Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:Not concerned (Score 2) 176

by gmhowell (#49353367) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software

I should actually correct myself slightly: Wal-Mart (and others) have some in house drivers and some outsourced.

BTW, in discussions of the transport industry, don't get distracted/lied to by the companies. Some drivers think they are owner operators, when in practice, they aren't. They will lease/buy a truck from (as an example, all of the bigs do this) Schneider. As part of the lease terms, they can only accept loads from Schneider. It should be obvious that the 'owner' is an employee who has assumed much of the risk that the company would usually take on.

ShanghaiBill has a decent reply, but he misses a point: if the automated truck is cheaper, the big companies will drive that change in a heartbeat. The trick is that someone has to be convinced that they will be cheaper. They are unlikely to automatically accept that an automated truck is safer, faster, etc. One area where they are likely to be impressed is the possibility of 24 hour operations, rather than the 10 hour per day (rough) limits of human operated trucks. In addition to (possibly) being cheaper, this will allow faster shipments for more mundane goods (there are already plenty of ways to have fast shipping, but it is cost prohibitive to do for everything) which would offer them a competitive advantage. I suspect this last point will be the thin edge of the wedge.

Comment: Sloppy's One Rule of Robotics (Score 1) 129

by Sloppy (#49338263) Attached to: Do Robots Need Behavioral 'Laws' For Interacting With Other Robots?

My one rule of robotics (and pointed sticks, cars, crackpipes and umbrellas) is this: my stuff ought to perform in accordance with my wishes.

There might be additional laws ("weld here and here, but nowhere else," or "use the rules in /etc/iptables/rules.v4" or "don't shoot at anyone whose IFF transponder returns the correct response") which vary by whatever the specific application is, but these rules aren't as important as The One above.

There are various corollaries that you can infer from the main law, but since they can be derived, they don't need to be laws themselves. (e.g. if my interests conflict with someone else's, then my robot and my umbrella ought to serve my interests at the expense of the other person's interests.)

With regard to harming other robots, that also can be derived. If I desire to kill a knight on a robot horse, then my robot ought to turn them into a pile of bloody gore and shredded circuitboards immediately. OTOH, if I don't desire to kill a robot, then my robot should not do things that incur unnecessary liabilities.

Comment: Re:This is why markets are not a good model for go (Score 5, Informative) 121

by Cyberdyne (#49313937) Attached to: FTC's Internal Memo On Google Teaches Companies a Terrible Lesson

The government should not be constrained by market assumptions, such as that resources are limited because of efficient allocation.

That's not a "market assumption", it's plain old reality: resources are finite, so you need priorities. If a cop pulls someone over for speeding, then sees an armed robbery in progress, or a paramedic is treating someone's sprained ankle then a bystander has a heart attack, do you want them to stick to what they were doing and reject the notion of priorities as being a "market assumption"? I'd rather they focus their efforts on the higher priority, because that gives the best outcomes.

In this case, the FTC had more pressing enforcement jobs, like telemarketing scams, the fight with cellphone companies over ripoff premium services ... they felt putting their resources there made more sense than fighting Google over the order of search results, and I'm not at all sure they were wrong about that.

By coincidence, I was discussing law enforcement priorities at work on Friday (we teach computer forensics for law enforcement, among other things); unlike the world of CSI, real law enforcement doesn't go spending days testing out an obscure theory, or digging into every possible detail of each case: they do enough work on a case to pass it to the next stage, then get on with the next case. No "market" - there just aren't an unlimited number of hours in each forensic caseworker's day.

Comment: Re:I'm one of those engineers... (Score 1) 341

Weird, I've never seen it with an S in there, only as LOC and xK LOC. I though maybe it was something different than the LOC counts I'd seen before. Of course, I've never dealt with projects that were in the millions either, so maybe that's why I've never heard the S variations.

Comment: Re:I'm one of those engineers... (Score 1) 341

Let's take the simplest of all the detection problems. How many lines of code does it take to reliably and safely detect the lane markings of a road? Nobody knows, because nobody has done it yet. Yes, there are prototypes that can handle some sub sets of all cases. The best I've seen handles 90% of the cases. That takes 1 MSLOC and still counting.

What's an emslock?

Comment: There's only one answer, and it's obvious (Score 1) 307

Look at how you build a computer for casual home use, where downtime means that no astronauts will die, nor will you lose a million dollars per day in sales, but there will be some inconvience and maybe an angry wife. One of these components is so expected to fail, that your initial build will have redundancy for that component. You start out thinking not "that would suck if this failed, because it's critical and will be expensive to replace," but rather "when one of these goes, we'll be fine until the replacement arrives."

Replacing the other things is an exception and it will usually have an interesting story behind it. Replacing a disk, though, is just routine maintenance.

+ - The first stars in the Universe were invisible

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "You'd think it would be enough to form some stars, and "let there be light" would be a reality. But these stars don't become visible for literally hundreds of millions of years until after they form. It's not that they don't emit light — they do — but rather that the Universe is opaque to that light for up to half a billion years after those stars form. While modern telescopes like Hubble are inherently limited by this fact, the James Webb Space Telescope, which will observe in wavelengths that these dusty particles ought to be transparent to, might be able to finally probe the true light from the very first stars."

+ - A fish makes a tongue out of water->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Using a group of high-speed cameras and x-ray videos, the scientists observed the strange way mudskipper fish feeding in the laboratory. Their analysis showed that the fish carry mouthfuls of water up onto the land and then expel the water at the moment they lunge at their prey. The water allows the fish to form an airtight seal and generate enough suction to move the water and their meal back toward the esophagus. Furthermore, the motion of a bone in the fishes’ throat, known as the hyoid, closely resembles that of other terrestrial animals, especially newts, which use true tongues to eat. The authors suggest that the mudskipper’s “hydrostatic” tongue may serve as the evolutionary bridge that allowed our aquatic ancestors to begin feeding on land."
Link to Original Source

All great ideas are controversial, or have been at one time.

Working...