Sunday, February 22, 2015

Q&A - 22/2

George Orwell

If she had not been aided by Britain and America, Russia would have been defeated by Germany [during WWII]

Orwell knows

Maybe during one of their WWII "parades", Russian leaders should salute their saviors, in the direction of the West. Because if it wasn't for the rest of the Europe and US, it seems that their ass would have been grass.

Question

What do you think about Internet of Things?

Lukewarm

I cant see much reason to get excited about it. Plus exposing household items to outside can pose a security risk; it is enough government agencies of rouge states try to get into ordinary people's accounts, now potentially they can hack into your home..? Imagine the scenario - in your kitchen they knock you out with the refigrator door, turn on your oven, get your roomba to throw your ass on the grill. That would suck.

Home devices being able to connect to eachother, locally, can be good of course; but still, meh.

Yann LeCun

[LeCun is a Deep Learning expert] Some aspects of our models are inspired by neuroscience, but many components are not at all inspired by neuroscience, and instead come from theory, intuition, or empirical exploration. Our models do not aspire to be models of the brain, and we don’t make claims of neural relevance [..]  I’m very careful not to use words that could lead to hype. Because there is a huge amount of hype in this area. Which is very dangerous [..] In a cargo cult, you reproduce the appearance of the machine without understanding the principles behind the machine. You build radio stations out of straw [..]

The equivalent in AI is to try to copy every detail that we know of about how neurons and synapses work, and then turn on a gigantic simulation of a large neural network inside a supercomputer, and hope that AI will emerge. That’s cargo cult AI. There are very serious people who get a huge amount of money who basically—and of course I’m sort of simplifying here—are pretty close to believing this [..].

I do believe that some of the claims by the IBM group have gone a bit too far and were easily misinterpreted. Some of their announcements look impressive on the surface, but aren’t actually implementing anything useful. Before the True North project, the group used an IBM supercomputer to “simulate a rat-scale brain.” But it was just a random network of neurons that did nothing useful except burn cycles.  "If you build a convolutional net chip [instead] . . . it can go into a lot of devices right away. IBM built the wrong thing. They built something that we can’t do anything useful with.”

The sad thing about the True North chip is that it could have been useful if it had not tried to stick too close to biology and not implemented “spiking integrate-and-fire neurons.” Building a chip is very expensive. So in my opinion—and I used to be a chip designer—you should build a chip only when you’re pretty damn sure it can do something useful [..].

I’m going to get a lot of heat for this, but basically a big chunk of the Human Brain Project in Europe is based on the idea that we should build chips that reproduce the functioning of neurons as closely as possible, and then use them to build a gigantic computer, and somehow when we turn it on with some learning rule, AI will emerge. I think it’s nuts. Now, what I just said is a caricature of the Human Brain Project, to be sure. And I don’t want to include in my criticism everyone who is involved in the project. A lot of participants are involved simply because it’s a very good source of funding that they can’t afford to pass up.

Yes

I had my doubts on HBP as well; besides the cargo cult aspect, I believe whichever agency is behind this is probably thinking along the same lines of Large Hadron Collider, that is, they are equating  high-energy physics with artificial intelligence (incorrect in this case as well) and wanted to go big. AI is not physics. With LHC there was a clear objective, utilizing methods that are [mostly] understood, all there was left to do is building the BFC - the big f-king collider. The basis of HBP is not entirely understood. Going big in this case would not help IMHO.

Link

Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it

The man is deranged

Saudi ruling elite themselves go to best schools in the world, then they turn around and push this guy on the populace?

Robert Green

33 Strategies of War

Muslims then marched through the mountain valleys upon Mecca. Muhammad divided his force into four columns.... Muhammad gave strict orders that no violence was to be used. His own tent was pitched on high ground immediately overlooking the town. Eight years before, he had fled from Mecca under cover of darkness, and lain hidden three days in a cave on Mount Thor, which from his tent he could now see rising beyond the city. Now ten thousand warriors were ready to obey his least command and his native town lay helpless at his feet. After a brief rest, he [..] entered the town [..]. Muhammad [..] was not vindictive. A general amnesty was proclaimed, from which less than a dozen persons were excluded, only four being actually executed. Ikrima, the son of Abu Jahal, escaped to the Yemen, but his wife appealed to the Apostle, who agreed to forgive him.... The Muslim occupation of Mecca was thus virtually bloodless. The fiery Khalid ibn al Waleed killed a few people at the southern gate and was sharply reprimanded by Muhammad for doing so. Although the Apostle had himself been persecuted in the city and although many of his bitterest opponents were still living there, he won all hearts by his clemency on his day of triumph. Such generosity [..] was particularly remarkable among Arabs, a race to whom revenge has always been dear.

There

The Atlantic

What [does] ISIS really want? ISIS is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs [..]

They are psychopaths

Does the description above, about Mohammed, in any shape or form, resemble what ISIS is doing today?

There can be a big difference between what a founder of a movement intended to create, and what institutions do later on, in their name. Would Jesus persecute Galileo for claiming all heavenly bodies did not revolve around Earth? He would not, but the Catholic Church did. A scientist in Istanbul, Hazerfan, constructed wings and managed to fly / glide for over 3 kilometers, during the 17th century. Would Mohammed persecute him for inventing something? He would not. But the Ottoman dipshit calling himself sultan and caliph did. ISIS is simply the continuation of this defunct culture, it is nothing new, simply a collection of ignorant, genocidal beliefs that need to be battled with. That's it.

Democracy, Bitcoin

A summary of comments made on democracy and bitcoin .