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posted by Dopefish on Monday February 24 2014, @06:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the i-for-one-welcome-our-new-computer-overlords dept.

kef writes:

"By 2029, computers will be able to understand our language, learn from experience and outsmart even the most intelligent humans, according to Google's director of engineering Ray Kurzweil.

Kurzweil says:

Computers are on the threshold of reading and understanding the semantic content of a language, but not quite at human levels. But since they can read a million times more material than humans they can make up for that with quantity. So IBM's Watson is a pretty weak reader on each page, but it read the 200m pages of Wikipedia. And basically what I'm doing at Google is to try to go beyond what Watson could do. To do it at Google scale. Which is to say to have the computer read tens of billions of pages. Watson doesn't understand the implications of what it's reading. It's doing a sort of pattern matching. It doesn't understand that if John sold his red Volvo to Mary that involves a transaction or possession and ownership being transferred. It doesn't understand that kind of information and so we are going to actually encode that, really try to teach it to understand the meaning of what these documents are saying.

Skynet anyone?"

 
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:01PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24 2014, @03:01PM (#5841)

    A baby cannot be considered conscious before birth? What a strange notion!

    Not really. Our justice system has decided that women have the right to an abortion and it's legal up until the time of birth, regardless of the fact that most people consider a 9th month abortion absurd. A baby can't be considered conscious before birth because that would mean that the courts have sanctioned murder. Further, it would open up the discussion to the question of exactly what changes when a fetus turns into a person and that would potentially lead to admitting that millions of people have been murdered with the sanction of the courts by their own mothers.

    The real issue is what makes a person a person. That has always been the issue. But neither side can let the debate become based in that fact because it is a compromise and neither side can bear the thought of compromise.

    For what it's worth, I believe that brain activity is what defines a person with rights, and the courts already support that in people who have been in an accident, but since I am clicking that anonymous checkbox, I doubt my opinion counts for much.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by drgibbon on Monday February 24 2014, @03:58PM

    by drgibbon (74) on Monday February 24 2014, @03:58PM (#5901) Journal

    But whose justice system are you referring to? Not picking, but it's important to actually state the place, rather than assume anyone else should automatically know what "our justice system" actually refers to.

    "A baby can't be considered conscious before birth because that would mean that the courts have sanctioned murder."

    Hmm, so because we cannot have courts sanctioning murder, it logically follows that, in reality, the baby was never conscious until it left the womb? The courts are without question sanctioning the killing of living people (the baby lives, yes), but I don't really want to get into an ethical discussion about that (for what it's worth, I believe women have the right to an abortion). The way that legal institutions around the world might define consciousness for the purposes of abortion doesn't seem particularly relevant to me. Who would honestly say that a baby has no consciousness whatsoever until it leaves the womb (other than for legal purposes?). I mean first of all, we cannot truly know, and secondly, it seems to quite plainly deny the reality of life. There may be some transition period before the baby is considered to have consciousness; but I find the original statement, "a baby cannot be considered conscious before birth" honestly to be pretty bizarre!

    Btw, nothing wrong with anon comments IMO.

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    • (Score: 1) by bucc5062 on Monday February 24 2014, @06:58PM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Monday February 24 2014, @06:58PM (#6061)

      And to pull this a little back on topic, if something within a computer system becomes "conscious" and upon our knowing, we pull the plug and kill it, have we committed murder?

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