1263: "Reassuring"

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1263: "Reassuring"

Postby myrcutio » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:10 am UTC

Image
http://xkcd.com/1263/

Alt: 'At least humans are better at quietly amusing ourselves, oblivious to our pending obsolescence' thought the human, as a nearby Dell Inspiron contentedly displayed the same bouncing geometric shape screensaver it had been running for years.'

I always get a nerdy surge of pride when I beat a multi teraflop computer at Go. I hope our high dan pros hold out a very long time indeed.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:14 am UTC

Go, Schmo. No one can beat my senescent grampa at cheating at checkers.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:24 am UTC

I still can't beat my Motorola c200 at 5 stone :(

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby myrcutio » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:26 am UTC

For anyone wanting some background, Randall is probably referring to http://senseis.xmp.net/?ComputerGo#toc3. It's also a little hyperbolic to say programs will beat humans soon, as the current bots only beat strong amateurs in very specific circumstances. Humans are still significantly better in judging whole board positions whereas computers are nearly flawless at smaller, more isolated life and death problems (fewer possible positions to account for). I'd be interested to see how a bot would fare given more typical time settings against dan level players (90m+1m byoyomi).
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby bridgeplayer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:39 am UTC

Bridge (the card game) is a big one, and we're not close to defeating the best humans.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:39 am UTC

Does this mean Go is sliding upwards on this Othercomic?

http://xkcd.com/1002/
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:46 am UTC

We will always be the creators.

There's something to that. I'm not quite sure what it is yet. But no student ever quite learns everything from their master.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Antior » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:08 am UTC

BlitzGirl wrote:Othercomic

What the hell is your kind doing in this thread?

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:07 am UTC

Antior wrote:
BlitzGirl wrote:Othercomic

What the hell is your kind doing in this thread?

I have been molping about the Otherthreads long before your Time, young Antior. :)

(And when I say "long before", I mean just over a heretical year.)
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Antior » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:15 am UTC

That's because for years I only hung around in the chatrooms.

The thing is, the Time comic was a good comic, no denying that. At the start, people did some great efforts to document what was going on, no problems there either. But at some point the thread and other websites degenerated into some silly fanboyism thing with weird slang, like a bad tumblr but worse. I'm guessing the quality of that comic was so high that it drew idiots as well as the normal xkcd public. That was about the point I stopped following the Time comic (yeah, yeah, caught up when it ended). Now, Time is over, everyone can go back to what they were doing before and stupid fanmemes can die. Or, if they can't, they can stay where they belong.

Well, I'm gonna stop before I go offtopic too much. I think I'll just go beat a computer at something.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby lly » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:25 am UTC

Just as a note, Go ranks are not linear and Takemiya Masaki, while a great player, is also not anywhere near where Kasparov was when Deep Blue beat him. Any player will tell you that in amateur ranking the difference between a 10k and a 9k is not even remotely the same as the difference between a 1k and a 1d, which is nowhere near 5d to 6d, etc. Professional ranks are more honorific in nature and don't carry quite the same stone-strength meaning.

What this means is that a victory against an older pro who had no idea what to expect at 4-5 (or even 2-3) is very, very impressive from where we were even a few years ago… but those next few stones are going to be harder than the last few, and I'm willing to predict it will be a while before we see a high-tier professional beaten at an even game. It also means that playing a 9p like Takemiya or Cho Hunhyun is not the same as playing, say, Fan Tingyu or Park Jeong-Hwan.

I seem to recall some AI dev confidently predicting that, after AIs went from 9k to 1d in around a year that they felt they could get the next ten stones in another year or so. Yeah, that didn't happen.

I also admit I am very curious how much stronger the computer can even theoretically get compared to top human players, the handicap system in Go means that even if we get to the point where players lose consistently, there's still quite a bit of rich research to be done.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:35 am UTC

Antior wrote:<snip> I'm guessing the quality of that comic was so high that it drew idiots people who enjoy having fun as well as the normal xkcd public people who enjoy feeling superior to others.

FTFY. Thanks for providing an Outside perspective on the OTT!

On topic: I don't necessarily think "Computers will never enjoy a salad" is reassuring. I think humans are still better at making parables than that computer. :)
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:01 am UTC

I will admit that computers are truly better than humans if they are able to design/create the first TRUE sentient AI before you humans do.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Eternal Density » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:13 am UTC

"A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing."-Emo Philips
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:56 am UTC

At least computers will never go out of their way to create the means of their own obsolescence, and then sit around whining about it when they're replaced by the fruits of their own labor.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:29 am UTC

I suspect computer will go out of their way to create the means of their own obsolescence, because we will program them to do so. Well, I guess that would make that squarely in their way in that case, but you get the point.

I don't see any reason we would program them to whine about it though, other than perhaps that misery loves company and if we're going to suffer like this they sure as hell will too.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby mward » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:39 am UTC

Back in the 1960's, when AI research was just beginning,
researchers predicted that within the next 20 years we would
have machines as intelligent as humans. I remember reading some
of these predictions in the 1970's and wondering...

Back in the 1980's, I read Douglas Hofstadter's brilliant
book "Godel, Escher, Bach" in which he predicted that within
the next 20 years we would have machines as intelligent as humans.
At that point, I made my own prediction: "In 20 years time people
will *still* be predicting that in 20 years time we would have
machines as intelligent as humans!"

I quote from http://www.accelerationwatch.com: "Both Ray Kurzweil (The Age
of Spiritual Machines) and Hans Moravec (Robot) have recently
proposed that perhaps even as early as 2020 to 2030 we will
have sufficient hardware complexity, as well as sufficient
insights from cognitive neuroscience (reverse engineering salient
neural structure of the mammalian brain), to create silicon
evolutionary spaces that will develop higher-level intelligence."
Bill Gates says ""Twenty years from now, predicts Ray Kurzweil,
$1,000 computers will match the power of the human brain."
(http://us.penguingroup.com/static/packa ... /index.htm).

It seems that my prediction has been fulfilled!
Some tentative conclusions:

(1) Twenty years is just about as far ahead as anyone can imagine.

(2) "Moore's Law", observed in 1965 that computer power doubles every
two years. This "law" has continued to hold for the subsequent
four decades, yet despite this huge technological gains over the last
60 years or more, human intelligence is still just as far away as it
ever was. It is as if despite building bigger and bigger ladders,
we are getting no closer to Andromeda galaxy!

(3) This suggests that in reality, human intelligence is
infinitely far removed from machine intelligence: in other words,
that there really is some qualitative difference between man
and machine, and not just a quantitative gap which can be bridged
with a few more transistors and a better programming language.
You simply cannot get to Andromeda by climbing a ladder :-)

(4) In this context, the arguments about a "Technological Singularity"
begin to look more like a "reductio ad absurdum" proof that
machine intelligence will never surpass human intelligence.
(Since the superintelligent machine will be able to design
a still more intelligent machine, and so on ad infinitum.
Quod est absurdum).

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:51 am UTC

mward wrote:(3) This suggests that in reality, human intelligence is
infinitely far removed from machine intelligence: in other words,
that there really is some qualitative difference between man
and machine, and not just a quantitative gap which can be bridged
with a few more transistors and a better programming language.
You simply cannot get to Andromeda by climbing a ladder :-)

(4) In this context, the arguments about a "Technological Singularity"
begin to look more like a "reductio ad absurdum" proof that
machine intelligence will never surpass human intelligence.
(Since the superintelligent machine will be able to design
a still more intelligent machine, and so on ad infinitum.
Quod est absurdum).


It could be a methodological problem. People keep improving on machines with similar architectures to simulate the human brain, while these architectures are completely different from the human brain. The human brain does not seem to have a central processing unit, processing of information seems to be completely decentralised with every synapse contributing to processing (so it's more like one huge processor with integrated short to medium term storage capacity and external connections and what would be multiple processors on x64 architecture are integrated into one part). I think it would be more sensible that our current computer architecture may be unable to surpass the human brain instead of dismissing this possibility for machines altogether (as experimentation with other architectures has been limited).

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby KarenRei » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:31 am UTC

Good observations, but overinterpolation.

(1) Twenty years is just about as far ahead as anyone can imagine.


Largely agree. But your #3 doesn't follow from this premise. All that follows from this premise is that when someone says "in 20 years", they really mean "in at least 20 years, possibly close to 20, possibly much more, possibly never". You're taking #1 and automatically leaping to "never"

(2) "Moore's Law", observed in 1965 that computer power doubles every
two years. This "law" has continued to hold for the subsequent
four decades, yet despite this huge technological gains over the last
60 years or more, human intelligence is still just as far away as it
ever was


This is simply false. Today's computers and software are demonstrably much better at reasoning tasks than in the early days. The only way you could assert otherwise is to redefine reasoning in some non-measurable fashion and say that humans are "reasoning" while computers are just "analyzing possibilities by rote" or whatnot, not understanding anything, and then say that computers today are just "analyzing more possibilities" and "doing more complex analysis". But that's what human brains are doing, too. Human brains don't work by magic.

It sounds like you're basically making the "Chinese room" argument. Here's the responses to it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room#Replies

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby shpoffo » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:33 am UTC

Calvinball, bitches

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Diadem » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:39 am UTC

mward wrote:Back in the 1960's, when AI research was just beginning,
researchers predicted that within the next 20 years we would
have machines as intelligent as humans. I remember reading some
of these predictions in the 1970's and wondering...

Back in the 1980's, I read Douglas Hofstadter's brilliant
book "Godel, Escher, Bach" in which he predicted that within
the next 20 years we would have machines as intelligent as humans.
At that point, I made my own prediction: "In 20 years time people
will *still* be predicting that in 20 years time we would have
machines as intelligent as humans!"

(...)

(2) "Moore's Law", observed in 1965 that computer power doubles every
two years. This "law" has continued to hold for the subsequent
four decades, yet despite this huge technological gains over the last
60 years or more, human intelligence is still just as far away as it
ever was. It is as if despite building bigger and bigger ladders,
we are getting no closer to Andromeda galaxy!


The thing is: Those predictions were pretty much spot on when it comes to how computers developed. Moore's law has continued to hold, after all. What we were wrong about is the complexity of humans. The human brain turns out to be vastly more complex than we thought it was 60 years ago. From that however it does not follow that it's infinitely complex. Our knowledge of neuroscience increases every day, so logically our ability to predict what kind of hardware is needed to simulate a human brain improves every day.

Human brains are very complex. But we're getting there. Don't underestimate the power of exponential growth. If you take a 10% longer ladder every day, you will reach Andromeda in just under one and a half years.


Another limiting factor is our ability to write software. It seems to me that computers could be doing a lot more than they are doing today, if only we had the software. There isn't a program without bugs, lots of things are possible but no one ever implemented them, and many of the cool things that we can do only exist as isolated applications, instead of being linked together.

But don't ignore what we already get. We have robots now that can walk, run and jump. Not as well as an acrobat, but better than a 2-year-old child. We have computers that can understand spoken language, and synthesize speech. Not nearly well enough for our liking, but probably better than a 2-year-old child.

We're getting there.

Give it another 20 years :)
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby orthogon » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:23 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:But don't ignore what we already get. We have robots now that can walk, run and jump. Not as well as an acrobat, but better than a 2-year-old child. We have computers that can understand spoken language, and synthesize speech. Not nearly well enough for our liking, but probably better than a 2-year-old child.

We're getting there.

Give it another 20 years :)

This. There's an attitude similar to the "God of the gaps" where the kinds of things that fundamentally require human intelligence keep getting redefined to exclude the latest triumphs of AI. Chess was just the first of these.

Even within the "difficult" areas where humans seem to have the upper hand, there are aspects where computers excel. In natural language translation, for example, humans are still more likely to be able to be able to convey the nuance, poetry or subtext of a passage more accurately, but on the other hand even the best human translators aren't going to be able to do a good job in more than two languages, whereas you can teach the computer a few hundred more languages for the cost of a TB or so of disk space; no human will ever be able to translate hundreds of pages per second; the computer can take words like "occipital", "embolism" or "pseudo-peritectic" in its stride if it's been given a big enough dictionary; and it won't be tempted by "false friends" and other linguistic traps. Similarly, face recognition might be hard for a computer, but it can make up for that by being able to remember millions of faces rather than hundreds (or the low tens in my case) and by not getting bored.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:26 pm UTC

BlitzGirl wrote:On topic: I don't necessarily think "Computers will never enjoy a salad" is reassuring. I think humans are still better at making parables than that computer. :)


Well, Cueball didn't let the computer finish that one. I think the next word was 'composed', not the start of a new "parable". So, computers will never enjoy a salad composed of ... what? I submit it might have been saying

Computer wrote:Computers will never enjoy a salad composed only of bland iceberg lettuce and a dollop of 'French' dressing.


Because really, why would a computer enjoy that? It takes a human.

EDIT: Alas, regarding games, I suppose it will eventually become fun only to play games against computers with no strategy involved. Like SnakesCHUTES and ladders, or high card. Oh, and how are computers at Monopoly?
Last edited by mathmannix on Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby hamjudo » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:30 pm UTC

In 20 years computers will be able to create comics as good as xkcd.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Whizbang » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:33 pm UTC

Yeah, well, we've finally figured out how to beat the computer on SkiFree, so I still call supremacy.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby shapenaji » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:19 pm UTC

It should be noted that the methods that computers are using to advance in go have some serious hurdles.

It wasn't Moore's Law that started to break open go (Based on Moore's Law, the previous methods still had many decades to go). The creation of MCMC codes led to a massive leap in computer strength, since it was the first time that anyone had managed to create a decent position evaluator.

It was the first time that go programs had really jumped forward, and as they refined the method, they continued to improve rapidly. But now the best computers seem to be stuck again, this time at KGS 5d-6d, and have been for the last year or so. They're still a long way off the pros.

The comic has it right, we're going to face this eventually, but I think humanity still has time for a bit more self-delusion.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:25 pm UTC

shpoffo wrote:Calvinball, bitches


Meanwhile I'm thinking a computer sexbot will be able to beat us at 7 Minutes in Heaven.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:27 pm UTC

Antior wrote:
BlitzGirl wrote:Othercomic

What the hell is your kind doing in this thread?


We are EVERYWHERE. And we SEE ALL.

FEAR, errr... PH3@R us!
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:33 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:
Meanwhile I'm thinking a computer sexbot will be able to beat us at 7 Minutes in Heaven.


Came looking for Rule34 reference. Was not disappointed. Would lurk again.

But, hey, what's not to like? A sexbot might have high initial cost, but the long-term TCO is sure to be less than that of a spouse or a weekly escort. Plus you get your choice of pleasures (or perversions if that's what you want to call it), zero risk of pregnancy or STDs, and no snoring afterwards -- unless you program that option.

Just don't buy an Apple Corp. Sexbot. If it malfunctions they'll tell you you're holding it wrong.

Do I really need smileys or sarcasm tags here?
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Kailen » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:56 pm UTC

The alt. text just makes today's perfect.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Whizbang » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:02 pm UTC

mward wrote:Words...

Words

Words

Words

(1) Words

(2) Words

(3) Words

(4) Words


To which I reply http://xkcd.com/678/

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Soteria » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:05 pm UTC

...there really is some qualitative difference between man and machine, and not just a quantitative gap which can be bridged with a few more transistors and a better programming language.


I agree, but despite the lack of evidence for computers to ever be able to do something they weren't programmed to do, people keep on believing in true AI. After Watson won Jeopardy and everyone got excited about how "smart" computers have gotten, all I could think was how few people gave credit to the real intelligence--the talented group of people who spent years developing and tuning the software.

Computers have gotten faster, can store more data, are more efficient, have better I/O systems, and have more sophisticated software to put all this together. As a package, it is easy to give the illusion of intelligence so long as people willingly ignore the programmer behind the machine. Computers are idiots, though--give one string input when it is expecting integer and it'll crash and burn in a heartbeat if you don't take steps to avoid the problem.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby enumerated powers » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:07 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:
mward wrote:Words...

Words

Words

Words

(1) Words

(2) Words

(3) Words

(4) Words


To which I reply http://xkcd.com/678/


In particular, 678's title text.

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby moody7277 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:25 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:We will always be the creators.

There's something to that. I'm not quite sure what it is yet. But no student ever quite learns everything from their master.


http://xkcd.com/894/--as a related* comic.



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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

Another technology that's been "twenty years away" for rather more than 20 years is fusion reactors - about 5 years ago, I saw an interview with a researcher where he refined the prediction: "they're about 20 years away if they get some serious funding" - part of the problem is that people with money to apportion are interested in things that take less than 5 years to pay off, may be persuaded about things that take 10, but very few are willing to sink money into something that won't pay off for at least 20 years (apart from anything else, they tend not to expect to be around to enjoy the benefits...)

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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby mikrit » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

Python script wrote:Computers will never understand a sonnet. Computers will never enjoy a salad. Comp-

Hey, those aren't parables. They are not even metaphors, similes, or analogies (http://xkcd.com/762).

They are just assertions. A parable would be something like:

"A computer walks into a restaurant and orders a salad. The waiter says: 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? ...' And the computer replies: 'No thank you, I don't like similes. And I don't enjoy this salad, either.' "

It is not funny, but it is a parable.
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby project2051 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:11 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:
SerMufasa wrote:
Meanwhile I'm thinking a computer sexbot will be able to beat us at 7 Minutes in Heaven.


Came looking for Rule34 reference. Was not disappointed. Would lurk again.

But, hey, what's not to like? A sexbot might have high initial cost, but the long-term TCO is sure to be less than that of a spouse or a weekly escort. Plus you get your choice of pleasures (or perversions if that's what you want to call it), zero risk of pregnancy or STDs, and no snoring afterwards -- unless you program that option.

Just don't buy an Apple Corp. Sexbot. If it malfunctions they'll tell you you're holding it wrong.

Do I really need smileys or sarcasm tags here?


DON"T DATE ROBOTS! http://vimeo.com/12915013

emeraldemon
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby emeraldemon » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:15 pm UTC

Because this group might be interested, Fuego and Pachi are two open-source go programs that do pretty well ( I can't put the links or the forum will think I'm a spammer). One thing that is interesting to me is that Go can in theory be played on any board size, and on smaller boards computer programs are MUCH stronger. On 9x9 computers are competitive with professionals without a handicap, although most professionals probably never think too much about small-board go.

Fire Brns
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby Fire Brns » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:21 pm UTC

mikrit wrote:They are just assertions. A parable would be something like:

"A computer walks into a restaurant and orders a salad. The waiter says: 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? ...' And the computer replies: 'No thank you, I don't like similes. And I don't enjoy this salad, either.' "

It is not funny, but it is a parable.

It's sort of funny actually.
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It was the Renaissance. Everyone was Italian.

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orthogon
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Re: 1263: "Reassuring"

Postby orthogon » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:45 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:
mikrit wrote:They are just assertions. A parable would be something like:

"A computer walks into a restaurant and orders a salad. The waiter says: 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? ...' And the computer replies: 'No thank you, I don't like similes. And I don't enjoy this salad, either.' "

It is not funny, but it is a parable.

It's sort of funny actually.

I agree. Actually it's a bit like the kind of joke a computer would make.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.


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