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Comment Re:Not quite the same thing is already being done. (Score 2) 71

why is the test of worthiness for a medical procedure whether it can be "mass marketed"

Because someone has to pay for the research and development - which, please remember, involves large-scale clinical trials to get regulatory approval - and they're not going to front the money for a treatment that has no chance of recouping their investment, unless they have some other personal interest. You can wring your hands all you want about society's priorities, but new medical procedures aren't magically exempt from basic rules of supply and demand.

Comment Re:Why does this matter? (Score 4, Interesting) 246

Did Youtube demand money from her in exchange for fire, theft, and kneecap insurance?

Yes, that's one of the main points of her open letter. Youtube has a system in place, Content ID, to stop piracy and it works quite well. The crux is that they only allow it's use to musicians who have agreed to license their content to them or at least that's assumed, as they don't publish any rules. Everybody else gets left in the dust and isn't allowed into Content ID and thus their content can be shared on Youtube without permission. Which according to her argument violates the requirements for "Safe Harbor" protection and makes Youtube guilty of mass copyright infringement, as that "Safe Harbor" law requires technical measures to be made available to everybody.

Comment Re:A Change in Society (Score 2) 157

I think before we see any large social changes we will see a lot of laws and regulation put into action against such technology. Social networks for example can lock away access to peoples photos behind a login and when logins are only given out to people who have verified their identity spidering becomes much harder. That's not even far future, many services already require a mobile phone number for id and some countries don't give you a mobile phone number anonymously. Collecting the data will still happen, but it will be much more troublesome and could be made illegal on top. So whenever somebody would offer a public search service, they could be shutdown relatively fast (unless Bitcoin and Tor make it commercially viable to put in the effort).

Given the advances in computer graphics I could also imagine that social networks will get flooded with lots of fake data. Face swap yourself into all kinds of photos and it will become much harder to find who you really are, since lots of information about you online will be fake. So maybe we end up with a general distrust about data we found online about a person.

Comment Re:C for insecurity (Score 3, Interesting) 104

I'd blame the OS instead. Giving each process full access to the system just isn't a good way to do things and constantly leads to problems like this. Python can stop some those problems, but it provides by no means a secure sandbox. If you access the filesystem in Python, you still have full access to the filesystem. In cases such as this the process should be limited to exactly the data it needs to get the job done, meaning an input image, an output location and a bunch of configuration parameter.

Comment Re:Only 40 years?? (Score 1) 122

I wonder what kind of unmanned probes we could have by now if we didn't have to spend it on a military? If you don't have to worry about life-support and could afford redundant probes to deal with the risk of high-speeds, those things could be really fast, and we perhaps could be getting close-up data from the nearest star systems by now.

Sorry, not even close.

The estimate that I've seen for Project Icarus, which is one of the most thorough realistic concepts for interstellar exploration, was $100 trillion. (For comparison, global GNP is around $70 trillion, and US military budget is probably on the order of $1 trillion at most once you include stuff like the NSA - DoD alone is more like $700 billion. Some of which we do actually need for national defense.) That probe would have been unmanned and taken 50 years to reach Barnard's Star (only about 5 light years away), plus at least a 20-year development time. It required technology that, while theoretically possible, isn't even remotely close to working; it also required installing orbital infrastructure around at least one of our gas giants to mine the isotope(s) required for its particular flavor of fusion.

If we restrict ourselves to current-day or very-near-future technology, we might be able to get something to a nearby star in a few centuries for a much smaller sum. I'm totally in favor of starting work now, but I think the political will for spending large amounts of tax dollars on such a project is near zero.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 127

The lack of a packaging format for third party apps has been one of the biggest and most persistent problems in the Linux landscape for ages. I have no idea of the quality of the work Ubuntu is doing here and it does seem to duplicate the work going on with xdg-app, but I really wouldn't mind getting rid of tarballs and shelf extracting shell scripts. The monolithic dependency trees that package managers require at the moment just don't scale and never provided a good way for third party apps to plug into them (just adding random third party repos is inherently fragile and insecure).

Comment Re:Stop complaning already, remove the tinfoil hat (Score 1) 515

I have done that, but the update didn't carry over the applications from Windows7 for some reason, it presented a mostly blank install. The only two application it did carry over where some old copies of Word and Excel, both of which failed to run in Windows10. The rollback to Windows7 however seems to have worked. Given how aggressively Microsoft is pushing Windows10 update I would have expected a better tested upgrade routine.

Comment Re:You consented to the install... well sorta (Score 4, Interesting) 515

Yep, that is my experience as well. When you click the "download and install later" option, that's it, the update will now be carried out and you have no way to cancel it. The dialog box that is presented to you before the final update does not have a cancel button or a close button or any other means to not carry the installation out, you can delay the installation by some days, but you have to set a date for the install, there is no "ask me later".

Comment Modern games are dumb (Score 1, Interesting) 45

I don't think modern games would be a good choice for an AI training, as most modern games are extremely simplistic and build in such a way that the player can hardly fail at all. You have endless respawns, navigation markers and all that stuff to help you. They often also have level up mechanics that could be exploited by an AI. Old games like Doom and Quake seem to be a much better fit, as in those you have to actually navigate on your own instead of just following a magic quest marker. Those games also tend to have direct player control instead of the fly-by-wire you have in Assassins Creed where the character walks on his own and player input is just a lose suggestion for where he should go.

Comment Re:Will it ever get cheap again? (Score 1) 107

Price per GB has resumed dropping [cbsistatic.com] since the effect of the Thailand flooding and HDD consolidation in 2011-2012.

The most frustrating part isn't so much the price per gigabyte, as that is back to pre-flood levels, but that you only get that good GB/$ rate in the $100 price range, while you used to get that in the $50 range. If you only need 1 or 2TB you are still paying quite a bit more then five years ago, it's only with 3TB-8TB drives that you get a slightly better rate then pre-flood.

Comment Will it ever get cheap again? (Score 4, Insightful) 107

Back in 2011 I could get a 1.5TB drive for 45€, now five years later the best I can get is 3TB for 90€. Double the storage for double the price. If I just want to spend 50€ I only get 1TB. It's nice that we now have 6TB and 8TB drives, but they aren't cheap and so far haven't really lowered the price of the smaller drives and given how long this has already taken I am not even sure if HDDs will ever get cheap again before SSDs will take that space.

Comment Re:This model excludes tacit conspiracies (Score 1) 303

If I were a pharm exec choosing which studies to support, there are many factors I would have to weigh in my decisions. A tacit bias towards non-curative medications is plausibly more profitable

This may make sense to a layman, but it completely misunderstands how the pharma business works. The vast majority of any research efforts they undertake, no matter what the goal, will crash and burn, some of them very expensively. Obviously the companies decide what to target based on likely profitability, but deciding not to pursue a promising possible cure because it might not make as much money as another promising lead that is merely a long-term palliative is absolutely batshit insane, because they have no idea which one is going to survive clinical trials.

The more general problem, of course, is that curing most diseases outright, and especially cancer, is often extremely difficult to do without killing the host, so it's not like there are many magic "cures" hidden away anyway. A truly comprehensive approach will probably require decades of further advances in biotechnology and our understanding of disease mechanisms before any pharma exec would even think of sinking money into trying to "cure cancer" outright.

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