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Comment Re:How would that work? (Score 1) 317

Why is it rubbish to say that people shouldn't be in a field unless they gravitate toward it naturally? I have worked with people who did CS "for the money" instead of out of interest. The quality of their work was light years behind those that like it. That's a very real phenomena that has very real effects in the business world. I guess you could say that those people should just be paid more, if it weren't for the fact that bad programmers are actually worse than have no programmer at all. They create negative productivity.

Comment anecdotal (Score 2) 123

I worked in a machine learning shop for 2 years (doing machine learning...). In my experience, which is entirely anecdotal and limited, machine learning shops resembled academia more closely than industry. By that I mean:

1) They valued credentials that most software shops find almost meaningless (PhD level credentials, Masters at least)
2) The ones I encountered were extremely clique-y. They didn't associate with non-machine learning people.
3) There was an insane amount of dead weight (people doing lots of work but accomplishing nothing) and a general disinterest in practical application. The cliche of "herding cats" was extremely relevant here.

I got away from machine learning and more general AI as quickly as I could because I didn't like the culture. It reminded me too much of academia.

Comment By definition, the answer is "none" (Score 4, Insightful) 293

By definition, the answer is "none". An entry level position doesn't need to require experience in a given programming language. It needs to require some familiarity with programming, sure. There is all kinds of stuff you probably should look for in such an individual. Aptitude to learn (from your senior and mid level developers who you picked partly because they are good at sharing knowledge), existing understanding of symbolic logic, common software design concepts like when to use sets instead of lists, the list (pun) goes on.

It is really absurd how snobby software developers are about who joins their ranks. Part of the absurd job req ads in tech aren't just due to hr managers trying to game the h1b system. They are in part there because of clueless software devs who have been moved into management because that is (for god knows what reason) considered a normal career path. Don't respond with "it is better to have no one then to have a bad coder!". You're right, but inexperience with a given language doesn't mean they won't be productive with that language in two weeks to a month. This is the very definition of entry level.

Comment Re:The rich and powerful (Score 1) 692

You are giving way too much credit to the rich and powerful. Yeah, a lot of them are dicks. The thing is, our society is built on principles which strongly encourage people to market ideas which other people are willing to pay for. Despite being rich, rich people still want more money. The question over a whether a cure for aging would be generally available is more likely to be related to the resource cost of the cure. If the cure requires resources which are easy to obtain, and the primary cost was in R&D, then there is really no reason to expect the cost to be much higher then that of anti depressants. You make more money charging 200 million people $100k than you do charging 100 people $100 million.

Further, the pattern used to extract more money from the wealthy for the same product has already been refined. New products very commonly cost much more when they are initially released then they will 1 year later.

Comment Re:Wow ... no kidding (Score 1) 234

Well, if you let an egotistical billionaire run the education of 20 students, you will probably come up with awesome results.

But how much of this is applicable when it isn't being paid for by an egotistical billionaire?

You can say nothing about this other than ... highly focused, very expensive private education can be effective, but that this doesn't tell you anything about educating the rest of them.

You can't say this was better because you eliminated grades. This is a PR stunt, but it's not some revolution in education.

Or maybe it tells you that educating people properly is a very expensive endeavor requiring highly focused resources? Maybe we should redirect our economy toward that instead of spending trillions to ensure the middle east remains destabilized?

Comment Re:Stop Now (Score 1) 626

I understood the intention was not to replace English, but to create another viable secondary language. Nonetheless, there is no value in doing this. Whatever you create will be just as difficult to learn for a human as English is. You can make something that is easier for a Chinese person to learn, or easier for an English person to learn, but you cannot make something that is easier for ALL humans to learn.

If your goal is to make something which is easier to learn *in general*, you will not succeed, because your language will be just as arbitrary as a natural language.

If your goal is to make something easier to learn for a specific language group like Chinese, or French, or Spanish, then it isn't clear why you don't just pick one of the native languages already in that language group. That language will be as easy to learn for others in that group as your artificial language, and it will be just as hard to pick up for people outside the language group as your artificial language will be.

Nothing is accomplished by creating a new language, except the expenditure of cognitive energy. It is similar to changing the characters for the logical operators in math to something else because you think that will make math easier to learn.

Comment Re:Double tassel ... (Score 1) 216

I've been picking up contractors and employees recently. It usually takes me 3 to 4 days to identify someone that I want, a few more days to discuss the position with them, and then two to three weeks to start engaging them (or bringing them on).

We have had absolutely no difficulty finding talented people who solve our problems very quickly. If you can't find people, you are doing one or more of the following:
1) Allowing an external company to handle your recruitment
2) Allowing someone who was never a developer to be involved in your recruitment
3) Offering poor salary, benefits, 401k, or stock options
4) Somehow being an idiot during the interview process, thereby communicating to the candidate they probably don't want to work for you. You could be doing this with asinine questions, not showing interest in the skills they have which are relevant to the job, saying things which indicate the environment is not a meritocracy, implying that they will be treated poorly (working over 40 hours a week regularly), the list goes on.

There are legions of developers in Caliornia. The state has the highest concerntration of skilled software devs on the planet. It is trivially easy to find devs if you understand what they want, and give it to them.

Comment Re:Stop Now (Score 1) 626

I'm a software developer by trade now, myself. If you would call a CTO that. Humanities doesn't pay well. So I understand the value you see in making expressions elegent, encoding best practices in the language itself, and etc. That being said, I think we can make a stronger assertion than "next to impossible" with regard to replacing English with an artificial language. I am willing to assert that it is literally, mathematically, impossible to replace English with an artificial language. If you succeeded, it would mean that the speakers aren't what we think of as humans. I'm not saying that human cognitive processing can't change alot in a trans-humanist kind of way to make this possible someday. However, the lifeform wouldn't be recognizable to humans today as a human.

Like I said in my first post, the structure and form of the language is arbitrary. Nearly irrelevant. Humans don't necessarily even need speech sounds. They use writing (like we are). Orthographies tend to be based on spoken languages, but this is because it is easier to bootstrap in a learning sense, not because it has to be that way. Sign languages, for example, don't use sound. They use symbols represented with hands instead. My point here is that the language itself doesn't matter. We would be gaining nothing by making an artificial language (especially since it would change instantly into a natural language as soon as people start using it).

Languages become more static when the human environment is static. They become more dynamic when the environment does. Language change is mostly a pragmatic event (though changes due to the accumulation of minor copy inconsistencies do become significant over time, especially in speech sounds). Humans mostly don't simply want to play around with their language for fun, though they do that too. Even if you managed to create a language which an individual human is capable of internalizing that was of such complexity it could express all possible expressions (I believe this not to be possible), some humans would change it for reasons not related to the need to convey raw data. They would change it to show their class. Or they would change it to express group identity. Or they would change it because they are rebellious and want to change anything they see as commonly accepted just for the sake of it. The list goes on.

I have expressed and implied a ton of stuff in these posts. The most important take-aways related to your questions are:
- Making an artificial language serves no purpose. It will not be easier to learn for all humans, it will not be better at conveying meaning, it will not contribute to humanity in any useful way
- Making a language resist change is impossble. But, even if it were possible, it would be pointless. The fact that language changes is not a weakness of language. It is a critical strength. Think of language like an organism. An organism which cannot adapt will become extinct, eventually.

Comment Stop Now (Score 5, Insightful) 626

TL;DR: Attempting to artificially create a human language is a complete waste of time. It's almost as wasteful as learning a natural human language you will never actually use practically.

The ops question stems from a deep misunderstanding of what human language is. Humans use language to communicate meaning. The important part here is the meaning, not the language. Language itself is practically arbitrary. Sure, there are similarities across human languages. Like, the English R sound is pretty uncommon and comes late in language acquisition. This doesn't mean that English is "hard". English isn't hard. Neither is Chinese, nor is French, nor vietnemese, nor any other natural human languages.

Different languages do not take different lengths of time to learn. Native language acquisition occurs at approximately the same rate overall across languages. Different people acquire language at different rates, but there are clear statistical trends, and there tend to be only a few commonly used learning strategies for any given problem in language space (like making the English R sound). You might think certain languages are harder to learn because they are harder for YOU to learn, but this isn't the case. Secondary language acquistion occurs as a bootstraping on an existing scaffold (your native language). That means the base language significantly affects the ease at which a secondary language will be acquired.

Language is organic. People creatively use language in order to communicate meaning, as we said above. There isn't actually a thing called "English". There is a group of people who understand each other. They play a language game, but they don't all do it the same way. You've heard of something called "dialects"? It turns out that people who can understand each other don't necessarily always play by the same rules. Rules vary, and that varience tends to corrolate with geographic distance. Now, even though they vary, people tend to still understand one another pretty well across dialects. You get to the point eventually where people no longer understand one another, even though the languages are still recently historically related (Spanish and French). At this point, we say they speak different languages. The point of this "language is organic" line is that language CHANGES. Sometimes it changes slowly, sometimes it changes rapidly. It is an absolutely critical feature of language that it can change.

Humans adapt language to serve their needs. It evolves over time, morphing into mutually unintelligible versions of itself across speakers. Now, language change does work acording to some rules. There are syntax and grammar features which human brains appear reluctant to violate, and there are common strategies which are usually followed (though there are exceptions to pretty much anything). What does language change mean? It means that if you go designing a language(an artificial language), your carefully designed language will change into something else over time (a natural human language), People will change the rules you have prescribed to suit their needs. They will invent new words. They will stop using old words and use different ones, sometimes for reasons as trivial as that they like the way the new ones sound. They will alter syntax creatively in order to express themselves, but insodoing they will make those changes acceptable over time. What, then, is the point of designing an artifical language if it is desitined to quickly change into something essentially identical than what you started out with?

The only artificial languages which persist are computer languages. They persist only because a computer is very unlike a human in that it will not attempt to parse your expression for layers of meaning. Computers demand all expressions have only one possible interpretation. This is vastly different than human language processing. If you would like an example of the utter failure of humans attempting to create artificial languages then go look up Esperanto.

IAAL and IAAPoL (I am a linguist and a philosopher of language)

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