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AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

RandCraw AI has no agency; they just sits and thinks (417 comments)

Etzioni's point is a good one. To date, all AI apps have been designed to passively sit and do nothing until given a specific task. Only then do they act. For Hawking to be proved right, AIs must take the initiative, to choose their own goals. That's a horse of an entirely different color.

Of course, there's no reason why AI agents could not become more autonomous, eventually. Future task specs might become more vague while AIs are likely to become more multipurpose. Given enough time, I'm sure we'll have mobile robots able to do more than sweep floors in a random pattern. But Commander Data is a long way from an iRobot Roomba or Rethink's Baxter, both of which are dumber than my phone.

In the real world, autonomous robots are not going to arise for decades. And when they do, if they drive on the same streets or share the same office spaces, they too will have to obey the same rules of conduct as the rest of us. You won't get special privileges just because your brain is made of silicon.

about two weeks ago

Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

RandCraw Revisionism of history (193 comments)

Editing the historical record sounds awfully like hiding your past. Why isn't this like pretending the Holocaust or Stalins purges just never happened? Wouldn't IBM like to assert (without contradiction) that it never assisted the Nazis in the Death Camps?

This is an initiative only a corporate tool could love.

about three weeks ago

Canadian Police Recommend Ending Anonymity On the Internet

RandCraw The court upheld search warrants not anonymity (231 comments)

If you read the court case mentioned, the supreme court ruled that a search warrant was required before police could access the defendant's computer, which they did not do.

Anonymity was tangential to the case at best.

about a month and a half ago

President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

RandCraw Re:Legacy (706 comments)

Exactly. This announcement marks the official start of the Obama presidency Reality Distortion Phase, where the lame duck madly fabricates an idyllic legacy that he gave a damn for liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Just like Nixon.

about a month and a half ago

Michigan Builds Driverless Town For Testing Autonomous Cars

RandCraw Re:A little late there, American Car Industry. (86 comments)

Right. With luck this kind of exurban facility will make good use of selective dispensations from the MI DMV to extend their trials off premises and onto roads like you describe.

Dialing up the real world noise is essential to bring these cars up to speed -- missing or obstructed lane markers and signs, poorly marked or uneven road edges, and the introduction of noise like leaves, snow banks, and pools of accumulated rainwater all need to be mastered before automation has any business driving cars, buses, trucks, or passengers in the many parts of the country like the Michigan coutnryside where often "the sun don't shine".

about 2 months ago

Michigan Builds Driverless Town For Testing Autonomous Cars

RandCraw Re:A little late there, American Car Industry. (86 comments)

Exactly. Ann Arbor has persistent winter snow and occasional sleet, heavy rain, tornados, and even flooding. Its weather is often a perfect storm for drivers and a far cry from the ideal idyllic settings used so far to test automatic cars.

A2 is the real world. And its mix of academia and auto company proximity make it ideal for this role. Seems like a perfect marriage.

about 2 months ago

Where Whistleblowers End Up Working

RandCraw If WBs reveal crime, opposition to WBs promotes it (224 comments)

If we were serious about ending criminal acts in the US government, we would:

1) create a fully independent office inside the government to investigate and prosecute wrongdoers, with powers no less than congress' Special Prosecutor (i.e. equal to the presidency)

2) offer whistleblowers generous retirement benefits for life (to escape retribution)

3) give them blanket immunity from prosecution

4) prosecute the gov't wrongdoers all the way up the chain of command, *starting* at top executive levels

But the US government does the opposite. That's the very definition of racketeering and organized crime.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

RandCraw A PhD is a Research Degree (479 comments)

With a theoretical PhD, if you're applying for non-research jobs, you're probably seen as overqualified and suited to the wrong mix of skills. If the years of study toward your PhD don't translate to a capability that the employer values, then they're likely to see it as irrelevant, and see you as having "The Wrong Stuff".

Try describing your PhD research in some way that's more relevant to the company you're applying to. If it's mathematical, describe it as "analytic" or "data intensive" and not "theoretic" or "provably valid". Data mining and machine learning and AI and big data are hot right now. Make your skills sexy.

And be sure to write a cover letter that's tailored to the job, the industry, and the employer. These days, mismatched or over-general applications get tossed almost immediately.

about 3 months ago

IBM Opens Up Its Watson Supercomputer To Researchers

RandCraw Sounds intriguing to this R&Der (28 comments)

For any R&D company that has a lot of in-house raw data, the Watson Discovery Advisor is likley to generate a lot of interest.

Imagine you're an executive VP in R&D in a board meeting. You receive this challenge from the CEO who hates your guts: "Our R&D productivity continues to decline. What're you doing about this? How are you extracting every last bit of value from our data? Our major competitors are using tools like Watson. Why aren't we?" You damned well better have an answer.

I work for a Fortune 100 R&D company that is *very* interested in improving its R&D ROI. I know for a fact that any opportunity to reevaluate our data to derive additional value (e.g. new prospects) will set off bells among the C suiters. IMHO Watson, and especially Discovery Advisor, is the first system I've seen with that potential.

Of course, IBM is going to have to step up its game in loading and tagging all that data. I suspect that's where most of its new Watson staff will work. I suspect the most fruitful features in data are not readable in natural language (English). Much has been summarized in graphs, or lies in tables, or in addenda. Or it's buried deep in old screening results stored in flat files that were long ago archived to tape. And it's certainly not present in easy-to-access content like online research paper abstracts.

But all it takes is one or two significant new leads to make the millions you spent hiring Watson look like money *very* well spent. And personally, I think that scenario is entirely plausible.

about 4 months ago

Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

RandCraw The Seventh Wave of Computing has Ebbed (171 comments)

This pattern of ebb and flow in the tech world is nothing new. Every decade brings a computing novelty which invites revolutionaries who rethink the user experience. The universe seems to expand. All the developers get excited, jump on the bandwagon, and revel in the myriad possibilities -- for as long as the high lasts. Now the latest bandwagon has slowed and the Next Next Big Thing seems far far away...

1977 brought us the personal computer. 1984 was GUIs and WYSIWYG computing. 1988 was the network (and email and AOL and Usenet). 1994 was the web. 2008 was smartphones. 2010 was social computing. 2012 was The Cloud.

But 2014 is... dullsville. Sherlock is bored. Get used to it. This is the game that never ends.

about 5 months ago

Is Time Moving Forward Or Backward? Computers Learn To Spot the Difference

RandCraw Re:Abrupt transitions in optical flow? (78 comments)

I suspect most events like you describe probably would occur too quickly for conventional cameras to capture, but I see your point. It seems to me that kind of mition would have to take the form of a percussive force that arises without visible warning -- like the launch of an explosive powered bullet, and unlike the launch of a golfball being struck by a moving golf club that rapidly approached the stationary ball before making contact. And as you suggest, I doubt the firing of a bullet is the kind of motion seen most often in videos.

I suspect the vast majority of conventional motion sequences follow a path of 1) slow accel followed by slow decel (providing little clue as to directon of time), or 2) slow accel followed by fast decel (something that occurs often in forward moving time sequences, as a moving object is stopped suddenly by an impact). Thus path #2 is probably frequent enough and visible enough to be the anomaly that lets Freeman's group recognize the backward passage of time.

about 6 months ago

Is Time Moving Forward Or Backward? Computers Learn To Spot the Difference

RandCraw Abrupt transitions in optical flow? (78 comments)

Dr Freeman spoke about this work at CVPR this week. In the videos I saw he identified small markers of temporal transition as indicative of moving forward or backward. Those they labeled as backward appeared to recognize asymmetric movement -- as in gradual acceleration followed by sudden deceleration as uniquely forward flow (as when a hand swings down and strickes a table top) -- an asymmetry that cannot occur in reverse (as in sudden acceleration followed by gradual deceleration).

Dr Freeman did not propose this as the causal phenomenon in question, but that made the most sense to me in light of the motions he identified as evidence for backward motion.

about 6 months ago

The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

RandCraw Re:A Small Victory (173 comments)

FISA is strictly a federal warrant court. Local police and prosecutions don't use it. This ruling applies principally to local police conduct and evidence, secondarily to federal police conduct and evidence.

Yes, the FBI could still rely on FISA's rubber stamp. But county mounties can't. And it's the sheer number of the latter which pose the greater threat.

about 6 months ago

$10k Reward For Info On Anyone Who Points a Laser At Planes Goes Nationwide

RandCraw Re:Does a laser pointer have any noticeable effect (264 comments)

Yep. Precisely how many planes has any laser brought down so far? Have lasers become a standard military weapon yet? If so I'd expect to see Al Caida and the Taliban routinely using laser pointers to crash US aircraft. But oddly enough, we don't...

Let's get real. Is a laser pointer a mile away going to disable both of a pilots eyes? AND both of a copilot's eyes? And how long were you blinded when a supermarket checkout scanner laser last caught your eye? Did you crash your shopping cart? Did you call in the FBI?

This mountain is such a molehill. It makes me wonder why the FBI is overselling this schtick so hard. It's easier than working for a living, I guess.

about 7 months ago

Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.

RandCraw Rebound (154 comments)

We're seeing an upswing in the tech economy because the world economy has been depressed since it was shot in the chest by Wall Street in 2008. Enough time has now passed (6 years) that the need to replenish neglected IT infrastructure has finally overcome the blind dumb fear of robotic C suiters. That and they're tired of listening to the shrieks of B suiters that they're sick of struggling along with only half the tech staff they really need.

(On a related note, last year's upswing in US stock values was due *not* to US economic growth but to investor flight from risk, away from stocks in developing countries and back into safe US blue chips.)

about 7 months ago

White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

RandCraw NSA understands NO only when you shout (284 comments)

Unless this law explicitly and forcefully disallows bulk warrantless data collection of the public, NSA's top creeps (like Clapper and Alexander) and unprincipled gov't lawyers (like John Yoo) most certainly will crush the Constitution underfoot at their earliest convenience.

Anything else is just rearranging deck chairs...

about 7 months ago

How the Emerging Science of Proteotronics Will Change Electronics

RandCraw Re:Cybernetic man? (29 comments)

Good point. Self destruction of errant (or sabotaged) mobile e-devices seems like a very good idea.

Maybe these bacteria could be programmed with a specific behavior, like follow a signal to travel to a specific part of the body, then measure something or deliver a payload. Then self-destruct.

Sounds like "Fantastic Voyage"...

about 7 months ago

How the Emerging Science of Proteotronics Will Change Electronics

RandCraw Cybernetic man? (29 comments)

If e-proteins can augment electronic devices biologically, can they also augment biological systems electronically? They seem like a natural interface between biological and electrical materials -- perfect for constructing a cyborg. Or if made small enough, they could bypass DNA to synthesize (or inhibit) the right proteins at just the right time, thereby curing disease.

You could basically rewire and/or reprogram any part of an organism at any level: subcellular (e.g. metabolic control networks), tissue, immune, neural, etc. You could add intelligent controls where there are none or override controls already present.

This kind of thing also seems an ideal medium for building junctions between nerves and muscles.

about 7 months ago



IPad and Goodreader

RandCraw RandCraw writes  |  more than 3 years ago

RandCraw (1047302) writes "I don't read PDFs extensively (when i do, it's CS and image processing), but I've enjoyed goodreader's ability to trim away the margins of a page, thereby enlarging the font and allowing the document to be read in portrait mode without scrolling."

'We Have Learned Nothing from the Genome': Venter

RandCraw RandCraw writes  |  more than 4 years ago

RandCraw (1047302) writes "Der Spiegel recently interviewed Craig Venter (founder of Celera, sequencer of most of the first human genome — his own) on his role in the Human Genome Project . Never one to mince words, Venter was quick to dismiss the project as practically useless:

Venter: ...what else have I learned from my genome? Very little. We couldn't even be certain from my genome what my eye color was. Isn't that sad?...

SPIEGEL: So the Human Genome Project has had very little medical benefits so far?

Venter: Close to zero to put it precisely."

Link to Original Source

Fighting Child Porn, ISPs Block Newsgroups

RandCraw RandCraw writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RandCraw (1047302) writes "In yet another example of a ton of censorship for an ounce of safety, four large ISPs have vowed to significantly reduce their support for Usenet newsgroups. In response to NY State Attorney Andrew Cuomo's mandate to fight child porn, the NY Times reports that Verizon, Sprint, Nextel, and Time Warner have taken steps toward closing down Usenet, ranging from blocking all alt.* groups to shutting off Usenet access altogether. What's next? Stamping out all forms of anonymity everywhere?

C/Net has more at http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9964432-7.html"

Link to Original Source


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