Young Master Smeet

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  • in reply to: Left / People’s Assembly #93055

    Stuart,After the dismal failure of Occupy, because it was a formless idea-less movement, left unity based on a like formlessness around a sort of possiblism will go the same way: you don't have to be Nostradamus to see that.  The "Socialist Platform" will be asked to subsume themselves to that possiblism, so there's no harm in saying to them that a separate explicitly Socialist Party already exists if they wanted to put the effort in.

    in reply to: Nobel Prize for Economics #90588

    It seems there are other useful mathematicians out there: their patent (yeah, I know):

    Patent wrote:
    In both methods, the parties are each given 100 points and then bid on each item using their points. Under the AW method, which is applicable to indivisible items, each party is initially allocated those goods, or wins on those issues, for which it bids the higher number of points. Then the goods or issues are reassigned, or resolved differently, to achieve equality of points based on the quotients of the parties' bids. Under PA, each good or issue is divided according to a ratio based on both parties' bids for that good or issue.

    Obviously, that sounds like market like behaviour, although it is a game in which the entrants do not bring a pile of money, but play according to the same rules each time.  It seems there are a plethora of such methods out there that could be used.

    in reply to: The Singularity Rises #95289

    Well, I won't try to define intelligence, largely because in computer terms, I'd suggest it isn't actually very interesting, and ends up being misleading.  Intelligence like captures it better, because I would maintain that humans produce intelligence like behaviour, and mistake it for intelligence, much of which, as I said, is a by-blow of our linguistic capacities and our advanced orders of theory of mind, what I'm interested in is robots/computers that not only perform high order calculations, but can recognise real world objects (rapidly) and can make deep searches of vast databases and can not only retrieve data but find relevence and manipulate it to produce new data.Designing, say, an entire new model car, so that it would not just be efficient and cheap to produce, but also attractive to human beings, would be a very high order function.Even a computer that can drive a car safely (they exist at prototype stage now) is intelligence like, because it requires situational awareness of external objects, and some notion of how other drivers are going to react.These sorts of things, rather than an artificial personality (which is what many people, driven by the movies, mistake for AI).

    in reply to: The Singularity Rises #95286
    LBird wrote:
    So,… the human 'designers' produce… and the robots do the donkey work…

    Sorry, my fault, 'computer designers' = computer based robots, as opposed to physical robots.  The idea being that a computer could design a bridge, plan the project, place the requisitions for parts, and co-ordinate the physical robots to build the bridge.As for helping Deep Blue: the computer programmers reprogrammed it between matches, changing it's evaluations.  So, it's true to say that it lacked an ability to learn.As I've linked to before, the Robot World Cup is worth watching: level of computation to find and kick a ball is incredible.

    in reply to: The Singularity Rises #95285

    Just to explain to people what the Chinese room is:

    Searle wrote:
    "Suppose that I'm locked in a room and … that I know no Chinese, either written or spoken". He further supposes that he has a set of rules in English that "enable me to correlate one set of formal symbols with another set of formal symbols," that is, the Chinese characters. These rules allow him to respond, in written Chinese, to questions, also written in Chinese, in such a way that the posers of the questions – who do understand Chinese – are convinced that Searle can actually understand the Chinese conversation too, even though he cannot. Similarly, he argues that if there is a computer program that allows a computer to carry on an intelligent conversation in written Chinese, the computer executing the program would not understand the conversation either

    So, this is a refutation, more or less, to the Turing test (in which an AI passes if it can convince a human it is a human in conversation). The section on the wikipedia article called "Brain simulation and connectionist replies: redesigning the room" is directly relevent to this discussion.  I find Searle interesting, but I find compelling the idea of some neuroscientists that intention in the human mind in retrospective (personally, I think as a result of language and our 'social' mind, in which we feel we are explaining ourselves to our fellows).  But I do have some sympathy with the idea that only a physical entity structured like a human brain can actually produce human consciousness/intelligence.

    in reply to: The Singularity Rises #95284
    ALB wrote:
    The November/December 2012 issue carried an article by Massimo Piglucci. a philosopher of science who writes a regular "Thinking About Science" column, entitled "Singularity As Pseudoscience".

    Well, that is one strong critique (certainly against the 'Rapture of the Nerds' end of the spectrum).  But singularity also includes the possibility of human augmented intelligence, or network emergence.A couple of examples.  Cricket: despite the ashes referral issues, one effect of technology has been to radically alter LBW calls.  For years, human eye umpiring was giving not out to balls that Hawkeye proved were actually plumb.  So, now the humans have responded by learning what a real LBW looks like, and are calling it better.  Likewise, I've used this before, but early Twentieth Century chess masters were apparently blunder prone, and missed lines that are obvious to the current generation, who have been trained and schooled with computer chess programmes that can show them the deep outcomes of their choices.The point isn't that an artificial person might be created, but that intelligence-like activities, such as lawyering, or designing bridges, could be computerised and could be better than the human version.

    in reply to: The Singularity Rises #95280

    Well, it's a philosophical problem that might be solved by computing methods.  Though the computer tech response is to say that the question of whether a computer can think is as uninteresting as asking whether a submarine can swim.  After all, Bertrand Russell after 350+ pages didn't manage to prove 1+1=2 (he got to a partial proof, but never managed to define addition), but that doesn't stop us using maths in any case.  A computer beat Gary Kasparov at chess (with, yes, the help of human programmers), so we know that 'intelligence-like' capabilities can be produced by computers, up to the point where we may get computer designers producing schematics of cars for robot factories to build.BTW, I am taken with Searles Chinese box argument, but a fully virtualised brain could by-pass the question of intentionality.

    in reply to: What would real democracy look like? #95247

    To start with a quote I quite like:

    In reality these words now have a social meaning in which the political meaning is dissolved. The Revolution itself was something quite different from a struggle for this or that form of State, as people in Germany still quite frequently imagine that it was. The connection of most insurrections of that time with famine, the significance which the provisioning of the capital and the distribution of supplies assumed already from 1789 onwards, the maximum, the laws against buying up food supplies, the battle cry of the revolutionary armies — “Guerre aux palais, paix aux chaumières” [War to the palaces, peace to the cottages] — the testimony of the Carmagnole[2] according to which Republicans must have du pain [Bread] as well as du fer [Arms] and du coeur [Heart, courage] — and a hundred other obvious superficialities already prove, without any more detailed investigation of the facts, how greatly democracy differed at that time from a mere political organisation. As it is it is well known that the Constitution of 1793 and the terror originated with the party which derived its support from the insurgent proletariat, that Robespierre’s overthrow signified the victory of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat, that Babeuf’s conspiracy for equality revealed the final consequences of the democracy of ‘93 — insofar as these were at all possible at that time. [3] The French Revolution was a social movement from beginning to end, and after it a purely political democracy became a complete absurdity.Democracy nowadays is communism. Any other democracy can only still, exist in the heads of theoretical visionaries who are not concerned with real events, in whose view it is not the men and the circumstances that develop the principles but the principles develop of themselves. Democracy has become the proletarian principle, the principle of the masses. The masses may be more or less clear about this, the only correct meaning of democracy, but all have at least an obscure feeling that social equality of rights is implicit in democracy. The democratic masses can be safely included in any calculation of the strength of the communist forces. And if the proletarian parties of the different nations unite they will be quite right to inscribe the word “Democracy” on their banners, since, except for those who do not count, all European democrats in 1846 are more or less Communists at heart. for extended quote, but the point remains, that the various logical and abstract tools we can imagine for democracy take secondary place to the real social movement and the classes that underlie it.  I see no reason, for example, for a socialist society not to use representative democracy, but also referendums, juries, etc.

    in reply to: “Socialist” Party of Great Britain #95177

    Not wishing to speak for Stuart, but he's recently said this article: more or less summises his political reasoning/trajectory.  It's part of an interesting debate within the new left unity mob, one that reprises, funnily enough, the one that lead to our foundation.I can remember, when I were a bairn, that in the school playground two lads would put their arms over each other's shoulders, and start chanting: "All join up for playing (rounders/tigs/hide and seek, etc.).  New lads would join the line, until most of the playground were in the chain (and playtime ended before we could play tigs, rounders, hide and seek, etc.).The debate there is that you'll get more people to link arms if you just chant 'All join up' without having any specific game in mind.  It's a valid argument, but I know I come down on the other side, that without a specific objective it will end up being like St. Joseph's playtime.

    in reply to: Organisation of work and free access #94801 Can't deep link, but the section "Technology in Capitalism and Socialism" may be what you're looking for.

    Another difficulty is that modern science and technology have developed with capitalism. This makes it seem at times that there are good scientific and technical reasons for the complexity of life and work in the modern capitalist state. Capitalist propaganda takes advantage of this and often tries to turn the frustration and anger that workers feel on to scientific and technical workers, as though they were the ones who decided to make the obscene weapons of modern war, thalidomide, battery farms or polluted rivers. Of course, it is capitalist business and the capitalist state that decide what workers shall produce or what experiments and research they will fund.


    in reply to: Organisation of work and free access #94788
    LBird wrote:
    If humans are involved, ideology is involved. 'Scientists' are humans, and are not non-ideological beings, but are products of our class-divided society.

    No amount of ideology, though, will allow anyone to square a circle : the scientific process exists between humans, and the moves in its language game are valid or invalid according to to the process and irrespective of any ideational set.

    in reply to: “Socialist” Party of Great Britain #95165
    gnome wrote:
    Depends surely on whether those personal views conflict with or are detrimental to the interests of the Party…

    Not if the person who holds them accepts that they are not the policy of the party and accepts the democratic decision of the party.  That's the advantage of having an agreed party position, we can disown rogue voices. Oh, and don't call me Shirley.

    in reply to: “Socialist” Party of Great Britain #95153

    Frankly, I'd rather not be a member of an organisation that expelled people for having their own personal views. The position of the party, as democratically decided is pretty clear.   For instance: "trade unions being a necessity under capitalism, any action on their part upon sound lines should be heartily supported." (Manifesto fo the Socialist Party).  "Trade union" above can stand in for any organisation for the defence of the living conditions of the working class.Of course,  that means we do not fetishise lawfulness any more than we would fetishise lawlessness: we recognise that most confrontations with the state will lead to the victory of the big battalions (or the small ones with the heavy fire-power).What we stand for is effective action, and the most effective action is building a mass movement for the abolition of capitalism.

    in reply to: Run mad screaming #94710

    Almost as bad as when they are using science against us, is when they won't use science:

    In both word and deed, Thatcher expressed hostility towards feminism, which explains why Britain’s first female head of government insisted on being known as the first British prime minister with a science degree. ‘Who are you?’, she asked Dr John Ashworth, the Chief Scientist, as he entered No. 10 for the first time. ‘I am your Chief Scientist’, Ashworth replied. ‘Oh,’ said Thatcher, sharply, ‘do I want one of those?’ Ashworth explained he was preparing a report in the new subject area of climate change. Thatcher hurled a fierce stare. “Are you standing there and seriously telling me that my government should worry about the weather?’ She then announced to the Chief Scientist that her government had no room for a minister for science. ‘I’m a scientist’, she said. ‘I shall be my own Minister for Science.’

    in reply to: Trade unions pushing a particular political party #94692

    Actually, according to Luke Akehurst :

    We are basically asking other unions to follow UNISON’s model of an opt-in affiliated political fund (APF) and a separate general political fund, which seems to work well. It has the advantage of us being able to tell the assorted Trot and Stalinist political parties that like to infiltrate some unions that they are not allowed anywhere near the affiliated political fund or its policies.

    Now, what happens in practice is that the unaffiliated fund becomes a back-door 'support Labour style policies' fund (believe me, I've tried to opt out of paying my political levy, and it isn't easy).  So, this begins to look more and more like a canny move.  I'd bet a lot of the Affiliated Fund payers are just there by default, rather than an active choice (someone often helps fill in the form).

Viewing 15 posts - 2,761 through 2,775 (of 3,035 total)