NEW YORK TIMES:

It’s been a banner year or so for artificial intelligence, from the recent triumph of I.B.M.’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer to a wave of news coverage of the field, like the “Smarter Than You Think” series in The Times, but also coverage elsewhere, including The Atlantic’s March cover story.

Leslie G. Valiant, the winner of the 2010 Turing Award. So perhaps it is hardly surprising that the 2010 Turing Award, announced on Wednesday, went to Leslie G. Valiant, a Harvard professor whose work laid the theoretical foundations for machine learning. The Turing Award, sometimes called the Nobel of computer science, tends to highlight the two sides of computing — the here-and-now impact of the technology, and its deep roots in research.

Much of Mr. Valiant’s pioneering research in machine learning was done in the 1980s. “He certainly could have gotten the award a decade ago, but this was his moment,” observed Jonathan Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell University.

In machine learning, the computer scans vast stores of data, uncovers patterns and generates rules for predicting results with increasing accuracy. Machine learning is a vital computing ingredient in modern applications like spam filters, Internet search, speech recognition and computer vision.

The prize, named for Alan Turing, the British mathematician and World War II code breaker, carries a prize of $250,000. It is underwritten by Intel and Google, and administered by the Association for Computing Machinery.

What is thinking? This question could keep a room full of philosophers happy for a hundred years. But in the School of Thinking we are not concerned with thinking as contemplation, philosophical discussion or academic description, we are concerned with thinking as an operating skill – the kind of thinking that gets things done. The definition we use is: Thinking is the skill of using intelligence to get things done.

Thinking is the skill of using intelligence to get things done.

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A thinker is a sovereign individual who consciously values the natural rights of thinkers.

The School of Thinking supports the natural rights of thinkers. Here is a first draft of ten thinkers rights which are supported by the School of Thinking.

Please consider these ten rights and post your own comments or suggestions below. Thanks.

The Universal Declaration of Thinkers Rights

1. As thinkers, we have the right to use thinking in a quiet and confident manner.

2. As thinkers, we have the right to have pride in our thinking skill.

3. As thinkers, we have the right to use that skill and to consider a “thinking reaction” rather than a reaction based on emotion or experience alone. The thinking might make use of experience and emotion, but these would be part of the thinking instead of controlling it.

4. A thinker has the right to escape from current views of situations and to search for much better views of situations.

5. A thinker has the universal right to be wrong.

6. A thinker does not have to defend a point of view at all costs. There is the right to see other points of view and the right to design a much better decision.

7. A thinker has the right to acquire wisdom or to seek it out wherever it may be found. Wisdom is quite distinct from the sort of cleverness that is taught in school. Cleverness may be useful for dealing with set puzzles or defending local truths but wisdom is required for designing a safer future.

8. A thinker has the right to get on with his or her own work and to get along with other thinkers and if things go wrong a thinker has the right to think things through and to fix them without creating a fuss.

9. A thinker has the right to spell out the factors involved in a situation and also the reasons behind a decision.

10. Above all, a thinker has the right to be asked to think about something, to focus thinking in a deliberate manner upon any subject. Thinking can be used as a tool by the thinker at will. The use of this tool can be enjoyable whatever the outcome. This applied thinking is practical–the sort of thinking that is required to get things done.

- This draft is adapted from the Learn-To-Think Coursebook and Instructors Manual © 1982 Edward de Bono and Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, Capra New USA.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy created by the Majority of Electors of 1900. The Governor-General is Head of State and Elizabeth II is Sovereign.

Since the creation of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1900 the Crown of Australia has been worn by six monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II.

• CONSTITUTIONAL THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

‘Monarchy to Republic’:  Whether or not to change the Australian Constitution from monarchy to republic is currently being thought through and discussed by Australian Electors.

Peoplepower: the Majority of Electors

200 years ago Napoleon’s master, Prince Talleyrand, said, “There is someone more intelligent than Voltaire, more powerful than the emperor–and that is the people.”

100 years later in 1900, this became true in Australia. Today, it is still one of the enduring truths of our Commonwealth.

The Majority of Electors was the original power in 1900 that created The Constitution and is still, the only power in Australia that can change The Constitution.

In contrast to other political realities like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Fiji or even the Vatican, the USA, India and China, the fact is that the Electors of Australia have been able to hold, without interruption, the ultimate constitutional power in Australia for over a hundred years!

This continuous record of peoplepower and political stability is unprecedented in modern world history.

Australia is the name given to an agreement between The Majority of Electors of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia to unite in one federation under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia.

So who really created what we now know as ‘Australia’?

On July 5, 1900, Australia was legally created by an Act of the Westminster Parliament known as the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. The Act was proclaimed to commence on January 1, 1901.

At that time, the population of Australia was under four million and consisted of a number of colonies which regarded themselves as British. This Act was the product of a vision which began fifty years earlier in the self-governing colonies. The Constitution of Australia is also internationally regarded as one of the cleverest agreements ever designed.

It was crafted in Australia by our own people. It was a product, not of war nor of revolution, but of many years of business discussion, political debate, legal argument and peaceful referendum.

The First Convention

Two Conventions were held in 1891 and in 1897-98. Delegates to the 1891 Convention were appointed by the colonial parliaments and met in Sydney.

The Convention President was the Premier of New South Wales, Sir Henry Parkes whose image is still on today’s five dollar bill.

The draft of a Bill for a Constitution was approved by the Convention.

This Bill was drafted with the help of Sir Samuel Griffith, Premier of Queensland, who later became the First Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

The Second Convention

The second Convention was held in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne in 1897 and 1898. Delegates to this Convention were elected by the Majority of Electors.

Barriers between brothers: shall they remain?’  •  The Argus (Melbourne), 1 June 1898
Barriers between brothers: shall they remain?’ • The Argus (Melbourne), 1 June 1898

The document produced at this Convention became the new Constitution and many features coming from the first Convention were included.

In 1899, the draft of the Constitution was approved by the Majority of Electors in a state by state referendum–each held in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland. New Zealand which was represented at the first Convention did not join the Federation.

Western Australia voted to join in 1900. Thus, the Constitution was designed, not at Westminster but in Australia and by our own electors.

In the words of the Eleventh Chief Justice of the High Court, The Honourable Murray Gleeson AC: “The Commonwealth Constitution was not drafted by civil servants in London, and presented to the colonies on the basis that they could take it or leave it. Its terms were hammered out in Australia in a process of public debate, and political and legal negotiation, by the leading figures of the day.”

The Senate of the Parliament of Australia offers an online copy of The Constitution here and a picture of the founding document can be seen here.

cth1_72_cover_1900.jpg

The Third Convention

One hundred years later, in 1998, a third Convention was held. From 2-13 February 1998, 152 delegates from all over Australia met at Old Parliament House in Canberra to discuss whether Australia should become a republic.

Seventy-six of the delegates were elected by the Majority of Electors in a voluntary postal ballot. The other seventy-six were appointed by the parliament whose members were also chosen by the Majority of Electors.

The delegates come from every State and Territory and had a wide diversity of backgrounds and interests. The Convention was chaired by the Rt Hon Ian Sinclair MP, with the Hon Barry Jones AO MP as Deputy Chairman.

RESOLUTION:

It was finally resolved at the third Convention that a republican model of an appointed president be put to the people in a constitutional referendum.


OPTION PROPOSED:

On 5 November 1999, the Electors of Australia were asked:

“Do you agree with A proposed law to alter the constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a Republic with the Queen and Governor General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of members of the Commonwealth Parliament?”


RESULT:
The result of the constitutional referendum, as decided by the Majority of Electors, was: NO.


You can visit the Electors of Australia here …


You can visit the Governor General of Australia here …


You can visit the Queen of Australia here …


You can visit the Prime Minister of Australia here …

The Flag of Australia