April 26, 2002

Patent On An "Amusement Apparatus" For Kicking Your Own Ass

And we all know how amusing that can be. (Second only to banging your head against the wall...)

United States Patent: 6,293,874: User-operated amusement apparatus for kicking the user's buttocks.

China Figures Out How To Spy in the Year 2002

I'm not saying this story is true (consider the source :-) -- but if it was true, China would sure be smart.

Why bother with all of the usual Double Agent hassles when you can just sit back and hack into the entire military industrial complex from the comfort of your own home?

See the LA Times story by Eric Lichtblau:
CIA Warns of Chinese Plans for Cyber-Attacks on U.S..

April 24, 2002

Introduction to "The Singularity"

If you are still relatively new to the singularity, like me, perhaps you will enjoy reading An Introduction to the Singularity, courtesy of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

New Intelligence from the Singularity Institute

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence has released a new paper that will be included in the upcoming book Real AI: New Approaches to Artificial General Intelligence (Goertzel and Pennachin, eds., forthcoming):
Levels of Organization in General Intelligence.

Here's a printable HTML version, in case you want to print out the whole thing.

Where the human line developed from very complex non-general intelligence into very complex general intelligence, a successful AI project is more likely to develop from a primitive general intelligence into a complex general intelligence.  Note that primitive does not mean architecturally simple.  The right set of subsystems, even in a primitive and simplified state, may be able to function together as a complete but imbecilic mind which then provides a framework for further development.  This does not imply that AI can be reduced to a single algorithm containing the "essence of intelligence".  A cognitive supersystem may be "primitive" relative to a human and still require a tremendous amount of functional complexity.

I am admittedly biased against the search for a single essence of intelligence; I believe that the search for a single essence of intelligence lies at the center of AI's previous failures.  Simplicity is the grail of physics, not AI.  Physicists win Nobel Prizes when they discover a previously unknown underlying layer and explain its behaviors.  We already know what the ultimate bottom layer of an Artificial Intelligence looks like; it looks like ones and zeroes.  Our job is to build something interesting out of those ones and zeroes.  The Turing formalism does not solve this problem any more than quantum electrodynamics tells us how to build a bicycle; knowing the abstract fact that a bicycle is built from atoms doesn't tell you how to build a bicycle out of atoms - which atoms to use and where to put them.  Similarly, the abstract knowledge that biological neurons implement human intelligence does not explain human intelligence.  The classical hype of early neural networks, that they used "the same parallel architecture as the human brain", should, at most, have been a claim of using the same parallel architecture as an earthworm's brain.  (And given the complexity of biological neurons, the claim would still have been wrong.)

April 23, 2002

Quotes from the 321 Studios' DMCA Complaint

I just wrote up an O'Reilly Network Weblog that includes a bunch of quotes from the PDF version of the 321 Studios brief:
Fair Use vs. DMCA: 321 Studios Takes the First Swing.

Major Pro-Palestinian Protests On Both Sides of the Globe

There was some major protesting going on last weekend, although you wouldn't know it from watching television. (Can you say: "media consipracy" boys and girls?)

Here are some links about the Pro-palestinian demonstration that happened in Washington DC:
Demonstrators Rally to Palestinian Cause

Pro-Palestinian march takes Washington by storm

Thousands protest Israeli, U.S. policies

Weekend Protests Prove Peaceful, Yet Send Powerful Message

Here are some pictures from a Pro-Palestinian demonstration that took place in Oslo, the Netherlands.

321 Studios Launches DMCA Offensive

Upstart isn't taking any chances with the DMCA. It filed a complaint asking the court to OK its product ahead of time.

See the CNET article by Lisa Bowman:
Upstart seeks court OK for DVD

In a pre-emptive strike to stave off the wrath of the movie industry, a small software company is asking a federal judge for permission to sell and market its product for copying DVDs.

In a complaint filed Monday in federal court in San Francisco, 321 Studios asked the court to declare that its DVD Copy Plus program does not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.