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Comment Re:My Hero! (Score 1) 183

I'd speculate people like him because they relate to him and see him as a role model. He was the geek who made a product that launched a company, and he comes off as a likable person who's really in it for the technology. He's also given a very positive portrayal in "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" and a few documentaries on the early PC era.

You don't need a lifetime of cranking out new innovations to become a cult icon. One (or a few) big success(es), combined with some personality traits can be sufficient

Comment Re:Doesn't matter. (Score 1) 498

*Sigh*..... Once again a law gets written with one intent and then abused for something else. This time it's DMCA, a week ago it was teenagers being charged with child pornography for pictures of themselves, similar problems have hit slashdot periodically for as long as I've lurked here.

Could anyone with more legal knowledge than myself explain to me why laws aren't written with narrower, or more explicitly stated scopes? Are lawmakers intentionally writing laws which are open to uses other than the original problem or is it just the talent of good lawyers to find a way to apply laws to their own cause?

Comment Re:A good application (Score 1) 218

I had exactly the same thought. I previously worked in a research group on a similar, multi-user multi-touch table, and it often felt like it was a cool technology in search of real use cases. We often pitched our platform as for planning & real-time military command & control.

This has potential to be a great improvement over current technology. Let's hope they publish more information & videos afterwards to see how it really performed on the big day

Comment Re:Streisand effect strikes again (Score 1) 367

Lawsuits can still be used effectively to silence science. While this may draw temporary attention, it may have a chilling effect on future studies which would have supported the findings.

Another example - Taser has sued successfully to alter medical records to remove references to Tasers as causes of death. http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Judge_orders_all_references_to_Taser_0504.html or http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=499151. The streisand effect might be acceptable in the short-term if the lawsuit helps you in the end.

Comment Hype? (Score 5, Interesting) 102

This article both points out the problems of over-hyped advances in robots, while also claiming this robot has transitioned away from narrowly defined domains?

The voice recognition & language processing component alone would be years ahead of anything else if it worked well outside of a "narrow, carefully defined domain". It seems like they are yet again over-hyping new research.

Comment Re:Crimes in progress (Score 1) 1235

My thought exactly. There are many reasons a person may wish to discreetly take a photo/video.

See a crime in progress? Police abusing power? Infant sleeping? School play? This law puts people in danger in the first two, and is an annoyance in the latter two. Meanwhile, anyone up to no good will just use one of the millions of available silent cameras.

Comment Re:um (Score 3, Informative) 200

Making a judgment on who to hire/promote/etc based on ethnicity is illegal in the United States, but an employer asking employees to voluntarily provide this information is legal, and in some cases necessary. Companies which win government contracts are required by law to file demographics data yearly. See http://www.eeoc.gov/press/9-12-06.html the EEO-1 requires companies with $50,000 in federal contracts and 50 employees to report to the government ethnicity, race and gender information on its employees.

Comment Re:Really Means Effective Artificial Intelligence? (Score 1) 79

Keep in mind the success criteria for this contest is only to convince 80% of judges that an opponent in a single game is a human. Passing the test would be a major accomplishment, but passing this test should be far easier than the Turing test. The more restricted the domain, the easier it is to fake intelligence.

Data should be plentiful and easily captured to feed to any learning system, such that a program should be able to be very human-like when playing in the same environment (same map, rules, abilities, etc). The difficulty comes in making a program that reacts to something not in the data set in the same way a human would... it's not unlike Noam Chompsky's "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" problem I suppose.

One picture is worth 128K words.