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Comment: Different problem (Score 1) 91

by Britz (#49465187) Attached to: Killer Robots In Plato's Cave

I think the issue isn't really autonomous robots. The problem is the declared and clearly defined battlefield. Inside the battlefield, autonomous and semi-autonomous systems are already at work, there is not much you can do about that. Ships, for example, have anti missle systems that are completely autonomous. And decisions to kill or not to kill are often made on the spot and quick. Humans err a lot in these situations, leading to lots of horrible mistakes.

Outside the declared battlefield, e.g. around the whole globe, the story is quite different. If we could simply decide to require a legal trial before execution, we would have much more moral ground to stand on.

Comment: Re:Your justice system is flawed, too. (Score 1) 1081

by Britz (#49260867) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

You comment is ironic, right? People could have been easily executed for treason in the Weimar Republic in Germany. Hitler would have been gone, would it not have been for a lot of intervention on his behalf by people in the justice system and politicians. Justice is flawed. It was even worse back then.

During the time Hitler was not executed, lynchings were still frequent in the US.

George W Bush gave the order to kill people and torture people. Obama did the same. Even though the US has the death penalty. Some people can't be touched. Politics. That's how it works.

Comment: Multi Transport Navigation (Score 1) 421

by Britz (#48729845) Attached to: What Isn't There an App For?

I am sure there is more than one company working on this right now. The idea is quite simple. I want to get from A to B and would like to see all my options listed and sorted by speed and price. Including rental, flight, taxi, uber, train, car sharing, bus, own car, bike, walking, hovercraft, skateboard, and so on. And any combination of the above that would make sense. Optimized by weather forcast (less likely to bike, motorbike or walk), recorded walking speed, recorded bike speed, and options I can put in. For example a dislike for rental cars, lack of drivers licence and other.

This is simply a logical conclusion of Google Maps, navigational software and the modern smartphone. If I want to travel to point X, why doesn't it show me everything, how fast and how much it will cost me? Why do I have to manually check train and bus schedules (which are machine readable on the internet) and see if I want to walk to a different public transport station than the one nearest to me, if it offers a much better connecting and I am a fast walker. Or own a bike.

Comment: Nuclear dangers (Score 0, Redundant) 409

by Britz (#48512985) Attached to: Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

I am from Germany. Over here I spoke to someone working in the field of nuclear safety (obviously also job dependent on nuclear energy, so ...). He said that he thinks we take more than enough precaution with dangerous material in connection with nuclear energy. Especially compared to other chemicals and materials in other fields, which can also be quite hazardous, but are regulated and therefore handled with a lot less care. And thus tend to harm human health and the environment much more.

Comment: Lot's of generals are watching (Score 1) 498

by Britz (#46452605) Attached to: Ukraine May Have To Rearm With Nuclear Weapons Says Ukrainian MP

I think a lot of nations are watching very closely. We have the conflict in the Mideast, where Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran are often cited to be nuclear hopefuls. Israel is/was expected to give up their bomb if/when a proper security structure is in place.

Then there is the potential conflict in the South China Sea, where China just unveiled a military budget that it's neighbors can't even hope to match conventionally some day. So we have Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and possibly Indonesia eyeing "other alternatives".

And we have the standoff between India and Pakistan, both of which were hopefuls for a nuclear disarmarment, should a peace deal be reached at some point. I don't need to mention that China, just like Russia, being nuclear capable and having had a war with India and still some territorial disputes, will make it impossible for India to give up it's nukes. Especially when treaties like the Budapest Memorandum are not worth the paper they are written on.

We also have some very old rivalries in South America. Brazil is expected to have enough material and the scientific resources to make a bomb. There are also rumours. Putting regional rivals such as Argentina and Venezuela on edge. And even though Venezuela is nowhere near nuclear capability, the mere chance is probabely making the Colombians uneasy.

Have I missed anything?

Comment: The mobile war is over, Andorid has won (Score 4, Insightful) 205

by Britz (#46431089) Attached to: Firefox OS Will Become the Mobile OS To Beat

It's over. Android has won. The iPhone will stay around with a significant market share. But current high specs for phones will be the low end in three years. 2GB Ram and a 1.5 Ghz Quad Core CPU with be in entry level Android devices in 2017. Enough to run Android any way you like.

Android already runs on so many phones. It already is ubiquitous. Microsoft might have a chance in a niche. Same as Firefox, if it comes down to it. The mobile phone market is a billion device market. Why not a couple thousand Windows or Firefox or Jolla or Tizen devices? Or Ubuntu for that matter.

Android already runs on low spec cheap entry level devices. Granted, it doesn't run them very well, but neither does Firefox atm.

Comment: Re:Almost. there. (Score 1) 156

by Britz (#45968299) Attached to: Phil Zimmerman Launching Secure "Blackphone"

That is the one feature that would set it apart from any phone running an open source mod (Android Replicant comes to mind) with a couple privacy apps on top. Like a sip client with encryption on. And therefore pretty much the only good selling point.

I wonder if it will only be a firewall, or if someone finally manages to really open source the baseband. Though I doubt it. As far as I understand even the OpenMoko stuff has closed source binary blobs for the baseband, though they have sufficient barriers between the main processor and the baseband stuff.

Comment: Other countries would do the same (Score 3, Insightful) 248

by Britz (#45773869) Attached to: F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen Cancels RSA Talk In Protest

I hate to be *that guy*, but everyone needs to understand two significant points:

1. After a couple month of watching the PRISM scandal unforld I now believe this is a "Hiroshima moment". Never before in human history was it possible to spy on everyone. To have a file on everyone. The secret services (the bad as well as the good) always had to focus on a select few. No more. We are living in 1984.

2. I firmly believe the main reason why other spy agencies are not doing what the NSA is doing is because of their limited capabilities. Both in less money and resources, but also in reach. Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are US based. Many important internet exchanges as well. This point is especially important, because of the US tradition of transparency and whistleblowing. As American as the NSA may be, Snowden is even more so. I can't imagine a Chinese Snowden. And even if he existed, would they have a broad discussion on that subject in China? How about Russia? Or even the UK? GHCQ has been as bad as the NSA, yet do we see a broad and honest discussion about it in London?

I hate the constant and ubiquitous surveillance, but the technology advances were the ones that brought them here. The NSA were only the first and foremost ones that took advantage of the new tools. They become cheap fast. Soon every spy agency will have them. This is a very useful and helpful discussion we are having right now. Because we either need to encrypt everything and move everyone onto Tor, or get used to having a file on everyone. There is no "gentlemen's agreement" (no-spy-agreement, UN accord, whatever), because there is no way to enforce it.

Comment: Re:Bureaucrats != engineers (Score 1) 559

by Britz (#45357865) Attached to: Healthcare.gov Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

That may very well be, but once you get off your high horse and try to compare an obviously crazy guy wanting to have his weekly schedule rendered with a dtp application to a government project with a deadline, you might realize what it is: A deadline. So there is a law about something people can sign up for. So it is rather important that the website needs to be up for the deadline. You can bungle this project time and technology wise in many ways.

I don't know how much time they actually had between the passing of the ACA and the deadline. But don't you think 12 month should be enough for any website project if you have fairly large resources and absolutely need to be finished on time? Don't you think that kind of project should be possible? Or did the ACA not pass before October 2012?

Yes, the project was obviously bundgled in some way. But not because they didn't have enough time from the start.

Comment: Not a big deal (Score 1) 499

by Britz (#44555679) Attached to: IAB Urges People To Stop "Mozilla From Hijacking the Internet"

They will simply need to use browser fingerprinting via web bugs. In combination with flash cookies, stored content and java cookies. It will just get a little more technically complicated. But not much.

I don't even know why he makes such a big fuss. When the task gets more complicated, web advertising companies will have to use more technical expertise making the market harder to penetrate. Which benefits existing companies. So his customers are safer from new competition.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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