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

tomxor Re:Emergent Intelligence? (428 comments)

Let's say, however, you built a virtual world at a reasonably fine-grain (doesn't have to be too fine, just good enough), a second virtual world that was much coarser-grain and which used lossy encoding in a way that preserved some information from all prior states, a crude set of genetic algorithms that mapped outer virtual world to inner virtual world, and finally an independent set of genetic algorithms that decide what to do (but not how), a set for examining the internal virtual world for past examples of how, a set for generating an alternative method for how without recourse for memory, and a final set for picking the method that sounds best and implementing it, and an extensive set that initially starts off with reconciling differences between what was expected and what happened.

That should be sufficient for Emergent Intelligence of some sort to evolve.

Perhaps, but there is still quite a lot of pre-defined structure there. Although i've no doubt that some pre-defined structure is far more pragmatic and likely to yield useful results than what i'm thinking of (and i have given this some thought previously). It's difficult to know what an environment with emergent properties suited to a digital medium should look like, because it's so different from the vastly more complex environment that biology emerged from. Which could perhaps be summed up in three parts:

  • The rules of the fundamental building blocks (resources and state): Chemical interactions.
  • The rules which determine the possibility of those building blocks from being able to interact with each other: Spatial dimensions and position.
  • The rules of probability, this is debatable but a deterministic model seems unlikely to have the desired effect: I'll just chalk this up to quantum theory.

Finding a reasonable equivalent to spacial dimensions seem simple enough, and probability is already the basis of most genetic algorithms, but the building blocks... the rules of resources and state are massive and complex as chemical reactions. I think finding a simpler mathematical equivalent to those structures that also has the necessary emergent properties is fundamental to creating an emergent AI.


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

tomxor Emergent Intelligence? (428 comments)

It's not enough to emulate the properties of intelligence, you have to emulate the reason for there needing to be intelligence in the first place.

This difference was clear to me when reading up on existing AI and machine learning methods.

AI in it's current form feels more like engineering than an exploration in nature, science and math. Slightly dangerously with my limited knowledge in AI i would describe AI today as an extremely useful and insightful set of tools inspired by nature, but which are not themselves nature. They are just yet another thing that we have learnt to re-implement as a fruit of biology. Actually cellular automata feel more like nature than AI.

Methods such as neural networks are pre-evolved static solutions, the information flowing through them may evolve, but the method which determines their flow does not itself evolve, they are therefore selective and static imitations of the a brain much the same as an animatronic manikin is an imitation of the body at an evolutionary static point in time.

It's conceivable that with enough detailed imitation an intelligent implementation of a whole brain (not even human) could be achieved... but it seems highly unlikely and impractical. However implementing the basis or conditions to give emergent and undirected development in a "synthetic" medium would be nature at work or "life" in my view. Imagine an AI that had the freedom and incentive to create it's own methods dynamically, that kind of creative freedom must be a pretty good fit for true "Artificial Life", so shouldn't it be called "Emergent Intelligence"... The opposite to "Imitated Intelligence".

2 days ago

UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

tomxor Re:Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations1 (306 comments)

Tony and Jan Jenkinson have not been told whether they will get the £100 charge refunded, following the withdrawal of the charge

Good that the trade regulators stepped in however it seems like the family are still owed their £100. The point is not that it's a massive amount of money, more that they should never have charged them at all, so they should give it back.

about a week ago

UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

tomxor Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations1999 (306 comments)

In UK contract law Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 in conjunction with Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 Which apply to standard consumer contracts regardless of custom and explicit terms Imply this should not be enforceable:

In the UK, these 1999 Regulations work to render ineffective terms that benefit seller or suppliers against the interests of consumers.

This term effectively misleads consumers and is clearly against their interest. Implied law is no sure win, but in my amateur opinion it looks like there is a strong case to contest this. Not that it'd be worth it for £100...

about a week ago

Low Cost Ground Robot Chassis That Can Traverse Challenging Obstacles

tomxor They're called legs (38 comments)

Although the general prediction is that future robots will not look like humans because other forms are easier to create... If the robot needs to not have debilitated dalek-like transport then legs are so far the most versatile way a being can move itself around and scale things if you include arms. I'm interested in simpler alternatives but caterpillar tracks are no comparison.

about two weeks ago

Enzymes Make Electricity From Jet Fuel Without Ignition

tomxor Potential Efficiency (78 comments)

The process of refining the efficiency of a device or process is not the same as evaluating it's potential efficiency.

The maximum potential efficiency of a given chemical process is knowable in the same way that the maximum potential efficiency of a given type of solid state solar panel.

about three weeks ago

Study Shows Direct Brain Interface Between Humans

tomxor Walking Straw Man (110 comments)

What the article describes is more accurately "Brain - Body", or "Brain - Nervous System" communication.

The Direct-ness of communication between a naturally separate body and brain can be determined because there is an existing Direct scenario to compare with (a naturally connected brain and body). There is however no natural existing scenario of "Direct" in the context of transportation, it's meaning is entirely relative, it is not a good analogy.

If this technology allows one brain to manipulate the limb of another body without a layer of abstraction like speech then using the existing definition for comparison - it is Direct, regardless of how complex, expensive and impractical it may be, the explicit level of communication is maintained.

about three weeks ago

New GCHQ Chief Says Social Media Aids Terrorists

tomxor Cars Aid Terrorsist (228 comments)

Sandwiches Aid Terrorists

Toothpaste Aid Terrorists

HD TVs Aid Terrorists

Sleep Aids Terrorists

Coffee Aids Terrorists

Money Aids Terrorists

...Another fact we all now know: Robert Hannigan is a fuckwit... and you can probably find a reason that he in some way also aids terrorists.

about three weeks ago

Disney Patents a Piracy Free Search Engine

tomxor Contradiction? (164 comments)

...Disney believes that current search engines are using the wrong approach as they rely on a website's "popularity."...

... but what the typical user will want to see is a more authentic page...

about three weeks ago

Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

tomxor Re:10Mbit ? i wish (291 comments)

no difference same exchange, different price, the issue is everyone shares one exchange it's really far away and sucks essentially it's all BTs anyway.

about a month ago

Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

tomxor 10Mbit ? i wish (291 comments)

I don't live on top of a mountain 200 miles from civilisation, i live in a city in england... at home the fastest option for internet is a 3Mbit ADSL line. At work i have fibre, the difference is ridiculous, browsing at home is painful because many web developers seem to assume that everyone on earth has access to a 100Mbit connection... on top of that ISPs here seem to like throttling ssh traffic which makes it even more painful to do work at home, also occasionally the exchange fucks up and has given me ping times of well over 2000ms consistently for days which some protocols just can't deal with...

my ISP is talk talk they are the only LLC everything else here sucks also, the infrastructure and the capacity. I can easily see it making a divide if an assumption like "10Mbit" is made by content creators. It's easy to assume some minimum if you've never experienced less.

about a month ago

Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

tomxor Re:Distasteful stuff, but should not be illegal (475 comments)

The laws against child pornography should be aimed at protecting children from exploitation, not in making morality statements. Cartoon drawings of children engaging in sex acts certainly indicate people with pretty sick imaginations, but no children are hurt in their creation or consumption. I have seen worse on walls in public washrooms.

The laws against child pornography should be aimed at protecting children from exploitation, not in making morality statements. Cartoon drawings of children engaging in sex acts certainly indicate people with pretty sick imaginations, but no children are hurt in their creation or consumption. I have seen worse on walls in public washrooms.

Further more... "sick" is subjective.

One persons fantasy is sure to be sick to another person somewhere.

Rather than futilely attempting to determine what sexual fantasies are morally acceptable by majority vote on such a diverse range of sexual tastes... perhaps society should stick to the clear line that was simply: involvement of minors in sexual acts and pornography... and by minors i mean real people.

It's not that dissimilar to the violent video game argument, the people who can't separate reality from fiction are the issue not fiction itself.

about a month ago

First Teleportation of Multiple Quantum Properties of a Single Photon

tomxor Heady Stuff Indeed! (107 comments)

If you can teleport something as large as a virus then you can probably also fiddle with the data in between and are probably a substantial way toward arbitrarily assembling various forms of matter (i.e. molecular assembly), at which point you basically have a 3D printer from start treck.

about a month and a half ago

Code.org: Blame Tech Diversity On Education Pipeline, Not Hiring Discrimination

tomxor Normalise Normalise Normalise! (227 comments)

...Out of college if they're decent they're ONLY in the top 6%* of income in the country...

Even though your statistic is not supposed to be real, it's conceptually incorrect and should be lower when you normalise it with initial investment.

Then you should also give it some context by considering initial investment in terms of time and effort - i don't think many would disagree that if you put in the effort then you are at least deserved of an equivalently better income and not just lucky or greedy.

Now take your normalised statistic with context and apply it to "that software developer in the US" who is being manipulated into lower pay... "Poor" would be an exaggeration, but "Cheated"... perhaps.

about 2 months ago

Apple Allegedly Knew of iCloud Brute-Force Vulnerability Since March

tomxor More like 2 characters long (93 comments)

Given that in most systems allowed characters are number and letters with case sensitivity you only get this far:

36^2 = 1296
36^3 = 46656
so you only get 2

case sensitive alphanumeric:
62^2 = 3844
62^2 = 238328 also only 2

Not that it matters because like others say you would use this to do a brute force with a dictionary attack, this is still generally termed as brute force though.

about 2 months ago

Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

tomxor This is great (70 comments)

Fantastic that they made these available for free and in such an accessible format.

Had a quick look through and one of the major differences between the HTML5 version and the book is the layout, everything is completely linearly presented... i suppose that makes it easier to support mobile devices and various sized screens etc, but not quite as nice as the book.

Depending on the re-use rights perhaps it could be given some love with @media queries and some more caring typography.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

tomxor Why What! (548 comments)

You wish you had always known "how to design a solution on my own time before I code a solution on company time"? Why?

The more general principle is that you should design before you code... or rather: experiment, research, understand, test, analyse THEN design THEN code, then RE-write that code. It's the oppose to the write-once philosophy, if the task deserves it, then you should try to fully understand the problem before designing and coding for it.

But often with less engineering orientated programming you don't get time explicitly allocated for doing those things... so when you want to do a good job and are asked to write a moderately complex piece of software, you know that to save time overall and create a body of code that isn't going to cause you a headache to maintain later; you will have to invest some of your own time to think about it.

And the more cynical people here will say, "hey you don't get paid for that, programmers work too long hours blah blah blah" but you know what... it's worth it, because you become a better programmer, you learn more interesting things, you become better at thinking about problems and engineering solutions... if you aren't interested in those things then why are you coding at all, there are easier ways to make a living.

about 3 months ago

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

tomxor Re:It's still terrible (426 comments)

No they work fine... surprisingly a lot of the new css prefixed stuff has equivilent "-ms" prefixes. And i wouldn't have issue with those not working, using prefixed css properties comes with the knowledge that you cannot rely on them cross browser or even in the future.

What i have found is more of the same: browser quirks, things that are standards compliant and they claim to support fully but do not.

about 3 months ago

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

tomxor It's still terrible (426 comments)

After spending a week of cross browser fixing almost entirely focused on IE11 deficiencies i can tell you first hand that it still sucks in more ways to list here and changing it's name will only create a new image to hate.

There is only one thing MS could do to make me happy with it's browser: and that is to discontinue it, because they have proven time and time again that they cannot improve it sufficiently.

about 3 months ago


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