Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment hawking is probably right (Score 1) 574

I find myself yet again in agreement with hawking. Of course predicting the future is a great way to find yourself wrong... but we wouldnt be human if we didnt try.

Bottomline is that AI has a couple very serious threats to humans, the first being its use by humans as a weapon against others humans for power and control. In the not very distant future it really wouldnt be hard for a small group of people to use AI (and non AI) to essentially control most of the worlds industry, production and so forth... and its not a real big leap to posit the possibility of a hitler style "solution" being run by some cult or political group.

The second is alittle more long term but the competition for resources would be a real tangible reason for AI to either directly or indirectly compete us out of existence. If AI ever reaches a stage where it cannot be assailed or "beaten" through warfare it may very well find itself "forced" to gradually curtail or even eliminate the human population as being inefficient... or as a threat. Technially speaking it may not need to do so in a violent direct manner, it could just ensure we dont have children... or that we have drastically fewer of them each generation (allowing us to live out mostly happy lives).

I personally hold out a belief that humans will intergrate well before fully capable digital only AI comes to fruition. I dont think it will be long before we start getting implants and other "aids" connected to our brains... small and discrete at first - but over time becomming more and more intergrated to a point where whats biological or not may not even be distinguishable. while im a fan of purely biological humans i think this would actually be the best outcome - and the most likely.

My greatest fear is that AI does get rid of us.... and then does nothing of worth, i think the human capacity to easily and readily imagine things WAAAAYYYYYYYYY outside of reality may never be achievable in AI. And i question if AI can ever generate a sense of purpose, desire and direction which has allowed humanity to advance in extraordinary spurts since we created our first structured civilisations. when you think about the fact that gentically speaking we are basically the same as our wild lawless animal ancestors you can imagine just how spectacular our brains/behaviors really are. the "emergent behavior" of the human species as a group may not be reproducable by an AI.... and that could be a truely sad loss for the galaxy.

indeed, perhaps it isnt nukes, environmental suicide or war... maybe AI is the answer to the Fermi Paradox.

Comment Re:Nothing I'd like better... (Score 1) 106

Im no braver than you, and will not get anywhere near this for the same reasons.

But that is the actual point of "when good men do nothing"... its when people WITH families and other considerations (something to lose) are NOT brave enough to act on what may very well be dangerous, its when they dont act evil is allowed to thrive.

What rational white person from the 50's in the dixey south with a family and kids, a small business and the protection of the community would brave the wrath of their neighbors and the KKK to protect some relatively unknown (to them) and anonymous black people?

As i said before, im no braver - and the point of that statement was to ellucidate that sometimes horrible things thrive because "good men" like you and i have good reasons not to shed our cowardice.

Comment SORBS is evil (Score 1) 405

Your kinda screwed. A lot of the big providers (and small) use blocklists garnered from a bunch of companies who may or may not be responsive - and more often than not simply dont care about the small guy... amongst those companies ive had the most grief with SORBS for my various clients. Some lists you can get off of, others are essentially impossible... amongst which are the "Dynamic IP" and "home user" lists.

When people set up which block lists to use, there are a couple that are not for specific offenders, but are instead simply full lists of all the known IPs in an ISP's block - such as all DSL / cable modem users. the thought being that you can block all email originating from peoples home connections, etc... which is under the presumption that legitimate emails will never come from cheap consumer grade connections which to be fair are largely spam. Problem is there are tons of small businesses with essentially "home" connections... even under business accounts they get lumped into the same IP ranges.

The real issue is that in the last few years - particularly since gmail came about... email itself has begun to concentrate in only a few major providers hands... namely intermedia, office365 and gmail. As less and less small/medium sized businesses have their own mail servers the big boys have less concern for keeping things more flexibly acceptable - very few outfits have their own exchange servers anymore, i dropped my last internally maintained client mail server a few years ago, even bigger companies dont want to run exchange in house anymore - its just not worth it in most situations that dont have regulatory or legal requirements. The less companies that run their own mail servers the greater the liklihood that legitimate mail will only come from the major providers (and the less likely wholesale blocking of IP's is going to cause the sales team to freak out when their clients arent getting emails - which is honestly the only way ive ever seen IT departments actually lower their filter strength - usually after being yelled at by the sales execs).

In order to deal with this problem we have found the best lasting solution is to use a store and forward relay service such as spamstopshere or setup your own via a micro instance in amazon. Postifx and Mailenable (windows) are two great programs that do the trick quite well. By setting up your own instance with a public IP which is more "trsuted" (comming from a major source of servers which have other large mail hosts running in the same IP block) you avoid all sorts of problems... you will have to do the normal MX, SPF and rDNS things as well for full compliance.

In general this is better anyways, as you probably also want an inbound store and forward for those outages you memntioned (no lost emails!), and youll get the probably unneeded benefit of masking your real world address (one of my clients got a detailed direct bomb threat from a guy who found their address using an IP lookup - their address was otherwise unlisted).

a micro instance on amazon is VERY cheap, and can be used for other things - like a simple website, a connection monitor etc..

good luck

Comment 50/50 (Score 3, Interesting) 165

why would it waste any time fretting? i presume its decision is by the very nature of computing and evaluation a function of math... therefor the only decision to cause delay would be the one wherein the odds of success are 50/50... but it needs not be delayed there either... just roll a random and pick one to save first.

Sounds like a case of a unnecessary recursive loop to me (where the even odds of save/fail cause the robotic savior to keep reevaluating the same inevitable math in hopes of some sort of change). Maybe the halfway solution is the first tiome you hit a 50/50 you flip a coin and start acting on saving one party while continuing to re-evaluate the odds as you are in motion... this could cause a similar loop - but is more likely to have the odds begin to cascade further in the direction of your intended action.

Seems silly to me.

Comment Cisco Rv042 (Score 1) 238

Hands down the most reliable and easy to use dual wan, VPN enabled Router for quick deployments, silent, low power consumption, handles PPTP, ipsec, etc...

I am no fan of their quickVPN software (a third VPN option included with this router), but it works as well if you dont like pptp or if you find IPSEC too much of a pain to setup.

Plus it has DUAL WAN connections, so you can use a hotspot or DSL, or the neighbors connection as a failover (or you can load balence them, or bind stuff, etc...).

Im blown away noone has mentioned this router as i see it everywhere.

Pfsense is a huge winner as well, though youll need to buy silent low cost hardware to run it (and its a good deal more involved - though considerably more powerful).

We use these two for all of our client locations with offices of up to 100 or so people, for at least 7-8 years or more.


ACLU Sues Over Legality of "Targeted Killing" By Drones 776

MacAndrew writes "The ACLU has sued the United States Government to enforce a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for 'the release of records relating to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles — commonly known as 'drones' — for the purpose of targeting and killing individuals since September 11, 2001.' (Complaint.) The information sought includes the legal basis for use of the drones, how the program is managed, and the number of civilian deaths in areas of operation such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. The ACLU further claims that 'Recent reports, including public statements from the director of national intelligence, indicate that US citizens have been placed on the list of targets who can be hunted and killed with drones.' Aside from one's view of the wisdom, effectiveness, and morality of these military operations, the inclusion of US citizens suggests that summary remote-control executions are becoming routine. Especially given the difficulty in locating and targeting individuals from aircraft, risks of human and machine error are obvious, and these likely increase as the robots become increasingly autonomous (please no Skynet jokes). This must give pause to anyone who's ever spent time coding or debugging or even driving certain willful late model automobiles, and the US government evidently doesn't want to discuss it."

China's Human Flesh Search Engine 248

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has an interesting article about Human-flesh search engines — renrou sousuo yinqing — that have become a phenomenon in China: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, or run out of town. It's crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online — with offline results. 'In the United States, traditional media are still playing the key role in setting the agenda for the public,' says Jin Liwen. 'But in China, you will see that a lot of hot topics, hot news or events actually originate from online discussions.' In one well known case, when a video appeared in China of a woman stomping a cat to death with the sharp point of her high heel, the human flesh search engine tracked the kitten killer's home to the town of Luobei in Heilongjiang Province, in the far northeast, and her name — Wang Jiao — was made public, as were her phone number and her employer. 'Wang Jiao was affected a lot,' says one Luobei resident. 'She left town and went somewhere else.' The kitten-killer case didn't just provide revenge; it helped turn the human-flesh search engine into a national phenomenon. Searches have also been directed against cheating spouses, corrupt government officials, amateur pornography makers, Chinese citizens who are perceived as unpatriotic, journalists who urge a moderate stance on Tibet and rich people who try to game the Chinese system."

Ethics of Releasing Non-Malicious Linux Malware? 600

buchner.johannes writes "I was fed up with the general consensus that Linux is oh-so-secure and has no malware. After a week of work, I finished a package of malware for Unix/Linux. Its whole purpose is to help white-hat hackers point out that a Linux system can be turned into a botnet client by simply downloading BOINC and attaching it to a user account to help scientific projects. The malware does not exploit any security holes, only loose security configurations and mindless execution of unverified downloads. I tested it to be injected by a PHP script (even circumventing safe mode), so that the Web server runs it; I even got a proxy server that injects it into shell scripts and makefiles in tarballs on the fly, and adds onto Windows executables for execution in Wine. If executed by the user, the malware can persist itself in cron, bashrc and other files. The aim of the exercise was to provide a payload so security people can 'pwn' systems to show security holes, without doing harm (such as deleting files or disrupting normal operation). But now I am unsure of whether it is ethically OK to release this toolkit, which, by ripping out the BOINC payload and putting in something really evil, could be turned into proper Linux malware. On the one hand, the way it persists itself in autostart is really nasty, and that is not really a security hole that can be fixed. On the other hand, such a script can be written by anyone else too, and it would be useful to show people why you need SELinux on a server, and why verifying the source of downloads (checksums through trusted channels) is necessary. Technically, it is a nice piece, but should I release it? I don't want to turn the Linux desktop into Windows, hence I'm slightly leaning towards not releasing it. What does your ethics say about releasing such grayware?"

Scientists Decry "Horrifying" UK Border Test Plan 515

cremeglace writes "Scientists are dismayed and outraged at a new project by the UK border agency to test DNA, hair, and nails to determine the nationality of asylum seekers and help decide if they can enter the UK. 'Horrifying,' 'naive,' and 'flawed' are among the words geneticists and isotope specialists have used to describe the 'Human Provenance pilot project.' The methods being used to determine ancestry include fingerprinting of mitochondrial DNA and isotope analysis of hair and nails. ScienceInsider blog notes that it is 'not clear who is conducting the DNA and isotope analyses for the Border Agency,' and that the agency has not 'cited any scientific papers that validate its DNA and isotope methods.' There is also a followup post with more information on the tests that are being used, and some reactions from experts in genetic forensic analysis. This story was first reported in The Observer on Sunday."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Wolfenstein Being Recalled In Germany 625

D1gital_Prob3 tips news that Activision's recently-released shooter, Wolfenstein, is being recalled in Germany due to the appearance of swastikas in the game. Such symbols are banned in Germany, and the German version of the game went through heavy editing to remove them. Apparently, they missed some. Activision said, "Although it is not a conspicuous element in the normal game ... we have decided to take this game immediately from the German market." Reader eldavojohn points out a review that has screenshot comparisons between the two versions of the game.

Illinois Bans Social Network Use By Sex Offenders 587

RobotsDinner writes "Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law a bill that bans all registered sex offenders from using social networks. '"Obviously, the Internet has been more and more a mechanism for predators to reach out," said Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), a sponsor of the measure and a governor candidate. "The idea was, if the predator is supposed to be a registered sex offender, they should keep their Internet distance as well as their physical distance."'"
The Courts

Tenenbaum Lawyers Now Passing the Hat 388

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Just when you think this case couldn't get any stranger, it now appears that the defendant's 'legal team' in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum is passing the hat, taking up a collection. Only the reason for the collection isn't to defray costs and expenses of further defending the action, but to pay the RIAA the amount of the judgment so that their client won't have to declare bankruptcy. I would suggest there might have been a much better way of avoiding bankruptcy. It's called 'handling the case competently.'"

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau