Category: Idea

Sometime it is hard to imagine when you never had a chance.

Daniel Berninger on GigaOM wrote a post: Here Comes Trouble: Telephone Number Tyranny has a very interesting quote from Edward Tuck’s speech in 1996 IEEE (I failed to find out original speech and not sure who Edward Tuck is and the exact conference) Below is the quote from the speech:

Telephone service I had in 1984 was in most ways worse than the service I got when I was a little boy in the South in the 1930s. Then, I’d pick up the receiver, and the lady would say, “Number, please,” and I’d say, “I want my Mommy!” She might say, “Well, Skippy, she was over at Miz Ferguson’s, but she left there and now she’s at Miz Furrey’s. Somebody’s using the phone there right now, but I’ll break in and tell them you need your Mama.” We had call waiting, call forwarding, executive override and voice recognition. I didn’t even have to dial. Things went straight downhill from there.

It is very amazing that I bet for most people in the world born after public switch telephone network never think that you can have conversation like this to help a little boy to make a phone call to his mom! And this intrigues me. As a programmer I notice that when I try to write down any program, my assumptions are never complete founded. And when I want to design a device, the device reflects my personal opinion about how something can be done in certain way. But I am limited by my own experience in life. If I never experience some alternative way of performing the same task, I may lose a possible mechanism that may be better than what I imagine!

And unfortunately, programmers sometime become arrogant in their own mastery of induction reasoning. At the same time, induction reasoning was limited by the possible choice of the axioms. It takes almost 2000 years to strike mathematicians that parallel postulate can be changed, and the whole system is different! Not by proving in can be deducted from other postulates, but treat it as a postulate that can be switched.

So I need to be humble, and always be doubtful when I am confident, because I never know the whole universe.

John McCarthy’s dream of future

A question showed up on Hacker News today: On: AI is hard, so just outsource the I , citing Outsourced Robot Brains.

It reminds me John McCarthy wrote on his website in 1995 that because Robotics and Artificial Intelligence had been progressing so slowly, but communication and internet technology has been progressing faster, it may be better in economic sense to developer tele serve to let developing countries provide labor service remotely to developed countries. This cost effective solution will bring win-win situation to make living standard among developed countries and developing countries better. Readers can check out his idea about making a world of population 12 billions in 21st century with basic living standard as United States in 1995 at least here, and the specific piece on tele serve here

John McCarthy has been a steady humanist and believes with effort, human being can build democracy, prosperity and ecology friendly world without making earthy worthy, that make him one time in old Usenet days, an archenemy among environmental activists. You can find out those in Google Group archive and Wikipedia entry of John McCarthy (computer scientist).

AJAXed with AWP