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Are We Searching Google, Or Is Google Searching Us?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the eye-to-eye dept.

Sci-Fi 346

An anonymous reader writes "The folks at the Edge have published a short story by George Dyson, Engineer's Dreams. It's a piece that fiction magazines wouldn't publish because it's too technical and technical publications wouldn't print because it's too fictional. It's the story of Google's attempt to map the web turning into something else, something that should interest us. The story contains some interesting observations such as, 'This was the paradox of artificial intelligence: any system simple enough to be understandable will not be complicated enough to behave intelligently; and any system complicated enough to behave intelligently will not be simple enough to understand.' After you read it, you'll be asking the same question the author does — 'Are we searching Google, or is Google searching us?'"

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ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398699)

ATTENTION SHOPPERS: PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS. I REPEAT, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS CURRENTLY LOOMING OUTSIDE LOT 4. CONTINUE SHOPPING BUT PLEASE ENSURE YOU LEAVE VIA AN ALTERNATIVE EXIT AS WE ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO GUARANTEE YOUR SAFETY IN LOT 4, DUE TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, LOTS 1, 2, 3, 5 AND 6 ARE CURRENTLY FREE OF BAYING NECROTIC DOG PENIS. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE NECROTIC DOG PENIS. THANK YOU. Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Lameness filter = censorship, lameness filter = censorship, lameness filter = censorship, lameness filter = censorship, lameness filter = censorship, lameness filter = censorship. Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.

Re:ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398755)

Mod parent up!

Re:ATTENTION SHOPPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398799)

Mod parent backward!

Red ROCKET! RED ROCKET! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398847)

Stud dogs go about the whole sex thing rather differently than primates (or equines). Unlike us, male canines don't have an orgasm that involves a short, intense ejaculation. Instead, once they have become fully erect, they will have a continuous orgasm for from 10 to 45 minutes or longer. The "standard" procedure for dogs, when they are mating, is that the male "ties" with the bitch - which means that, after he has penetrated fully, his penis will develop a knot at its base that is several times wider than the rest of his shaft.

For reference, a 80 pound Golden stud dog might have, let's say, a cock that is 7 or 8 inches long when erect - but his knot will be at least as big around as a tennis ball. This knot swells inside the bitch, and so long as he remains erect the dogs are "tied." No, this isn't painful for her - canine females long ago developed an entire set of muscular supports for this process. Generally, once they are tied, most stud dogs prefer to step off and over, so he and the bitch are tail-to-tail. Theories abound on why this evolved - I have yet to see one that was truly convincing. Anyway, they'll stand like this, with the male having a continuous orgasm during the whole tie - until he starts to shrink and they pop apart. Bitches also have orgasms, and she'll likely have quite a few during the tie, as well - research has shown that her orgasms are essential to increasing the chances of pregnancy, due to muscular contractions.

Anyway. if a guy like me has a stud dog partner, one form of intimacy is for him to tie with us, anally. As young teenagers, many of us learned the hard way about the knot, and the tie - particularly back in pre-interweb days. So we'd suddenly find ourselves locked together, with this tennis-ball width cock inside us. Nowadays, I suspect most young zoos know all about this. However, some folks still have eyes bigger than their stomach, err their you-know-what.

It would not be accurate to say that I have a stream of visitors who show up at my house just for sex with my canine partners. However, it is true that I do not exercise any sort of unilateral control/ownership over the relationships my canine boys might develop with other people - they are adults, and if they desire to get frisky with another two-legger and I judge that the person is respectful and unlikely to do anything mean or stupid, I have no moral ground on which to say "oh, no, you aren't allowed - he can only have sex with me." That just makes no sense, so if there's a time when a friend is visiting and there's a spark between them and one of my partners, I'm ok with that. In truth, I think it's great to have the boys' enjoy other positive relationships and I love to see them happy, whatever the circumstances.

Many years ago, a friend was visiting - a zoo who had been active with his own stud dog for quite a few years. His boy was a breed that is not small, but is also somewhat known by old-school zoos as being, well, on average not so well-endowed relative to their body size. This friend had tied with his partner on a number of occasions - and he often talked about how intense and rewarding the experience was, for both of them. That's great, I said - while thinking that he'd probably not fare so well with a larger breed.

As it turns out, he and one of my canine friends hit it off quite clearly right from the get-go - the chemistry was there and the two of them seemed like they'd known each other for ages. After several visits, I could see that they were sort of getting closer and closer - my friend was worried that I'd feel he was somehow intruding into my relationship with this handsome stud dog - who had been in my own family for close to a decade. Of course not, I told him - if you guys hit it off and things get steamy, I'd hardly throw cold water on it just so I can be all possessive and insecure. HOWEVER, I warned him, that handsome boy with whom you're making goo-goo eyes is much bigger than your own long-time partner.

I tried to be nice about this, but some zoos get their nose out of joint if you suggest their beloved might not be the most-endowed canine (or equine, or whatever) around. He was a bit like that - and right off the bat tried to convince me his boy was "really quite large for his body size," and who was I to argue? I did warn him that the stud dog he was considering, in my family, was somewhat over-endowed for his body size - and he was in the range of 120 pounds of low-bodyfat muscle. Beh, my friend said, no problem - I know what I'm doing. . .

Later that evening, after I'd gone to bed, I woke to the sound of toenails on the hardwood floor. There was also a bit of panting, a giggle here and there - not hard to figure out what was going on. Feeling a sense of impending doom, I made my presence known and sort of lurked in the background, sitting on the sofa and enjoying the huge, nearly-full moon casting shadows on the farm. The two boys were doing some sort of foreplay - it seemed cute to me, but I did (once again) warn my friend that this particular stud dog was also rather aggressive in his breeding - he'd sired many litters of wonderful pups, in his own career, and knew quite well how to get a proper tie with even inexperienced or skittish bitches. Yeah, yeah - my friend was clearly not thinking with the had between his shoulders, but the one between his legs.

In a flash, the big stud dog was mounted on my friend - and this time he wasn't just going through the motions, or playing. In just a few thrusts, he was inside - and with all that muscle, he held himself tight as he began to swell. It doesn't take long - maybe 20 seconds. I'm still watching, from the sofa, somewhere between shocked and bemused. For the first ten seconds or so, my friend is quiet and still as a winter night - not a sound save the deep grunting from my stud dog as he was swelling with each heartbeat.

Then, reality started to intrude (pun intended). My friend started to make this sort of whimpering sound - no words, just a low moan. Too late to turn back, I knew, so I held my tongue. Then, as my stud dog really began to take on his full size (which I knew from years of firsthand enjoyment was just under 10 inches in length with a knot just shy of softball size), my two-legged friend began to realize the error of his ways. This stud dog was, quite likely, at least double the width of his normal canine partner - and 3 or 4 inches longer. And, as reality is dawning on him, each heartbeat is causing the cock inside him to get bigger. . . and bigger. . . and bigger.

By now, he's positively crying - literally crying like a baby. No words, just sort of a quiet blubbering. He's smart enough to know there's no backing out now - and he didn't try anything stupid like pulling loose (which can, indeed, cause massive rectal tearing if done in haste - trust me, not fun). At this point my canine friend casually steps off from the usual "doggie style" position and, with years of practice, adjusts himself into the butt-to-butt position. And to add insult to (literal) injury, my canine friend has now plastered an absolutely massive grin on his face - when we say "shit-eating grin," this is it He's having the time of his life, tied with a new friend he's met, just starting into an orgasm that will go on for nearly 20 minutes. Not only does he not really know that his fuck buddy is feeling like someone's put the better part of a baseball bat up his ass. . . I'm quite sure he doesn't care.

Just for good measure, I took a photo of the gigantic smile on the stud dog's face - nothing more than that, just his face and the grin to end all grins. Click.

My two-legged friend is now officially gibbering - it's really a verb, I didn't know that before just then. He's somehow begging for it to "stop, oh please stop" - but every now and then there's an "oh god oh GOD he's amazing" thrown in, before he's back to "oh PLEASE make it stop OOOH stop stop stop." This goes on, as is par for the course, for just shy of 20 minutes, at which point my stud dog friend begins to subside, pops free (with a characteristically loud and gushing dis-connection), and lies down to clean himself up and help his cock back into its sheath.

In contrast, my two-legged friend has simply fallen over, and curled up into a fetal ball. Well, I think to myself, I don't see any blood. . . oh, wait, I do see blood, but not really that much so it's probably ok. I get him a blanket and try to offer kindness without intruding on his pain, and to be honest without sniggering. The words "I told you so" are hovering out there, but need not be spoken at that somewhat awkward time. I do ask: "are you going to be ok, or should we head to hospital?" In between ragged breaths, he responds "no hospital, not going to die" - and indeed my own judgment is that he's far from dying, though he may feel like that would be preferable to the pain he's in.

I get him a blanket, and a pillow and get him comfortable right there on the hardwood floor of the kitchen. And our canine Casanova? Well he's cleaned up, wandered over to give a big, wet, shameless kiss to his worse-for-the-wear sexual partner and he's already asleep on the sofa, snoring - with grin still present on his face. Remorse? Regret? Not a chance!

The next day, I was impressed to see that my guest was up and at the kitchen table, with his well-endowed playmate from the previous night sharing a dish of eggs and toast, when I came downstairs with the rest of the canine crew. Impressed, that is, until I noticed he wasn't in any rush to get up from the table - ever. Turns out, he had indeed suffered some serious internal bruising - in a few days, the discoloration has spread from his lower back (which still makes me laugh, sorry, because I can visualize exactly how far in that cock had gone and, sure enough, that's where the bruise mellows out - a good bit of the way up his back and towards his ribs) down his legs, and clear to his ankles. Both legs. It's spectacular. He's walking like a rehabbed accident victim for several days, and for weeks afterwards he looks as if he'd ridden a horse for too long (again, laughing as I type). It was more than a month before he'd healed up more or less ok, and even then I'd see him wince if he bent down too quickly.

Is it wrong for me to think this is funny? If it is, so be it - it's fucking funny. The transformation from swaggering "oh I can take that big boy, I know what I'm doing" to hunched-over victim of a mind-expanding lesson in what "big" means when applied to stud dogs - all in the blink of an eye. Yes, it's definitely funny.

Of course, in those early weeks, he promised me he would NEVER do something like that again - NEVER tie with a dog bigger than his own long-term partner. And, he asked me with genuine indignation, how could I keep tying with that dog who had torn him up so badly? Didn't I know the danger I was in? I responded, casually, that I appreciated his concerns but, to put perspective on things he should remember that his dog compared to that stud dog who tore him up so badly, in terms of relative size, the same way that the tearer-upper compared to my Dane partner at the time. His eyes grew wide - comprehension dawned. . . "you don't tie with that monster, do you?" I glanced over at my beloved Dane who, looking up at me, thumped his tail a few times in flagrant collusion with my own thoughts. "Who, me? Tie with that massive dog? Now what kind of crazy fool would do such a thing?"

And that, indeed, is a different story entirely. Years later, I emailed that photo of a stud dog with a huge grin on his handsome face, to my friend - no subject, no title, no comments. I believe I could hear the laughing from several thousand miles away - the smile says it all.

Re:Red ROCKET! RED ROCKET! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399117)

Wow, someone actually WROTE that!

Re:Red ROCKET! RED ROCKET! (0, Offtopic)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399223)

Yeh, but not the parent. [CTRL]+C, [CTRL]+V.

So, mod me -1 statin' the bleedin' obvious.

No, you are mistaken. (2, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399377)

That's just google's 5 year old AI posting on /. (again, I might add).
Unfortunately, it's mostly been fed V1@Gr@.

depends... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398703)

If you're in Russia, Google searches you :)

This is slashdot (5, Funny)

elguillelmo (1242866) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398705)

After you read it, you'll be asking the same question the author does

Do you mean we are supposed to read TFA? Seriously?

Re:This is slashdot (1)

phillous (1160303) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398843)

zomgwtfbbq?

Re:This is slashdot (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398975)

That's the slashdot paradox. Somehow linked websites' servers crash from 1 million+ geeks simultaneously failing to RTFA.

The real paradox (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399193)

The real question is ...

In Soviet Russia ... google is searching you, or you are searching google !

You see my question ...

Re:This is slashdot (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399267)

prefetchfox extension. it also messes with TFA in that google cant track you as easily if your everywhere.

Re:This is slashdot (2, Informative)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399485)

I read it. (sorry, I know it breaks SOP)

It didn't make me ask the same question as the author. Maybe I've read too much cyberpunk in the last year and it has jaded me. Either way, it was an interesting story. Not great, but interesting.

Are We Searching Google, Or Is Google Searching U (1, Interesting)

darkheart22 (909279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398723)

I think the times of big brother are ahead of us. Any big company that controls many aspects of our daily life "searches" us. I think it's time for another big company to take the lead of the search engines(not microsoft thought)...

Re: Are We Searching Google, Or Is Google Searchin (1)

cjmdaixi (1323299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398903)

Protect yourself, and nobody can "search" you

::yawn:: (4, Funny)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398739)

Wake me up when it starts teaching the monkeys how to use tools and kill each other. And no Republican jokes, either.

Re:::yawn:: (5, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399227)

Wake me up when it starts teaching the monkeys how to use tools and kill each other. And no Republican jokes, either.

Soooooooooo, this Republican walks into a bar with a monkey under his arm....

Re:::yawn:: (5, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399451)

Wake me up when it starts teaching the monkeys how to use tools and kill each other. And no Republican jokes, either.

Soooooooooo, this Republican walks into a bar with a monkey under his arm....
 
  Walks into the bathroom and taps his foot under the stall door.

Depends... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398757)

If you live in soviet russia or not

And the biggest questions of all (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398767)

Is Google searching Google some sort of self-discovery process?

Re:And the biggest questions of all (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399145)

That would break the internet.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fet0SCt7uGg

(I apologize profusely.)

Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398773)

The best argument against this kind of ridiculous assertion that somehow random information will somehow give rise to intelligence is provided in the old movie Short Circuit. The SAINT 5 robot spends all night reading the encyclopedia and when morning comes, it is suddenly an expert on everything. But its expertise is only in pure knowledge, not the rational use of that knowledge to create something beyond mere identification.

The only way for a robot to grow past its programming is to add the capability to do so. And simply having a system scan data and find correlations isn't going to be enough. There needs to be an action taken on the discovered correlations, and beyond that the actions need to be reprocessed back into the system in a feedback loop. And even further, it is necessary for the program to identify patterns and make intelligent decisions based on those patterns, but the intelligence necessary to make those decisions must come from external sources. I.e. the programmer.

It's a bit outlandish to think that just because a program is constantly watching and processing inputs that it is somehow sentient.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398807)

It's a bit outlandish to think that just because a program is constantly watching and processing inputs that it is somehow sentient.

Proof: Any average couch potatoe watching TV 24/7. Constantly watching, (presumably) constantly processing, but no sentience can be identified in it.

Your counterargument being the quality of your TV program? Gee, you know what Google is being fed constantly? See, the proof stands firm!

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398851)

Any average couch potatoe watching TV 24/7

What a hardcore couch potato, receiving cable television through their mind is no small feat.

Re:potatoe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399041)

Dan Quayle, is that you?

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399241)

Proof: Any average couch potatoe watching TV 24/7

Well hello there, Mr. Vice-President.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399263)

Any average couch potatoe...

Dan Quayle, that's the smartest thing you've ever said!

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399401)

I swear to god, when I was in 2nd grade, I learned that it was a word that you could spell either way. And WIKI confirms it! Spellings change over time. That kid was always an insufferable smartass -- um, yeah, kid, there's only one way to spell it - NOW. Smack.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potatoe#Spelling [wikipedia.org]

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399421)

Only 1 hour of exposure to Myspace will cause a drop of 15 points of IQ. Luckily as a race we tend to stop dropping when we hit 75-80 on the IQ scale as anything below that will cause undue duress on other members of the society.

For a scientific study see the report titled Idiocracy.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398873)

But its expertise is only in pure knowledge, not the rational use of that knowledge to create something beyond mere identification.

You kidding? Neo learnt how to fly helicopter in seconds.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (5, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398953)

Turn in your geek card!
It was Trinity that downloaded the program to fly the helicopter, not Neo.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399335)

It was Tank that uploaded the program to Trinity to fly the helicopter ...

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (5, Interesting)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398905)

Any biological intelligence does exactly the same as described: gather data (try to assess external universe model), find correlations (build internal universe model), act according to internal needs (act upon internal universe model) and repeat.

This chain of processing is done by all brains from the fruit fly to humans. Everything else is a consequential result from this process.

A human brain has very few hardwired constants and many of them they can be overridden.

Feedback loops are a natural result of action to fulfill internal needs according an internal model - that is always incomplete or wrong, see Goedel - upon the external universe. In the next step data is gathered, correlations found (which constitutes the feedback loop) and then acted out according to the adapted internal model.

A fruit fly has simple sensors, a very simple correlation engine and a tiny memory for its internal model. But that doesn't mean its following a different path than a newborn Einstein. Einstein has detailed sensors (easily surpassed by those of dogs and eagles, but still ok), a yet-unmatched correlation engine and a sufficient amount of internal model memory.

All other inputs come from the external universe and while some of them are absolutely neccessary and come from other organisms (parents, teachers), they do not impose a hard limit on Einstein: with enough correlation power, he can easily discover new facts, unknown to any of his inputs (teachers, parents).

Einsteins brain was never designed to do anything else than processing input signals, detecting correlations and contacting motor neurons to act upon its internal model. How did he discover Relativity then?

MOD PARENT UP (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398957)

This is the best comment I've read on Slashdot in a long time...

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398993)

You make it sound so easy!

Of course, at a certain level of abstraction, everything is easy.

Intelligence really is that simple.. except there's one little detail you're ignoring.

Any biological intelligence does exactly the same as described: gather data (try to assess external universe model using limited computational resources), find correlations (build internal universe model using limited computational resources), act according to internal needs (act upon internal universe model using limited computational resources) and repeat.

That's the hard part. If you have infinite computational resources it's really trivial to act intelligently. All you need do is enumerate all possible outcomes of all possible actions with an idealized model of the world (Godel not withstanding) and pick whichever maximizes your expected reward. You can write nice long mathematical papers on this.. or even a whole book. The question is, how do you do it with a sensible amount of processing power and memory?

All the geeks have a great laugh when Matt Groening causes Bender to become transparent and we see a 6502 inside. The joke is that Bender has about the same processing power of a C64 from the early 80s. The show is littered with additional Commodore jokes which I'm sure 90% of the viewers just don't get. But that's not what really makes it funny. What really makes it funny is that all us geeks know that you need a lot more processing power than a 6502 to do the complex things that Bender does in the complex environment he does them in. But how is that? We don't know how to do AI. We don't even have the slightest clue. For all we know, there is a tight little algorithm for AI that could run on a 6502 and produce all those crazy behaviors that Bender gets away with.

And that's the problem with AI. The allure is that some short little algorithm exists that will magically evolve into a super-human intelligence if you just could find it and hook it up to the world. After all, nature figured out, how hard could it be? This has led many a would be mad scientist to code up a genetic algorithms implementation. In fact, most every programmer I know has given it a go. The mystery of what you'll find if you give it the right fitness function is a powerful motivator - with a little magical thinking, it could be anything!

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (4, Interesting)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399527)

Unless that's just his morality co-processor.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

huit (1285438) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399415)

Does code replicate itself and could this code be under selective forces? e.g. code being part of a perpetuate program that allows strings to replicate themselves into the next version and scrap less effective code. This is all it would need to start evolving to better suit it's program/environment. If the program applied a selective force that lead to sentience (and it's precursor traits) being a useful adaptation, then this should happen. If not then how do you propose that it would develop a new complex trait like self perception if we don't program it?

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

huit (1285438) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399525)

I think I need to redifine the word program in their somwhere. Program/environment should be considered anywhere this program (set of code) could perpetuate (replicating and changing under selection). I guess we have already paved the way for the evolution code with the internet; providing the environment and the seeds of self replicating code. I am now starting to predict the occurrence of virii that were never even written by a man...and given more time (opportunities to replicate) more complex programs (like multicellular organisms) could arise.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398977)

An insightfull mod for asserting #5 was NOT alive. Bravo BadAnalogyGuy, bravo!

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (2, Insightful)

DocDJ (530740) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399139)

The best argument against this kind of ridiculous assertion that somehow random information will somehow give rise to intelligence is provided in the old movie Short Circuit.

I agree. I don't know why Searle bothered with all that Chinese Room nonsense. The answers to all of the great philosophical questions of our age are to be found in the movies of Steve Guttenberg.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399141)

Am I the only one thinking Hmmm Holly Hunter :)

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399457)

If it is somehow in relation to Short Circuit, then yes, you probably are:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091949/ [imdb.com]

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

infolib (618234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399207)

its expertise is only in pure knowledge, not the rational use of that knowledge to create something beyond mere identification.

Well, I guess that could make a spambot the first AI then - given that it's build to make people do things. Given the complexity of the spam/antispam race and the size of botnets it even starts to seem pseudoplausible. It would screw up the net though, and some of us might get some sun...

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399371)

That could make a very interesting bit of fiction: Nigh-simultaneous emergence of the google-AI and conglomerate of spam/trojan botnet-AIs. Cue war, or long and complicated discussion (possibly the same thing for a digital lifeform), between the two on who gets to control the fate of humanity. Meanwhile, humans wonder why Google was lagging a bit for the last 10 minutes and why there's been so much comment-spam recently.

Re:Assuming that Google could reach consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399497)

The best argument against this kind of ridiculous assertion that somehow random information will somehow give rise to intelligence...

You mean like that ridiculous theory that random atoms eventually evolved into intelligent humans?

Google is definitely searching us (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398801)

But I have to ask, is it such a bad thing?
You know what it's like, you go to search for something completely innocent and porn comes up. It's not a fault or an idiosyncrasy of the interweb, it's google giving you what you really wanted.

Re:Google is definitely searching us (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398839)

I guess I'm not the only one who doesn't mind the porn I get offered, just the kind of porn. It's that sick, twisted, perverted and utterly gross kind of porn that comes up with the searches, the kind that I certainly do NOT want. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks like this, so I doubt this could be anyone's favorite kind of porn.

Ya know, the kind that you're supposed to pay for.

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398817)

In Soviet Russia, Google searches YOU.

Dyson, Dyson, i think i know that name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398819)

Yes! Cyberdyne Systems!

Oh, and it's just a coincidence...

Well (5, Insightful)

rarel (697734) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398827)

I don't know who's searching who, but I do know that I no longer use Google because it's "simply the best". Relevant results are always lost in a torrent of ads, fake review links and e-stores trying to sell me something that's irrelevant.

To the point that I'm not using Google because I genuinely like it any more, but merely because I know the alternatives are even worse. In a few years' time Google went from the best to the lesser evil.

It's... disappointing.

grammar nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398895)

I don't know who's searching who

whom... searching *whom*.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398983)

Relevant results are always lost in a torrent of [...]

Funny choice of wording as my relevant results while searching for software or games to buy are actually really lost in pages full of .torrents - searching for '[software] -torrent' still leaves me with parking stuff, review pages and shareware sites. The best way to find the actual original homepage for a (not so popular) application is Wikipedia, up to the point where it replaced Google as my startpage because it's where I actually find what I'm looking for.
They really don't need to bother with their attempts at a peer-reviewed search engine, because Wikipedia is already it.

Re:Well (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399175)

http://givemebackmygoogle.com/ [givemebackmygoogle.com]

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399181)

my first go-to is wikipedia now. I'll almost always find something on what I'm looking for. If that's the case then there will be citations I can follow to find more.

If only.. (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398829)

all "magical thinking" in the field of artificial intelligence was reserved for fiction.

There's so much rigorous mathematically described hooey in AI that its hard to tell the naive geniuses from the crackpot morons. Consider this paper [springerlink.com] by Solomonoff. Brilliant stuff! A fantastic read. Then, at the end, it says:

In our view, however, the most interesting situation in machine learning, arises when we do not know ahead of time what program will solve a given problem and where the machine discovers the program itself. It seems to be very hard to find out much about this by theory alone. Running experiments is crucial.

This is Solomonoff's way of reminding us that he is a mathematician and hasn't actually run any experiments. His other papers make similar pronouncements in the footnotes about the uncomputability of his math or acknowledge the requirement of perfect (aka impractical) training data, etc. He makes it abundantly clear that is work is purely theoretical and unimplementable, but does this stop enthusiastic amateurs from reading his papers and declaring that AI is "solved"? Well no, of course not.

The obligatory joke... (1)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398833)

In Soviet Russia, Google is searching YOU. Well, only in Soviet Russia...?

Re:The obligatory joke... (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398889)

In Soviet Russia, redundant obligatory jokes use YOU!

Re:The obligatory joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399105)

In Soviet Russia, easy joke exploits you!

George Dyson (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398865)

Yes.. it *is* that George Dyson.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/speakers/george_dyson.html [ted.com]

Freeman Dyson's son. Both the TED talks he's given are awesome.

Re:George Dyson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399435)

The vacuum guy?

Another reason for not using Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398875)

Anyone else tried searching on www.cuil.com ? I spotted it on Wired this week- it's a search engine which doesn't collect any data about you. Seems to work pretty well too (though gets slow sometimes), also am not sure if it's a beta version that's live at the minute.

Re:Another reason for not using Google (2, Informative)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399311)

There was an article here on slashdot the other day about cuil, and the verdict was: Epic Fail, not even a contender.

Oh that's _Adorable_ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24398883)

I can't wait for adorable pictures of Google's massive server clusters taking a nap because they got tired from indexing porn. :3

This is just inane. (5, Insightful)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398899)

If a system capable of being understood could not act intelligently, then why the hell do we even bother studying the human brain? And further, any attempt at creating artificial intelligence would rely on us not knowing what the hell we are doing?

I am tired of this kind of blanket assumption that anything humans can do that we don't understand or know how to reproduce artificially is somehow incapable of ever being understood or reproduced. We are not so special as to invalidate the existence of the mechanical processes that make us work.

Re:This is just inane. (1)

H+FTW (1264808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399015)

If a system capable of being understood could not act intelligently

I think the word understanding is being used to mean that you could accurately predict the outcome of running the system.

A simple example is the deep thought computer: to create a computer that can *fully* model the universe it must be able to map every single event within the universe and so must in fact be at least as complex as the entire universe to do this (compression of the problem would introduce errors and so invalidate the calculation)

What we can do is make ever more accurate models of the human brain (or any system) that eventually will mimic the system so well that it will be indiscernable from the system it is modeling.

Not everyone believes that (4, Interesting)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399065)

It's perfectly possible for insanely complex systems to arise from very simple rules. We cannot grasp the entirety of the system, but we can know exactly how to create it, or perhaps manipulate it.

By way of example: the Mandlebrot set.

Re:Not everyone believes that (1)

tucuxi (1146347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399259)

And yet another example - Conway's Game of Life. Simple rules, very complex emerging behavior if you only look at certain outcomes. The fact that emerging complexity may be, duh, complex, does not prevent the mechanisms that bring it about to be very, very interesting.

Re:Not everyone believes that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399385)

It's perfectly possible for insanely complex systems to arise from very simple rules. We cannot grasp the entirety of the system, but we can know exactly how to create it, or perhaps manipulate it.

By way of example: the Mandlebrot set.

or the Rule 110:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_110

Re:This is just inane. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399085)

I believe what is meant by that statement is this:

Any system that actually IS intelligent, and not just a set of if-else statements, will have to be able to alter itself: it has to be able to learn; to adapt; it has to be able to re-program itself.

Any system that is predictable is naturally incapable of adapting intelligently: its a highly complex set of if-else statements. All adaptations and learning processes are hard-coded.

In the first case, the system will eventually learn/adapt to a point where it hardly resembles its original self. Think of a painting that randomly gets altered one pixel at a time, eventually, it will become totally diffrent. In a intelligent system, the rules to alter the painting would have a purpose, so a new painting would form. However, those rules could also be subject to alteration, and so on. The 'base' program would be a set of very simple instructions, the actual program would be the picture (to keep with the metaphor). Think swarm theory (or whatever its called): a set of simple organisms based upon simple rules give rise to complex systems (swarms of such organisms) that seemingly tends to act as its own entity.

In the second case, nothing changes over time. If things do change, then its the result of hard-coded if-else statements switching on/off in a complex, but predetermined, fashion.

The truly intelligent system, then, will develop to a point where it could be un-understandable: as soon as you identify all of its processes, they change. Its not that a human cant understand it all, its that it changes faster then a human can deal with. Think of trying to map the brain. Sure, we might be able to take a snapshot of a brain, and study all of its processes, but by the time we understand it all, the brain would have changed, and all your left with is a understanding of said brain at the time the snapshot was taken.

I hope I got my point across, but Im not certain.

Re:This is just inane. (1)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399425)

I think I understand what you are saying, but it seems to me to just be an extension of the 'we can't do it now so it can't be done' kind of thinking. If we were able to take a snapshot of a working brain and understand it's state and how it works, there should be no reason it would not be possible to predict what would happen given certain inputs. To make the case that it is un-understandable just because we don't know what those inputs are going to be means that anything mutable is not understandable. My typing this comment would make my computer un-understandable.

As for emergent behaviours, even complex behaviours that come from simple rules are still explainable in terms of those simple rules (though it is cumbersome to do so). Someone brought up the game of life as an example. Yes, emergent behaviours happen with it, but they still are capable of being expressed in term of the simple rules by virtue of the fact that all the game is capable of is executing those simple rules.

What do you mean by... (3, Insightful)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399257)

"if a system capable of being understood"...

Being understood is not a property of the system, but of the observer of the system. I am capable of observing a computer program and understanding it. Are you saying then that a computer program is capable of being understood? That is simply wrong.

Short answer... no (0, Troll)

gringer (252588) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398907)

We're not searching Google, we're searching the Internet. Google is a tool that can be used (and often is used) to facilitate this search.

Re:Short answer... no (4, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399097)

We're not searching Google, we're searching the Internet. Google is a tool that can be used (and often is used) to facilitate this search.

Nitpickers are the worst, particularly when they're wrong.

Google searches the internet, but we don't, whilst using it. We search Google, because all the results we want are stored at Google, within Google, and we hopefully find the result we want. Only then are we directed to a site on the internet outside of Google containing the information we searched for.

It is not entirely innaccurate to say that 'We search the internet using Google', but this assumes a logical progession: We search google > because Google searches the internet > so that we cand find what we want on the internet = We used google to search the internet. However, contrary to your misconceptions, it is MORE not LESS accurate to say 'We search Google (to find what we want on the internet).

Re:Short answer... no (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399103)

We're not searching Google, we're searching the Internet.

Nope, quite definitely searching Google. "The internet" cannot be searched, there's no protocol for it. You can search a concentration of culled pages stored in a particular place, but you're not searching the internet. You're searching what that place has stored, believing it to be a subset of the internet.

You can trivially see this with pages that present one thing to Google spiders and another to the real browsing user. Or with 404 links - they existed at the time they went in the index, but they don't exist now. It's not the internet being searched, it's the snapshot subset that's been indexed.

Cheers,
Ian

Google Home (4, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398963)

At JavaOne about 3 years ago there was a boffin talk with Gosling, Joy and others and one guy raise the image of hearing something drop through his letter box and then suddenly a little bot appearing in his room with a message "don't worry I'm just indexing your house for Google"

His point was that he had two reactions to this firstly "what a huge invasion of privacy" and second "Great I'll be able to find my car keys".

Of course Google is profiling what people do as they search, indexing everything is what they are about. The question is where this impacts on privacy and what limits we want to put on it.

Re:Google Home (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399313)

i wonder if our homes can be equipped with some sort of robots.txt derivative

Re:Google Home (4, Funny)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399523)

It's called a baseball bat.

AI - A Myth (4, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#24398999)

We had this discussion a little while back. The mythical AI where machines "learn" how to "think" is a long way away or possibly impossible with current technology.

The appearance of intelligence is not intelligence. A recommendations system or search engine may appear intelligent, but the part of the system that processes information "intelligently" was programmed by a person who understood the process. The computer is merely following directions.

Some knowledge based algorithms seem unpredictable when given random data. This is not intelligence either, it is more a result of unintended consequence. You can go back and figure out why it acted a certain way.

Re:AI - A Myth (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399025)

Semantic word games do not an argument make.

Go read about machine learning. There's plenty of things that we *can* do. It's not hard to sort the bunk from the legitimate results. Just don't look for anyone saying what we *can't* do. That's a little too pessimistic for the compsci crowd and is considered dangerous to the math crowd (who have a habit of not saying anything they can't prove).

Re:AI - A Myth (5, Insightful)

BoldlyGo (1288070) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399225)

Some knowledge based algorithms seem unpredictable when given random data. This is not intelligence either, it is more a result of unintended consequence. You can go back and figure out why it acted a certain way.

The same rules apply to people. We have a set of programming we are born with, and then we are given random data. This data and our pre-programming explains why we act a certain way. The ability to go back and figure out why we act a certain doesn't mean we aren't intelligent.

It is a mistake to assume our intelligence is something more than a program. Our programming is just less transparent to us.

ha ha... (1)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399001)

"Search me?"

Obligatory Nietzsche quote... (1)

Erandir (578490) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399019)

"...and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

We're searching google (1, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399077)

After reading TFA and hours of careful consideration, I conclude that yes, we're searching Google, and no, it's not searching us.

Re:We're searching google (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399231)

Agreed. Not only is this giving google too much credit, but also far too romantic. Google is not self-aware, terminator style. It performs specific back-traceable functions.

Am I the only one getting a bit tired of ... (3, Interesting)

fadir (522518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399133)

... the never ending "Google, the data monster will eat us all" hype?

A few years ago the same people were hyping Google for rescuing us from MS and now they are trying to tell us that Google is bad and we should use $random_unknown_startup instead to save our lives.

Bring me facts or leave me alone!

in soviet russia.. (1)

micronix1 (590179) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399199)

google se...

Google is searching us... (2, Informative)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399205)

but not in the AI kind of self-discovery and discovery of the world around it way, but in the big brother kind of way.

Google is amassing huge amounts of data on us and mining it discovering patterns of our digital selves (that perhaps don't exist in the real us) and successfully making money off of it too.

This is like a private company collecting all the purchasing information you make on your credit card assigning it a score (aka credit score) and then selling the information to you and your bank, but taken to a much higher extreme.

Google is only just starting to branch into more private aspects of our lives with medical history search etc. There is no telling where all this will end, but we can make guesses.
 

aha (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399229)

I guess no point in saying: In soviet russia, google search you!

People should understand things they write about! (5, Insightful)

miketheanimal (914328) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399237)

Turing machines were being assembled into something that was not a Turing machine The author needs a bit of theoretical computer science. However many Turing machines you assemble, you still have a Turing machine.

The answer is....... (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399247)

42!

Google is the biggest threat (2, Funny)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399299)

Google is by far the biggest threat to the national and economic security of individual countries. It is a monster, and many non-US governments will have a bad awakening when they finally realize this and it's too late.

If Google wanted to, they could already nowadways influence stock markets on a large scale or heavily influence future research in just about any discipline globally or on a per region basis just by slightly modifying their page rank algorithm. From the user data collected by Google, you can already today compile a complete psychological profile of any user with static IP, including his skills, knowledge, sexual preferences, and so on.

Just about the only politician foreseeing the problems of global information dominance in the hand of one US company was Jaques Chirac who initiated a large project for developing a European search engine, but this project more or less died. I don't agree with Chirac on many points, but on this one he was right. (And no, I'm not a Frenchman.)

Frankly speaking, I'm tired of people who downplay Google privacy issues. In the long run, the problem is MUCH bigger than they can imagine.

Internet and intelligence (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399315)

I was watching this video just yesterday. It seems pretty relevant.

The next 5,000 days of the internet [ted.com]

Re:Internet and intelligence (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399363)

Just a thought. If the original article is the same George Dyson I'm thinking of (inventor of the Dyson vacuum), he was probably at the TED talk I just posted.

The TED talk is dated a few months before the story.

Google's information gathering techniques. (4, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399331)

While doing some debugging on some AJAX work, using tamper data (FF) and Fiddler (IEx) I stumbled upon some nefarious network communications between my mouse* events (over,move,out, click etc.) attached to every single link in googles search results. And there's more! Not only are these events present but they are silently inserted after the page is rendered. Some may say "well this is for older browsers", to that I say, they are not replacing the HREF property on the anchors, they are adding event handlers to mouse* events, and perhaps more that I'm not detecting. You can not see this stuff just by viewing the source. You would need to activate the event that creates the mouse* functions. E.g.: mouse over, and then mouse click gains a new event, so trying to look at the source before the mouse over event occurs yields an null function. Any attempt to look at the source code that google is running (the script handling the events) will be met with a really good obfuscator [wikipedia.org] . Google does this to just about all their public code, e.g.: google maps. The most I can realize about the extra events is that they send a LOT of information to google whenever you click on anything. But don't take my word for it, fire up FF and the latest version of Tamper Data, click 'stop on next line' or whatever engages the debugger (I can't be bothered to look, I'm working on err. something.) and mouse over or click the links on googles search results and watch your data fly over to google, in a rather secretive manner.

It may just be nothing. Every search engine tracks what link you click on, and I think this is one of the more elegant, albeit backwardly incompatible, ways of tracking what links are clicked on. Yahoo does something similar, but they use the 301 permanently moved header with a specially crafted HREF in the anchors, you can see this pretty plainly if you open up yahoo and mouse over the links, they all point to yahoo, then you're redirected to the search. From a coding perspective this is more compatible but annoying to the end user as the link is not what it says it is going to be, it's a yahoo redirector. This means if you try and copy the link from the result you'll get some yahoo bullshit. I like googles method better, but it leaves a lot to be desired in the 'forthcoming' area.

Google also maintains a network of 'adsense' tracker scripts on hundreds of thousands of 3rd party sites, I have several customers that swear by their visitor tracker. It's kinda neat, and it's free, however, I'm sure google does not just ignore the statistics gathered by its tracker. These numerous sites make up a good chunk of the internet, so even if you don't visit google, google sees you indeed. They can track every site that participates, reading referrers and IP addresses, I could imagine some very simple algorithms that could, for the most part, piece together what other non-participating sites you've visited based on the information gathered when you do eventually visit a participating site.

Google Underhandedness IMHO:
1. Adding the even handlers after the page has loaded. There may be a technical reason, but it's just creepy.
2. Sending volumes of information back after each click. There really needs to be a limit. Do you really need my browsing history!?
3. Creating a GPS like grid of sensors on 3rd party sites. This is the creepiest. Google can tell where you are, where you've been and where you're probably going to go with this, and you don't even need to visit google a single time to be added to this network! in fact you don't have any choice whatsoever in the matter!

What Google can do to fix this perception:
1. Quit obfuscating your damn code! It just makes you look guilty when you basically say "Don't look here" in something that is "sneaking" it's way into the source. It's not like google came up with the damn cure for cancer in their JS, what are you trying to hide, my information?
2. Quit gathering the mother lode of data on everyone. Google is in the information gathering business to make money. When it's public information, like J.C. Penny's web site, crawl away! When it's my IP address, country of origin, page visit time, referring site, etc.. You're crossing the line of, what I think is relevant to your primary customers, searchers.

Of course they gather the information in order to sell it, I'm rather split here. I love capitalism but I also love my privacy. Anything that identifies all the sites I've visited with detailed information about the visit really does not belong in the hands of information brokerages, it belongs in a paper shredder. On the other hand, there really is no presumption of anonymity on the internet, unless you've taken some extra measure to ensure your anonymity, you're easily identifiable, or at least your computer is, and perhaps you, with your comments and usage style. It's the selling of this information as identifiable persons I have a problem with, if it were just scalar totals that would be one thing, but when you can look at "person 1388" and pull up their browser history, I think you've crossed the line. That's just my opinion though. You can put it in a paper sack and set it alight on Larry Page's porch if you want.

Re:Google's information gathering techniques. (1)

fadir (522518) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399439)

This is a little bit like saying: "here you have a gun but don't shoot!". If you love capitalism then you have to live with the fact that there are people that will do everything to make money and don't care shit about your privacy (because that doesn't generate money).

Of course they are obfuscating their code as good as possible. Otherwise they could directly ring MS's door bell and tell them "here, we just added that to improve the quality of our search results". This way it takes the competitors at least a little bit of time and effort to figure out what they are doing.

Do you really think that they obfuscate the code so the users will not see what's going on? 99.9% of the google users probably don't even know what the code does, even if you would print it out and document it for them with red arrows "look here".

Why is everyone getting paranoid about Google but noone cares that the government is stripping you naked every time you get close to an airport or the like? There the issues are!
Additionally I trust Google more than most (if not all) of the Governments in this world, explicitely including the German and US government.

Do I have to RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24399349)

Why can't TFA just read me?

other google problems (1)

cosmas_c (1079035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399461)

My problem in the early days I discovered google was what will happen if google for some reason stopped all services it was offering (on those days mainly the serch engine I think) and all data stored by google and helped us discover the web dissapeared (more dangerous now that we have gmail and we don't store our e-mail locally).
Well not likely to happen... but still not impossible :)

Obligatory joke (1)

corvi42 (235814) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399481)

In Soviet Russia Google searches you!

We know the answer already (2, Funny)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 6 years ago | (#24399551)

Are We Searching Google, Or Is Google Searching Us?

Whatever!! We all know that the answer is 42.

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