Russian roulette. Not a good bet.

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