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Comment Re: self-driving or assisted driving ? (Score 1) 186

I think you are right. I admire Tesla for their can do attitude and having driven their products, I came away seriously impressed. I think they have jumped the shark on this one, though - it is not so much trying to run before you can walk, it is trying to run before you have evolved legs!

You could say that any car has the hardware necessary for autonomous motoring: they just need an intelligent robot to sit at the controls and drive you around...

As the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and at the moment, we seem to be hearing more about what their cars *cant* do than what they can...

Comment Re:Stop chasing the shiny (Score 1) 161

I have to admit to replacing my phone every 12-18 months with the latest one as Im a bit of tart like that. However, every single one of my phones is still in use, having been passed through the (extended) family. Even the iPhone 3GS is still being used as a music player by one of my nephews. If they had gone in the bin, then yes I would feel guilty as a hedonistic consumer and planet-wrecker. If most of the phone can be recycled when it eventually does pack up, then even better. Its not like there are landfills full of old iThings: theyre worth enough to scavenge even when dead from the raw material point-of-view.

Comment Re:Don't Panic (Score 1) 535

And this is one of the reasons why there was a majority vote to leave in the UK. What started as a kind of civil service for the countries of Europe, i.e. there to implement policy agreed and set by those countries, has morphed over the years in a Politburo of unelected wannabe emperors who make rules and decisions with virtually no reference to anyone else.

If you want anyone to blame, Juncker and his pals have to take their share of it. Bureaucracy instead of democracy...

Comment Re:Humans remain better sometimes (Score 1) 242

I think the issue with some modern aeroplanes, which links in well with this discussion on semi-autonomous vehicles, is that although the planes are chock full of useful/helpful features and protections which have been part of reducing the overall accident/fatality rate, when the systems eventually give up it can be a big surprise.

Going suddenly from everything OK to here, you have a go can be very messy and has lead to some fairly spectacular crashes. The human element of the operation has not been involved in the decision loop or had access to certain inputs until the software decides that its goose is cooked, gives up the ghost and leaves the resulting mess to a startled operator to make some sense of. It takes alertness, skill, deep technical knowledge and a large dose of luck to recover from a situation where the automatics have gone ???, as it is normally when there have been multiple failures which have defeated sensor logic.

There is also the issue of de-skilling, which inevitably happens when an automated system produces better overall results than a human driven one. You let the automatics do the job but do not get enough practice to stay competent or never reach that level in the first place. How can a neural network (you) get good at something without sufficient training?

Comment Really...? (Score 5, Interesting) 138

From summary:

Twitter somehow manages to employ over 4,100 people across 35+ offices

What do they do? I would have thought this is one business that could almost be run in the cloud with no human involvement (apart from the tweeters)...

Comment Re:Dashboards (Score 1) 423

"We have noticed that A, B and Z are happening in your (Y) (BRAND) (MAKE) Vehicle. We recommend (Car Shop Advertiser) take a look and repair the (Part) that is about to fail.â

*BING BONG!* Your coolant temperature seems a bit high, why not pull into Daves Auto and buy some lovely, fresh, cold fluid? Its only a few miles away. While youre there, try a Marios Pizza from across the road - just follow the new directions! Pay for it with a DollarCo loan, only 1400%APR, turn the steering wheel or press the brake pedal to accept!

Comment Re:Swift (Score 1) 365

To be fair to Apple, I do not think the "everyone" was meant to mean: "the entire human race plus my cat, Mittens".

The paragraph underneath contains phrases like "...its enthusiastic adoption by developers..." and "...delivering features that help developers write even better code...". I see no mention of three-year-olds or lost Amazon tribes. As has been mentioned by others, we are still a long way (if it is even possible) from people who know little about algorithmic design being able to efficiently "code" for non-trivial tasks...

Comment Re:The Conservative Option (Score 2) 487

One of the problems is that the symptoms of EVD are very much like the common cold or flu, until it gets into the advanced stages. How many people running in to the northern hemisphere winter period display these kind of symptoms? One-in-four? To me it seems most people I see at that time of year are coughing and spluttering and coming into work/public places to give it to everyone else.

Health workers who know the risks and use protective gear are still getting infected and dying. What chance for the average Joe unless they stop any form of human contact (including things that other humans may have been in contact with)?

Comment Re:Lots of cheap carbon stuff (Score 1) 652

I do not see the problem with energy consumption. Without breaking any physical laws, in fact using current technology, we have access to a reasonable fraction of the 380YW (3.8x10^26W) produced by the nearest star. I think it is going to be some time before we make it to even to Type I on the Kardashev scale.

Given that a large amount of the growth in energy consumption comes from developing countries, this should plateau off one they approach the living standards of the developed ones. I read somewhere recently that ground-based solar collectors were being added at the rate of 120MW a day, globally and that rate was increasing. It is not going to be that long on a historical scale until the dominant source of energy is solar. Thats without any progress whatsoever in fusion or using known fission breeder tech...

So, no, I am not concerned in the slightest about any conjectured lack of personal energy supply. The time of plenty is nearly upon us!

Comment Re:Houston ... (Score 4, Insightful) 102

I was interested by the actions of the user of the motherboard on one of the linked articles. Initially this happened:

"The system came up, hung for a very short time and then powered off with a audible click of the Corsair AX860i power supply. If you have ever heard the loud click of the Over Current Protection (OCP) shutting down the PSU you know exactly what click I heard. Now when I press power button on the motherboard the system clicks after being on for a split second. I unplugged all the cables on the power supply and did the built-in self-check and it passed with flying colors. I still swapped out the PSU with a backup Corsair AX860i and the same click was to be heard. and it is doing the same thing (Corsair AX860i). After clearing the CMOS, removing the memory, SSD and video card the system still would not post. At that point in time I switched to a non-digital power supply (Corsair AX1200) and it did the same thing although this time the OCP took a little longer to kick in. There was some audible crackling noises, followed by some smoke near the CPU VRM heatsink. So, the heart shattering smell of burnt electronics filled the room..."

10/10 for investigative journalism but putting more and more juice into something that is continually tripping out the power supply is not going to have a happy ending. Maybe some of the $1,400-worth of motherboard and processor may have been salvageable if he had stopped at the first warning?

If the circuit breaker pops twice on a ring main at home, do you a) replace the circuit breaker with a bigger one, b) hold it in until smoke appears from behind the wall or c) do some serious investigation and/or call an electrician before putting the power back on?

Comment Re:Ai is inevitable (Score 1) 339

I think the main problem is that there is no difference between something that gives the illusion of consciousness or sentience (these terms are poorly defined, anyway) and the 'real thing'.

My own view, even though it feels slightly strange as I sit here typing, is that consciousness/sentience is pure illusion and there is nothing more. If you interact with something that behaves as you would expect a human to behave, to all intents and purposes it IS human, no matter how it was constructed. Equally, if an AI displays those same traits or a superset containing them, then you have to call it sentient - if you think humans are.

You cannot have it both ways: if you believe that AIs can not be conscious then we are not either...

Comment Re:Substrates (Score 1) 195

Substrate is the first thing that came to mind when I heard Apple were going to be producing vast quantities of sapphire. The OP has pointed out most of the advantages but taking it to the extreme, you could have the major part of the phone as a solid piece of sapphire with the electronics grown on it, or a sandwich-type construction with the screen bonded on later.

It would be pretty cool having a totally transparent phone with just a few parts that were visible. Knowing Apple, they would dope the crystal to make the iPhone 6C in ruby, pink, blue, yellow, etc. just like a gigantic gemstone... Ultimate bling or what?

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