Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The New Turing Test:

Presentation design software that is intelligent enough to grasp which objects you actually want to select ... seems to me the heuristics in existing software (Powerpoint, its Open Office equivalent) sometimes are on the mark and sometimes are not -- and no matter how much you "learn" the software, there's always some selection you'll get wrong.

Or maybe the fact that you cannot "outsmart" the selection heuristics indicates that presentation design software already has a (malevalent) intelligence and passes the Turing Test?

Hmmm ... has Bill Gates discovered the ultimate in AI in designing Office? It's an interesting and disturbing thought, isn't it? Although, I've suspected as much ever since I started writing my dissertation ...


Other questions to discuss:

-- Why didn't those British sailors fight the Iranians trying to take their ship?

-- What is Giuliani's appeal? I understand his appeal to someone seeking a libertarian combination of economically conservative/socially liberal but with a pro-law and order stance that libertarians would naturally lack* (although the degree to which Giuliani has, in the past, appealed primarily to people of the "I want someone who'll put 'those people' in their place" ilk would, if Giuliani were to start really doing well, make me nervous about what has infested our body politic) ... but I know people who are the kind who worry about politicians playing the "tough on crime" game, etc. and who worry that we really misplace our efforts in getting all paranoid about crime rather than actually doing concrete things, including addressing the effects of centuries of racism, to prevent crime -- you'd think these are the last people to whom Giuliani would appeal -- to whom Giuliani appeals. What's the nature of this appeal and how do we counter-act it, lest we end up with (kaynenhora) "Giuliani time" going national starting in 2009? My theory is that Giuliani is perceived by these people to (ironically given past potential election match-ups that didn't quite happen) be, politically, the person who Hillary Clinton actually is. So, if we Dems. do end up for some reason nominating Sen. Clinton, how do we ensure people view Sen. Clinton as the person she is rather than how she's been perceived in the past? Any thoughts from the Giuliani supporters out there?

* I suspect this "law and order libertarian" crowd, of which I would count a few as friends -- Shalom Chaverim! A shout-out to y'all! -- constitute a large plurality of our body politic. You'd think Hillary Clinton would appeal to this crowd. If you are reading this and a member of this crowd who supports Giuliani over Clinton, do feel free to comment as to why -- I'm sincerely eager to know.

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Does the above indicate the Turing test has been passed? ;)
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