Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

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).


+ - Nao's Creator Quits Aldebaran As Pepper Goes On Sale ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Bruno Maisonnier, founder of Aldebaran, the French company that brought us the friendly humanoid robot Nao, is standing down as its CEO. This coincides with the availability, in Japan, of company's latest creation Pepper which has quickly established itself in a hospitality role. At Bruno Maisonnier's request SoftBank,which already owned a majority share, will purchase all his shares in the company he founded in 2005. Pepper was created for SoftBank a Japanese phone company and now basically it is on sale for an upfront fee of $1,600 followed by a subscription of $206 per month for 3 years for access to Softbank’s cloud-based artificial intelligence software.
However its main purpose seems to be in the role of a greetings robot at the door to the store, a role that even Nao seems to be getting involved in. It is arguable that a "greetings" robot is really only something that could be a success in countries that have the same cultural background as Japan. Try to imagine the customer reaction to being formally greeted by a Pepper-like robot in a US phone store — the novelty would wear off very quickly.
This probably isn't the future Maisonnier had in mind for his creations."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Yes, a variety of ways (Score 1) 183

by dkf (#49101417) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

The UK is putting its judicial system under tremendous financial pressure at the moment, to the extent that some criminal cases are just being abandoned because there's insufficient money to run them. They're (finally!) starting to experiment with allowing small claims court cases to be resolved over the phone, and also looking at decriminalising TV license violations to reduce pressure on the system. But you get the idea - the judicial system innovates extremely slowly even when being sliced to the bone. So don't hold your breath.

They're also moving the low-level courts to use a lot more technology to support them, things like video links so remand prisoners do not need to be brought to court, tablet computers with the legal texts on them in searchable form, that sort of thing. These are the sorts of things that technology can definitely help with, even though they definitely change the nature of justice somewhat.

Comment: Re:Judicial "system"? (Score 1) 183

by dkf (#49101349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

This is one reason the US (which only funds healthcare for Federal employees, Federal retirees, 65-year-olds, and the poor) actually paid more per capita for health care then the Canadian Federal government did, despite the fact that the Canadian Feds provide 100% of health funding in that country.

The real key is that there is a body in Canada (other than the ordinary Joe on the street) who wants prices to be kept down, and which has the power to actually make that happen. Because keeping charges down is a priority, use of generic drugs will be more widespread, as will the use of programmes to improve general public health (because they tend to be very cost effective overall) and the more rapid progression from diagnosis to treatment. That last point can be both good and bad: good because if they got it right, you're getting treated sooner instead of having more expensive (and possibly invasive) tests done, and bad because if they got it wrong, you're not being treated for what's wrong at all.

+ - Replacing the Turing Test -> 1

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "A plan is afoot to replace the Turing test as a measure of a computer's ability to think. The idea is for an annual or bi-annual Turing Championship consisting of three to five different challenging tasks.
A recent workshop at the 2015 AAAI Conference of Artificial Intelligence was chaired by Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at New York University. His opinion is that the Turing Test had reached its expiry date and has become
"an exercise in deception and evasion.”
Marcus points out:
the real value of the Turing Test comes from the sense of competition it sparks amongst programmers and engineers
which has motivated the new initiative for a multi-task competition.
The one of the tasks is based on Winograd Schemas. This requires participants to grasp the meaning of sentences that are easy for humans to understand through their knowledge of the world. One simple example is:
The trophy would not fit in the brown suitcase because it was too big. What was too big?
Another suggestion is for the program to answer questions about a TV program:
No existing program—not Watson, not Goostman, not Siri—can currently come close to doing what any bright, real teenager can do: watch an episode of “The Simpsons,” and tell us when to laugh.
Another is called the "ikea" challenge and asks for robots to co-operate with humans to build flatpack furniture. This involves interpreting written instructions, choosing the right piece, and holding it in just the right position for a human teammate.. This at least is a useful skill that might encourage us to welcome machines into our homes."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Everything old is new again (Score 1) 51

by dkf (#48968911) Attached to: Graphene Based Display Paves Way For Semi-Transparent Electronic Devices

I haven't heard anybody discuss what the half-life of graphene is though, so it could be just as bad.

They're probably still working that out. It's one thing to know that it's theoretically possible, but another to demonstrate how to actually do it, so the report that it has been done (even if it turns out to not be very useful in the end) is relevant.

+ - Twitter Can Identify Heart Disease ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Researchers have shown that Twitter can serve as a dashboard indicator of a community’s psychological well-being and can predict rates of heart disease. Many factors contribute to the risk of heart disease, not just traditional ones, like low income or smoking but also psychological ones, like stress. The team found that negative emotional language and topics, such as words like “hate” or expletives, remained strongly correlated with heart disease mortality, even after variables like income and education were taken into account. Positive emotional language showed the opposite correlation, suggesting that optimism and positive experiences, words like “wonderful” or “friends,” may be protective against heart disease.
The maps produced showing heart disease rates according to Twitter show a remarkable match to maps of actual death due to heart disease.
As one team member commented:
“The relationship between language and mortality is particularly surprising since the people tweeting angry words and topics are in general not the ones dying of heart disease. But that means if many of your neighbors are angry, you are more likely to die of heart disease.”"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:It doesn't matter what people think... (Score 1) 458

by dkf (#48949079) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

The US has the most corrupt political system... it's really fascism where the corporations and the rich control the government.

That's not true. It's that the rich control both corporations and government. Observe how many senior politicians move in the same circles as corporate board members, and typically have done since early in life. It's not precisely corrupt, it's just that they prefer to do things for their kind of people above and beyond all else. Joe Dumbass can always be told what to vote for on things where it matters through advertizing and related stuff. It's not total control though; they ignore much of the detail of local politics, since who is your neighborhood dog-catcher doesn't matter at all to those with real power.

Comment: Re:Breakdown of adult interaction, oral tradition? (Score 1) 351

by dkf (#48899409) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

How in bog's green earth is any sort of family unit supposed to deal with the current knowledge set? Hell, even a university level professor can barely keep track of what goes on in their own field.

That's what the professor's family is for, to keep track of all the rest of human knowledge that the professor hasn't got time for.

+ - Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded Dahl-Nygaard Prize ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, is the 2015 recipient of the Senior Dahl-Nygaard Prize, considered the most prestigious prize in object-oriented computer science. Established in 2005 it honors the pioneering work on object-orientation of Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard who, designed Simula, the original object-oriented language and are remembered as "colorful characters".
To be eligible for the senior prize an individual must have made a
"significant long-term contribution to the field of Object-Orientation"
and this year it goes to Bjarne Stoustrup for the design, implementation and evolution of the C++ programming language. You can't argue with that."

Link to Original Source

+ - Atlas Rebuilt - DARPA's Almost New Robot ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Atlas was the robot from sci-fi, big, black and powerful — only it had these cables that provided it with power and made it look a little like a dog on a leash. It was designed to provide a hardware platform for teams competing in the DARPA Robotic's Challenge DRC — a competition designed to encourage the construction of an effective disaster response robot. Now it has been revealed that the finals of the DRC later in the year require that the robot used not to have a tether and hence Atlas needed a redesign.
The new Atlas has no wires of any kind and hence is described as "wireless". This is achieved by fitting an onboard 3.7 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery. This is used to drive a variable-pressure pump which operates all of the hydraulic systems. This makes ATLAS much quieter but introduces a complication for the teams. The pump can be run at low pressure to save battery and then switched into high pressure to get some work done. What this means is that not only do the teams have to worry about robotic things they also have to manage the power consumption as if ATLAS was a mobile phone.
There are lots of other new features and you can see the robot in action in a video.
There is also news of the DRC in that the prize has been increased to $3.5 million — $2 million to the winner, $1 million to second and $500,000 to third place. The robots also have to work without a cable and if they fall over they have to get up on their own or fail at the task. The idea of an Atlas falling over and picking itself up is difficult to imagine.
Finally while the new Atlas looks good the plastic covers make it look far less threatening."

Link to Original Source

+ - SparkleVision - Seeing Through The Glitter->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Another new application of computational photography lets you reconstruct an image that has been reflected by a rough shiny object — a glitter-covered surface, say.If you have an image viewed by reflection from a "glittery" surface — more technically one containing mirror facets with random orientation — then what you will see is a blurry shadow of the original. To unscramble the image all you need is the inverse transform and a recent paper from MIT explains how to do it. Basically all you have to do is shine a one pixel light onto the glitter and record where it goes on the sensor. Then some math is used to compute the inverse transformation. Not content with theory the technique was used to make convincing reconstructions of photos reflected off a glitter surface.
The reconstruction is very sensitive to slight shifts in the image and this could be used as a movement detector or 3D camera. But next time you are in a room with a glittery surface keep in mind that you could still be watched."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:strawman; nobody's asking him to be "PC" or "ni (Score 1) 361

by dkf (#48841789) Attached to: Linus On Diversity and Niceness In Open Source

They're free to go fork the kernel and have their own software wonderland, with neither blackjack nor hookers.

If they want to arrange their own blackjack and hookers, they're free to do so. It's Open Source.

I will screw my tinfoil hat on a little tighter and suggest it might have something to do with the US Army being their largest customer.

I really doubt that that's it. I think you've let the tinfoil slip over your eyes a bit too far, and you've lost sight of reality there.

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.