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Comment: Re:Cloud (Score 1) 39

by SuricouRaven (#48211421) Attached to: Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

I don't think there's actually any need for Siri to send the speech off for processing. A modern phone has plenty of processing power for that. It's for other practical reasons, not resource limitations. It allows for a very rapid update cycle without having to download new software to every phone weekly. It allows for the collection of a vast library of speech samples that can be mined by machine learning to further improve recognition. In the case of Google, personal data is their business, quite literally. They have to pay for Siri somehow, and they do that by accumulating information that can be used for advertising and research.

Comment: Re:zomg singularity! (Score 1) 39

by SuricouRaven (#48211415) Attached to: Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

I think he underestimated the power of stupidity.

You can grant every reasonably well-off person in a country a device that gives them access to all scientific and engineering knowledge and a vast communications network - and half of them will use it to publish rambling arguments that the moon landing was fake, fossils are a hoax scientists made up to disprove the bible, autism is caused by vaccines and Obama is secretly a Kenyan Muslim Communist Atheist Black-Supremecist who hates America.

Comment: Re:This won't stop until we are in chains (Score 1) 130

1. The state-sponsored force was a mess. Mismanaged, divided, and without command during a political crisis.
2. IS forces were composed largely of professionally trained soldiers - people who had been loyal to Saddam, and found themselves quickly expelled from their career as part of the process of destroying his power base after the US invasion.

And on top of that, they still havn't won. They havn't taken over all of Iraq, the older government is still around. All IS have manged to do is secure control of some territory.

Comment: Re:Distasteful stuff, but should not be illegal (Score 1) 467

by SuricouRaven (#48193481) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

There seems to be a social need for certain bogymen. Some sub-group (Existance optional) which everyone else can be unified in their loathing of. Pedophiles today, but they are in the same niche once populated by communists, witches, jews and protestants (And in England, Catholics). There is to be no public sympathy for the accepted bogyman, no aim for rehabilitation - only a desire to see them punished and destroyed.

Comment: Re:Moral Imperialism (Score 1) 467

by SuricouRaven (#48193441) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

As a person in the UK (As I imagine you are, from the username), I can confirm this. I've also first-hand experience working in a school, and can reveal that the standards for suspecting and reporting child abuse are so broad that almost every student would merit reporting to social services - to the extent that everyone ignores the formal standards. It's sufficiently vague that not only is failure to pay attention in class a sign of potential abuse, but paying too much attention to schoolwork is also a sign of abuse.

Comment: Re:Good riddance. (Score 1) 467

by SuricouRaven (#48193429) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

The law banning 'extreme pornography' has an exemption for BBFC classified materials - otherwise much of the output of Hollywood would be illegal to possess. They couldn't come up with a definition for extreme porn that wouldn't include at least a few big hollywood movies (Casino Royale was often cited as en example, as it came out around the same time), so that exemption was put in. I imagine there would be a similar exemption for material distributed by a recognised publisher.

Comment: Re:We are fsk'd (Score 1) 57

The vote may be public - but it's also potentially quick. There's an easy political trick that can be used with treaties or laws alike: Speed. Write in secret, negotiate in secret, then rush through the vote as fast as you can. The PATRIOT act, for example, was introduced on October 23 - and passed by the house on the 24th. If the trick is executed properly, any opposition groups just don't have time to rally. By the time they are aware of what's going on, it's already too late.

Also, under the Supremacy Clause, treaties are given a legal weight equal to that of the constitution. It doesn't address what to do in the event of a conflict.

Comment: Re:We are fsk'd (Score 1) 57

It changes both ways, and that's just the bit we are aware of. Who knows what's going on behind the scenes. Remember ACTA? Negotiated in secret - the public only became aware of it via leaked documents, and this was a legal agreement with potentially more of an effect than an act of congress. Now TRIPS is being negotiated in exactly the same manner. The idea of conspiracies of politicians secretly running the country may sound like the stuff of conspiracy theories, but every now and then it's exactly what happens.

Comment: Re:This won't stop until we are in chains (Score 4, Interesting) 130

While I can see the temptation, it isn't going to work so well. That war was of states verses states, with access to military hardware on both sides. A revolution in the US today would consist of semi-organised armies of volunteers with rifles verses a government with long-range artillery, bomber aircraft, advanced intelligence-gathering equipment and much more powerful fully-automatic assault rifles. No contest. The best you could hope for would be a long insurgency, fighting dirty and adopting terrorist tactics of hiding in the civilian population and keeping identities secret, French Resistance style - but that's not enough to overthrow a government. The idea of a violent uprising isn't realistic.

A better proposal would be to shift the rules a bit through technology. A sufficient investment in new forms of communication technology could effectively undermine a lot of commercially-based power - it doesn't matter how strict the copyright laws are if they can't be enforced, and if all communications are encrypted and avoid passing through any bottlenecks where control can be exerted then it becomes much harder for government to monitor or control them. Mass-piracy, properly exercised, could cripple the entertainment-media industry. It just has to be made into something which is near-universally accepted by the public, easy enough for anyone to take part with less effort than buying from legitimate channels, and safe from any form of copyright enforcement.

Comment: Re:The one area where patents have reasonable term (Score 3, Insightful) 130

It needs both approaches together. Sometimes research needs the sort of massive funding only commercial interests can provide. Other times there wouldn't be any profit it in (Disease too rare, treatment too cheap) and you need non-profit work from academia, charity or government. Neither is right in all circumstances.

Comment: Re:freedoms f----d (Score 3, Insightful) 130

Patents in pharmacuticals work well.

Their application to software has been a disaster. They are granted so readily and for things so obvious, it's now become a common practice for companies to collect as huge a portfolio of crap-patents as possible just so they can win a legal battle by attrition, then cross-license with sufficiently powerful rivals so they can avoid suing each other into oblivion. It's reached the point where it's impossible to write anything more complicated than Hello, World without potentially infringing a patent somewhere.

Patent reform is needed. Raising costs wouldn't work, as it just disadvantages small companies and individuals. Tougher approval processes would go a long way though, and courts should have more power to penalize patent holders if the patent is later found in court to be obvious, trivial or based on prior art which the patent holder should have been aware of.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields