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+ - The Dream of Delivery Drones Is Alive (And On A Truck)->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "Amazon's drone delivery service was never going to work. It was too autonomous, and simply too risky to be approved by the FAA in the timeframe that Jeff Bezos specified (as early as this year). And yet, the media is still hung up on Amazon, and much of the coverage of the FAA's newly released drone rules center around Prime Air, a program that was essentially a PR stunt. Meanwhile, a Cincinnati-based company that makes electric delivery trucks has an idea that's been largely ignored, but that's much more feasible. The Horsefly launches from and returns to a delivery truck once it reaches a given neighborhood, with a mix of autonomous flight to destination, driver-specified drop-off locations, and remote-piloted landings. The company will still need to secure exemptions from the FAA, but unlike Amazon, they at least have a chance. There's more detail about Amp's technically impressive (and seemingly damn tough) drone in my story for Popular Science."
Link to Original Source

+ - Lenovo caught installing adware on new computers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "t looks like Lenovo has been installing adware onto new consumer computers from the company that activates when taken out of the box for the first time.

The adware, named Superfish, is reportedly installed on a number of Lenovo’s consumer laptops out of the box. The software injects third-party ads on Google searches and websites without the user’s permission."

Link to Original Source

+ - Verizon Makes It Very Clear Its 'Spectrum Crunch' Never Existed->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you recall, the wireless industry has spent much of the last decade proclaiming that a "spectrum crunch" was afoot, declaring that unless the government did exactly as requested, wireless growth and innovation would grind to a halt. AT&T was quick to claim that it needed to buy T-Mobile because of said spectrum crunch, though the company's own leaked documents highlighted that this simply wasn't true .."
Link to Original Source

+ - 1,600 digital beating human hearts stored for Big Data research->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Doctors in London are now able to access digital copies of thousands of human hearts, helping medical professionals across the industry develop new treatments and preventative care plans for chronic heart disease. 3D video recordings of the beating hearts of 1,600 patients were collected by researchers and scientists at the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Sciences Centre at Hammersmith Hospital, London. Referring to traditional clinical trials, which only produce small amounts of health information over several years, the researchers hope that the new project will provide an important tool for the medical sector, having collected genetic information at such a comparatively large scale. Big data has made a huge impact in the business world for many years, but with storage prices falling and improved analytics tools; the field has more recently enjoyed smooth crossovers into many other sectors such as healthcare. However, according to IBM, 80% of healthcare data that is relevant to clinical research remains unstructured."
Link to Original Source

+ - Strong Encryption Will Not Protect You from The NSA-> 2

Submitted by Nicola Hahn
Nicola Hahn (1482985) writes "This past October FBI director James Comey proposed that hi-tech companies implement key escrow encryption as a way for online service providers to give law enforcement officials access to user data. However in a recent interview President Obama reassured viewers that "There's no scenario in which we don’t want really strong encryption." To an extent this echoes Ed Snowden’s assertion that “Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on.”

Unfortunately a report released by Moscow-based anti-virus vendor Kaspersky reveals that even strong cryptograph might not be enough. It would appear that the NSA was has poured its vast resources into hacking hardware platforms across the board, creating firmware exploits that allow U.S. spies to “capture a machine’s encryption password, store it in ‘an invisible area inside the computer’s hard drive’ and unscramble a machine’s contents.”

While these sophisticated subversion programs afford the intelligence community with an impressive array of collection tools, no doubt with more than a little help from the private sector, there are people who view this as sacrificing society’s collective security on behalf of murky clandestine objectives. In other words: it’s no accident that cyber security sucks, it’s a matter of official policy. Perhaps we should be surprised that more banks don’t get hacked?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Meet Babar, a New Malware Almost Certainly Created by France->

Submitted by sarahnaomi
sarahnaomi (3948215) writes "The NSA, GCHQ, and their allies in the Five Eyes are not the only government agencies using malware for surveillance. French intelligence is almost certainly hacking its targets too—and now security researchers believe they have proof.

On Wednesday, the researchers will reveal new details about a powerful piece of malware known as “Babar,” which is capable of eavesdropping on online conversations held via Skype, MSN and Yahoo messenger, as well as logging keystrokes and monitoring which websites an infected user has visited.

Babar is “a fully blown espionage tool, built to excessively spy” on its victims, according to the research, and which Motherboard reviewed in advance. The researchers are publishing two separate but complementary reports that analyze samples of the malware, and all but confirm that France’s spying agency the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) was responsible for its creation."

Link to Original Source

+ - Researchers Block HIV Infection In Monkeys With Artificial Protein->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Immunologists have developed a synthetic molecule that's able to attach to HIV and prevent it from interacting with healthy cells. "HIV infects white blood cells by sequentially attaching to two receptors on their surfaces. First, HIV’s own surface protein, gp120, docks on the cell’s CD4 receptor. This attachment twists gp120 such that it exposes a region on the virus that can attach to the second cellular receptor, CCR5. The new construct combines a piece of CD4 with a smidgen of CCR5 and attaches both receptors to a piece of an antibody. In essence, the AIDS virus locks onto the construct, dubbed eCD4-Ig, as though it were attaching to a cell and thus is neutralized." The new compound was tested in monkeys. After successively higher injections of HIV, all four monkeys who received the compound beforehand stayed from free infection. Any potential treatment is still a ways off — the researchers plan more trials in monkeys before bringing humans into the test."
Link to Original Source

Comment: So many level heads (Score 1) 227

by malachiorion (#48839339) Attached to: An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI
I was expecting way, way more "but Skynet" comments here. The fact that so many commenters have a clear-headed perspective on AI, and what AI safety actual means, is fantastic. Good to know the reporters I'm attacking are being read with the proper amount of skepticism. I really think the stubbornly fearful need to come to terms with their SF consumption, and how Hollywood has every reason to present more apocalyptic AI scenarios than beneficial, or even neutral ones. And apart from SF, where are you getting your facts? What are your theories based on? If it's from stories and journalists who aren't putting in the work, and are clearly just focusing on the wacky end-times outcomes, then you're just plagiarizing from the long history of evil robot fiction. Also, remember that Musk is not a computer scientist, and does not work with AI. I'll post about this soon, but his claims that Vicarious is actively safeguarding against bootstrapped AI are false, based on statements from Vicarious' own founders. Even brilliant minds can be embarrassingly wrong.

Comment: Re: "Forget about the risk that machines pose to u (Score 1) 227

by malachiorion (#48839193) Attached to: An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI
Damn well put. AI is too complex to understand without a ton of study, so the assumption is always that general AI is right around the corner. Same with Jetpacks, flying cars, private space, and everything else that might turn life into the cover of a SF paperback.

+ - An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "If you're into robots, AI, you've probably read about the open letter on AI safety. But do you realize how blatantly the media is misinterpreting its purpose, and its message? I spoke to the organization that released letter, andto one of the AI researchers who contributed to it. As is often the case with AI, tech reporters are getting this one wrong on purpose. Here's my analysis for Popular Science. Or, for the TL;DR crowd: "Forget about the risk that machines pose to us in the decades ahead. The more pertinent question, in 2015, is whether anyone is going to protect mankind from its willfully ignorant journalists.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:This was already done (Score 1) 108

This system works very differently, though. In a way, Watson is aiming for a more intellectual goal, a kind of evidence-based cognition. And in Watson's most useful applications, it grinds through data, and spits out possible answers and conclusions for review by humans. Robo Brain doesn't care about creating human-digestible conclusions or advice. It's translating human-speak, basically, into robot action, machine-readable results that tell bots how to physically perform certain tasks.

Comment: Re:The irony (Score 1) 108

Yeah, I've made it my mission to try to tamp down the general hysteria, when it comes to coverage of really interesting robotics projects. But I spent a solid hour writing and deleting stupid SF-fueled intros to this story. It feels like a movie—not a very good one—that's on the verge of writing itself. Like all you'd have to do is give it the wrong chunk of data culled from the internet, and it would mobilize a machine army that *only* knows how to commit atrocities.

Comment: Re:My the force-feeding be with them! (Score 1) 108

Force-feeding was a bit of a silly choice, on my part, but something about the process felt similar. It's not like they unleash Robo Brain on the internet, and let it hoover up whatever it pleases (and bully for that, given what's on the internet). They also don't let the machine filter out topics that it doesn't care for. So if we're going to anthropomorphize this system—which, of course we are, since we're a narcissistic species—it seems more like the Gluttony victim from Se7en than a willing participant.

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.