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Comment Re: Pass on those four (Score 1) 395

But it would be a serious mistake to install an automatic transmission in a freight locomotive or heavy truck.

Locomotives are practically all either electric (no variable transmission at all) or diesel-electric (the ultimate "automatic" transmission; one with infinite ratio selection). Really heavy equipment almost always has an automatic transmission of some sort. The Caterpillar 797 400-ton mining truck (4000 hp) has an automatic transmission with 7 forward speeds and a torque converter.

Comment Re:What about English? (Score 1) 395

...Humans have understood how to interpret human language, it is high time we taught our machines to do the same.

I agree. This language is already written. COmmon Business Oriented Language, by the grace of Admiral Grace

I was waiting for someone to bring up this UTTER FALLACY.

COBOL is chatty/wordy, and resembles english, but it is not at all structured like english. It has very precise structural rules. You tell it "ADD X TO Y GIVING ANS", but you can't (productively) tell it "ANS IS X ADDED TO Y" or "ADD X AND Y TOGETHER TO GIVE ANS".

Comment Re:What about English? (Score 2) 395

Natural language computer instruction is a tantalizing goal. It would be very convenient for the human to employ, but singularly challenging for the computer to interpret. How the hell is it supposed to divine that a water pistol is not something made of water (nor does it shoot projectiles), and a wood stove is not made of wood. Is a wood table something intended to support wood?

The reason Siri works is because it is presented with stupidly simplistic queries, and we accept crazily imprecise answers from it. I was struck by how cool and desirable the Star Trek computer was; how it instantly gave good usable responses to any kind of imprecise questions. But I quickly realized that the scenarios were unrealistic.

"Captain, the ship is weirdly fucking up".

"Computer, what is wrong?"

How come the computer never replied "Imprecise query.", perhaps following up with "What do you mean, "wrong'? Do you mean 'mistaken', 'dishonest', 'immoral', 'unjust', 'incorrect', or 'unsuitable'?" Consider how ambiguous it is to ask "What's wrong with you?" It could mean "In what way do you feel ill?" Or it could mean "Why do you accept abuse?" or "why do you behave irrationally?" (usually with the word 'wrong' heavily emphasized). If you say "I feel badly", that actually means "the mechanism by which you experience physical contact is impaired".

Anyone discussing the concept of natural language computer instruction had damn well better have read The Number of the Beast (Heinlein, 1980), and clearly understand the pitfalls it outlines.

Comment Re:Reality (Score 1) 131

'meeting a drone' would have constituted extra-judicial killing. It's appalling that people here seem to condone that.

Cut the shit, clown. If you engage in warfare against the people of my country, you're can be god damned sure my country is going to engage you in return. Hopefully with 1000 times the force.

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"But what we need to know is, do people want nasally-insertable computers?"