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Thierry Marianne
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An open letter to everyone tricked into fearing artificial intelligence by Erik Sofge. "The more pertinent question, in 2015, is whether anyone is going to protect mankind from its willfully ignorant journalists."

"In fact, the open letter from the Future of Life Institute is a pretty bloodless affair. The title alone -- Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: an Open Letter -- should manage the reader's expectations. The letter references advances in machine learning, neuroscience, and other research areas that, in combination, are yielding promising results for AI systems. As for doom and gloom, the only relevant statements are the afore-mentioned sentence about 'potential pitfalls,' and this one: 'We recommend expanded research aimed at ensuring that increasingly capable AI systems are robust and beneficial: our AI systems must do what we want them to do.' That, in all honesty, is as dark as this open letter gets."

After you read Sofge's open letter, you can read my post on the same event and see if I participated in "fear-mongering" when I "reported" (not that anyone considers me a "journalist") the exact same event (the formation of the FLI and their open letter):

https://plus.google.com/104401121686781166984/posts/fjzr1WUrqnh
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"I can hide all day behind a screen with headphones on in any agile process" is the new "I can write procedural code in any OO language".

There are some good and some bad reasons to turn one's back on the Agile movement.

Back in the day, Agile was new and edgy and coming across someone interested in Agile, you could be pretty damn sure that they were someone curious, motivated, smart, in one word exceptional. Not necessarily flawless or automatically a great hire for any context, but at least head and shoulders above the crowd.

Go back even more, and you find the same thing happening with objects as they moved from edgy to mainstream. Today you wouldn't spare a second glance at someone based on their being "interested in OO".

Does that mean that OO skills never were really all that useful? Hell no! I can attest from bitter personal experience that people who "can write procedural code in any language" are a great asset if you want a software development effort to go down the drain real fast, drowning in technical debt.

This is a problem of false positive rates, a problem of evolutionary mimicry and free-riding on a good thing. Anything that is a cheaply imitated signal (like having "objects" on your CV, or having the black and yellow stripes of poison-bearing wasps and bees for an insect) will eventually tempt imitators.

But does that mean you can ignore the signal entirely, refusing to hire anyone who claims OO skills or eating any prey that's black and yellow striped? That would be a bad idea; wasps will still sting you, and you still need people with solid design skills on your teams.

Similarly, just because there are too many false positives - people claiming association with "Agile" despite little real experience or inclination - doesn't mean the label is valueless. It does mean that you should look below surface appearances, and for things that are hard to imitate; costly signals instead of cheap ones.

Agile is no longer all that "edgy" and if you were primarily interested in it because it allowed you to meet unusual people, I can totally understand your looking for something else that plays that role.

But by the same token, among the people who most loudly announce their renouncement of Agile, many are inevitably going to be mimics - practicing the ancient evolutionary art of changing their stripe at the opportune moment, an art practiced only by those not in possession of the costly but substantive attributes signaled by the pretty colors.
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4ème édition de Disco Salade au Palais de Tokyo
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20120617 Disco Salade #4 - Palais de Tokyo - monochome
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4ème édition de Disco Salade au Palais de Tokyo
http://goo.gl/QWgZD
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20120617 Disco Salade #4 - Palais de Tokyo - color
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Slow motion en toute splendeur
Random shit being blown up in super-slo-mo. Full of awesome.
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