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Facebook Is Now Working On Its Own Digital Assistant Called M 56

Mark Wilson writes: Sounding like a character from a James Bond movie, M is Facebook's personal digital assistant. Ready to compete with the likes of Cortana, M will live inside Facebook Messenger and take artificial intelligence a step further. Rather than just helping you to find information or create calendar entries, M will actually perform tasks on your behalf.

Once up and running, M will be able to book restaurants for you, purchase shopping, and more. It will also be possible to use the service to ask for advice — such as looking for somewhere to visit nearby, or gift suggestions — and Facebook says the AI behind M is "trained and supervised by people".

Comment Re:It's a little late folks.... (Score 1) 313

A modern naval mine, for instance, is deployed and waits for an activation to autonomously engage targets. Does that meet your criteria?

While there is some room to nitpick his examples, they're largely relevant despite your dismissal of them -- and that's part of the problem. For example, an autonomous homing artillery shell might not fit your definition as it requires human interaction to initially deploy it, but once deployed, it chooses its own targets. The same is true for many other potential uses of autonomous weapon systems, but you seem hung up on novel new usages or extended periods between deployment and effect.

At best, the autonomous/non-autonomous weapon line is a blurred smudge on the road in our collective past. I'll agree that there's a larger potential for wider use going forward, but these tools are not new.

Comment Lunar Space Elevator (Score 4, Funny) 48

I do not see any reason to build a space elevator on Earth, Luna, Mars or anywhere else, because I believe (hope) we will soon see the emergence of antigravity a.k.a. gravity propulsion technology.

I wish he had led with that one and saved me 5 minutes.

Comment Re:Brilliant (Score 1) 84

I get the intent, but I'm going to submit that what people living in HUD housing need is NOT a better porn/tv/streaming bandwidth to their home. *NOBODY* needs gigabit fiber access to do their homework online.

Or you could read TFA and see that it's a 5Mbps down/1Mbps up connection.

Comment Re:Free Speech vs. Vigilantism (Score 1) 210

I agree that in a well-functioning review marketplace a single reviewer (good or bad) should become lost in the noise. That's not what the plaintiff in this case is alleging though -- they're alleging that one person conspired to place eight different negative and fraudulent reviews in an attempt to circumvent said well-functioning review marketplace. Without additional information, this suit may have been placed to avert new negative and fraudulent reviews from being placed.

Random aside: the suit mentions DOES 1 through 10 but contains only 8 allegations.

Comment Re:Hey Bennett, (Score 2) 182

I don't often comment. Colour me part of the silent somethingority on pretty much everything slashdot-related. Take that as you will.

But I'd like you to be clear: your position is that your 'representative sampling of smart people' (selection bias, much?) is a better judge than the 'crowd of Internet commenters' (who are also your desired readership), and thus if your 'smart' sample approves of your opinions, then you must believe your readership is just a bunch of club-swinging neanderthals who aren't erudite enough to appreciate your drivel and thus need your guiding light to navigate the darkness? Am I getting that right?

Comment It's not just about collaboration or economics (Score 2) 205

Don't confuse the issue by pretending it's all about collaboration and economics of software. It doesn't make sense to try to shoehorn my software idea into an existing framework exclusively due to price and availability. Just because there's a square peg available for free doesn't mean that it'll fit a round problem, even if a square solution may take longer.

I predominately work in computational analysis and have spent a significant portion of my career trying to figure out physical problems (first in video games and now in engineering analysis), particularly in the finite element/CFD domain. That makes OpenFOAM is a classic example for me -- it's the benchmark for open source CFD analysis. But I'm still employed at an engineering firm developing our own numerical analysis tools.

OpenFOAM is quite good at a very small subset of what it claims to do, but it doesn't do *everything* well. Unfortunately, the framework is sufficiently mature at this point that trying to fork it and address those flaws would be a colossal undertaking. This means that for many toolsets, starting from the ground up is simply a more attractive alternative. Could we reuse a few elements deep in the integrators? Maybe, but those would come with their own baggage.

Comment Dell is a privately held company. (Score 2) 173

Announcements from executive leadership to ownership are made via boardroom table, not to reporters.

If you want to make an argument that Dell's 'announcement' was made to Dell customers or partners, you might be able to make a case. But the thought that they're 'announcing' this to rally support of shareholders is laughable.

Comment Re:Are programmers really this naive? (Score 1) 465

There's a wide gulf between what they could have reasonably expected and what they received once on set. In what universe do you reside that makes questions like "Do you think the teams with women on them are at a disadvantage?" acceptable? Even if it's to generate 'value for their investment.'

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"