Page 2 of 2

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:28 pm UTC
by danlovy
Pfhorrest wrote:That numberphile video is talking about something different then I am.

All the data on that DVD? That's one big number. It's illegal to share that big number because that would be copying copyrighted data. Yet, on paper, you can't copyright a number because it is discovered, not created.


Remember the patent on using the XOR function to manage the color changes on graphic cursors?
https://plus.google.com/+RayCromwell/posts/dbipY1GJoGv

Patents and math gone awry.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:26 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
danlovy wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:That numberphile video is talking about something different then I am.

All the data on that DVD? That's one big number. It's illegal to share that big number because that would be copying copyrighted data. Yet, on paper, you can't copyright a number because it is discovered, not created.


Remember the patent on using the XOR function to manage the color changes on graphic cursors?
https://plus.google.com/+RayCromwell/posts/dbipY1GJoGv

Patents and math gone awry.

MIT CSAIL seems to think the overreach of this patent was exaggerated. (Or at least they thought that in 1992.)

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:38 pm UTC
by danlovy
Eebster the Great wrote:
danlovy wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:That numberphile video is talking about something different then I am.

All the data on that DVD? That's one big number. It's illegal to share that big number because that would be copying copyrighted data. Yet, on paper, you can't copyright a number because it is discovered, not created.


Remember the patent on using the XOR function to manage the color changes on graphic cursors?
https://plus.google.com/+RayCromwell/posts/dbipY1GJoGv

Patents and math gone awry.

MIT CSAIL seems to think the overreach of this patent was exaggerated. (Or at least they thought that in 1992.)


The question is, "Can a basic mathematical function (XOR) that is used in a graphic calculation be a patent-able invention"

In my earlier days, when the dinosaurs ruled the earth, I was a software engineer. As programmer (between collecting pterodactyl eggs) you are constantly inventing and creating solutions to the task at hand. The XOR is an interesting Boolean trick to solve a problem. But so is a linked list. Can you patent a data structure?

When I've done work for large companies, and often start-ups, there is usually a phase at the end where the lawyers comb through the project looking for 'patent able inventions'. I've had a few of them make it through the whole process (takes years). I have three but they do not represent any special invention, only what the lawyers felt might create value for the company. Programming and most engineering requires almost daily invention to get things done.

I think it's silliness. Hence the PI - invention or discovery debate

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:46 pm UTC
by ucim
According to MIT CSAIL, the XOR wasn't the thing being claimed, rather, it was the frame buffer:
The League says this patent can be infringed in "a few lines of a program." It can be, but not on a computer that was commercially available at the time the invention was made. The invention is largely the invention of the frame buffer. As such, it requires hardware which has since become common, making it possible to infringe the XOR claims with a few lines of code. Many, if not most, computer manufacturers including Apple and IBM have taken out licenses which covers programs running on their computers.
If I take this comment at face value, simply making an XOR cursor in your software should not infringe the patent, any more than the invention of a record player makes playing a record an infringement. If hardware already includes a frame buffer, then presumably the hardware has paid for the patent, and you should be free to XOR at will. And if it doesn't, then there's nothing special about using XOR that the patent holder can claim.

I looked glanced at the patent: U.S. Patent 4,197,590. XOR is not mentioned in the claims at all. It is mentioned 31 times in the description, seemingly in the context of how to use the frame buffer (and why the frame buffer is a useful invention).

But, IANAPL. (I am not an apple either) (...though I am an apple eater.)

To the original question, "invention" to me implies a non-obvious effort to connect the dots in a non-trivial manner. "Discovery" implies finding the dots (and their patterns) in the first place.

Figuring out that π is the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle is a discovery. Using this fact as a tool to calculate circle parameters is an invention, albeit a trivial (and presumably non-patentable) one.

Jose

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:22 pm UTC
by DavidSh
At least two of the claims in that patent refer to "exclusively ORing":

10. In a graphic display system of the type in which a display is generated corresponding to the contents of a memory storing an image as a first set of data each representing an element of that stored image, the improvement for selectively supporting another image on the display without destruction of the initially stored image, said other image being represented by a second set of data each representing an element of that other image, comprising:

means for accessing from said memory the data for each element of said stored image for which a corresponding element of the other image is to be superimposed; and

logic means for logically exclusively ORing together the accessed data for each element of the stored image and the data for the corresponding element of the image to be superimposed, and for reentering the resultant logical data into the same memory locations, said display then being generated from the resultant contents of said memory.

11. The improvement according to claim 10 wherein to delete said superimposed other image from the display said accessing means accesses from said memory the data for each image element for which there exists a corresponding element of said other image to be deleted, and wherein said logic means logically exclusively ORs together the accessed data and the data for the corresponding element of said other image to be deleted, and reenters the resultant data into the same memory locations, whereby the resultant contents of said memory will be the initially stored image in unchanged form.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:54 am UTC
by ucim
quoting the patent, DavidSh wrote:logic means for logically exclusively ORing together the accessed data for each element
I stand corrected. They could have just as well said "logic means for adding two numbers together...". But, one of the rules of patents is that they have to be written as one sentence, in such a manner that it can be trimmed. (note: IANAL). That way a part of a patent can be found invalid without killing the whole thing. So, you claim:
Big thing; and another big thing; and some smaller thing; and every other last thing you can cram in.

If it comes to court, the patent can be trimmed to Big Thing; and another big thing.

But it has to come to court first. Meanwhile, it stands as a scarecrow that's filled (maybe) with dynamite.

Jose

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 am UTC
by jewish_scientist
Pfhorrest wrote:That numberphile video is talking about something different then I am.

All the data on that DVD? That's one big number. It's illegal to share that big number because that would be copying copyrighted data. Yet, on paper, you can't copyright a number because it is discovered, not created.

It is illegal to tell people that what specific number can be processed by what specific program in order to view copyrighted material. If I write the number on a piece of paper and throw it at random people, there would be no legal problem. Well, no copyright legal problem. Considering I would be throwing baby sized books at people, I could get arrested for breaking some unrelated laws, like littering or something like that.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:02 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
Theoretically, in my state you can be sentenced to 60 days in prison, a $500 fine, and community service in removing litter from public land. So don't start throwing big numbers around unless you plan on picking them up!

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:36 pm UTC
by danlovy
So I have been running an experiment using genetic algorithms to evolve simulated nervous systems. I've been putting these in artificial creatures:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D6B1sU_Fiw

Many of these creatures parish during the experiment. Is there cruelty to abstract animals?

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:43 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
danlovy wrote:Many of these creatures parish during the experiment. Is there cruelty to abstract animals?

If they are already creating their own parishes, you have reason to be concerned.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:21 am UTC
by danlovy
Hee Hee
oops - perish

however, it would be interesting to see if an abstract, machine based religion emerges.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:30 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
danlovy wrote:however, it would be interesting to see if an abstract, machine based religion emerges.

The question is could you observe that religion? And understand it for what it is. And what are the chances that they're calling you their omniscient/omnipotent deity, rather than some other random imagined deity that is just the product of their artificial imaginations.

(At the very least, you'd likely have different subsets of your artificial creatures with differing ideas about "what it's all about", and most, if not all, of those ideas are going to be mostly wrong. Not that the individual believers would appreciate their potential wrongness in this matter. They'll all have 'proof' enough to sustain their own faith, whatever they think about other obviously-wrong believers.)

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:42 pm UTC
by doogly
I don't think we'd be the omniscient / omnipotent deity. Maybe just like the gnostic demiurge. Yaldaboath, Saklas, Samael.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:15 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
They could easily be given complete information about their own creation, though.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:25 pm UTC
by doogly
Right, I just think we'd come across as evil.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:49 pm UTC
by DavidSh
I seem to remember an Isaac Asimov robot story, that included a robot that refused to believe that it was created by humans, because it felt itself obviously superior to them.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:52 pm UTC
by speising
DavidSh wrote:I seem to remember an Isaac Asimov robot story, that included a robot that refused to believe that it was created by humans, because it felt itself obviously superior to them.

fortunately, part of the religion it developed was to do exactly what it was designed for.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:29 pm UTC
by danlovy
speising wrote:
DavidSh wrote:I seem to remember an Isaac Asimov robot story, that included a robot that refused to believe that it was created by humans, because it felt itself obviously superior to them.

fortunately, part of the religion it developed was to do exactly what it was designed for.


Isn't that one of the tenants of many human religions?

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:32 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
So is the "couldn't have been created by something less advanced than us" part, now that you mention it. Several old (bad) arguments for the existence of God proceed from the tacit assumption that it's impossible for a creation to exceed its creator (so, therefore, there must be some creator of everything that's better in every way than everything else, since creations can only be less than their creators).

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:53 am UTC
by danlovy
Pfhorrest wrote:So is the "couldn't have been created by something less advanced than us" part, now that you mention it. Several old (bad) arguments for the existence of God proceed from the tacit assumption that it's impossible for a creation to exceed its creator (so, therefore, there must be some creator of everything that's better in every way than everything else, since creations can only be less than their creators).


So, at the risk of irreverence or heresy, is religion an invention or a discovery?

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:46 pm UTC
by ucim
It's either an invention or a revelation. The One True Religion (if it exists) would be a revelation, all the rest are inventions. None are discoveries.

Jose

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:48 pm UTC
by doogly
The revelatory tradition is much more Abrahmic orthodox. Gnosticism, Buddhism, Daoism, you get much more discovery here.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:48 pm UTC
by ucim
doogly wrote:Gnosticism, Buddhism, Daoism, you get much more discovery here.
Yeah, but how much counts as "religion", in the sense that the question would make sense. If (for example) Buddhism is about discovering The Way (which may be different for each individual, or may not - dunno, IANAB), then the resulting discoveries would be more akin to science (learning how the world works), though without the "theorize then test" paradigm. It wouldn't be religion (in the sense of "believe this whether it makes sense or not"), although because of the lack of rigorous testing, one is more likely to fall victim to "believe it because you convince yourself it makes sense even if it's false".

The organized way to accomplish this would be an invention ("Buddhism") just as "science" (the method) is an invention, but the resulting body of {accepted as} truths would be discoveries.

What would make it a religion? Define that better and we can come up with more insight. Unless (like in Buddhism), that is the insight.

Jose

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:13 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
ucim wrote:It wouldn't be religion (in the sense of "believe this whether it makes sense or not")

That's a definition of dogma, not religion. Buddhism has most of the classic elements of religion: an organized set of common beliefs that are not evident, including a belief in the supernatural and life after death. It doesn't have to work the same way as Christianity.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:33 pm UTC
by doogly
Yeah if you work with a definition of religion such that Buddhism doesn't count, you've chosen a weird definition.
This was popular with a lot 19th century types who thought Buddhism was Too Cool to be like a regular religion. Or with Daoism, you'd have folks try to divide it up into Philosophical Daoism (Laozi, Zhuangzi) and Religious Daoism (folks doing internal alchemy, doing things with immortals, etc.) These are bollocks activities.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:48 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
I define religion as any belief based on faith -- whether that is faith in some authority, or just in what your own gut tells you, or what you really really wish to be true, whatever. Specifically, the positive assertion of truth on no basis other than faith, as opposed to mere assumptions that you're well aware might not turn out to be true but which seem like the best guess to you at the moment. If you would insist to someone else, who disagrees, that something you believe is true, and can offer no reason for that, just your faith that it is, then that is religion. Regardless of the contents of the belief.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:57 pm UTC
by Eebster the Great
That doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. Religion seems fundamentally organized. If you subscribe to a particular religion, you also subscribe to its dogmas (or at least some of them), which fits Pfhorrest's definition. But if you just believe in God or some other unsupportable idea, that doesn't in itself make you religious. Religion is a uniform system of belief, not merely a belief.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:35 pm UTC
by doogly
Yeah Phorrest, that is heck of problematic.

You could push the definition of religion onto a definition of faith, but now 1) you are ill situated to talk about the social phenomena of religion, which can often have very little to do with faith, and 2) you are now just stuck trying to articulate a definition for faith.

And then if you want to define faith as "using an epistemology I think isn't very justifiable," ya got problems.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:08 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
I'd define faith as any uncritical epistemology. I almost wanted to say "as lack of an epistemology", inasmuch as I mean lack of any justifying reason for belief given. I'm reminded of someone's (I forget whose) definition of law as "content-independent reasons": laws don't say you have to do this or that because such-and-such or so-and-so, just that you have to, without any reason. If ever the "reason" you offer why someone should believe something bottoms out in something to the effect of "because it's just true damnit!", that's faith.

So long as you offer any attempt at justifying your belief, justifications that, should they be shown poor, would undermine the reason for believing it, then it's not faith, even if the justifications you offer are in fact poor ones. You're trying to give reasons, and so not making assertions on bare faith. (For example, I'd say pretty much all of natural theology is not, per se, religious, and if the only reason someone believes in God is for natural-theology reasons, then that belief in God is not per se a religious belief. The same way that if Zeus and Odin were walking around day to day and amenable to ordinary empirical observation, believing that they exist would not be religious belief).

And the social phenomenon of religion is about people organizing around religious belief. There is also a social phenomenon of science, but that phenomenon does not define science. Rather, the definition of science defines the boundary of that social activity, and when activity ceases to be about science (however it's defined), it ceases to be part of the social phenomenon of science and becomes a different social phenomenon, like maybe pseudoscience.

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:27 am UTC
by ucim
Eebster the Great wrote:Buddhism has most of the classic elements of religion: an organized set of common beliefs that are not evident, including a belief in the supernatural and life after death.
So then, how does one come to become Buddhist? If it's a matter of becoming more comfortable with the common beliefs, then the person becoming Buddhist is in a process of self-discovery, but that's not the kind of discovery (of truths about the universe) that would imply Buddhism is a discovery. "I am more comfortable believing X" is not the same as "I discovered that X is true". For the person becoming Buddhist, it's not an invention either, as the set of beliefs already exists. (Arguably, Buddhism itself is invention, piecemeal at its inception.) It could be considered revelation if you allow for your self-discovery to be revelatory, but that seems to be cheating.

In all, and talking about Buddhism itself, if it's not the One True Religion, I'd go with invention. If it is the One True Religion, then I'd need to know more about how it came about in the first place.

Jose

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:47 am UTC
by Soupspoon
ucim wrote:So then, how does one come to become Buddhist?
Wrong way round. The question is how a Buddhist comes to become one. With everything.

:P

Re: PI - Invention or Discovery

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:10 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
Buddhism isn't just a set of beliefs; it seems more about a method than anything else. In that case, it makes little sense to "discover" the method unless you mean that the method already existed and that you found it. (The latter makes total sense; if I had never heard of Buddhism before, but I did some research and learned about it, then I would have "discovered" Buddhism regardless of the truth of its claims.) However, if the claims are true, you can discover that they are true. Similarly, you could discover that they are false. But in either case, you didn't discover the religion itself, you discovered facts about the universe that correspond to what the religion claims.