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Comment Re:The Singularity (Score 1) 233

I did, and I found it quite difficult to believe that the authors had read any of the originals, let alone any notes. They completely missed all of the subtlety from the originals and made all of the characters painfully two dimensional. Reading the bit in the foreword when Brian Herbert opines that Kevin J Anderson (who has yet to write a single book with an ending that didn't feel like he got bored and had 5 pages to tie up all of the loose ends and is best known for some embarrassingly bad Star Wars novels) was the only person who could write something on a scale of the Dune sequels tells you that it's not going to go particularly well.

Comment Re: Well it's easy to show superhuman AI is a myth (Score 1) 233

Exactly. It's something that works at the level of a human subconscious: the leftover bits of evolved junk in our minds from before we developed sentience. The sorts of things that let us shout at the sky before a thunderstorm and then assume that we've made Thor angry, not the sorts of things that allow us to build a modern technical society.

Comment Re: But how will I trick investors!?! (Score 4, Informative) 233

Except that the claims of strong AI 'real soon now' have been coming since the '60s. Current AI research is producing things that are good at the sorts of things that an animal's autonomic system does. AI research 40 years ago was doing the same thing, only (much) slower. The difference between that and a sentient system is a qualitative difference, whereas the improvements that you list are all quantitative.

Neural networks are good at generating correlations, but that's about all that they're good for. A large part of learning to think as a human child is learning to emulate a model of computation that's better suited to sentient awareness on a complex neural network. Most animals have neural networks in their heads that are far more complex than anything that we can build now, yet I'm not seeing mice replacing humans in most jobs.

Comment Re:Fuck Bozos (Score 1) 90

Agree mainly. I try to minimise my purchases from Amazon now and use: as I'm in the UK. But since I'm a Londoner and a mature student, I use Foyles and Waterstones, big central London bookshops and some of the smaller independents.

What people forget is that taxes pay for roads, a legal system, education etc. all the things that make Amazon viable. Also, we'll all be very sad when the word 'store' drops from our vocabularies and is replaced with 'Amazon'. They are already gaming prices: suggesting that something called 'abuse of dominant position' is probably operating.

As Nancy Reagan said 'Just say no'.

Comment Android and apps: redux (Score 2) 117

This was my most recent comment on Android and 'apps': With this, I see no reason to change my mind. There's some reason we close all the ports we can and create solid firewall rules, isn't there?

I'm going to try this next: but I'm not at all convinced that it's better.

Comment Re:Not sure if it's good or bad.. (Score 1) 113

AI, Robotics, and OO Programming (Java is there but may be on decline in a few years in favor of Python or improved JavaScript and possibly C/C++).

Python is getting stronger in data mining and the cloud (AWS lambda), but that's because it has nice bindings for a lot of c/c++ libraries. Typescript is nice, but it doesn't have a mature ecosystem (like a mature IDE).
C++ is still overly complicated which prevents good autocomplete and needs expensive tools to sanity check.

General purpose computing will be the domain of Java and C# for a long time.

Comment Recruitment process and bad leadership/training (Score 2) 113

I'm in the UK, semi-retired but still do some freelance, some (free and paid) support for voluntary organisations. I've been 'industry' for 40 years this year.

The first thing I see is a mad/incompetent buzzword list based recruitment process from agencies that don't understand anything about technology. I'm asked to do stuff, then eliminated because one easy-to-learn (I mean a couple of days, usually) thing is missing from the application. I don't lie either, I don't like it and don't need to. This leads to the next thing.

When I entered the industry, managers and companies expected to train and develop (permanent) staff, as part of the social contract. They understood that people don't know everything but half-way smart/motivated people can learn stuff too. Now this is treated as an economic externality in that they expect the (very expensive) universities and colleges to do everything for them. They appear to complain bitterly on television when they find that they may have to use some of their own resources.

Finally, on the same lines, they need to try and let non graduates and other fields in. There weren't any computer science degrees when I started, I studied chemistry and a lot of my co-workers studied Greek and Latin, for example. Ability to learn is (often) a horizontal thing, though I agree people have blind spots.

So this can probably be sorted out, but it requires a change of attitude in the career chain.

Comment Re: How about a 4th option ? (Score 1) 372

You might like to pay attention when the muck spreaders are out - the stuff that they're coating the fields in is not plain old organic dirt (or even soil, which is an incredibly complex substance in its own right). It's not even shit anymore, it's a complex growing medium that's covered by numerous patents.

Comment Re:COBOL isn't hard to learn (Score 2) 372

Given that most of this code was originally targeting systems from the 1960's and 70's, I can't imagine there being an insurmountable number of lines of code

According to Wikipedia, Gartner estimated about 200 billion lines of COBOL code in 1997. To put that in perspective, that's more than the total amount of open source C code tracked by Can you imagine persuading someone to rewrite all of that C code in a newer language?

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"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.