[ExI] Watson On Jeopardy.

Richard Loosemore rpwl at lightlink.com
Fri Feb 18 13:33:16 UTC 2011

Kelly Anderson wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 5:46 AM, Richard Loosemore <rpwl at lightlink.com> wrote:
>> Okay, first:  although I understand your position as an Agilista, and your
>> earnest desire to hear about concrete code rather than theory ("I value
>> working code over big ideas"), you must surely acknowledge that in some
>> areas of scientific research and technological development, it is important
>> to work out the theory, or the design, before rushing ahead to the
>> code-writing stage.
> This is the scientist vs. engineer battle. As an engineering type of
> scientist, I prefer to perform experiments along the way to determine
> if my theory is correct. Newton performed experiments to verify his
> theories, and this influenced his next theory. Without the experiments
> it would not be the scientific method, but rather closer to
> philosophy.
> I'll let "real" scientists figure out how the organelles of the brain
> function. I'll pay attention as I can to their findings. I like the
> idea of being influenced by the designs of nature. I really like the
> wall climbing robots that copy the techniques of the gecko. Really
> interesting stuff that. I was reading papers about how the retina of
> cats worked in computer vision classes twenty years ago.
> I'll let cognitive scientists and doctors try and unravel the brain
> using black box techniques, and I'll pay attention as I can to their
> results. These are interesting from the point of view of devising
> tests to see if what you have designed is similar to the human brain.
> Things like optical illusions are very interesting in terms of
> figuring out how we do it.
> As an Agilista with an entrepreneurial bent, I have little patience
> for a self-described scientist working on theories that may not have
> applications for twenty years. I respect that the mathematics for the
> CAT scanner were developed in the 1920's, but the guy who developed
> those techniques got very little out of the exercise. Aside from that,
> if you can't reduce your theories to practice pretty soon, the
> practitioners of "parlor tricks" will beat you to your goal.

You've misunderstood so very much of what is really going on here.

There are strong theoretical reasons to believe that this approach is 
the only one that will work, and that the "practitioners of "parlor 
tricks"" will never actually be able to succeed.  This isn't just 
opinion or speculation, it is the result of a real theoretical analysis.

Also, why do you say "self-described scientist"?  I don't understand if 
this is supposed to be me or someone else or scientists in general.

And why do you assume that I am not doing experiments?!  I am certainly 
doing that, and doing masive numbers of such experiments is at the core 
of everything I do.

I don't quite understand how these confusions arose, but you've ended up 
getting quite the opposite idea about what is going on.

I have little time today, so may not be able to address your other points.

Richard Loosemore

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