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Archive for November, 2013

Indicators

November 30, 2013 Leave a comment

As a relatively new driver there are plenty of things that both surprise and frustrate me when I am on the road.

Cyclists have of course become my biggest enemy, with their special brand of disrespect for the rules of the road and unhealthy dose of suicidal tendencies making every encounter unique in its own special way.

Lorries baffle me with their need to overtake each other on the motorway, the offending manoeuvre generally taking 2 miles to achieve as they are barely able to outpace each other. All the while they have managed to create a mile long tail back just so they could reach their destination 3 seconds earlier!

White Van drivers seem to think they are actually indestructible vehicles with a cavalier “you can’t hurt me” attitude.

But the thing that winds me up the most is the failure by vehicles of any sort to use an indicator!

I just don’t understand it, it’s so basic and such a built in part of the driving experience that I genuinely don’t understand quite how long you need to be driving before this becomes a optional.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Steam SALE

November 28, 2013 Leave a comment

The title should be enough of an explanation!

But if its not I have so far managed to restrict my spending to only two titles but I have had to lock the credit card away for fear of spending the entire Xmas budget!

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The Chinese Room

November 27, 2013 1 comment

One of my favourite things about the internet is the ease with which it enables us to find new information, broaden our minds and learn things that we didn’t know before.

In a glowing example of video games being educational, whilst watching a recent League of Legends YouTube  video by Gbay99 I learnt about the “Chinese Room” a thought experiment or Gedankenexperiment (Like I said yesterday have to get those Niche words in to increase the page views 😀 ) presented back in the 80’s by John Searle to challenge the idea of computers of having “real” intelligence or “Strong AI” as he calls it.

Searle’s thought experiment begins with this hypothetical premise:

Suppose that artificial intelligence research has succeeded in constructing a computer that behaves as if it understands Chinese. It takes Chinese characters as input and, by following the instructions of a computer program, produces other Chinese characters, which it presents as output. Suppose, says Searle, that this computer performs its task so convincingly that it comfortably passes the Turing test.

Passing the Turing Test means it convinces a human Chinese speaker that the program is itself a live Chinese speaker – See now you have learnt two new things today!

The question Searle wants to answer is this: does the machine  “understand” Chinese? Or is it merely simulating the ability to understand Chinese? 

Searle then supposes that he is in a closed room and has a book with an English version of the computer program, along with sufficient paper, pencils, erasers, and filing cabinets. Searle could receive Chinese characters through a slot in the door, process them according to the program’s instructions, and produce Chinese characters as output. If the computer had passed the Turing test this way, it follows, says Searle, that he would do so as well, simply by running the program manually.

Searle asserts that there is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and himself in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behaviour which is then interpreted as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, Searle would not be able to understand the conversation. (“I don’t speak a word of Chinese, he points out.) Therefore, he argues, it follows that the computer would not be able to understand the conversation either.

Searle argues that without “understanding” (or “intentionality”), we cannot describe what the machine is doing as “thinking” and since it does not think, it does not have a “mind” in anything like the normal sense of the word.

 Therefore he concludes that “strong AI” is false.

All interesting stuff that makes sense, but it got me thinking isn’t the scenario that he mentions no different from how we learn a new language?  Or even how we learn our first language?

When you first learnt the word for “Tree” it wasn’t because you understood what a tree is it was because you had someone point it out to you and most likely repeat a hundred times until you knew what a “Tree” was.

Ultimately associating that image with that word, was due to the instructions that you followed from your parent or caregiver or “programs instructions” if you will.

Is a more interesting argument here not whether the computer can achieve Artificial Intelligence but instead whether our own intelligence is artificial?

A little Motivation

November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

One of the things I previously found most addictive about blogging on a daily basis was looking at the stats!

Its amazing how quickly this addiction has reared its head only a few days into my renewed enthusiasm. The jump in views over the last two days has been pretty massive. Dont get me wrong when you are starting from a baseline of nothing its not hard to improve, but already I find myself analysing, how many viewers, where from and what topics they are viewing. Mentally thinking about what niche but significant subject I can write about to increase my viewing figures.

The other nice thing is the messages of support and Like’s from fellow bloggers, its these little touches that help motivate you to continue you writing. I might not be ready to commit to a full time schedule or share my ramblings with my facebook and twitter friends but at least I know those that followed my musings in the past are still checking in and haven’t given up on me entirely.

Categories: Uncategorized

Writing for myself

November 25, 2013 1 comment

As it stands I have not refreshed the links from my Blog to Facebook.

Whilst I am starting writing again, at this point it’s solely for myself. A way to get back in the habit and get some words on the page, before opening it up to the big wide world once again I want to build a body of work and get back in to a routine.

I also think keeping it hidden will put a little less pressure on myself, and that I think will lead to me writing my often. In the past I have set myself goals of when and how often to post and I have used missing one of those goals as a reason not to carry on. As if somehow missing it once makes the entire process a failure.

Aiming to post everyday also seems to empty my brain of all thought at the time that I want to write, a million ideas will bounce around my head during the rest of the day but come the evening I got nothing I guess I should get a notebook and perhaps this would reduce this problem!

To be fair as a budding want to be writer it’s something really I should equip myself with any way! 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

Back on the Wagon

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

So its been a while, I have been on one of my many hiatuses. I could try and come up with a reasonable, believable and understandable excuse for not posting in over 2 months and with all that has gone on during that time  I  imagine I could convince myself that  that it was true, but the truth is simply that I am easily distracted. 

This lack of commitment led to the missing a day or two of posting, which then led to a lack of motivation to continue to post, which in turn led to completely neglecting my wish to write and the half backed story that that is buried somewhere deep inside my brain!

What has led to this resurgence, this willingness to return to the blog, my various ramblings and a renewed interest in pursuing the “So Far Untitled” you might ask? Well its a couple of things.

A couple of weeks back I spent and afternoon with my best friend, I haven’t seen him in a long while and after catching up on the usual topics we turned to the subject of writing. It was his blog that first encouraged me to start my own, and his reasons for starting were similar to my own. A way to unlock his own stories in his head.

We began talking about a project that he wanted to start, some ideas he had and how it might start moving it forwards. This in turn led on to questions about my own progress or lack of it.

The conversation continued with the two of us and my Wife bouncing ideas, questions and opinions across the table. It was this exchange that got me thinking once more about writing and I am hopeful that this injection of ideas will help me to get back to writing!

On top of this not that long ago a friend of mine not only finished his book, but has also published it! I thoroughly recommend that you give it a read! – http://www.karrote.co.uk/ 

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