One interesting question this raises is: How can non-Chinese compete against such national champions, this intense cooperation between public and private sectors? In the US, those relationships are much more problematic, as the recent uproar at Google about Project Maven illustrates. Not only that, but the US government is neither as aggressive nor as forward-looking about such partnerships, preferring to let market forces have their way. China is tilting the playing field in its favor, while the world's sole superpower is hobbled by clowns and criminals in the executive branch, and corrupt prime contractors pretend to supply the government with tech that they neither understand nor make themselves.
For example, coming back to the US from studying in Germany, people asked what the conditions were like and it was pretty interesting there was this imagination of migrants running wild, riots in the streets, like it was 1939 again when in reality things were pretty much the same. Unsurprisingly, I'm sure the US media doesn't help with their approach to sensationalism.
To counter your anecdote, when I talk to many Europeans there is this imagination that American cities now have gun-wielding criminals "running wild, riots in the streets" when in reality things "were pretty much the same".
People who don't know much about places outside their home often fall victim to sensationalist media. And Americans tend to be very inward focused so they are vulnerable to this. However, to say Americans ignore their own problems is blatantly false.
As far as I know americans think "God" created (or blessed or whatever) their holy country and its the greatest nation on earth. There is the classic american patriotism. The pledge of honor (and that kneeling thing??). Almost half of americans (or at least a very large Marjory) are creationist and believe angels are real. Even some of your presidents do. There are actual fights weither or not evolution should be taught in schools. Your relationship with Religion is also borderline pathological. There are studies that show higher developed countries tend to have atheist or at least agnostic leanings but the US is an outlier here.
Your irrational war on drugs is a disaster, it, together with your racist history of slavery and segregation causes your cultural critical problems with your minority communities. Your police acts like there in a war zone. Your media is a shit show of of people throwing mud at each other. If you ever learn german you should watch the Tagesthemen which is the most unbiased and informative news I have ever seen in my life. Alternately I think french24 comes close though I'm not sure.
Your relationship with guns is a whole other story as your own students can attest. I can understand the attraction to guns but Jesus you behave like an alcohol addict saying its only medicine.
Some other worthy mentions are your commercial prison system that gives you the highest incarceration rate worldwide. I also heard many times your Judaical system highly disfavors the financially weak but I don't know much about that topic. You also have a "fat" epidemic as I have heard. Also your education system is kinda bad and too expensive.
To close it off - your politics are highly polarized with borderline retarded conservatives that call everyone soyboys on the one side and don't even get me started on the social justice warriors that took a University president hostage and in general know nothing else but to scream loudly.
Cooperation oligopolies are gaining too much control and you see anything remotely welfare related such as the obama health care or free universities as communism.
Btw. education is gonna be the most important field in the future. With rising demand for high skilled jobs poor people are not gonna have it easy. So free universities aren't that bad of an idea (and yes obviously they are not free but paid for by the tax payer).
Also german A-Level History Lessons are of extremely high qualities so we know all about our past and what lessons that brings with it. One of the most important skill I learned in School was in History where we learned to critically analyse any kind of source. It kinda makes you immune to bullshit media of all sorts.
I didn't read the source, it was simply the first google match and I just put it there for reference.
It makes sense to me that you didn't read your source though, you didn't read my post either. I didn't say America doesn't have problems, we have lots of them! I just said that we are aware of them, and often criticize them. For example, you just listed off a bunch of grievances that the majority of New Yorkers would agree with. (I currently live in New York and the people here are also somewhat disconnected with the realities of middle America)
I really like and respect Germany, and I especially agree with you that the news there is better than in the US. But isn't that the point? Many Europeans watch American news and get sensationalized opinions of what is going on here. It is also worth noting that your country is extremely homogeneous by American standards (partially due to your own country's racist history), and you seem to be assuming America has one unified opinion when that is not the case. We are constantly arguing with ourselves on a much wider range of issues than what Germany must consider.
You are clearly not immune to bullshit media, because you have just exaggerated every stereotype that Europeans have about Americans and stated it as a fact.
I think you're wrong about America's 'relationship with religion' being pathological. In fact, Utah (the most religious state probably, and pretty advanced) has almost no homelessness. Contrast that with the most liberal/atheist states and it's pretty much the opposite. So, the church can play a positive role. That said, religion isn't actually relevant in many parts of modern US society.
As for guns, I think its a mental health epidemic with a bunch of columbine copycats, rather than a strictly gun issue. I could say that Europe has bad relationship with trucks.
The war on drugs is a disaster yes. The prison system is a disaster. The fat epidemic is a disaster (I blame corn syrup aka corn subsidies and car culture), but there are some pretty dang fat people in Europe too. Education quality depends on the state, but the northeast (MA, CT, NJ) has some great public schools. The political divide is a disaster. Healthcare "policy" is a disaster.
The US is so large and diverse that states act more like european countries, each with their own stereotypes and policies. For example, gun culture is non-existant in the northeast, yet in the west and south it is very prevalent. I mean, in NYC carrying even a folding knife is illegal, yet you're probably considered weird if you don't have one on you at all times in other parts of the country. In the EU, you have Greece and Switzerland, but they couldn't be more far apart culturally and even financially.
Europe does a lot of things better than the US, especially with infrastructure (new infrastructure - our old infrastructure is awesome we just haven't been investing in it for the last 30 years due to the small government conservitard meme). Overall QOL is probably higher.
As for what you do worse, a lot of EU states are nanny states with very high taxes. It doesn't seem like there's a lot of upward mobility. Salaries are low, but there is still inequality. You don't pioneer much.
Also, Utah has plenty of homeless. What they've reduced (to 1/10th of what it was) is -chronic- homelessness. They still have 14k people per year spending one or more nights in an emergency shelter each year ( https://jobs.utah.gov/housing/scso/documents/homelessness201... , page #35), which is essentially unchanged since before the 'housing first' model was adopted.
What is especially interesting is that due to the inter-state differences...raw homeless numbers aren't really that telling. That is, places that are friendly to the homeless tend to have more homeless. Which...makes sense. Even Utah despite its housing policy, is not considered particularly friendly to homeless people, and there is some evidence that people leave the state when homeless ( https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/22/salt-lake-ci... ).
I basically mention this to point out that UTah isn't quite the shining beacon on how to 'solve' the homeless situation as they were touted a few years ago..and that at best their religiosity is irrelevant to that.
I agree with the majority of your comment, but the reality of this part is actually considerably more complicated. I used to think the same way, but it turns out that we are incredibly horribly bad at efficiently doing infrastructure projects, with costs/mi tending to be some multiple of similar projects in other developed countries. This holds even when controlling for all sorts of things; my understanding is that economists in the relevant field aren't really 100% sure what the cause is.
From this perspective, the small govt argument becomes a lot more grounded in real complaints about govt's incompetency at this task, on top of their baseline ideological complaint about government not being an appropriate way to allocate capital in the first place.
FWIW, I'm pretty irritated at the horrendous inefficiency of American infrastructure projects but also think that they often are economically worthwhile despite it. But it's unfair to cast this complaint as a thoughtless "conservitard meme" in the case of infrastructure, given that the complaints are to some degree grounded in reality.
Which is precisely the issues most( not just EU ) don't understand America.
The 'insignificant other' crashing this party leads to all sorts of dissonance visible in every comment thread on any kind of progress in non-western countries.
This is intrinsically tied to identity so when people say we are in a global world its a very superficial construct hiding some dangerous truths for the naive and uninformed.
Imagine how much power Comcast would have if it silently went rogue and threatened to expose the pornographic habits of a few key senators? Or if shell, Chevron, and BP formed a cabal and declared an oil embargo on the USA, refusing to dock their tankers until they were given tax breaks or until the USA put tariffs on competition.
Right now China is reminding the world that governments still are the sovereign powers. I wonder when the scales will tip?
To give mechanism to this method, in America power is competitively shared. Those the ISP is blackmailing will stay quiet. But there are others intensely motivated to uncover the crime, both inside the blackmailed politicians' orbits (to preserve their careers post-downfall) and outside it (to boost their careers by taking out a competitor, to themselves or their boss).
There are too many examples to name but the big ones are the Dutch East India Company, Nationalized Railroads in the US in WWI and more recently the "Bailout" of banks in the wake of the real estate collapse.
What we've yet to see in history is a corporation that directly and openly challenges a state for sovereignty. I've written in the past that it would be technically possible for a large corporation to raise an army/navy,buy land and declare sovereignty, but that none deign to do it.
I think you're correct, but the East India Company came pretty close, didn't they?
They also didn't challenge Indian state directly, but rather as vassels of the British Empire.
What I'm talking about is for example if Amazon raised a Military, set up a border around Seattle, declared the Port their own and then told the US Govt "we're a sovereign nation" and forced the US into a treaty.
At the point that a corporation has an independent military then we might see something interesting. I'd argue they would get obliterated fairly quickly but it would be an interesting effort.
Think "the dictates of the fashion community" versus "The diktats of the dictator"
What? The chinese modeled their economic system after the US. We love to portray ourselves as having a separation between the "private" and the "public". That is absolute nonsense.
The chinese, like the US and europe and japan and south korea and all major world economies, are corporate mercantilists. When the railroads, mining corps, oil corporations, etc needed the natives to be "gone", it was the US government that exterminated the natives. When US corporate interests needed access to central america, it was the US government that cleared the way. When US corporate interests wanted access to the middle east, east asia, south east asia, etc, it was the US government that lent a hand. The US has always been and always will be a mercantilist nation.
> preferring to let market forces have their way.
You are buying into the propaganda. All "market" forces are human forces. After all, there is no market without humans.
> China is tilting the playing field in its favor, while the world's sole superpower is hobbled by clowns and criminals in the executive branch, and corrupt prime contractors pretend to supply the government with tech that they neither understand nor make themselves.
Oh ye of little faith. China has destroyed its environment and sold its people as slave labor to the west for development. If you look at US-china trade, 80% of the wealth is in US hands and 20% of it is in chinese hands.
Take the iPhone as an example. It sells for $800. What percentage of $800 do you think the chinese gets? What percentage do you think US shareholders gets? Almost all of the iPhone's values goes to US based shareholders. The chinese get peanuts.
Japan is the master of modern industrial policy. Then South Korea/Taiwan, then China, faithfully adapt the Japanese model.
-- George Orwell, "Nineteen-Eightyfour"
For a thorough criticism of 1984 as a device to explore technology in the future, I recommend Asimov's harsh criticism of the book.
My question to your question is, what exactly are we trying to compete towards? I keep reading article after article how China is beating us in AI, but they never explain what that means for us everyday citizens, except for what I can see happening to China. From my perspective, this seems like a frantic push towards omniscient presence in the every day lives of their citizens, which for me completely wipes out any honest benefit AI could provide.
This is sort of a meme with the Chinese government, they make declarations about what will happen in the future, and then silently readjust their goals when the previously declared deadline passes. See for example http://reddit.com/china2020. Think of it as more of a pep rally for a sports match up (rah rah, we will win!).
If it's military might, that may be surprisingly irrelevant as the next century unfolds.
This. US and USSR were considered, rightfully, the superpowers during the cold war. "Sole superpower" simply means one has fallen, so the balance has tilt in favor of the US.
It wasn't "self proclaimed". It was globally accepted. It plays into American's patriotism but also flames anti-American in a lot of places. If you think it's just American manufactured claim you're mistaken.
In the same vein, China is considered "new superpower", also rightfully, considering how they have aggressively expanded their influence around the world.
The typical justification is that the US is the only nation that unilaterally harasses nations on the other side of the world. When the Russians and Chinese harass other nations those nations are in the same region. When the British feel like making an example of out a country in "our" hemisphere they get permission first.
Chinese government invested in many startups, the best example is probably Deng Yaping's search engine company around 8 years ago. Such partnership/investment doesn't guarantee anything, Deng's search engine company died in a pretty normal way.
Unfortunately this is a collective action problem and if there is even one group who defects, then a boycott is for naught. Might slow things down temporarily but in the end wouldn't stop them.
I have not seen this in practice. Wall Street had Glass-Steagall repealed in 1999 which led to the TARP $420 billion bailout in 2008, and Trump just rolled back almost all of Dodd-Frank, so the next taxpayer bank bailout is probably not far off (US taxpayers bailed out S&Ls in the 1980s too). I have not seen much of market forces having their way in the US other than lip service.
Also, look at the 1970s history of Lockheed to see a "never let fail - heed the diktats" company. From the 1971 billion dollar government bailout to the 1976 bribery scandal. Probably one of the most government blessed companies in a country full of such-blessed companies.
Also, people have tweeted at the technology in action.
is a good demo of what they appear to be doing
For the first one they are doing object classification & identification in realtime.
The second one is identifying crowds using a heatmap.
China's social credit system is glossed in the article.
Doesn't seem like there are a lot of good outcomes where AI is involved. A passage near the end of the article:
In the meantime, we need a Plan B. Bostrom’s [author of book Superintelligence] starts with an effort to slow the race to create an A.G.I. [Artificial General Intelligence] in order to allow more time for precautionary trouble-shooting. Astoundingly, however, he advises that, once the A.G.I. arrives, we give it the utmost possible deference. Not only should we listen to the machine; we should ask it to figure out what we want. The misalignment-of-goals problem would seem to make that extremely risky, but Bostrom believes that trying to negotiate the terms of our surrender is better than the alternative, which is relying on ourselves, “foolish, ignorant, and narrow-minded that we are.” Tegmark [author of book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence] also concludes that we should inch toward an A.G.I. It’s the only way to extend meaning in the universe that gave life to us: “Without technology, our human extinction is imminent in the cosmic context of tens of billions of years, rendering the entire drama of life in our Universe merely a brief and transient flash of beauty.” We are the analog prelude to the digital main event.
Takes the idea of moving fast and breaking things to the next level.
Vast prison population and byzantine court system,
Declining life expectancy,
Surveillance state including 24/7 location tracking,
Births below replacement rate,
Systemic Unemployment and Age Discrimination,
Individually they don't seem bad until one of them bites you. But, the world is a very nasty place for many people.
Lots of people will point to how prosperous we are and how things like premature death and disease are at record-low rates throughout all of history.
I think we're in a nice little bubble of time where we're surfing on a false economy, borrowing from our future selves in a very unsustainable way which artificially makes our current situation look just about fine. But eventually we're going to use up this runway. At risk of mixing metaphors haphazardly, this is sort of the calm before the storm.
As climate change starts ramping up this shit is going to get very uncomfortably real, and lots of these nightmare dystopia-technologies we're currently developing will probably start seeing even greater mass usage.
I'm typically not the apocalyptic type, and I recognize that most members of every generation that's ever lived have believed that they were one of the last generations. But our universe has shown us that eventually everything ends, so realistically there will someday be a generation which makes this assumption correctly. I don't think we're necessarily they, but we might be their grandparents or great-grandparents.
There's a non-trivial chance that we've already passed the point of no return on climate change. We've almost casually walked into the maw of the great filter already--it just hasn't chomped down on us yet.
These 3 at least are a very american-centric view of things. In our good old Europe (excluding UK) things are way better.
Now, some things on your list are universal :/…
It's a brilliant and beautifully photographed documentary about the people who ride the cross-Saharan train, sometimes as the core of their livelihood, and the people who rely on this older technology just to be able to eat.
It's titled The Mauritania Railway: Backbone of the Sahara
edit: I just can't recommend it enough. Just watching a few moments already has me sucked in
To me, the whole present situation seems much closer to the story line in Elysium. I've worked in factories like the protagonist. It's not as distant as it can seem.
This is the opposite of a problem. Overpopulation is a huge global issue.
> Vast prison population and byzantine court system
> Systemic Unemployment and Age Discrimination
You forgot discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality and, most notably, wealth.
PS: Male:Female gender imbalance at birth + early deaths is why the replacement rate is over 2.0 lifetime births per woman.
No we don't. IIRC, birth rates are dropping everywhere and the world population in on track to plateau mid-century before it declines.
I think it's more dystopian for all governments to have the same ideals and policies than for different governments to have different ideals and policies. It's okay that China is different.
Multiple actors would just increase bureaucratic overhead.
AI might be significantly composed of hype today, and there may indeed be an AI winter on the horizon as people start to trade in insane optimism for realistic expectations, but if a little of the hype is true then we have likely completed the equivalent of a Manhattan project to develop something truly nuclear in its potential to disrupt human civilization.
In the twentieth century we found a way to leverage physical energies greater than we'd ever imagined humans could wield. Now we might be developing something more subtle, yet also insanely powerful: a way to leverage data manipulation in a way that will slowly transpose democracy and individual thought through brute analytical power.
Or so the doomsaying goes. It may be baseless paranoia, but it's credible enough to deserve some very strong caution. From what we've seen in our universe we're probably due to run into a great filter very damn soon. It's probably something we already know about today, in some form at least.
China is on track to have the most advanced systems of mass surveillance in the world.
What's particularly bad about the system per se, without getting into the arguments specific to Chinese politics?
> What's particularly bad about the system per se,
Tightening everyday social control that's at least partially designed to serve the political goals of an unabashedly authoritarian regime that's self-consciously opposed to things like "universal values of human rights."  
It might be easier to understand it this way: in China, you're a de-facto criminal if they judge you to be in some way opposed to the regime.
> without getting into the arguments specific to Chinese politics?
That's almost like asking what's bad about something without getting into its bad aspects.
Unsubstantive comments on flamebait topics = de facto trolling.
Unsubstantive comment + flamebait topic = de facto trolling. By de facto I mean whether you intended to troll or not. We can't read your mind, but we know a lot about the likely effects of such a post. Moreover, you have a history of doing this, e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17102050. Please don't do it any more.
I don't work for a company who runs sites like these, but is that normal? How do you maintain a relationship with 50 different ad vendors, or do they actually just deal with 2-3 and then there's a whole graph of others on some sort of affiliate scheme?
ML works incredibly well on even lightly-structured data (which includes most financial data streams). Agree it hasn’t lived up to the AI hype, but that doesn’t mean what it can deliver on isn’t useful.
"I don't think the winter depends on the amount that somebody makes today on AI, rather on how much people are expecting to make in the future. If these don't match, there will be a winter. My take is that there is a huge bet against the future. And if DL ends up bringing just as much profit as it does today, interest will die very, very quickly."
Let's posit that DL does just that, bring in the same value (as a whole system) as non-DL.
Inside such a system, there is a business advantage to implementation of DL, and there is a concentration of value around those with the largest dataset.
This means that DL systems will still be very valuable in that they are a competitive advantage, but only so much as they are difficult to implement independently.
The value differentiator then becomes the data itself. I think this points to a value proposition for data providers. GDPR and such seem to be quite correctly identifying and correcting for this risk.
There's so much hype around "AI" right now that I wonder if we're headed to a winter where you need very strong business justification to get funding to apply those existing tools. It seems like anyone with a problem to solve is spending millions to throw machine learning at it, just to see if it will stick. That's not sustainable.
Not exactly. "AI Winter" refers the historical periods that followed unsustainable hype that surrounds AI methods prior to those times. Skepticism of AI during the last winter was so strong that "AI" kinda became a dirty word and people invented euphemisms like "machine learning" to avoid the stigma.
It is a unicorn of few billion bucks without a SINGLE THING that makes money.
They have an "AI" supposedly, but that thing does not make money magically appear in their pocket.
At best, they market a face recognition library, that sucks in comparison to a first grader's OpenCV hello world.