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Comment Re:Translation... (Score 1) 78

I have very rarely heard of a discussion of say, neural networks, referred to as "AI" in other than in a marketing or popular media context.

This is simply a product of speaking to the audience. The more general your audience is, the more general your nomenclature becomes. You can find numerous research papers where neural networks are considered applications of artificial intelligence. You are certainly correct that people in the industry call these applications neural networks far more than calling them AI, just like I would tell a colleague I am finishing some JavaScript code instead of saying I am doing web programming.

Once these researchers, and the companies employing them, need to talk to regular people through marketing or the popular media, using terms like deep learning, neural networks, finite state machines, etc would be counterproductive. The public is much more likely to understand the phrase "We made a breakthrough in AI" than "We made a breakthrough in Adaptive Neural Fuzzy Inference Systems."

Comment Re:Translation... (Score 1) 78

"AI" for us greybeards means one thing: actual intelligence, i.e. sentience.

I think you mean sapience, not sentience, but your statement still goes to the heart of why people complain about the semantics used by the computing industry when it discusses artificial intelligence. It shows a disconnect between people like yourselves and the actual artificial intelligence research community.

Even at its very beginnings, artificial intelligence was not limited to sapient computer systems. The 1956 Dartmouth Conference, organized by John McCarthy (who coined the term artificial intelligence), considered the field of artificial intelligence to be far wider than simply creating a thinking machine. Expert systems, deductive and inductive systems, neural networks, and many other current AI topics were all discussed.

Artificial intelligence, since its beginning, has been interested in finding ways for computers to solve problems once reserved for humans. It doesn't matter if the computer is using creativity, imagination, or reason. Eventually this will almost certainly lead to sapient computers, but the field of artificial intelligence can still keep making breakthroughs longs before that happens.

TL; DR; Your definition of artificial intelligence is simply wrong.

Comment Re:Translation... (Score 1) 78

This. There is no fucking AI. I'm sick of hearing news about it every god damned day when it doesn't even exist.

So Amazon and Google have a huge team of employees listening to my voice waiting for me to say "Alexa" or "OK Google" and then transcribing my messages? Does Facebook has a team of people setting up the feed of every user manually? Because if not there is real AI doing this.

AI can be as simple as a simple finite state machine or a complicated deep learning neural network. Just as natural intelligence can range from plants secreting defensive chemicals when hearing a caterpillar eating to someone figuring out how to drive a car.

It doesn't have to be Skynet to be considered AI.

Comment Re:Cost of Infrastructure? (Score 1) 217

I would be interesting to see if they save any money here as well, considering UPS operates on about a 7-8% profit margin. Considering Amazon is such a large customer I would be willing to bet they make far less profit on Amazon shipments. Not a lot of room for savings unless they believe they have a new better way of doing shipping.

UPS has a revenue of about $60 billion per year, while Amazon pays about $5 billion in yearly shipping costs. This puts them in an entirely different order of magnitude as far as scale goes. This makes it even less likely Amazon would save a lot of money.

If Amazon does pull this off (meaning they save money) it would be quite an accomplishment.

Comment Re:Most convienent but not always cheapest (Score 1) 141

Amazon is not always the cheapest but they usually are the most convenient in my experience.

Which if you value your time means that unless you are buying something worth at least hundreds of dollars, its almost never worth shopping around. I shop around when buying a TV or high end video card, but never for an under $100 item.

Comment Other 45% Use Google Which Provides Amazon Link (Score 1) 141

I usually don't go to Amazon first when shopping for items, but only because it is easier to type the product into Google and follow the Amazon link I find in the results, with is almost always Amazon if they offer the product. I wonder if that counts as going to Amazon first or not.

Comment Re:It can't come soon enough... (Score 1) 239

If there is a child running out on the road that is obscured from sensors, a human will see the ball, see others on the yard in horror and shock and be able to intuit what is about to happen.

Or in a more realistic scenario, the human is driving 35 mph in a residential area and still can't stop in time for the child, and the automated car is obeying the speed limit and can stop. But I will certainly grant you there will be times when an automated car kills someone when a human would not. The important thing is whether more or less people in total are killed by automated cars when compared to human drivers.

Your second scenario is exactly why we need legislatures to start deciding these rules now. Your question is essentially how dangerous will we allow these cars to drive. Your ability to sue, or more accurately your ability to win a lawsuit, will depend on the early legislation and case law. Most likely insurance companies will end up covering car companies in the same way they cover individual drivers now. You won't have to sue them, they will just pay you for medical bills, pain and suffering like they would today for a human driver.

Comment Re:It can't come soon enough... (Score 1) 239

You mention a whole lot of things where human intuition is compensating for a brain which is incapable of paying attention to all inputs at the same time. But we aren't talking about such a limited processing device when discussing automated cars.

An automated car doesn't need to know a bouncing ball on the street means it should be looking out for children. It is always looking out for children, unlike its human counterpart.

Comment Re:Excellent! (Score 1) 239

Before getting this technology legal and on the road, perhaps we should focus on getting this technology?

Publicly letting the industry know regulators are interested in helping make automated vehicles a reality is a very important early step in lowering the risk involved in investing in this technology. Major car companies and other investors will probably now be more willing to invest money in technologies which support automated vehicles becoming a reality.

Every investor's risk matrix just had one box move from red to yellow.

Comment Re:Well that's wrong (Score 2) 274

Our computers fuck up all the time because of bad sofrware. So do your phones. So will so-called 'autonomous cars', and the more complex the software, the harder it is to find the bugs in it, and in this case the bugs WILL GET PEOPLE KILLED

Bugs in the human brain killed 38,300 people in 2015 and injured another 4.4 million. And these bugs are far harder to find and fix than autonomous driving cars would be. Yes, it's very likely each year self-driving cars will kill thousands of people and injure hundreds of thousands more. But even if this is true they would still be an order of magnitude safer than human drivers.

I'm not saying it is an absolute that self-driving cars will be safer than humans in the next 10 years, but it is certainly not nonsense.

Comment Re:like what? (Score 1) 537

It looks like a better headline to this story could have been "How can we get techies to spend more time improving the world?" It doesn't appear you are unaware why they aren't doing it now so this may have geared the answers closer to what you were looking for.

In an attempt to answer your intended question:

1) One way for techies to improve the world is simply to create tools used by others who are improving the world. Better business intelligence tools can and are used by charities to identify and target those they help, not just by for profit corporations. Improved social media apps were arguably instrumental in the Arab Spring, and will likely continue to assist in other efforts to improve the world. It's easy to dismiss "meaningless apps" but they are created because they solve a problem for someone, so to their customers these apps are improving the world.

2) Increasing funding to charities and to for profit companies with a focus on social good will cause more techies to work on these projects. This funding would almost certainly need to come from governmental organizations as they have the easiest method of collecting revenue for projects with little to no ROI (mandatory taxes).

So if you really see this as a problem to improve, choose the most liberal political party in your country (which has a chance of winning elections) and work to help them get into (or stay in) power. That is most likely the best path to improving this problem.

Comment Re:like what? (Score 1) 537

Technology and especially information technology is the focus on human power right now, and that power can be applied to better goals [...]

Technology is not the focus of human power right now, financial capital is. This is unlikely to ever change. Technology is simply a tool used by those with power (regardless of how much power they have) to achieve their goals. The percentage of technological advancement geared towards social good is directly proportional to the desire to enact social good by those who have financial capital.

When those with financial capital are more interested in solving the world's most important problems than they are in gaining more capital, technology will quite naturally shift its focus towards those new goals.

Comment Re:like what? (Score 5, Insightful) 537

Isn't Venture Capital throwing money at a problem with the hope of solving it and making money? Why is throwing money at BeerMe, DriveMe, FeedMe, etc., a reasonable idea but throwing money at a more important problem not acceptable or likely to work?

Solving a problem does not inherently make you money. Creating a solution customers are willing and able to spend money on will make you money. By giving $10 to a starving poor person I could solve that hunger (at least temporarily), but I am unlikely to see a return on that "investment". Finding a way to make a better tasting ketchup, on the other hand, could make a lot of money, regardless of whether tastier ketchup is a more important than feeding starving people.

Venture capital is not charity. Wealthy people can certainly choose to start a foundation (like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) instead of investing in a VC firm if solving "important" problems is their goal. If they choose investing, however, return on investment is likely the goal.

There are a lot of VC funded companies solving very important problems, but the reason they were funded almost certainly was because they could show a potential return on investment. Social good could have been a factor, but very few companies (or possibly no companies) are funded by VC's as a charity case.

Comment Re:Bravo indeed (Score 1) 424

In those societies, if you wanted to share a secret with a select few, you may do that. They may talk about it with others, but there is no method of instantaneous mass distribution.

You can still do this today, just don't talk about it digitally. 100 years ago if you sent a letter to a friend it also had the chance of being stolen. Your friends still had the ability to tell others and start gossip.

but we can condemn that person behind an assumed anonymity, so that we suffer no consequences for the things we say or do

This is certainly a slight difference from the past, but once a mob starts attacking someone, individuals in that mob rarely face consequences for their actions. Not many members of lynching mobs, or people pelting others with mud or excrement in a pillory, ever faced consequences for their actions.

This is just the modern version of a pillory.

Comment Re: Bravo indeed (Score 1) 424

And no, people do not consider the consequences of sharing electronic information. We see that time, and time, and time again.

No argument here, although a few more decades of ruined lives has a good chance of changing this perception.

And what of the consequences? Are they just? Should we give up the ability to share any personal information in this age without expecting it to be condemned and mocked worldwide by anonymous fools?

Until our society grows to the point where we realize everyone has aspects of their life which could invite juvenile ridicule, it is absolutely the correct decision to never share personal information digitally which we wouldn't broadcast to the world. Never bitch about work or a friend over text, never email / text / snapchat nude photos, etc. This is basic stuff which unfortunately a vast majority of people don't realize is important. Hopefully enough of these stories changes that naive ignorance in the general public.

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