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Comment Re: Why is Amazon/Alexa even saving recordings? (Score 1) 111

Not quite true. The hardware detects a simple sequence of phonemes that might be Alexa. It then wakes up some software to try to parse the word. The data might still be shipped off to the cloud service for spurious wakeups. Names like Siri and Alexa are intentionally designed to have sequences of phonemes that don't appear commonly in English to minimise this.

Comment Re: Why is Amazon/Alexa even saving recordings? (Score 2) 111

I don't particularly worry about Amazon intentionally violating privacy with Alexa, but when you have something like that it's a wonderful target. The mute button is entirely software, so there are all sorts of things that an attacker can do if they compromise either an individual machine or the Amazon software update server. For example, it would be a trivial patch to make it stream the audio to a different cloud service when you press the mute button. Those thousands of people working at Amazon on Alexa also make it relatively easy to sneak someone into the company to exfiltrate user data. Even if their software is entirely bug-free, what happens when someone manages to do a dump of everything that Alexa has learned about a few million users?

Comment Re:R&D (Score 1) 103

Apple does a lot of Research that isn't directly product-oriented, too; a quick look at their patent portfolio will show that.

Sorry, no. It may not be tied to products that they're currently shipping, but there's a huge spectrum between initial idea and final product, and Apple has far less investment towards the idea end of the spectrum than any of their major competitors. By the time you can patent something, it's already towards the product end (and have you actually looked at the Apple patent portfolio? They patented a more efficient take-away pizza box, for example, which doesn't really tell you anything about pure research spending).

But if you think that R that is D-oriented doesn't "count", you are nothing but an intellectual effete.

It doesn't count because it's playing accounting games. The line between development and product is very blurry. Apple classifies a lot of things are R&D that other companies count as product development. This inflates Apple's R&D spending on the balance sheet, but means that you can't really compare. R&D is a pipeline and things always have to start closer to the pure research end. Most of Apple's R&D is building on pure research done by other organisations. This has changed a bit recently (particularly in machine learning), but they're still a long way behind most other big tech companies on research spending. Microsoft, until they restructured MSR a year or so ago, had the opposite problem: they were spending over $5bn/year on research and turning very little of it into products. Neither extreme is particularly healthy for a company. You need the research end to feed the pipeline, but then you need the pipeline from research to product.

Disclaimer: I work in a university and collaborate with Apple, Google, and Microsoft on several projects.

Comment Whose "Perspective"? (Score 1) 190

If my "perspective" counters yours, should I have the right to remove yours?
If an American Internet website creator allows public access without registration (newspaper, social, journal, blog, whatever) then the 1st Amendment applies and they have no right to restrict what visitors to their sites post.

This should be obvious from the fact that a Christian baker was fined (put out of business?) for refusing to bake a homosexual, a lifestyle diametrically opposed and forbidden by the Christian faith (Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13).

A better name for "Perspective" is "BigBrother", for that is exactly how it will be used. The current massive suspensions and cancellations on Twitter and YouTube demonstrate that very well. Google, Twitter and Facebook only wants an echo chamber that repeats socialist dogma.

Comment Re:Weak/nonexistent punishments for faulty notices (Score 1) 81

All patent applications are signed under penalty of perjury. However, the US Patent and Trademark office disbanded its enforcement department in 1974. So, you can perjure yourself on a patent application with impunity.

Unless it's testimony in a criminal case, or the perjury trap in front of a grand jury, or something they want to prosecute like lying on your tax form, the Federal government is in general lassiez faire about perjury, or even encouraging of it with their reluctance to prosecute, especially perjury committed by a so-called intellectual property holder.

Comment Re:R&D (Score 1) 103

Apple spends serious coin on Research and Development; far more than their competition.

This is almost true, though the vast majority of Apple's R&D funding is firmly at the D end of the spectrum. IBM used to spend a lot more than Apple on research, though they've cut down a lot. Microsoft still does (around $5bn/year on MSR). These companies and Google (and Oracle, and so on) all throw grants at universities for research, which Apple doesn't. It wasn't until last the last few months that Apple even published any of their research.

Comment Re:AI Snippets... (Score 1) 328

In this respect, it's not really any different from stuff genetic algorithms have been doing for decades. If you have a set of executable tests that can tell if the algorithm is working correctly, then you can evolve something that will pass the tests. Of course, you have absolutely no idea how it will behave on inputs not covered by your tests.

Comment Re:sign of decline (Score 1) 103

Sometimes. Apple already has their 1 Infinite Loop building and then most of the office buildings nearby along De Anza and a few nearer the middle of town. They're pretty short on space. It makes sense for them to be building a new big building, and the cost difference between building a new boring building and a new shiny building is pretty small. This will let them move a bunch of people who need to collaborate into offices near each other, rather than having them spread across the various De Anza buildings.

From what people were saying when I was at Apple a couple of weeks ago, it's actually coming a bit too late. The company has grown faster than they expected when they started planning and so rather than being able to move everyone from De Anza into IL2, they're having to identify sets of people who need to collaborate and move them, leaving quite a few behind in De Anza. If your company is growing faster than your ability to build office space to house them, that's generally a good sign (though the insane planning permission situation in the Bay Area means that it happens there a lot more often than you'd expect).

Comment Re:Why is income equality necessarily good? (Score 1) 477

I don't define achievement as the exertion of power over others.

The Patriots won. It was an achievement. I may not like it; but I'm not oppressed because of that.

Perhaps that's a bad example because they had to exert power over a tiny percentage of the population in order to win. How about a math test? It's not explicitly a competition--getting 100% is an achievement, even if the other students don't know you got it. Many others will not get a perfect score. You did better than them--and it's funny that I have to point this out: there's nothing wrong with that.

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