Recent posts by vikaTae on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

beauval, I’m certainly saying that without war, some of these discoveries won’t be discovered at all, yes. Eliminate all wars from the equation and most advanced military inventions won’t get the funding. I doubt very much space exploration for example would be possible if we didn’t already have military grade armor to put on the first rockets (which were themselves developed as a military weapon).

An innovation to make cars safer isn’t going to come along if we’re all still riding horses and nobody knows what a horseless carriage even is.

Some discoveries will be made anyway, yes, but if you manage to create a world where everyone is happy, where conflict of all kinds has been completely eliminated, all citizens are perfectly satisfied with life… you will also get zero growth. Without struggle, without adversity, there’s no reason to change.

Progress will still happen, yes, but it’ll all be incremental developments following in the footsteps of other developments of the same type that came before. As you say, we’d still be riding around on horseback, likely with the skies still closed to us save for maybe hot air balloons. The first generation of innovation always performs lousily compared to the existing method. You know this as well as I do. With no realisation that the existing method isn’t going to solve a particular looming problem, that incentive to try radical paradigm shifts, simply isn’t there, and so the paradigm shift never happens.

Any inventor who tries, succeeds only in creating something woefully inefficient compared to current methods of doing the same thing. Without that realisation that we have to change or we’re doomed, it’s not going to get the chance to grow beyonds that. Just be laughed at and dismissed.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

Cozmolyne, you quoted a post asking:

, let’s also have a look at dumb reasons to do away w/ ALL gun restrictions/regulations & go “solid” 2nd. I find a lot of them to be as funny as they are scary.

Then you added several reasons, so my assumption was, you were trying to add reasons to do away with all restrictions on the second amendment, and allow anyone who pleases to make whatever weapons they see fit and allow them to use those weapons however they please, as most advocates of a ‘purified’ second amendment campaign for.

Also I should note, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t really say anything about self-defense. It gives the citizenry the right to keep and bear arms so they may form an effective militia should the government become tyrannical.

Not according to the supporters of the 2nd amendment ‘how it should be’. The common argument is that the ‘effective militia’ does not mean they should be trained or have to form an actual army, rather that every citizen has the right to bear and use whatever arms they please, so that should they then need to fight the government, they can join up then. They’ll already have the arms, and be using those weapons to keep them and theirs safe from all comers.

Any law that extends the powers of the 2nd is fine – like castle law, or the right to shoot thieves of your property as if it was self defense, because you are defending your property from their hands. Or the right to shoot anyone you think might be threatening you, as in the texas case. But laws that limit the type of weapon you may carry or try to limit what places you are allowed to carry are not ok, because they’re “infringing my rights”. It gets tiresome after a while.

Again, I cite 3D printing. 3D printers will soon become common in every household.

I doubt it. Mine cost £1,200, and the price isn’t going to fall any time soon. Plus the minor issue that it takes about six hours for a standard plastic/resin printer to print anything of more than a few inches in height is going to be a barrier to widespread adoption until or unless that can be brought down.

The one at work cost a heck of a lot more than mine did, and that’s the sort that can print metal. Titanium in that case. Guns do require some metal moving parts, and no 100% plastic or resin model is going to be effective for some time yet. This drastically limits who can actually print the weapons, to those who can afford access to printers that can use those more specialist materials.

It will be a problem eventually I grant you, and is a potential problem now, for those who have access to industrial-grade printers. However, it will be a long old time before the standard home 3D printer is a threat in that regard. I would prefer later rather than sooner, as whilst it is unrealistic to print a firearm on a home printer, we’re rather less likely to see knee-jerk laws that try to stifle what you can use a printer for, because of the ‘danger’ of printing a firearm on them.

By the time that is a realistic non-niche threat, the atmospheric powder residue electronic sniffers will be out of the lab properly, and the threat can be countered by other means. Doesn’t matter if you can make your own gun when it’s easy to track and isolate that you’ve got it by the chemical signature the accelerant sealed into the bullets is giving off.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

How is a dick either moral or immoral? It has nerves yes, but they’re not thinking anything. You might as well claim that any sex toy is moral or immoral…

::Proudly holds up the bright pink vibrator of supreme morality::

By your ‘logic’ Worth, or at least the logic of what you actually said (understanding what you have actually said is always good) if men’s dicks are immoral and disgusting, then an artificial dick is the epitome of all morality.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:
Originally posted by vikaTae:
Kinda proves my point for me, your argument does.

No…it doesn’t.
Man has been interested in the cosmos for a looooooong time.
I think Braun’s research would have eventually found its way to serious interest.

Not without the interest of an entity with the financial and industrial resources to see it happen. That takes massive self-interest, and war is a sure-fire way of getting their attention if your invention can be pitched as a new weapon or a way to reuse existing, damaged weapons.

I find it interesting how ppl who have never been IN a war (combat/killing) or had first-hand losses (family/friends killed—property destroyed—business/jobs lost) can so blithely subjugate the negatives of war by blindly focusing on advances they believe were solely the result of such conflicts.

You might as well add those who have been in war, or who lost family to war (my father died at the hands of the IRA) to the list of those who welcome the social and technological innovations of the war. Always look for the silver lining in any cloud.

Mengele was an evil, saddistic son of a bitch. His experiments were absolutely vile. Yet they did reward us with new data and as biguglyorc says, helped revolutionise medicine. You would have us cast off and ignore all the results of his work, because of the horriffic way his experiments were carried out. Better to bury the data with the dead so nobody profits from discoveries made in war.

My view is that the work was done, and the knowledge was gained. If we don’t take it, we are discarding new knowledge that can help transform our world. The knowledge is neutral; it doesn’t care how it was come by, and we can by using it, ensure that their deaths were not meaningless and build on it to something greater using better methods.

Those are mutually incompatible views. Removing the more extreme versions and boiling both of our positions down:

Your consideration that nothing good can be allowed to come out of the suffering of war.

My consideration that whatever accelerates our understanding by opening up the pockets of those who are prepared to pay for the work, is a necessary evil.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

I hear it is kinda COLD in space.
I well imagine our efforts to go where no man has gone before led to some revelations in thermodynamics.

Amusingly, the V2 rocket program, created by the Germans to fight World War 2 was what led directly to the formation of the space program. Wernher von Braun used the Nazis to fund his dream of space travel, letting their lust for a vengeful weapon of war finance his plans. He accepted that he would have to let his dream be used as a weapon in order to getthe funding and development resources he needed.

In the end, after the war, he and his team were ‘borrowed’ by the US to create what would eventually be NASA, and the first rocket in space was a refitted V2.

No war, no space exploration. Nobody else was interested in it at the time, and as it was, a mighty war machine had to be leveraged to achieve a goal he had no hope of making on his own. Kinda proves my point for me, your argument does.

Necessity tends to be the mother of invention.

Finally you understand the core of my argument. Took you long enough.

Without adversity, there will be no change. I’ve repeated this to you so often I’m probably murmuring it in my sleep.

War isn’t the only adversity, but it’s a biggie, and one of the ones that like imminent natural disasters, make the purses of the big players sit up and pay attention. It is only when desperation sets in that innovation is at its greatest.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

3D printing a gun is legal. So is purchasing fertilizer. "Where they enter the grey area is if you claim the 2nd amendment gives you rights to use whatever weapon you feel like should you feel threatened.

If there are no restrictions on the 2nd, then tracking down someone who assaulted you or stole from you and then using the bomb to blow up their house would be claimable as self-defense. The bomb was the only weapon you had on you at the time, and it demands a different approach to using a handgun when it comes to self defense, but still a weapon you have every right to bear.

If there are no restrictions or regulations on what kind of weapon you can own and use, that’s the sort of scenario that becomes valid. Literally whatever kind of weapon you can make, you can carry and you can use.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Unfortunately this forum has historically been rather troll-heavy, so most users who have stuck around have become rather jaded as to the piss poor ideas that are voiced. You’ve seen Crow’s antics above. Consider that he’s one of the few intelligent trolls; the others being much worse, and that at one time there were hundreds of them active here.

The number of times an argument that had been completely dimantled, resurfaced again under a hew account just a page later, quickly wore even the most determined regular down. How many times can you deal with new voices in the discussion spouting logical falacies that have literally just been shot down, or ideas that have been discussed to death? Could you handle it five times in the same discussion without becomeing irate at the dredging up of an old idea? Fifty times? Two hundred? (That’s not hyperbole either, it happened literally hundreds of times in the longest debates.)

Kong requires registration, the forums are moderated (sometimes heavily so to the detriment of the conversations taking place)

Kong’s registration isn’t that great. You don’t have to provide a valid email address, and if an account was banned, you can just sign up again with the same email address. It’s been that way ever since they launched, and I doubt it will ever change. How useful is a registration system that’ll accept as a valid address?

This forum is moderated, albeit not frequently, but then as the number of posters continues to dwindle, that cannot really be considered surprising.

The poster’s reputation absolutely matters yes, but I’d say the primary problem with that approach is it only really matters to those who have been around that poster for an extended period. To a new user coming in, there is no way to quantify how good or piss poor a given poster is until you’ve read a few of their posts. Kong’s at some point made a user’s entire post history available; I’ve been rereading mine and remembering how this forum used to be over the weekend. They used to limit it to just the last ten pages worth of posts. That’s really the only metric we have to judge how good or bad a poster a given individual is, and does require that each newcomer read quite a bit of the back-history of person to ascertain it for themselves.

It’s not exactly the most user-friendly way of doing things, but from a practical standpoint, I cannot see a way to streamline that, with a moderate grasp of the capabilities weak AI has with natural language processing atm. It’s simply not capable of doing what is needed, and producing an overview of the individual poster’s personality style from an aggregate of their post history.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

Actually, we’re increasingly headed in the direction of needing to send less and less troops off to war, so it would be more the opposite. The focus is increasingly on waldoes, drones, and self-determining drones, along with the whole battlespace model to try and bring (and maintain) order unto chaos. It’s still a long way from perfect, but the ultimate goal here is to not risk any lives on an overseas battle operation.

Robotics is experiencing something of a hayday for that reason, and the benefits are trickling down all over the shop already.

Robotics progress literally advancing decades ahead of its time purely because of military intest. Heck the DARPA grand challenges and DARPA urban challenge are the only reason we have the state of the art in self driving vehicles at all – they were the ones that issued the challenge that kicked the whole field off, and kept interest high until the urban challenge was ultimately won by a car smart enough to drive itself on normal streets full of human driven vehicles and pedestrians, to a standard of care and safety capable of exceeding the requirements for a Californian driver’s lisence (as I recall, three cars passed in that final challenge).

The intent is for war, to reduce our casualties by automating the supply line vehicles, without lowering their standards of driving prowess, but the applications are numerous for civilian and peacetime use too.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

On a personal note, I’m 48 years old and have been involved with online communities for a long time… MUDs and MUSHes, BBSes, and a member of Kong since 2007, so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the patterns of communication and behaviors typical to online communities.

You’re not that much older than me. i’m 36 as of this Thursday just gone. (yay?) I too have poked around the MUD scene. Most codebases were DIKU derivative, and that was never my favorite codebase, for personal reasons, so there wasn’t a lot to play with that wasn’t a derivative. I’ve been around them long enough to find it amusing that EverQuest, the first successful MMO was basically a graphical port of a DIKU MUD. Plus I’m geeky enough that I’ve actually spoken with Richard Bartle, the guy who created the very first MUD, British Legends.

You may have a job out-geeking this old girl when it comes to online street cred :)

Okay, well… I feel like every aspect of this idea has been shot down. It’s no wonder a person might feel a little defensive.

I’m really not trying to shoot it down. It is a good idea, but the problem is, its all been tried before. Tried and failed and tried and failed, and tried and failed… It’s not enough. Certainly not to deal with the up-and-coming generations or the less geeky users who don’t see endless vistas opening out from a simple telnet interface. Who aren’t necessarily completely at home in text.

The challenge is finding the willing participants… peers that seek collaborative social environments.

You’ve found one in me. The problem is, you won’t find a majority of such on sites like Kong. It has it’s attractive strengths (I would not be here if I did not derive benefit from it), but well, I think precisely because this forum is hosted on a site that derives its business model from catering to gamers who experience increasingly realistic graphic UIs, that the ability to grasp that the forum is perhaps more intimate than the games are, is lost on many of the younger participants and subconsciously lessened by many of the others.

We have different needs than gamers (for example)

Tell me about it. I’m simulation centric, and unless I’m interested in the message a game is trying to teach or a particular technology it is showcasing, I’m rarely interested in the game. If it’s trying to be a sim however, that gets my attention immediately.

For me personally, the best end result would be a merging of the two worlds: a graphic-centred MUSH with all seven primary senses of the user folded in: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, balance, proprioception. We achieve that, and the virtual environment is as real to you as the room you’re sitting in now; the avatar form as real to your senses as your own body.

Happily for me at least, it’s not just a dream, it’s become a life-goal. I first found MUDs as a young teenager, shortly after the worst day of my life when I was angry at the world and then some. So they really inspired my curiosity and helped shape who I was to become. I missed the days of Adventure on UNIX by a slim margin, but got enough from what I did encounter, to set me on my course.

For you it sounds like it was inspirational enough to set you into game development (I’ve been reading up on you in the Art forum). For me, it was a major player in what became my career, to essentially digitise human sensation. The whole kabang. The very fact that I wound up head hunted and paid to do that, speaks volumes about how successful I’ve been, and I’ve got a lot of career-time ahead of me to become more so.

Every experiment I’ve read about, participated in, or lead, always comes back to conclusions in the same area: The more you increase sensory realism, the deeper the immersion you create and the more seriously (real life kind of realistically) the participants treat the simulation or the augmentation.

I’m not just sure how one might plot out steps to that kind of outcome. It’s not measurable… it’s qualitative.

Neither am I.

I do understand what you are trying to say, but I suspect unless we quality control for membership, we’re not going to achieve the goals you are looking for in the OP of this thread. An open forum will have some members who strive for integrity (yourself, Jantonalis, and me to name but three that come to mind immediately) but will also have a great unwashed multitude who either simply don’t care, or are unable to fully engage because they keep coming back to just seeing it as text on a screen without the risks and self-awareness of full communication.

I don’t consider an interesting transmission of information a catastrophic failure… perhaps that is a matter of personal outlook.

I don’t consider it a failure either on a personal level. However, towards it’s intended function to benefit the site, I do see it as a failure because, well, everyone’s ignoring it. From the view count before I replied the first time, it was being read, then discarded. So to me it’s interesting and may spawn a useful direction or two. But as a potential change to SD it has failed.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

There is little to NO proof that either of those two, overpopulation & great tech advancements, wouldn’t have had similar (if not better) outcomes were there to have been no war.

Rather the opposite actually. Penicillin is again the classic example. Developed fifteen years prior to the outbreak of war, the team that developed it struggled and failed to get financial backing sufficient to be able to carry out animal & human trials. For fifteen years of peace penicillin, the great wonder-drug that revolutionised medicine, was unused and unwanted. With peace there was no pressing urgency that demanded something with its capabilities, so patients continued to die in droves.

It was only when war broke out and the powers that be were desperate to curtail the losses of trained troops that Flemming’s invention was given the chance to prove itself, and all the funding he could ever ask for when it worked.

It takes a great motivator to let something new be given a chance to shine, and year-upon-year of the status quo won’t do that. As again, the decade and a half when it was potentially available if only someone, anyone with the financial and medical clout to take it seriously yet would take the risk of a new, and unproven direction so eloquently showed. If not for the war, we still wouldn’t have penicillin or any of it’s derivatives now. There’d be no perceived need, without that urgency for saving the lives of so many war-needed troops.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

The ideas outlined in the OP were not technology-based. Instead, they were practices for drawing out meaning, substance, and consensus using today’s commonly available technology. That said, improving throughput could provide a substantial improvement to the challenges inherent in online discussions.

I’m aware they weren’t, and that I’m the one who brough technology into it. The reason I did is because we’ve had similar initiatives to yours on this particular forum at least twice now. One by the one-time forum-caretaker/moderator Laxaria, and one by the long-time and highly respected member BSG.

Both failed catastropically, and as you’ve seen by the response to this thread of yours, without the kind of pull in the local social circles those two possessed, your call is getting completely ignored by all but one of the regulars who remain. It’s the same story on every forum where such ideas are presented. Without draconian enforcement users soon slip back into their old behavior patterns,

It’s the lack of embodiment doing it, I’m certain of that. We don’t see this degree of slippage in avatar based communication, whether commercial minimum sensory immersion, or research-based test environments. In part that may be because the users in the latter two get to know one another’s foibles and respect one another, but then we’ve had that here and it still doesn’t work.

So long as you can see you are talking to another person, your brain subconsciously takes that information in, and works with it. Audio alone isn’t even enough as endless x-box based flame wars can attest to. But then as I linked one example of above, we’ve long known that the visual sense overrides all the others. The rubber hand, rubber leg, rubber head or whatever other body part experiments all have said the same thing. The visual sense of reality overrides even the sense of touch when determining what parts are parts of you rather than fake rubber appendages being interacted with. So long as your eyes feed back data that looks right, your bran literally will believe the plastic hand being interacted with is your own. (I can deluge you with links on this subject if required – again, because it’s all part of my professional field.)

So on a forum like this, when our visual sense is continually reaffirming that it’s just text, that it’s not real… it isn’t really surprising that so any of us struggle to remember the people we are talking with are actually people.

When I worked in the game industry there was an adage that basically said that when you are teaching someone a game for the first time, they should be rewarded for “proper” play (even though their relative skill level may be far lower than your own). “First try wins” are important for learning and reinforcing desired behavior. Carnival shucksters and barbershop hustlers knows this.

Some of us tried to do this to you when you first came here, and will continue to do so. Others won’t; it is just the nature of people. As I see it so long as some are still trying to welcome all those who are new and look like they are at least intending to be sincere, it will all work out. Or at least if it doesn’t we can still say we gave it our best shot.

Ultimately though, it is that very two dimensional nature of a purely textual interface which is holding things back. There just aren’t enough channels of sensory information; not enough bandwidth.

So, here’s an idea (though it’s back to web tech). Instead of post counts, what if users instead had a radar chart that plotted their inventoried behavior on Kong. For a general example, it might show where and how they spend their time on Kong so that other users could, at a glance, get a sense of what motivates that user.

In a more sophisticated approach, the radar or star diagram could reflect how the user is likely to respond to information… humorous, serious, critical, irreverent, etc.

Unfortunately what you’re asking for here is a semantic map of a person’s innermost psychological makeup. That’s not even going to be reliable to create in psychology with the help of a trained specialist physically present with the individual for an extended period of time. So when you are trying to do the same via an extremely limited bandwidth interface – text input only – using a weak AI algorithm to work out what makes the user tick, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. It wouldn’t work. Not in a non-immersive environment such as this, and certainly not without either paid psycologists testing users or a strong AI (strong AI is currently not possible) doing the same job.

Ultimately it wouldn’t work without such measures, and you would only create one more piece of information that users would either routinely ignore or use to attack other posters on a personal level over.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

but also hold that some of these natural behaviors only become apparent in the presence of specific outside input – like a tiger that has been raised in captivity and has never encountered other animals. If the tiger suddenly encounters its first fleeing chicken, then it may exhibit a new behavior that would otherwise not be apparent. This behavior is natural. If you agree with this, then we agree here.

I do.

In this quoted text you continue to assert that natural elements are completely unchanged by culture, but below this you also agree with my statement that you can minimize both natural and artifical behaviors through societal changes. Those are mutually exclusive statements. Either natural behaviors can be changed by culture, or they can’t.

No. they are not being changed. Their expression is being changed. Slight, but important difference.

We’re talking about natural behaviors, not a disease. Society can train a person to resist the natural behavior to punch somebody in the face, but society can’t train a person to not have AIDs. They’re not comparable.

They are. The desire to punch somebody in the face is based off of the way the amygdala (a structure in the brain) processes emotion data, which is determined by the circuitry laid down. Like with the HIV example, this is something inside the person, not altered by their nurture.

From a neuroscience perspective, the circuitry in that part of the brain is unaffected by language or memory accumulation, and like with the cerebrum, its structure is genetically and in-womb construction determined.

No matter how you bring a child up, the way their brain internally processes their emotions will not be changed. Which emotional states they come to rely on most will change as their associations change through upbringing, but how they process each emotional state itself will not.

To use a crude example it would be like claiming that a child with an autism-spectrum disorder would stop being autistic if they were just raised right. Clearly this is not going to happen, because the manner of their upbringing has no bearing on the specific brain structures involved.

Instinctual and reflex behaviors do change as a child matures, in several stages of maturation throughout childhood. But, their development (and discarding too) is based on inherent genetic instructions, and the formation of new brain structures that alter existing pathways. They’re not laid down or removed through upbringing.

What upbringing does do, is strengthen or weaken the connections from these instincts and reflexes, so they are called upon less often or more often according to upbringing. Both the instincts and reflexes are still there, still unchanged, but they’re accessed less (or more) often as the upbringing conditions the brain as to which of its assets it should rely on more, and which should be sidelined.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

I hear you saying that one method for improving understanding in online dialog is through technological interpreters. I could get behind that. There seem to be some clear pros, and a few cons, to a technology solution.

One benefit of an emotive avatar would be that it would broaden “emotive bandwidth” in a uniform way. This appeals to my sense of order and alignment.

My primary concern is that a substantive technology-based solution may be too far out.

It is and it isn’t too far out. Everything needed already exists; most of it has existed for a few decades. The primary problem is cost; Very few people are going to be able to afford $400 for a head tracking system, $900 for a pair of haptic gloves with decent fidelity, $1,000 for an entry level motion capture system.. You get the idea.

There are other ways of doing it, and the technology is slowly dropping in cost, but realistically we need to minimise the interface for such efforts to truly go mainstream.

As a particularly important aside, please stop focussing on the technology itself; that’s a pet peeve. If you focus on the technology then you lock yourself in to a specific mode of thought, and you miss the forest for the trees. Rather the technology is important as an enabler. Which specific tech does the job is less important than what abilities it grants to the end user. To give an example, I can think of a half-dozen different ways to track head and eye movements. All will work just fine; some are more intrusive than others. But which particular tech is used at the end of the day doesn’t matter. What matters is how they serve and enable the end user.

Ok, that personal pet peeve rant out of the way, I choose the technological option because it’s a gamechanger. It gives us options the traditional keyboard and mouse approach doesn’t. As you say we cut vast amounts out of the equation if we stick to just the words themselves.

Depending on which method of calculating communication bandwidth you choose to endorce, the written words we see on forums account for anywhere between 3% and 15% of the total communication bandwidth. That’s not a lot. Best case scenario we lose 85% of the meaning, when we condense down to text. Worst case, it’s 97%. That’s a huge problem right there.

That would be super fascinating… like predictive emotions.

Visemes are fun. Using them and a low-tech approach such as a Kinect camera, you can visually interpret what someone is saying, without getting lost in the audio compenent. That’s a relatively easy way to augment the audio problems inherent in a speech signal.

Malcolm Gladwell would probably stop us right there and claim that the breadth of human perception is far too vast and sensitive to adequately interpret using today’s technology.

Malcolm Gladwell hasn’t used high-end sensory integration hardware. If you focus on the common user interfaces (ie mainstream commercial off the shelf technology) only, you miss most of the really interesting stuff. Yes, we’re still behind the curve, but we’re not that far behind the curve. For example the human eye has a sensory resolution (assuming 20/20 vision) of around 700 megapixels. No camera we have today can possibly compare to that. But, the brain’s attention is scanning through that continually; it’s never reading all 700mpix all at the same time. If we can get refresh rates up above 120 hz, and combine that with eye tracking, or a retinal display system (again, not pie in the sky. these things have existed since the early 90s) then we can follow the brain’s activity in real-time, and con it into thinking the data stream we’re sending is real. There are a plethora of other tricks we can employ based on how the brain prrocesses visual data, which pull down the amount of data we need to send, even further.

The location of a face-to-face conversation can have a significant impact on the nature of that discussion and can reveal meaningful information about your target. The environment can dictate the pace and urgency of a conversation, (compare a casual conversation on the subway with a conversation in someone’s living room).

That’s a difficult one. The only way I can see round it, is to transfer the user’s perceptions along with the embodiment projected to other participants. Directly overlay the visual and auditory elements of a virtual environment over the top of their natural senses. Literally put them in that subway or living room, or grand auditorium without leaving their home. If it feels real to their senses then it might as well be real.

The nuances in someone’s voice relays very well in face-to-face situations and does poorly online, even in live video. Volume, tone, inflection, and rhythm are all valuable cues for interpreting meaning. The information lost when a person can speak quietly or loudly without loss or distortion is significant… much less the small gestures that reveal understanding, confusion, frustration, and so forth.

Binaural recording and playback can do a great deal to minimise that, as a side-effect of how it works. Multiple microphones picking up the air vibrations from multiple points can also be used to recombine the auditory signal. Binaural recording is slowly becoming mainstream, but as usual, I feel it is moving too slowly.

The McGurk effect helps here, as it has been confirmed that vision overrides sound when it comes to assessing what someone has said. So we’re back to visemes again. If we project the facial and lip movements of the user via facial motion capture, we eliminate a lot of the problem as the end-user will fill in a lot of the blanks themselves.

Another option is the attempt to reverse engineer the neural codes for speech so the computer picks up exactly what you are saying inflection for inflection as you say it, by reading the control codes as they hit your larynx. The last time I spoke to these guys, they had an interpretation collar worn on the larynx that would serve as an input device like a keyboard – you speak or subvocalise and the collar reads the neural signals and works out what you were saying and how you were saying it from there. The delay was horrible though, in excess of 10s. Mind you this was four years back, so doubtless they have improved.

Online communication requires a terminal, and those are generally found in the same locations within a person’s life, so the conditioned patterns of thinking are likely to also rely on “muscle memory.” To achieve intellectual or emotional breakthroughs through conversation, it can help to host those conversations in atypical locations… such as someone’s “third place.” This is generally difficult when there’s a computer requirement.

Again, immerse their sensations in a virtual environment; pull them out of the comfy, cozy environment of home, whilst their body stays there.

This is a common one for those wheelchair bound in existing mainstream commercial virtual environments – the sensation of running across a field barefoot when your legs don’t work, or of talking to others from a standing position when you can’t stand without a hoist or a frame, is a big enabler.

This is a big one for me. I am an impatient person, so I anticipate an immediate response to my input. The inherent delay in online communication can lead to anxiety, and that anxiety can then flavor the following responses.

That’s a difficult one, and here we are entering the territory of blue sky. There is a solution, but it’s going to be a while before it’s viable.

To put it simply, it relies on a quirk of how the human nervous system evolved. The peripheral nervous system (from the base of the brainstem out to every nerve ending in the body) is ionic transfer in nature, not electric. This is important, because ionic transfer is much, much slower than an electric or optical signal. This is because the data we send jumps from electron to electron down the line, so whilst the electrons are moving at a snail’s pace (about three inches an hour in copper) the data isn’t bound to this limit. In the human nervous system however, the data is bound to the transfer of ions within a single, very long cell. Ionic data travels down the peripheral nervous system at about 2m/s. By comparison, electric data travels at roughly 300,000,000 m/s on the internet.

The solution then is quite obvious. The higher up the brainstem you read the signal AND implant the signal back (bypassing the person’s own sensory receptors completely) the longer the transmission propogation delay you can hide, because you’ve raced ahead of the person’s own ability to transfer the data to their brain. In short you’ve cheated.

This is coming (doing this is basically my day job), but it is going to be many years realistically before this is something that can be offered mainstream.

There are seven universal facial expressions, right?

That’s in a great deal of dispute at the moment. A few different studies have been done using both careful mocap and analysis of the neural signals the brain’s using to control the face, and they’ve come out with different answers. Anywhere from 9, to I think 47 was the highest so far. It reamains to be seen what that will pair down to.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:
Neither of our definitions interfere with one another, and are essentially the exact same thing. Nature = natural. Nurture = artificial.

They’re not the same. My definition allows for natural behaviors that only become apparent in social settings. Yours implies that behaviors that arise from interaction are all artificial.

No. I think you misunderstood me there. I’m not saying that behaviors that arise from interaction are all artificial. Rather I’m saying that if you treat the human as a system, then all properties inherent to that system are natural. All information coming in from outside as a data input to the system is artificial. All sensory input is artificial in nature, because it is coming from outside the system. When it meets the inner processes of the system you get a hybrid result. The expression of natural processes is changed, modified by the dictates of the external data.

The behaviors that arise are thus a mix of the person’s innate traits and the feedback data from how others behave both towards the individual and towards each other where the individual can perceive what’s going on as a third party. Both are data that help the youndg mind understand the world, and become integrated into its own way of thinking.

Thus nature is what the brain starts out with – how the initial wiring of the brain is laid out, and which chemicals and quantities that unique brain has based on other bodily factors. This is the natural element.
Nurture is something completely outside the system, and most of it comes from other humans who are looking after and caring for the young mind. Most of it comes from beings who are fully immersed in the artificial construct of human society, and are continually feeding this society to the new mind. This is why nurture data is artificial in nature. We’re literally feeding an artificial construct in.

What I contested was this statement: Change the culture, and you change what is being passed down. Meanwhile the natural elements are completely unchanged by culture.

Your definition of natural here is something that remains unchanged as society changes.

It does. Think about it. Does your upbringing change your genetics? Does your upbringing eliminate a disability or defect you were born with and in some cases progressed as you grow as a child? Upbringing can mediate, can change how a person deals with such factors, but it cannot change them. Such elements are natural; they are intrinsically part of the child.

If for example the child is born HIV positive, then the upbringing they have, their socioeconomic status, how much time the parents have for that child – none of it will change the fact that the child is HIV positive. This is a natural element; something intrinsic to the particular child that no amount or quality of nurture will eliminate.

That is the blurriness that I spoke of a couple of posts ago. There is difficulty in separating what behaviors arise only due to society, and what behaviors are natural social behaviors. You can minimize both natural and artifical behaviors through societal changes.

Here we agree.

Do you take issue with my example of the boy who helped the girl?

Not with the helping itself. My problem comes with the reasons behind the helping, or perhaps the way the helping is done. If he for example assumes she needs the help, doesn’t ask her if she’d like help, but just barges in there and does the task for her to show her what a big, strong, macho man he is, then I absolutely have issue with his ‘help’. He’s marginalising her; conforming to social stereotypes that a woman needs a man’s help to get anything practical done.

If as a different example, he asks her politely if she would like help, and factors in her reply, then I have no problem with his behavior. He’s treating her as a person who is in charge of her own life, rather than some object to take control of.

That’s the difference, fundamentally.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What would happen if there was a worldwide famine?

Waterworld covers it in a way. In that world, the oceans have covered the land, so each human settlement (boat or atoll) has to recycle everythng back into the food chain because dirt has become a quasi-mythical substance that is practically impossible to come by.

So the culture is obsessive about maximising the food supply by any means necessary. Including directly recycling the bodies of the recently deceased back directly into the nutrients that grow their trees. One scene fairly early on showed them burying their dead by literally letting them sink into the nutrient sludge around the fruit trees and crops.

Rather than worshipping gods per se, they practically worshipped the few sources of regular food they could use, and the plants were the most important and heavily protected part of any settlement.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

We need a lack of anonymity… more transparency… so that we can better “know” the people we are talking with. That doesn’t really exist currently.

I think we can do it without necessarily removing the anonymity angle. I’m coming at this from my background in sensory interfaces, so I can see that vector overcoming the problem. We can read body language, we can read tone, inflection and then convert where they actually exist. We can project those onto an embodied form. There have been commercial attempts to do just that, for a good fifteen years now, and non-commercial for fifty, so the basic idea does work.

I would tend to be leery of simply converting dialog to videochat snippets as might be one potential solution, again because of my background. The more you rely on the physical attributes of a person as the only way to convey a message, the more you marginalise those who lack some of those attributes, and deny them a voice they might otherwise have. Text completely sidesteps that issue, so if we wish to continue sidestepping that issue, the obvious way to me, would be to capture those physical elements, transfer them to an online embodiment and let the computer fill in the missing elements.

A good example of these missing elements would be how your voice changes timber depending on how you stand, and how you lean or slouch. A wheelchair user is not going to have that ability to project their voice that a person standing unaided has. So to add that inflection back in, we need to modify or synthesize the voice, and add a 3D avatar that moves through the appropriate visual body language to reinforce in the viewer’s mind that this is what they’re doing.

It would also be an excellent way to bypass the major headaches inherent in cultural body language signals differing across different cultures. Such that the avatar’s body language to go along with their speech, is quietly shifted to match the local customs’ equivalent of the original body language the speaker was using, based on the settings of the recipient’s computer.

There are many potential ways to deceive or utilise the subconscious mind to rehumanise an opponent in an online encounter, whether real-time or time-delayed as in a fourm. A forum of course has the added benefit over real-time that additional time is available to finalise processing of the exact expressions the persona is to use.

The chief downsides of course are that additional interface equipment is required clientside, and perhaps more importantly the additional processing strain on a server when compared to a purely text-input forum such as how this one currently is.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

If you take a wolf pup and train it, you can get rid of all different kinds of wolf behaviors. If you discipline the puppy everytime it howls, so that it understands that howling is ‘bad’, it will stop howling. I would contend that howling is still a natural behavior.

Of course it is. you are simply using Pavlovian conditioning (an artificial vector) to train it that in this society that behavior is not acceptable. That’s exactly what I said. If you alter the expectations of society (the conditioned behaviors both intentional and subconsciously unintentional) then you will alter the end result of the kind of person you will get out of it, and what unconscious beliefs they have internalised.

To use your dog training example, if you instead praise the dog every time it howls, you will encourage it to howl much more. The basic nature hasn’t changed, but because you have altered the way you influence its growth, the animal now has a completely different idea of what is expected of it.

I hold to my definition of nature.

You’re welcome to. Neither of our definitions interfere with one another, and are essentially the exact same thing. Nature = natural. Nurture = artificial.

You have taken a statement about natural behavior and turned it into something completely off the point I was making. The man doesn’t offer to help the woman because he chauvinistically believes that men should be able to do things on their own – he offers to help the woman because he wants to gain her favor.

More crudely put: He wants to get in her pants.

The answer to this is still the same as before. He wants sex with her, so he attempts to win her over in the ways he’s been conditioned to believe are acceptable, plus whatever ideas of his own he has. Most don’t engage in behavior our society has deemed unacceptable because they’ve internalised that it’s not ok to varying degrees. The capability to do so is still in them if they overcome those mental fortifications (natural capacity constrained by artificial boundaries).

So we change the game, and teach them that the way to get into a woman’s pants is to respect us as individuals, to treat us as equals. That the whole current concept of feminising something where feminine is perceived as weak and masculine is perceived as strong, is basically wrong. It had its time, and that time has come and gone.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Just to nitpick, that’s not a ‘challenge to broadband communication’, but a ‘challenge to online written, non-realtime dialog’. It applies equally well whether you have a broadband connection, a dial-up modem or a 4G phone.

Ultimately, the challenges of online communication in forums and standard chat rooms boil down I suspect, to a lack of embodiment. Because you don’t see another person there, only text, there’s a tendency to dehumanise your opponent.

A solution would be of course to embody them in some manner of online avatar form, but we (ironically considering the name of the thread) don’t have the bandwidth to do so consistently, without excluding those parties who do not have broadband, or are on limited access plans (x gb per month). In addition of course the interfaces to replicate an embodiment online, or project a preferred embodiment rather than necessarily just replicate, are usually expensive and often finnicky as things stand.

This issue will become less of one as these hurdles are overcome, so that our subconscious can indeed process that we are talking to other people, rather than just words on a screen.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Shooting/Riots in Ferguson, USA.

Originally posted by Frostbringer:

I guess the noteworthy word in your paragraph is “more expensive”. Given that most states in the USA are de-facto bankrupt and need to cut their expenses, I’m not sure where to take the money for this. In fact, I’m convinced that the police will loose resources in the future. Any solution for this problem can’t include spending more state money.

Then there’s a huge problem there. Are you familiar with the old adage “it takes money to make money”? The same sort of thing applies here. If you wish to see a change in an existing institution, you’re going to have to invest in that institution. Without money being available to fund pilot programs, or new mandatory training and vetting for officers, you’re not going to see a change.

At best you will see a slow decline in quality, as the worst excesses of existing officers increasingly go unpunished, and others either slowly stop caring, or realise they too can get away with more and not be punished.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

As I see it the difference between natural and artificial behaviors is that natural behaviors will be pervasive through all kinds of societies and tribes as long as the society itself does not conflict with this behavior. Artificial behaviors arise only in a specific society that causes them to emerge. You could have a society that always wears funky hats, but always wearing funky hats is not a natural behavior.

I would class natural as that created outside of human intervention (genetic, protein-based et al) and artificial as that which human interaction/interference creates. As such, the artificial parts come thorough interaction with other humans. the nature of that interaction and the subconscious elements passed down by those already immersed in our culture and its stereotypes being what enforce those stereotypes in the younger, developing mind.

Change the culture, and you change what is being passed down. Meanwhile the natural elements are completely unchanged by culture.

I’m pretty sure we’re imagining different scenarios here. I did not mean this in a chauvinistic way. What I am suggesting is that there are natural behaviors that only become apparent in social settings, and these natural behaviors can result in divergence between men and women.

The operative word being ‘can’. If you wish to help, then you would be best off helping everyone in need around you to the best of your ability. Stop bringing artificial delimiters in.

I’m not going to help him because he’s a man and men should be able to do things on their own. Macho power!”.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / What would happen if there was a worldwide famine?

Originally posted by beauval:

How far back would we go? All the way to hunting and gathering probably. Spend all your time searching for food and you have a good chance of eking out a living. If you know your plants, know how to catch fish or set a trap, you have a much better chance than someone who thinks that meat comes from a factory.

I would have to agree with this. It would take a great deal of time for things to climb back from that point, and throughout all that time, our machinery would be sitting idle, rusting, being damaged by wildlife, frost, rain and sun (as is normal) and completely unmaintained (as is not normal).

Give it a couple of decades say, and I’d be surprised if even many generators worked at all. The parts for them were no-longer being made, and most of the experts in creating more, kinda lived in the urban environments. We’d end up with a ‘scavenged tech’ type of civilisation more likely than not.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

The line between nature and nurture blurs with the realization that human interaction is not separate from nature. The term artificial gender roles itself seems loaded to me. If a girl and boy are treated differently on a subconscious level, then how much of that subconscious treatment by society is ‘artificial’, and how much is natural?

All of it is artificial as you’re using the term, because all of it is derived from cultural influence and interaction. Change the culture and the nature of the interaction and you change the results.

I dislike the term subconscious discrimination as it has been used here. Is it discrimination to buy different clothes for girls and boys?

Functional differences don’t come under subconscious discrimination. But if a young boy wishes to wear what we would consider girl’s clothes or a young girl wear what we would consider boy’s clothes then it is discrimination if that is denied because cultural sterotypes don’t permit that.

Is it discrimination when a boy acts differently in front of a her in an effort to impress her?

Would he act the same way to impress a boy he liked? If so, then no it’s not discrimination. If he wouldn’t… well, you know where this is going.

Is it discrimination when a boy tries to protect a girl?

When the girl is perfectly capable of protecting herself? Yes, he’s being chauvinist. Do it to me, and that’s a good way for them to find out what my tazer feels like, up close and personal.

If they protect an individual who is out of their depth, or clearly doesn’t know how to handle themselves in a given situation then no it’s not discrimination. When you assume a girl won’t be able to handle hereself because she’s a girl, then it is discrimination.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

There is difference in behavior between men and women that is entirely separate from artifical gender roles.

Not substantial enough to affect career choice to anything like the degree you are claiming. Nature is shaped by nurture to a quite surprising degree, and the initial differences that aren’t nurture-governed are probably best described as tendencies that need to be nurtured to be effective.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

Originally posted by tenco1:

Eh, at least it wasn’t quite as bad as (what is to my knowledge the) last time something like this happened, where the kid, seven year old this time, killed himself because he couldn’t handle the kick back of the Uzi his dad gave him.

Sometimes that’s done as a ‘joke’. Give someone a firearm for the first time, or a higher caliber than they are used to, and don’t tell them about the kick. Then wait for the ‘funny’ part when the weapon fires out of control, and injures the person firing it.

In a way such behavior illustrates the problem; it’s not truly a legislature problem, but runs even deeper than that. It’s a cultural problem. Guns simply aren’t taken seriously by some parts of the population. They’re not a toy, but they are a tool to ‘lark about’ with. It will take far more than legislation to change those attitudes.

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

You might want to play the Baldur’s Gate series. It’s an old game, but still one of the best RPGs around. A female character in that game can be just as strong as a male character and there is a great deal of dialogue and choices.

Problem there is that it’s only one series of games. It’s no good having just a handful of games that recognise that your gender does not play an overarching role in determining your ability. We need for that recognition to be mainstream.

Neverwinter nights also didn’t care what gender you were, and had an impressive range of customisation options available for both, including a dozen different ways for your character to speak, for each gender, but these are the exceptions.