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2011 has been a huge year for Artificial Intelligence. With the IBM computer Watson defeating two top Jeopardy! champions in February, it’s clear that the field is making steady progress.

Do people here generally think that this is true? I don't see much of an intersection between Watson and AI; it seems like a few machine learning algorithms that approach Jeopardy problems in an extremely artificial way, much like chess engines approach playing chess. (Are chess engines artificial intelligence too?)

Thanks. I guess the followup questions are:

  • Is the legal action still pending, or can the situation be talked about openly now?
  • Has SIAI been able to recover the money?
  • Was it a mistake to trust a contractor with access to >$100k of funds? Do they still do that?
  • In 2009 the SIAI reported $118,802 to theft - "Misappropriation of assets, by a contractor [...]" This is a significant amount when compared to annual revenue or liquid assets. The year's surplus appears to have been eaten up by the theft. No details are provided, other than the fact that suit has been filed to seek restitution.

I'm surprised that no-one's mentioned this -- it's hard to imagine how someone can steal that much money. Can someone at SIAI tell us whether they're allowed to talk about what happened; and if you can't right now, do you have any idea when you might be able to?

I see, thanks. I was thinking of "to" as just being the other direction of "by", but you can interpret it as more like "towards" and then it's all good.

Oh, I bet it's because the previous sentence was "When someone draws Mohammed, it is considered offensive to Muslims.", and that one seemed like a straightforward "no-one except Muslims is being offended by this" mapping, which was then extended to cover sexism.

When someone writes a story where all the sympathetic and interesting characters are male, it is considered offensive to women.

I'm sure you don't actually have any confusion here, but I feel compelled to point out that you kind of did that thing where you only expect a member of Minority X to be offended by *ism against Minority X, where in fact everyone should join in sharing the offense caused by it, because that's just part of being a decent person.

(I probably wouldn't have mentioned this but for the fact that we're having a meta-discussion about how offense works!)

I work opposite that Cosi branch; it's rarely crowded when I'm there. I think it'll be fine.

Interesting article!

I think you're overstating the difficulty of Go to computers. The latest wave of Monte Carlo programs -- when run on fast multicore machines -- are able to beat professionals with a modicum of handicap on 19x19, or at even games on 9x9; they're certainly now better than the average club player.

It would cost less to place someone in cryonic suspension than to execute him, and in so doing we would provide a chance, however small, that a wrongful conviction could be reversed in the future.

Hm, I don't think that works -- the extra cost is from the stronger degree of evidence and exhaustive appeals process required before the inmate is killed, right? If you want to suspend the inmate before those appeals then you've curtailed their right to put together a strong defence against being killed, and if you want to suspend the inmate after those appeals then you haven't actually saved any of that money.

.. or did I miss something?

That's true. I didn't spend my own money on them (I grew up in the UK), and they didn't cost very much in comparison, but I agree that it's a good example of a medical long shot.

Cryonics is comparable to CPR or other emergency medical care

.. at a probability of (for the sake of argument) one in a million.

Do I participate in other examples of medical care that might save my life with probability one in a million (even if they don't cost any money)? No, not that I can think of.

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