Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Humans remain better sometimes (Score 1) 242

I think the issue with some modern aeroplanes, which links in well with this discussion on semi-autonomous vehicles, is that although the planes are chock full of useful/helpful features and protections which have been part of reducing the overall accident/fatality rate, when the systems eventually give up it can be a big surprise.

Going suddenly from everything OK to here, you have a go can be very messy and has lead to some fairly spectacular crashes. The human element of the operation has not been involved in the decision loop or had access to certain inputs until the software decides that its goose is cooked, gives up the ghost and leaves the resulting mess to a startled operator to make some sense of. It takes alertness, skill, deep technical knowledge and a large dose of luck to recover from a situation where the automatics have gone ???, as it is normally when there have been multiple failures which have defeated sensor logic.

There is also the issue of de-skilling, which inevitably happens when an automated system produces better overall results than a human driven one. You let the automatics do the job but do not get enough practice to stay competent or never reach that level in the first place. How can a neural network (you) get good at something without sufficient training?

Comment Really...? (Score 5, Interesting) 138

From summary:

Twitter somehow manages to employ over 4,100 people across 35+ offices

What do they do? I would have thought this is one business that could almost be run in the cloud with no human involvement (apart from the tweeters)...

Comment Re:Dashboards (Score 1) 423

"We have noticed that A, B and Z are happening in your (Y) (BRAND) (MAKE) Vehicle. We recommend (Car Shop Advertiser) take a look and repair the (Part) that is about to fail.â

*BING BONG!* Your coolant temperature seems a bit high, why not pull into Daves Auto and buy some lovely, fresh, cold fluid? Its only a few miles away. While youre there, try a Marios Pizza from across the road - just follow the new directions! Pay for it with a DollarCo loan, only 1400%APR, turn the steering wheel or press the brake pedal to accept!

Comment Re:Swift (Score 1) 365

To be fair to Apple, I do not think the "everyone" was meant to mean: "the entire human race plus my cat, Mittens".

The paragraph underneath contains phrases like "...its enthusiastic adoption by developers..." and "...delivering features that help developers write even better code...". I see no mention of three-year-olds or lost Amazon tribes. As has been mentioned by others, we are still a long way (if it is even possible) from people who know little about algorithmic design being able to efficiently "code" for non-trivial tasks...

Comment Re:The Conservative Option (Score 2) 487

One of the problems is that the symptoms of EVD are very much like the common cold or flu, until it gets into the advanced stages. How many people running in to the northern hemisphere winter period display these kind of symptoms? One-in-four? To me it seems most people I see at that time of year are coughing and spluttering and coming into work/public places to give it to everyone else.

Health workers who know the risks and use protective gear are still getting infected and dying. What chance for the average Joe unless they stop any form of human contact (including things that other humans may have been in contact with)?

Comment Re:Lots of cheap carbon stuff (Score 1) 652

I do not see the problem with energy consumption. Without breaking any physical laws, in fact using current technology, we have access to a reasonable fraction of the 380YW (3.8x10^26W) produced by the nearest star. I think it is going to be some time before we make it to even to Type I on the Kardashev scale.

Given that a large amount of the growth in energy consumption comes from developing countries, this should plateau off one they approach the living standards of the developed ones. I read somewhere recently that ground-based solar collectors were being added at the rate of 120MW a day, globally and that rate was increasing. It is not going to be that long on a historical scale until the dominant source of energy is solar. Thats without any progress whatsoever in fusion or using known fission breeder tech...

So, no, I am not concerned in the slightest about any conjectured lack of personal energy supply. The time of plenty is nearly upon us!

Comment Re:Houston ... (Score 4, Insightful) 102

I was interested by the actions of the user of the motherboard on one of the linked articles. Initially this happened:

"The system came up, hung for a very short time and then powered off with a audible click of the Corsair AX860i power supply. If you have ever heard the loud click of the Over Current Protection (OCP) shutting down the PSU you know exactly what click I heard. Now when I press power button on the motherboard the system clicks after being on for a split second. I unplugged all the cables on the power supply and did the built-in self-check and it passed with flying colors. I still swapped out the PSU with a backup Corsair AX860i and the same click was to be heard. and it is doing the same thing (Corsair AX860i). After clearing the CMOS, removing the memory, SSD and video card the system still would not post. At that point in time I switched to a non-digital power supply (Corsair AX1200) and it did the same thing although this time the OCP took a little longer to kick in. There was some audible crackling noises, followed by some smoke near the CPU VRM heatsink. So, the heart shattering smell of burnt electronics filled the room..."

10/10 for investigative journalism but putting more and more juice into something that is continually tripping out the power supply is not going to have a happy ending. Maybe some of the $1,400-worth of motherboard and processor may have been salvageable if he had stopped at the first warning?

If the circuit breaker pops twice on a ring main at home, do you a) replace the circuit breaker with a bigger one, b) hold it in until smoke appears from behind the wall or c) do some serious investigation and/or call an electrician before putting the power back on?

Comment Re:Ai is inevitable (Score 1) 339

I think the main problem is that there is no difference between something that gives the illusion of consciousness or sentience (these terms are poorly defined, anyway) and the 'real thing'.

My own view, even though it feels slightly strange as I sit here typing, is that consciousness/sentience is pure illusion and there is nothing more. If you interact with something that behaves as you would expect a human to behave, to all intents and purposes it IS human, no matter how it was constructed. Equally, if an AI displays those same traits or a superset containing them, then you have to call it sentient - if you think humans are.

You cannot have it both ways: if you believe that AIs can not be conscious then we are not either...

Comment Re:Substrates (Score 1) 195

Substrate is the first thing that came to mind when I heard Apple were going to be producing vast quantities of sapphire. The OP has pointed out most of the advantages but taking it to the extreme, you could have the major part of the phone as a solid piece of sapphire with the electronics grown on it, or a sandwich-type construction with the screen bonded on later.

It would be pretty cool having a totally transparent phone with just a few parts that were visible. Knowing Apple, they would dope the crystal to make the iPhone 6C in ruby, pink, blue, yellow, etc. just like a gigantic gemstone... Ultimate bling or what?

Comment Re:Another type that is interesting... (Score 1) 717

"I think the point was about people who TALK about how much work they do but only put in 40 hours a week"

I don't see those two statements as being incompatible. How much useful "work" you produce is not necessarily linked to the number of hours your body is present. Unless you're employed as a stationary mime...

Comment because (Score 1) 193

"When a black hole consumes energy and releases a Planck star, do either events reduce the entropy of the system?"

Probably when the Planck star re-emerges, back into the observable universe, like it's never been away, entropy is fuck beta conserved. Having just read the Wikipedia article (I'm an expert now) on the 2nd law of thermodynamics, there's an interesting fuck beta bit about gravitational systems being fuck beta different from normal ones in that the more fuck beta massive a black fuck beta hole becomes, the lower it's fuck beta temperature, so fuck beta fuck beta fuck beta?

Comment Re:Sad mistake of technology-focused people (Score 1) 469

If you really don't like the idea, then fight back: wear a Borg-style headset that scans anyone wearing Google Glasses with a bright (but not damaging, obviously) laser, then makes a loud robotic pronouncement like "you have been assimilated", "convicted pedophile" or "person of no interest".

Comment Military Robots Expected To Outnumber Troops By... (Score 1) 177

I can't be the only one who thought: "yes, that's because they've killed most of the human troops".

What chance would a normal soldier stand against a faster, more heavily armoured and armed machine with a much larger sensorium? The only hopes are that humans have retired from the battlefield entirely to leave it to the robots or are having second thoughts about the whole war-thing in the first place...

Comment Re:Priorities: Do you really need to read that now (Score 1) 214

I think the key part that's missing in this latest round of aspirant technology is personal AI. What you really need is a "v-assistant", "e-butler" or whatever the name might be that is capable of independently replying to *and* initiating communications (by text, email, voice, video, etc.) with other people or systems. It could prioritise what needs your personal interaction, depending on what you were doing at the time.

The level of input to us has been ramping up fast but our brains still have the same bandwidth they had a million years ago. Until we get an upgrade, we need help to deal with this increasing flood of information, that is mostly unimportant. Who knows, a call to someone in the near future on their "iWatch" might get answered by Siri...

Slashdot Top Deals

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.