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AI Researchers Say 'Rascals' Might Pass Turing Test 337

An anonymous reader writes "Passing the Turing test is the holy grail of artificial intelligence (AI) and now researchers claim it may be possible using the world's fastest supercomputer (IBM's Blue Gene). This version of the Turing test pits a human conversing with a synthetic character powered by Rascals software crafted at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. RPI is aiming to pass AI's final exam this fall, by pairing the most powerful university-based supercomputing system in the world with its new multimedia group which is designing a holodeck, a la Star Trek."
United States

Congress Turns Up The Heat on FCC's Chairman 148

Fletch writes "FCC Chairman Kevin Martin could be in for an uncomfortable spring, as House Energy Committee Chair John Dingel (D-MI) has requested a truckload of FCC paperwork relating to some controversial decisions Martin has made. Those include the FCC's reversal on the a la carte cable issue and newspaper-television cross-ownership restrictions. 'This request has got to be turning the FCC completely upside down. Significantly, it appears to reflect a bipartisan discontent with Martin's performance. Democrats and some Republicans are upset over his recent move to relax one of the agency's key media ownership rules, as well as the rushed manner in which he handled the matter late last year. Other Republicans dislike what they see as Martin's persecution of the cable industry, especially Comcast.' The Committee originally announced its intention to investigate the FCC in January."

Legal Counsel Advises Against Accepting OOXML Pledge 139

ozmanjusri writes "A legal analysis of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP), which was purportedly written to give developers protection from patent risk, says the promise should not be trusted. According to the Software Freedom Law Center, 'While technically an irrevocable promise, in practice the OSP is good only for today.' This is on the back of a chaotic ISO meeting to resolve outstanding specification problems. The session was described by Tim Bray as 'Complete, utter, unadulterated bulls**t. This was horrible, egregious, process abuse and ISO should hang their heads in shame for allowing it to happen.' The advice would seem to throw more doubt on OOXML's suitability as an international document standard. Microsoft responded to these assertions stating that they've already taken steps to answer these concerns"

Apple Sued Over Fundamental iTunes Model 257

tuxgeek writes "A suit was filed Wednesday against Apple over the possibility that the iTunes music store and iPod are 'illegally using a patented method for distributing digital media over the Internet.' ZapMedia Services filed the suit, accusing the well-known OS and computer manufacturer of violating patents obtained just recently. 'The patents in question cover a way of sending music and other digital content from servers to multiple media players, a broad description that could also apply to a wide swath of other companies selling digital media and the devices to play it. ZapMedia said it met with Apple to discuss licensing, but Apple rebuffed the offer.'"

Blu-ray Player Prices Hit 2008 Highs 318

An anonymous reader writes "HD DVD is almost gone and Blu-ray prices are already on their way up. TG Daily went through average retail prices of some of the popular Blu-ray players and found that you should expect to pay at least $400 for an entry-level Blu-ray player, while you could get a player for less than $330 in February. It really should not be a surprise for all of us, but it is interesting to see how quickly retail adjusted to the new situation and increased prices."

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