0678: "Researcher Translation"

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tehol
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Re: Researcher Translation

Postby tehol » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

kernelpanic wrote:
rocketrat wrote:Very true, but not really funny.

I'd say it's very funny but not really true.


Yarr, agreed.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby XbHW_TestEngr » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:33 pm UTC

I've also seen it work the other way.

Research / Development Team vs Program Management Team
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(R&D) That's not physically possible.
(PM) We've already sold 10 systems. You're not being a team player.

(R&D) This is the Proof-Of-Concept hardware. It needs some optimization .....
(PM) Release to manufacturing. (Later, the customer, USAF, threatens to shut down contract.)

(R&D) We have to re-design the HW if it is going to survive those temperatures. (Like we tried to say before ... )
(PM) Why didn't you design for that in your Proof of Concept? You're lousy engineers.
... and there will be cake.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

It only works when the researcher's wild, informed speculation happens to meet the businessman's haphazard, uninformed speculation. Then - miracles!

Or EPIC FAIL. More often that. But occasionally - miracles!
Last edited by SocialSceneRepairman on Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:03 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Vieto » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:59 pm UTC

Randal, get out of my head!

The bottom row is exactly what I would do if I invented a hovercar.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby kk0425 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:06 pm UTC

Quicksilver wrote:After reading the alt text, it made me think of Duke Nukem Forever.


SASnSA wrote:They forgot this one:

"when it's done" | The company will go out of business before it finishes the product


Are we reading wired magazine here too?

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby westrim » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

kk0425 wrote:
Quicksilver wrote:After reading the alt text, it made me think of Duke Nukem Forever.


SASnSA wrote:They forgot this one:

"when it's done" | The company will go out of business before it finishes the product


Are we reading wired magazine here too?


I did. That article was sad (to those who don't know, they did an article detailing the demise of DNF- and how CLOSE it came several times to actually breaking through :( ).

Freiberg wrote:Definitely got to agree with you there, not to mention the fact that I can transfer twenty million bits per SECOND between the internet and my computer, and do so so regularly that I hardly notice. And hard drives you can buy at the store that hold 1000 bits for every man, woman, and child alive. Technology rocks!


Thank you. at least there's one person with some optimistic perspective in here. I'd love to see what 1970s Steve Jobs would think of the iPhone.
Last edited by westrim on Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:02 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby ephraimephraim » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

When I worked at the Laser Fusion Feasibility Project, scientific break-even (energy in = energy out) was five years away and economic break-even ($ in = $ out) was ten years away. That was thirty-four years ago.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby umop ap!sdn » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:50 pm UTC

Quicksilver wrote:After reading the alt text, it made me think of Duke Nukem Forever.

Me too! :cry:

I've learned not to believe anyone about time frames, everyone goes over what they promise. If they happen to be close (or on the rare occasion ON TIME), I'm pleasantly surprised and leave it at that.
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Re: Researcher Translation

Postby glasnt » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

joee wrote:You're missing a link and commentary.

And urgh, research :( And where's my flying car?

Also, hi glasnt!

Hi joee!

Bloody hell, I swear I made this thread at 07 past the hour, but this one is the only thread of the same name that exists anymore? :(

Humph.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Elfer » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:10 pm UTC

This is generally true, but I've found that a lot of researchers who have an engineering background of some kind often have much more realistic view of when things will be commercially viable and not just technologically viable.

For example, they technically have built vehicles that run on fuel cells, but about a year ago a person from a fuel cell research centre basically told our tutorial group that the practical problems were big enough that we wouldn't be seeing anything mass produced for at least fifty years.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Itsnotinmyidiom » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:04 am UTC

Scott Adams is rolling in his as-of-yet-unfilled grave right now, wondering vaguely if copyright laws haven't been infringed upon and whether there could possibly be any money in it for him.
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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby DoctorSubmarine » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:31 am UTC

The "ten years" and "25+ years" ones reminded me of any given episode of Modern Marvels.

"We're researching new advancements in metal alloys. Within ten years, aluminum will be able to communicate with you and fly into space of its own free will. We just need to figure out how to DO that, exactly. But it'll be totally sweet, we promise!"
Careful, we don't want to learn from this.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby -.Mateo.- » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:45 am UTC

Man, the future is taking it's time to get here...
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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby jc » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:07 am UTC

dtilque wrote:The 20 years bit is talking about two technologies that have been 20 years away for several decades: AI and fusion power.

When I was a grad student back in the early 1970s, I did a bunch of work on computerized translation of natural languages. At the time, it was common to hear the "20 years away" estimate, accompanied by a long list of funny examples of the output of current translation software. Today, the estimate is still 20 years, and translation "services" like google's are still producing the nice long lists of hilarious mistranslations. There's even a good site full of example of bad translations into English that very often turn out to be the results of computer assistance.

Others can probably describe similar 20-year estimates in other subject areas.

(And, of course, there are the ongoing promises of eliminating the need for all that difficult, expensive computer programming by making the computer "programmable" in English. Cobol was the first to try this, but not the last. The result is always another programming language, but badly designed because they refused to study the lessons from the design of other programming language. They were trying to avoid designing a new programming language, so why would they bother studying the mistakes in earlier programming languages?)

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Gargravarr » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:55 am UTC

jc: Computer assisted translation has actually made progress in recent years. IMHO it's been upgraded from 20 years away to almost useful (still need to know the target language to fix the errors).

I agree with you on the "natural programming language" idiocy, though.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby dennisw » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:20 am UTC

jc wrote:
dtilque wrote:The 20 years bit is talking about two technologies that have been 20 years away for several decades: AI and fusion power.

When I was a grad student back in the early 1970s, I did a bunch of work on computerized translation of natural languages. At the time, it was common to hear the "20 years away" estimate, accompanied by a long list of funny examples of the output of current translation software. Today, the estimate is still 20 years, and translation "services" like google's are still producing the nice long lists of hilarious mistranslations. There's even a good site full of example of bad translations into English that very often turn out to be the results of computer assistance.

Others can probably describe similar 20-year estimates in other subject areas.

(And, of course, there are the ongoing promises of eliminating the need for all that difficult, expensive computer programming by making the computer "programmable" in English. Cobol was the first to try this, but not the last. The result is always another programming language, but badly designed because they refused to study the lessons from the design of other programming language. They were trying to avoid designing a new programming language, so why would they bother studying the mistakes in earlier programming languages?)

Your post made me think of Wolfram Alpha's natural language fail. If they provided a formal grammar/syntax it could be really useful, but too much time is wasted trying to guess which tiny dark corner of a minuscule subset of natural language it will accept - differently for each subject domain. I have better luck with the voice recognition of the phone company's automated attendant. "For billing issues, speak the name of your neighbor's cat using a Danish accent. If you have a problem with sound quality on your line, speak the name of the Prime Minister of Italy sotto voce."
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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:06 pm UTC

Natural language programming SOUNDS great, but the brain's got a lot of processing power dedicated to decoding speech and even then people still have to say "Come again?". A noninteractive compiler would be a nightmare since it would either have to fail in so many situations that you'd be better off learning a formal grammar or end up generating code to do something completely different than intended.
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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Brooklynxman » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:38 pm UTC

Missing:
50 years: Once the next Einstein completely revolutionizes physics as we know it, we might be able to do it. Its possible.
100 years: Our grandchildren will still be making money off of this cash cow. Also, its impossible, suckers.
>100 years: Sci-fi writers, get to work.
We figure out what all this means, then do something large and violent

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Ghona » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:41 pm UTC

Svix wrote:
dtilque wrote:The 20 years bit is talking about two technologies that have been 20 years away for several decades: AI and fusion power. Apparently some people here are not familiar with the standard jokes about them.


I immediately thought of fusion power when I saw this. The more I learn about the intricacies behind getting it working the more justified these constant delays seem, I think I'll be happy if there's a commercial reactor in my lifetime.

Polywell fusion is coming along pretty nicely. Their current estimate is about twelve years or so.
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Re: Researcher Translation

Postby Iridos » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

guyy wrote:
ComputerAnalysis wrote:I think this is one a slight rip off of a PhD Comic. The following one to be precise.


"Somthing vaguely similar's been done before by one of thousands of webcomics" =/= "it's a rip-off."

Besides, I don't think making fun of temporal estimates has ever been a new idea. Doesn't make it bad, though.


Well, rip-off or not - I feel that compared to other similar things that exist, this one wasn't overly convincing - e.g. a variant of the English/German one posted above that I've known for years and which is just so true - like:

"this will be detailed in a future publication" == the postdoc left and nobody will touch the project again ever
or...
"typical data shown" == we show the best set of data we could find in what we have

Obviously he's talking about a different type of researchers than I'd think of, as most university research really isn't application-targeted at all, but still...

This just seem... a bit weak?

I.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby JCM » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:25 am UTC

I found it amusing, as it's correct 95% of the time.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:37 am UTC

So much for the permanent bases on Mars...

At least the military's robot assassin technology arrived on time; we've had them since Bosnia. Pain rays are in the final stages of testing (i.e., seeing if it causes cancer). Tanks now have EMP pulses that destroy incoming missiles. Railguns are currently being installed on nuclear-powered detroyers.

All clearly more important than, you know, trying to send humanity to another star system by the end of the century.

I guess you don't have to wait too long for technology if you have a lot of guns.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby emgmod » Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:34 am UTC

With my minimal background in infrastructure, I think this timeframe can work with construction projects too. If there are plans to build a new major whatever, it needs massive federal support for it to become realistic at all. The Second Avenue Subway in New York City was considered in 1929. It's only starting to be built in 2007, and the only construction is the hole for the tunneler so far.

It's expected to open 10 years from now.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:17 am UTC

muchtall wrote:
A technology that is '20 years away' will be 20 years away indefinitely.


Case in point: Holographic cube storage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_data_storage . They've been talking about this since the early 90's, but it's always been just out of reach.


There was a lab next to mine that was working on that. The technology does exist and it works. However...

Elfer wrote:This is generally true, but I've found that a lot of researchers who have an engineering background of some kind often have much more realistic view of when things will be commercially viable and not just technologically viable.

For example, they technically have built vehicles that run on fuel cells, but about a year ago a person from a fuel cell research centre basically told our tutorial group that the practical problems were big enough that we wouldn't be seeing anything mass produced for at least fifty years.


That's the exact problem in a nutshell. There is so much cool technology that current exists. However, it's all still in the prototype phase.As William Gibson said "The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet."*

* He may not have used that exact phrase but that's the most famous version of it.
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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:20 am UTC

emgmod wrote:With my minimal background in infrastructure, I think this timeframe can work with construction projects too. If there are plans to build a new major whatever, it needs massive federal support for it to become realistic at all. The Second Avenue Subway in New York City was considered in 1929. It's only starting to be built in 2007, and the only construction is the hole for the tunneler so far.

It's expected to open 10 years from now.


Don't forget about Freedom Hole (the 9/11 memorial empty pit) in downtown Manhattan.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby umop ap!sdn » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:28 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:So much for the permanent bases on Mars...

At least the military's robot assassin technology arrived on time; we've had them since Bosnia. Pain rays are in the final stages of testing (i.e., seeing if it causes cancer). Tanks now have EMP pulses that destroy incoming missiles. Railguns are currently being installed on nuclear-powered detroyers.

All clearly more important than, you know, trying to send humanity to another star system by the end of the century.

I guess you don't have to wait too long for technology if you have a lot of guns.


We wouldn't need a new star system if we kill all the people in this one... just sayin'
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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby emgmod » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:01 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Don't forget about Freedom Hole (the 9/11 memorial empty pit) in downtown Manhattan.

I was just wondering how the Big Dig somehow got completed, and I found a possible answer on Wikipedia. They threw money at it.

In fact, that could be a way to get past research delays: Bribe them with billions of dollars.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby Derek.redtank » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:12 pm UTC


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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby ijuin » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:38 am UTC

Researcher estimates are usually based on the assumption that R&D is the time-limiting factor. However, the #1 limiting factor in real life is political/regulatory--you have to get permits to build your particle collider/nuclear reactor/whatever, and you have to convince the regulatory committee that it will either not damage the environment too much, or that it will generate enough profit/political points to be worth granting an exception to environmental restrictions. Also, if it is any kind of medical or transportation technology, you can guarantee that you will be required to convince them that it is as safe (or at least as profitable) as the technology that it will be replacing before you will be allowed to release it to the public. Finally, at least in the USA, if you become associated too closely with politicians of one party, then the other party will decry you just for the sake of partisanism.

The second limiting factor is funding. For-profit enterprise does not want to fund anything that will not see significant revenue within a sufficiently short time frame. Thus, it is hard to get funding for something that will not be marketable for more than a decade, and if the time scale is so long that the original investors will be dead of old age before the profits exceed what they could have gotten from buying government bonds, then forget it. Politicians, likewise, will only be interested if they can point to it during a future election campaign and convince voters that it's a good thing that they (the politicians) approved it. This one is why spaceflight has gone nowhere--if the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations had cared to maintain funds at Apollo Program levels, then we could have had a manned Mars landing around 1980.

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Re: "Researcher Translation" Discussion

Postby tastelikecoke » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

Railguns are currently being installed on nuclear-powered detroyers.

Railguns totally sounds like Religion.

Religions are currently being installed on nuclear-powered detroyers.

Shit.

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Re: 0678: "Researcher Translation"

Postby doggitydogs » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:51 am UTC

Two "words": Samsung YP-G70.

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Re: 0678: "Researcher Translation"

Postby simonh » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:46 am UTC

1960s Herbert Simmons predicts "Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do."
1993 - Vernor Vinge predicts super-intelligent AIs 'within 30 years'.
2011 ray Kurzweil predicts the singularity (enabled by super-intelligent AIs) will occur by 2045, 34 years after the prediction was made.

So the distance into the future before we achieve strong AI and hence the singularity is, according to it's most optimistic proponents, receding by more than 1 year per year that actually passes.

However it appears the rate it's receding is slowing down, so within a few decades it should stabilise at about the "in 40 years time" level.

Simon Hibbs

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Re: 0678: "Researcher Translation"

Postby mathmannix » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

simonh wrote:1960s Herbert Simmons predicts "Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do."
1993 - Vernor Vinge predicts super-intelligent AIs 'within 30 years'.
2011 ray Kurzweil predicts the singularity (enabled by super-intelligent AIs) will occur by 2045, 34 years after the prediction was made.

So the distance into the future before we achieve strong AI and hence the singularity is, according to it's most optimistic proponents, receding by more than 1 year per year that actually passes.

However it appears the rate it's receding is slowing down, so within a few decades it should stabilise at about the "in 40 years time" level.

Simon Hibbs


Using your data, there are of course many possible models. The simplest one for three points (I use 1965 for the first prediction) is a quadratic curve:
y = (-17/5796)t^2 + 2477/207)t - 2350265/1932.

This gives zeroes at approximately 1928.4095 (late afternoon of May 28, 1928) and 2151.3552 (early afternoon on April 9, 2151), and a max at 2039.88235 (approximately 1:23 AM on November 18, 2039) of 36.4467 years. After 2151, the prediction is negative - it is predicted to have occurred in the past - but never earlier than 2151, so let's say it happens then.

Another approach is a logarithmic or exponential curve. I found one that fits those three points:
y = 43.424892 - 8.871873E130 * t ^ -39.3453.

This does become stable at 43.424892 years in the future - in 2050 it reaches 39 years, in 2063 it reaches 40 years, in 2083 it reaches 41 years, and on December 1, 2109 it reaches 42 years. It doesn't reach 43 years until the year 2175. Of course, looking into the past, it was ten years in 1947, and was about zero on May 1, 1934. Before 1934, it was predicted to be in the past, so apparently those people thought the singularity had already occurred. (Perhaps not the best model.)
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Re: 0678: "Researcher Translation"

Postby neremanth » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:39 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
simonh wrote:1960s Herbert Simmons predicts "Machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do."
1993 - Vernor Vinge predicts super-intelligent AIs 'within 30 years'.
2011 ray Kurzweil predicts the singularity (enabled by super-intelligent AIs) will occur by 2045, 34 years after the prediction was made.

So the distance into the future before we achieve strong AI and hence the singularity is, according to it's most optimistic proponents, receding by more than 1 year per year that actually passes.

However it appears the rate it's receding is slowing down, so within a few decades it should stabilise at about the "in 40 years time" level.

Simon Hibbs


Using your data, there are of course many possible models. The simplest one for three points (I use 1965 for the first prediction) is a quadratic curve:
y = (-17/5796)t^2 + 2477/207)t - 2350265/1932.

This gives zeroes at approximately 1928.4095 (late afternoon of May 28, 1928) and 2151.3552 (early afternoon on April 9, 2151), and a max at 2039.88235 (approximately 1:23 AM on November 18, 2039) of 36.4467 years. After 2151, the prediction is negative - it is predicted to have occurred in the past - but never earlier than 2151, so let's say it happens then.

Another approach is a logarithmic or exponential curve. I found one that fits those three points:
y = 43.424892 - 8.871873E130 * t ^ -39.3453.

This does become stable at 43.424892 years in the future - in 2050 it reaches 39 years, in 2063 it reaches 40 years, in 2083 it reaches 41 years, and on December 1, 2109 it reaches 42 years. It doesn't reach 43 years until the year 2175. Of course, looking into the past, it was ten years in 1947, and was about zero on May 1, 1934. Before 1934, it was predicted to be in the past, so apparently those people thought the singularity had already occurred. (Perhaps not the best model.)


:lol: That is a brilliant misuse of statistics!

I'm going with late afternoon of 28th May 1928. We just didn't notice.

(I feel strangely inspired to write some kind of short story based on the two quadratic solutions, but as I am definitely not a writer, it will remain (vague) inspiration only).

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Re: 0678: "Researcher Translation"

Postby mathmannix » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:09 pm UTC

neremanth wrote: :lol: That is a brilliant misuse of statistics!


And I thank you. Government statistician, at your service.

(well, not your service, you have UK Statistics Authority over there)
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