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Comment: OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (Score 3, Funny) 150

This is so scary! If somebody learns every detail of the motions I make when I brush my teeth, they will basically have all the info they need to turn me into a zombie servant of the NSA-corprotocracy! And now they also want to know the humidity in my house!? Goddamn it, didn't our founding fathers say that the moisture content of our residence shall not collected? I'm so outraged! Now excuse me while I upload all my photos, featuring everyone I've ever associated with, to Facebook.

Comment: Should be denser! (Score 1) 120

by Dr. Spork (#47387149) Attached to: In Düsseldorf, A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car
From the picture it looks like it takes just as much space as a regular parking garage, but I think the real potential in a system like this is in maximizing the density of parked cars. I'm picturing something like an Amazon warehouse, but with cars on each shelf. In places where space is at a premium, this sort of ultra-dense shelving system seems like the right way to store a lot of cars. What would also be awesome would be a smartphone app that gives the garage a heads up 5 minutes before you arrive to pick up your car, so that "Ray" can stick it into a pickup spot. For example, if it's in a city and on a subway line, you could choose "I'm on the northbound C train" and the dispatching system is wired into the subway system, figures out where that train is and can estimate accurately how long it will be before you arrive. Then you get a return message about which spot to go to, get in and drive off. Yes it's a bit more technology than self-parking, but the technology is mostly fixed costs, and in many dense cities, those costs are probably much lower than the equivalent number of traditional parking spaces. Also, these costs are likely to fall over time, unlike the cost of space in Gangnam or Manhattan. If it's coordinated right, it's also more convenient.

Comment: Good idea, bad marketing (Score 0) 131

by Dr. Spork (#47344359) Attached to: Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car
Think of it this way: this will be a trivially cheap device to install in a car, and it will be pretty much invisible in how it functions, until someone tries to steal your car. It will probably be bundled with other functions that count your blinks and warn you when you're too drowsy to drive safely. This is the kind of device that will pay for itself many times over in insurance savings. Also, if it records your car data in some hard-coded way, that data could be very useful in fighting wrongful traffic tickets. To market it as a spy-on-your-kids tool is not a good move. It sounds sinister and gross. Basically, it should be described as a password device for your car, which you can enter just by looking like yourself, or else typing something in on the owner's phone. If your computer requires a password to operate, why shouldn't you car, especially if entering it doesn't require any actions?

Comment: How about soccer referees and augmented reality? (Score 1) 58

by Dr. Spork (#47330819) Attached to: The Military Is About To Get New Augmented Reality Spy Glasses
Am I the only one who has been thinking recently that soccer might make me less angry if referees had augmented reality glasses? For example, if they could instantly replay for themselves certain situations and rotate angles (enough data is already collected from cameras to make this possible), they would certainly make better calls! If nothing else, this would be a way to completely nail offsides decisions.

Comment: Re:Winter is coming (Score 1) 461

by Dr. Spork (#47317885) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly
Germany's CO2 output is spiking, hitting records each year, thanks to the dozen or so new giant powerplants that burn coal. The USA, meanwhile, has dramatically reduced its CO2 output in the last 5 years. Americans are actually shutting down coal plants, as the Germans build new ones. I know that these facts are inconvenient to your narrative, but they are still facts.

Comment: Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (Score 4, Insightful) 461

by Dr. Spork (#47317679) Attached to: Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly
Remarkable that they had the wisdom to replace zero-emission nuclear power with a dozen new gigantic coal plants, including several that burn brown coal? Congratulations, welcome to the 18th century! While the greenhouse emissions from the USA are falling like a rock in the last 5 years, Germany's CO2 output is spiking upwards and reaches record levels every year. And for all this, Germans have to pay some of the highest electricity costs in Europe. I'm not saying that Germany can't eventually get their act together, but to me it looks like they're off to a very bad start.

Comment: Re:The 'test' was fixed (Score 5, Insightful) 432

by Dr. Spork (#47193787) Attached to: Turing Test Passed
Here was a sample of a hypothetical conversation from Turing's original article:

Interrogator: In the first line of your sonnet which reads "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day," would not "a spring day" do as well or better?

Witness: It wouldn't scan.

Interrogator: How about "a winter's day," That would scan all right.

Witness: Yes, but nobody wants to be compared to a winter's day.

Interrogator: Would you say Mr. Pickwick reminded you of Christmas?

Witness: In a way.

Interrogator: Yet Christmas is a winter's day, and I do not think Mr. Pickwick would mind the comparison.

Witness: I don't think you're serious. By a winter's day one means a typical winter's day, rather than a special one like Christmas.

I think the problem is that the way Turing was picturing the test, the human interrogators would be as smart as Turing and his friends, people who actually know how to ask probing questions. When you look at the conversation above, you see that he had in mind a program that does things which is decades beyond of what chatbots can do today. Everybody is dissing the Turing test, and if it has a problem, it's in that Turing overestimated people, in assuming that they actually know how to have conversations of significance. I still think there is something deeply significant about the Turing test, but in the one that I'm picturing, the interrogators must all be broadly educated experts on natural language processing with specific training in how to expose chatbots. And there should be money on the line for the interrogators: $1000 bonus for each correct identification, $2000 penalty for incorrect identification, no penalty for "not sure". If the majority of such experts can be fooled by an AI under these circumstances, then I think we should all be impressed.

Comment: Snagging an asteroid is cooler anyway! (Score 4, Insightful) 206

Seriously, forget Mars. It's like Utah, but cold, and even more boring. We know Mars.

Now, rearranging big chunks of our solar system to get our grubby hand on some sweet sweet platinum, that's the sort of crazy shit that our parents hoped we'd be doing by now. In any case, that's what we should be doing, imo.

Comment: Re:No Threat To Thunderbolt (Score 3, Interesting) 355

by Dr. Spork (#46996559) Attached to: Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?
I've been thinking hard about a cable that will bring data to my CPU with the lowest latency. At the other end of the cable would be a guitar with several A/D converters, one for each pickup. Including piezos, that might add up to about 10 192Hz/32bit signals. That's still not a tremendous amount of bandwidth, but latency is much more important in this application. I don't think there is any dispute that the lowest latency lane to the CPU in current PCs is over PCIE. If thunderbolt is PCIE over a wire, it would be a natural technology to finally modernize the electric guitar for the digital age. Well, a guy can dream!

Comment: This sounds technically easy, maybe fun! (Score 3, Interesting) 138

by Dr. Spork (#46975673) Attached to: Electric Stimulation Could Help You Control Your Dreams
It's trivially easy to give 40 small shocks per second to the temples. Really, I'm tempted to try this for fun. But a small device that could both detect REM and then deliver the 40Hz stimulation would probably not need to cost more than $10. The theory seems sound, and it really could be awesome! I'd love to see a homebrew version.

"Nuclear war would really set back cable." - Ted Turner

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