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Comment AI based on text (Score 3, Insightful) 98

To me the crux comes down to the experiential history any consciousness has as a reference in a conversation. If you remove any one of our senses from a person, and then try to have a conversation in text, there are noticeable differences. For a chatbot, remove all senses but some strange "can see text in an otherwise silent dark experience" and a chatbot is at a severe handicap to participate. Contextual clues aren't just the decorative influence to meaningful dialog, they're the essence of it.

So until we get a "bot" that can use some form of vision, hearing and touch - and possibly smell/taste - to fills its "memory" with massive associations that we humans use - it'll never do much. We're left with a machine guessing at the layers of meanings involved and following massive piles of rules to mimic the text of real communication. It cannot easily make the jumps across semantic concepts of jokes like "How does a fish smell? With it's nose, dummy!" or phrases as simple as "See what I mean?" or "I heard you were taking a vacation" or "Check out this vid, it touches on the finer point about AI" or "Over here, the weather is great" - the list is endless, and subtly woven into all conversations.

Interestingly, a machine that could use input like our own senses wouldn't need to be limited to just those 5. It could have broader-bandwidth input for light, sound, and get into perceiving radio-waves, echolocation, etc. Of course, it would have to talk to us in "human context" so it understood time-related phrase like "a little while" was based on human perception, the locale, etc. Also, we may have to get used to a single bot that has multiple physical presences, such that it "lived" (had sensory input from) in several locations across the globe experiencing things, but knew to focus on our location when chatting with us.

What some have proposed is a precursor to such a machine, by using machine-aided design to build the bot. So for example if a computer could design the optimal "drivers" for stereoscopic vision (layers of them - for color, contrast, movement, etc) through iterative evolutionary means (where multiple designs for, say, contrast, competed with a fitness test) - we might get a machine accepting input from devices and storing/searching it more effectively. Right now, we throw a lot of guesses around and just employ massive processing power. Of course, this iterative design would need to be built into the bot permanently, so that it kept improving without so much tinkering.

Comment Re: I guess there's one sensible solution to this (Score 1) 819

Thanks for responding to at least my comment, given the flood. I'm unsure how you classify "drug users" but you're correct that freedom to filter/employ/associate with those you prefer is good, and even necessary. At the edge are legal bounds for prejudice but I accept you're not speaking of this. You describe a twice-annual full-company random drug test for Scheduled drugs - seems fine by me. Each shop has quite a few cultural hallmarks (many en in burnout, unfortunately). As an American male, I've worked with many H1B's and other non-native folks, and don't really concern myself with country of origin. I can understand the motivation to scare up a perceved shortage, as so companies can pay lower labor rates. The eventuality seems to be that pay rates may receive downward pressure, but other influences like cost-of-living, location, turnover, business-knowledge, etc push labor rates around as well. So its just obe of many influences.

Comment Re:I guess there's one sensible solution to this (Score 1) 819

I'm late to this discussion, but I feel compelled to add: This policy you hold is indeed a fine, legal and perhaps prudent choice. I think what you're noticing is exactly what the article states: The general population's perception of the risks of abuse [from cannabis] are too low to care about as in the past. Given the past failures for policy enforcement similar to how you run your shop, the comments' sentiment here is clear: There are simply too many addictions and abuses that are not covered by tests to worry so much about cannabis any more. The professions you mark actually suffer from exceptional abuse (machine operators, surgeons) - many times due to the stresses of retaining successful position itself. There also seems to renewed focus on empathy for those actually suffering from addiction, as it is arising up in the most personal of places.
  I doubt anyone sways any opinions on the internet - so this discussion crystallizes best as the Q2 2016 marker of the various viewpoints still bickering about pot and the workplace. I commend your patience to explain your view even as I see the general tide ebbing towards legalization and eventually, removal from the banned substance list.

Comment Re:Meh (Score 1) 267

I used to find iTunes OK, back when DAAP worked and I could just access music from my music server. Then Apple broke that, redesigned the interface several times, and crammed in yet more junk I'll never use like iPhone app management.

I got so sick of iTunes and of having three different mutually incompatible proprietary cables for our iPods that I got rid of all the iPods and replaced them with MP3 players that just mount as regular disk drives.

Now I use Vox for music playback on the Mac. Bonus: It handles FLAC, unlike sucky iTunes.

Comment Re:What happened to Pascal, anyway? (Score 2) 134

The two major Pascal implementations (Free Pascal and Delphi) are fairly compatible with each other so it's not as fragmented as you think.

It's isn't fragmented now, because it's dead other than those two non-standard compilers, all the other implementations having vanished along with their communities...

Comment Re:What happened to Pascal, anyway? (Score 1) 134

The Pascal community fragmented. The 8-bit systems carried on using ISO Pascal or UCSD Pascal, but Wirth and other key Pascal experts went off and created Modula-2, which was much more practical for real world programming. (I used Modula-2 on the Atari ST, it was a much nicer experience than trying to program GEM in C.)

But instead of Pascal or Modula-2, Borland went off and did their own thing, producing a proprietary "Pascal" that wasn't compatible with anyone else.

Then the Modula-2 community split into the Oberon (Wirth) and Modula-3 (everyone else) communities to add OO, and Borland again did their own thing and ignored everyone else.

Now we have Go, which takes C and adds in ideas from Modula and Oberon. And Free Pascal still isn't even compatible with 1982's standard ISO Pascal.

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