iainrb

iainrb

  • Commented on Roko's Basilisk wants YOU
    Terry Pratchett once wrote something to the effect that if people get the afterlife they believe they will get, missionaries should be shot on sight....
  • Commented on Roko's Basilisk wants YOU
    I suppose that failing to spread the basilisk meme is an act of selfless courage on the part of the extropians. Surely they will be punished severely for not telling everyone about the idea that could scare society at large...
  • Commented on Tapeworm Logic
    @Greg 68: I was making a television reference, which it seems you did not get. The IMDB link above may give you a clue....
  • Commented on Tapeworm Logic
    Shorter RDSouth @50: "We humans have technology and stuff, so we are much better able to cope with the unknowns of the universe than a mere tapeworm!" True as far as it goes, but the hyperintelligent tapeworm equivalent is that...
  • Commented on The ticking clock, stopped
    One more thing -- my simple calculation above ignores "unnatural" deaths. So really the population would peak at something less than 33 times its present level and then go into decline, assuming everyone had his or her 0.97 children and...
  • Commented on The ticking clock, stopped
    Interesting, but if everyone stops aging, 100 years is not really a "long-term projection." As the article points out, the eventual steady state population is 1/(1-r) times the original, where r is the number of children per individual. Sweden's fertility...
  • Commented on The ticking clock, stopped
    Where are these "collapsing populations" of which you speak? As of 2012, Sweden has an annual birth rate of 10.24 per 1000 population, and a death rate of 10.21. If people stop dying of old age, then (roughly speaking) the...
  • Commented on The ticking clock, stopped
    If you want to have children and have not yet done so, it might be wise to have them as soon as possible. Once public policy catches up with the effects of the drug, I would expect draconian restrictions on...
  • Commented on 2512
    Indeed. When the USA wargamed plans for an invasion of Iraq in 2002, they put retired Marine General Paul Van Riper in charge of the simulated Iraqi forces. The result was a series of horrifying defeats for the simulated USA:...
  • Commented on 2512
    I don't know if printing and widespread literacy slow down or speed up the space of linguistic change. On the one hand, you can have a shared dictionary and standard if you want one; on the other, any change in...
  • Commented on 2512
    "back translating" doesn't really tell you how accurate the first translation was because the second translation can introduce errors. True as far as it goes. But it's still a useful rough and ready indicator, on the (reasonable) assumption that Japanese-English...
  • Commented on 2512
    Sorry for being flippant -- I meant that your inability to speak Chinese isn't really relevant to the question of whether a machine translator can do it. even a basic voice translator, however poor, would be a benefit in a...
  • Commented on 2512
    Well, the "telephone game" clearly demonstrates that machine translation will not handle idiomatic sentences correctly. I realise it's a hard job for human translators too -- that only reinforces my point that it's unrealistic to expect a perfect Universal Translator...
  • Commented on 2512
    Hopefully parsing sentence structure will be one of the medium-hanging fruit that gets picked next. Hope all you want. I certainly can't rule out some kind of amazing breakthrough in machine translation. My point is that for a machine to...
  • Commented on 2512
    I agree. Machine translation might well be good enough for technical documents, but walking up to a native speaker and having a conversation is a totally different order of challenge....
  • Commented on 2512
    Oh, and I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a non-trivial chance that the England-Scotland union will dissolve less than 2 years from now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-20256108...
  • Commented on 2512
    I agree that a lot of companies are short-lived by intention (or can barely be said to exist as all, as with shell companies concocted for tax avoidance), but it's pretty unusual for a major corporation to keep going for...
  • Commented on 2512
    I can't speak Chinese either. So what? The question is whether machine translation will become so good that it makes linguistic differences irrelevant. From where I'm standing that seems unlikely, unless we develop "magic wand" AI, in which case all...
  • Commented on 2512
    Google Translate uses some reasonably clever algorithms. Pass one of my sentences to Japanese and back and you get: "We are confident that the low hanging fruit harvested machine translation, and we take a look at incremental improvements, such as...
  • Commented on 2512
    Very nice, but Microsoft is still claiming a translation error of at least "1 word in 7 or 8". The low-hanging fruit of machine translation have been picked, and I'm sure we will continue to see incremental improvements like the...
  • Commented on 2512
    I used to be one of those guys working on machine translation. Trust me, it's really hard. It might be one of those technologies that remains "40 years in the future" for an indefinite period of time. Anything smart enough...
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