Spot

This is what the future looks like.

Superintelligence

In his article “Will Superintelligent Machines Destroy Humanity?” Ronald Bailey reviews Nick Bostrom’s book “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies”:

Bostrom argues that it is important to figure out how to control an AI before turning it on, because it will resist attempts to change its final goals once it begins operating. In that case, we’ll get only one chance to give the AI the right values and aims. […]

An example of the first approach would be to try to confine the AI to a “box” from which it has no direct access to the outside world. Its handlers would then treat it as an oracle, posing questions to it such as how can we might exceed the speed of light or cure cancer. But Bostrom thinks the AI would eventually get out of the box, noting that “Human beings are not secure systems, especially when pitched against a super intelligent schemer and persuader.”

Fascinating read. Another book for my to do list.

Tongji in the news

German news site Spiegel Online cites Tongji professor Xie Weida, deputy director of the Railway Institute who says it’s “unlikely” that China will buy the Maglev technology.

An English article can be found at The Earth Times.

Century Avenue

In front of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

In front of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
In front of Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
Pudong
Oriental Art Center

Oriental Art Center

Pudong
Century Avenue
Century Avenue
Pudong at night

China Mobile

Because you also pay when someone calls you, you’re unreachable if there’s no more money on the card. So I bought an update right away. It wasn’t that easy to tell the man what I wanted. We had no common language. As most Chinese he spoke neither English nor German and my Chinese is hardly existent. I ended up with this:

China Mobile card

And had no idea what to do. I called 13800138000 and switched to English but I still needed a “user pin number” which I don’t have. One hour after I had started – and only due to Chinese help – I finally had 48 Yuan on the card. I’d like to know where the missing 2 Yuan went.

Compelling offers

Amazon offered me some great things today. Books about elastostatics and maths for engineers, another one about programming in C and a scientific calculator. Halleluja.

Last lecture

I’ve already posted this video on my tumblelog, the place where I usually put the things I discover. But this one is really worth being posted again and I can recommend it warmly. Thanks to Michael Arrington for pointing it out.

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving talk, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

Laptops

I can’t take my desktop computer to Shanghai so I have to look for a laptop. I’d like to get a ThinkPad but couldn’t figure out yet how to customize a model instead of just buying one. It works on the US site, why not on the German one?

And why do I have to spend money on Windows Vista?? I’m very happy with my Ubuntu Linux and even if I’d want to use Windows (what I don’t) I could get a free and legal copy from my university. Praise Dell that offers computers with Ubuntu.

I’m also thinking about getting a cheap laptop from a discounter which I’d use at home where size, weight and battery life won’t matter and try to find a small used ThinkPad at eBay. But then I can just as well get another desktop computer in China… Anyone competent around?