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Comment Re:Watson sold as Watson (Score 1) 56

Your Brain Sees Things You Don't

Science Daily has a piece on recent findings that suggest we throughput much more information than we're consciously aware of.

the brain processes and understands visusal input that we may never consciously perceive. ...Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the white spaces on the outsides. ..."The specific question was, 'Does the brain process those hidden shapes to the level of meaning, even when the subject doesn't consciously see them?"
The answer, Sanguinetti's data indicates, is yes. ...Study participants' brainwaves indicated that even if a person never consciously recognized the shapes on the outside of the image, their brains still processed those shapes to the level of understanding their meaning. ...

"There's a brain signature for meaningful processing," Sanguinetti said. A peak in the averaged brainwaves called N400 indicates that the brain has recognized an object and associated it with a particular meaning.

So it's not just that AI can't process all that we can in the variety of ways we can. It's also that our brains are processing a bunch of stuff we're not consciously aware of.

Comment The Other Watson (Score 2) 56

In February 2013, IBM announced that Watson software system's first commercial application would be for utilization management decisions in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloanâ"Kettering Cancer Center in conjunction with health insurance company WellPoint.[12] IBM Watsonâ(TM)s business chief Manoj Saxena says that 90% of nurses in the field who use Watson now follow its guidance.

Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language,[2] developed in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson was named after IBM's Thomas J. Watson.

It's surprising the number of people outside of IT who think it was named after Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes books. "Elementary my dear Dr. Watson." Apparently AI still hasn't made it past let alone through what we take as elementary.

Comment Cavet Emptor (Score 1) 276

Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country.[1][2][3] The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past, a standard of deferred payment.[4][5] Any kind of object or secure verifiable record that fulfills these functions can be considered money.

Money is historically an emergent market phenomenon establishing a commodity money, but nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money.[4] Fiat money, like any check or note of debt, is without intrinsic use value as a physical commodity. It derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for "all debts, public and private"[citation needed]. Such laws in practice cause fiat money to acquire the value of any of the goods and services that it may be traded for within the nation that issues it.

The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and bank money (the balance held in checking accounts and savings accounts). Bank money, which consists only of records (mostly computerized in modern banking), forms by far the largest part of the money supply in developed nations.

Money acts as a standard measure and common denomination of trade. It is thus a basis for quoting and bargaining of prices. It is necessary for developing efficient accounting systems. But its most important usage is as a method for comparing the values of dissimilar objects.


Bitcoin may be money in nearly every sense of the word but it lacks stability to act as a standard measure and common denomination of trade. Just as money in unstable countries lack the same attributes. It's a medium of speculation and not being tied to a stable market place perhaps overseen by a stable government it will likely never be more than a means of speculation.

Comment Re:Socialism vs. Capitalism (Score 1) 445

I was thinking generally more along the lines of progressive taxation and wealth distribution. Tax in Norwaysuggests wealth distribution is dealt with by way of progressive taxation. While I don't have any numbers on hand and I'm too lazy to round some up, I'll go out on a limb, and suggest the taxation systems in Scandinavian countries is much more progressive than in the U.S.A.

The relatively high tax level is a result of the large Norwegian welfare state. Most of the tax revenue is spent on public services such as health services, the operation of hospitals, education and transportation.


Comment Socialism vs. Capitalism (Score 5, Interesting) 445

I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest.

The argument can be made that capitalism widens the divide between rich and poor. The old question remains whether unbridled capitalism and philanthropy can better address the world's woes, or, would a more socialist political structure like those seen in Scandinavian countries better address and more quickly narrow the divide.

Comment Re:They printed off assembler (Score 1) 211

Whatever your complaints about your job, at least debugging your code doesn't involve stepping through assembly on a pencil and paper virtual machine.

That was how I wrote my first published game back in the 80's. I have no complaints.

Do you think the pencil and paper mechanics made any qualitative difference, good or bad, to the overall learning process?

Submission + - Poland Hosts UN Climate Change Conference And International Coal Summit

wrackspurt writes: The Huffington Post is reporting that Poland will be hosting a high-level coal industry event while hosting the annual U.N. climate talks. Coal accounts for more than 80 percent of Poland's electricity generation and the industry provides about 600,000 jobs in a country with a 13% unemployment rate. Poland joined the EU in 2004 but the government opposes the current EU emissions cut target of 20 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, a keynote speaker promotes efforts to boost renewable energy and cut funding for fossil fuels.

Comment Almost Cut My Hair (Score 1) 335

And I'm not feelin' up to par
It increases my paranoia
Like lookin' at my mirror and seein' a police car
But I'm not givin' in an inch to fear
'cause I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone

I bet a lot of /.ers are mentally running through some of their past posts right about now. Where did I leave that tinfoil?

Comment Conspicuous Consumption (Score 4, Interesting) 241

Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power â" either the buyerâ(TM)s income or the buyerâ(TM)s accumulated wealth. Sociologically, to the conspicuous consumer, such a public display of discretionary economic power is a means either of attaining or of maintaining a given social status.

Moreover, invidious consumption, a more specialized sociologic term, denotes the deliberate conspicuous consumption of goods and services intended to provoke the envy of other people, as a means of displaying the buyerâ(TM)s superior socio-economic status.

Nothing new.

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