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How Astronomers Will Take the "Image of the Century": a Black Hole

Prune How can it prove it when (129 comments)

The surface of the collapsing star takes an infinite time to cross the event horizon form the point of view of an outside observer? No star which has collapsed has yet turned into a black hole, and no one will at a finite age of the outside universe. The only way to prove the existence of a black hole is to fall through an event horizon. Of course, then you only prove it for yourself, and cannot tell anyone else.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

Prune Re:It could be worse (247 comments)

Is that clip supposed to be funny, Chris? My gosh, whatever happened to British humor? From the heights of Monty Python and Benny Hill, it's been a precipitous fall to this.

about two weeks ago
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Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor of Typing

Prune Re:Just cursive, or all writing? (523 comments)

Cursive exists because it's faster. This is why the letters are joined; it's not for looks. If it was about the latter, they would still be teaching Spencerian script in North America and similar systems elsewhere. There are other benefits: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfor...

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Prune Re:Deliberate (652 comments)

Renewables kill more people per amount of energy generated than nuclear: http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/... You'd have to be a misanthrope to invest in that over nuclear.

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Prune Re:Deliberate (652 comments)

BS. All human nuclear activity and accidents have in the end not raised background radiation levels appreciably above what it naturally is.

about three weeks ago
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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

Prune Nuclear: least deaths per terrawatt-hour generated (652 comments)

For all the talk of the dangers of nuclear, it has still caused less deaths per amount of energy generated than any other method that has been used to practically generate electricity: http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/... If you're not ignorant of these facts, then the only remaining reasons to oppose nuclear are either political (Naomi Klein-style anti-capitalist), or you're simply a misanthrope.

The whole issue of waste has been beaten to death. Reprocessing and breeder reactors leave only a little waste that can't be used for energy, and waste transmutation is a proven concept that further reduces any dangerous waste. With these processes, the actual nuclear waste left over is a tiny amount, and glassification trivially takes care of that.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Prune Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (455 comments)

I don't disagree that the body provided inputs can be simulated, but that is non-trivial because the brain-body system forms a very complicated set of feedback loops. My point is not that human-like AI is unachievable, but that most here are underestimating what, and how long, it will take. Regarding your question as to the minimum feedback needed, Damasio goes to some extent to address this; really, look up his latest book in the library (it helps that he's a great writer and it's easy to read). As for making intelligence that is non-human like so you can avoid having to deal with the embodied cognition issue, I discuss this in my post here: http://slashdot.org/comments.p...

about three weeks ago
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Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

Prune Re:Let's do the math (307 comments)

I think it's silly to suppose there will be humans left 500 years from now, let at the 1K bottom rung of your ladder.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Prune Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (455 comments)

Indeed. It should be required reading for AI researchers as well, and I say this as someone with a graduate degree in comp.sci. and more than a passing professional interest in AI.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Prune Re:Don't need amoebae to fly (455 comments)

What could be more dangerous than building AI that's smarter than us but cannot relate to us because its intelligence is drastically different from ours? There's no fool-proof way to actually implement "software" constraints in a general super-human intelligence AI (Asimov's robotics laws are about the most unrealistic thing I've ever read in sci fi), and the safety factor falls even further over generations as you get the AI to design an even smarter AI. Physical constraints? Do you think that when an ultra-intelligent AIs are available, businesses won't connect them to as many control systems as possible to profit from improved efficiencies and replaced labor? And what is more inefficient than some sort of "air gap"?

The best bet is to implement AI that can understand us, and since human cognition is completely intertwined with feelings/emotions at a basic neurological level (see somatic markers, etc.) this requires making human-like AI that can feel the way we feel, so that it can have consciousness that is sufficiently similar to ours. This is a very hard problem and requires simulating a human-like brain _and_ also the body that goes with it (see embodied cognition on wiki). If we build powerful AIs that don't love us, then humanity will be doomed.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Prune Re:Nematode brain in machine (455 comments)

300 synapses? Humans have at least 100 trillion.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Prune Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (455 comments)

But our bodies are one of the most essential determinants of the nature of human consciousness: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...

This is far more than a philosophical thesis; it's backed up by neuroscience. I highly suggest you read Damasio, who's one of the top neuroscientists in the world. A good overview can be found in his book Self Comes to Mind, the price of it being justified by the selection of paper references in the endnotes alone.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

Prune Re:Armchair cognitive scientist (455 comments)

Your simulation is of purely academic interest if it relies the usual gross oversimplification of the activity of a real neuron. It's only two years ago that we've even attempted a simulation of 100 trillion synapses (comparable to a human brain), in a joint IBM and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory project. That simulation ran on what was in 2012 the top supercomputer in the world, yet the simulation still ran over 1500 times slower than real-time, and, worse, was still using quite simplified neuron models! Having a brain-equivalent information processor that fits in the space of a skull and runs on the brain's approximately 20 W? It won't happen in your life time if you're old enough to be posting on this site.

about three weeks ago
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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Prune It applies to humans as well (335 comments)

By the Bekenstein bound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bekenstein_bound), human brains can contain only a finite number of distinguishable quantum states. This means that the brain's information processing has the same limits as a nondeterministic linear bounded automaton, which is more restricted than a Turing machine. We can't think anything more than a sufficiently sophisticated computational construction can. The same limits ultimately apply to us that the authors ascribe to their killer robot targets.

about a month ago
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City of Toronto Files Court Injunction Against Uber

Prune Re:Don't go the way of Vancouver (169 comments)

Drivers are giving up. Almost every other major North American city has freeways running through or near the city core. Those are part of the infrastructure that invites city centres to become focal points of business, commerce, and finance. Vancouver's residential core cements the city's status as a place where wealth made elsewhere is spent; none is actually generated here. I can only pray that the feds force through the pipeline so that the port can expand, and offset some of this failure. Even much of the high tech industry ran off to Quebec and Ontario, despite high hipster quotient.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Congress passes bill allowing warrantless forfeiture of private communications

Prune Prune writes  |  about a week ago

Prune (557140) writes "Congress has quietly passed an Intelligence Authorization Bill that includes warrantless forfeiture of private communications to local law enforcement.
http://thehill.com/policy/tech...
Representative Justin Amash unsuccessfully attempted a late bid to oppose the bill, which passed 325-100. According to Amash, the bill "grants the executive branch virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American""

Link to Original Source
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First commercial carbon capture project is failing

Prune Prune writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Prune (557140) writes "A Saskatchewan report that the world's first commercial carbon capture project is failing could be grave news for those involved in efforts to blunt humanity's contribution to climate change.
It's a story with global implications, potentially bad ones, for the energy sector: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/greenpage/environment/carbon-injected-underground-now-leaking-saskatchewan-farmers-study-says-113276449.html"

Link to Original Source

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