MIT has created an interesting project called OpenMind
. The goal is to teach a computer things that we apes take for granted. For instance if I was to say "Colby wanted to be a fireman when he grew up" you would have to know what a fireman was, what colby was, and what growing up is. Everything you know is dependent on something else. Every word in the dictionary is defined by another word. This type of relationship creation is the backbone of human understanding.
So go sign up and teach the computer something, even if it seems basic to you. Maybe one day when these computers come of age and the machines put you in a cage they'll return the favor by giving you a stick to beat things with.
For some odd reason when drudge posted this article
on spy drones that will be used by civilian law enforcement it caused a huge stir among people. But I don't see the big deal. People tend to have this aversion to UAVs in general equating the technology with danger. I see this a lot inside the hobbiest UAV culture where some remote-contol hobbiest call them dangerous (apparently more dangerous than an ape with a remote control.. but I digress). But allow me to focus on the article from drudge and peer inside this "flying eye in the sky!" boogeyman a bit.
1. Law enforcement already has the abilty to linger in airspace above any city. This is called a helicopter. Many police departments in the US began to use helicopters for law enforcement after returning Korean War soldiers saw their usefulness in transporting wounded troops from the battlefield. This role was expanded to include enforcement, specifically the ability to track suspected criminals.
2. News helicopters. We have more than our share of news aircraft floating above us. How many times have to see aerial video on the TV? This is not new, in fact use of cameras in aircraft is very old.
3. Other aircraft - look up. Chances are good if you live in a urban area that you'll see an aircraft. Are they spying on you? Maybe. But most likely no, you are not that important.
4. Satellites - nuff said
5. Cameras are everywhere. You can't walk down the street in most metro areas without being on a camera. Simple matter of modern life. But that's a whole other topic thats been beaten to death already/
So what is new with this? Why the aversion to a technology that could be used to help society? The cost of a small UAV is pocket change compared to say a multi-million dollar aircraft
that has must be flown by a trained crew and is relatively more expensive to maintain. Why not free these existing aircraft up for transporting accident victims, while leaving the survelliance to an inexpensive UAV?
But in the end I think we're going to see a lot more of these kind of issues regarding the use of autonomous vehicles and robots in general. People are scared of them for reasons older than written history. The unknown scares people. We need to educate people and let them know that people are still in control. Just because a robot appears to think for itself that simply isn't true. Every action is determined by the software/hardware that powers it. There will be mistakes of course. But that's because clothed apes create them, not because of some inherent Evil Inside(tm). Combine that with a distrust of authority prevelant in today's society, the arming of simple robots for warfare, sophisticated survelliance equipment, and television and you get fear. This fear could be useful, if used to promote wisdom in our choices of robotics. But it could also be damaging if innovation is shunned for the reason of fear alone.
Want to mess with a coworker? Come to work early and replace his usual keyboard with this
. You might be doing a bit too much gaming when you need a "spellbook" key on your keyboard..
I have put slashdot on a LIFE BAN for various reasons, mainly to keep my sanity. This is my replacement: http://www.digg.com/
All the stories geeks love, minus bullshit.
I got kind of tired of slashdot not for the stories but a few reasons:
- Lack of profressionalism - duplicate stories everyday, same format since 1997, lack of caring by the staff, etc.
- I always knew the comments were, to quote Linus, a "geek circle jerk" but it seems to be a bit too many college greenhorns and not enough pros. I don't care what johnny college thinks. He's still in "bootcamp", so why would we care what he thinks we should do to win the war? :P
- A bit too much MS bashing. I loathe lack of quality as much as the next guy. But "MS == evil" and "Google == greatness" is simply naive. This is coming from a guy that runs linux as his main desktop.
So if I can get the same stories hours earlier then why keep soliciting them and lining their pockets? I don't know, maybe I expect too much from slashdot. But who cares, I found a replacement.
Here is a paper
) on evolutionary programming that gives a good overview of genetic algs
vs. evolutionary strategies
vs. evolutionary programming.
One of my mentors in this industry once told me that he thought evolutionary programming in some form would be needed to tackle the complexity of future applications. These applications would determine the best solution to a problem using evolution and fitness tests that the programmer would create. Would this ease the burden on the programmer? Probably not. But it will allow one to create much more complex applications.
But how do you take this model of programming and turn it into a tool that can be used by many?