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Microsoft Researchers Offer Predictions For AI, Deep Learning ( 102

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft polled 17 women working in its research organization about the technology advances they expect to see in 2017, as well as a decade later in 2027. The researchers' predictions touch on natural language processing, machine learning, agricultural software, and virtual reality, among other topics. For virtual reality, Mar Gonzalez Franco, a researcher in Microsoft's Redmond lab, believes body tracking will improve next year, and then over the next decade we'll have "rich multi-sensorial experiences that will be capable of producing hallucinations which blend or alter perceives reality." Haptic devices will simulate touch to further enhance the sensory experience. Meanwhile, Susan Dumais, a scientist and deputy managing director at the Redmond lab, believes deep learning will help improve web search results next year. In 2027, however, the search box will disappear, she says. It'll be replaced by search that's more "ubiquitous, embedded, and contextually sensitive." She says we're already seeing some of this in voice-controlled searches through mobile and smart home devices. We might eventually be able to look things up with either sound, images, or video. Plus, our searches will respond to "current location, content, entities, and activities" without us explicitly mentioning them, she says. Of course, it's worth noting that Microsoft has been losing the search box war to Google, so it isn't surprising that the company thinks search will die. With global warming as a looming threat, Asta Roseway, principal research designer, says by 2027 famers will use AI to maintain healthy crop yields, even with "climate change, drought, and disaster." Low-energy farming solutions, like vertical farming and aquaponics, will also be essential to keeping the food supply high, she says. You can view all 17 predictions here.

Comment Best selling computer? (Score 5, Interesting) 290

I highly doubt C64 is the best-selling computer of all time. Wikipedia estimates 10M-17M C64s were sold. It of course depends on what is a computer: for example, many smartphones have CPU(s), memory, storage, and even display. According to this page, in 2011 Apple sold 72M iPhones: . Also, 10M Raspberry Pi computers were sold till 2016: I guess Arduinos have similar numbers, but they are hard to track because of clones.

Comment Re: How can this work with European smart cards? (Score 4, Informative) 181

The magnetic strip can easily be erased by a strong magnet (e.g. a neodymium one from a broken HDD). I erased the one on my credit card myself two years ago. However, I have since discovered that there are still payment terminals in Europe, which use solely the magnetic strip. For example, the highway toll gates in Italy and France.

Submission + - NetHack Tournament Includes New Version (3.6.0) (

jonadab writes: For the first time since the release of version 3.6 late last year, the NetHack Cross-Variant Summer Tournament includes the new version of the game. Two of the public servers participating in the tournament are hosting it. NAO has the unmodified Dev Team release, and EME has a lightly patched version with the popular status colors patch. Several clans are gearing up to play. The tournament runs during the entire month of June (UTC).

Comment Re:If someone can see your shares outside your lan (Score 1) 79

I was not talking about not being able to reach the other device on the third layer (IP). My point was that even though we have perfectly good _application_-layer protocols for file sharing (CIFS, which GP thinks should be blocked), we are still doomed to share data between our devices using a third-party public cloud over HTTP[s].

Comment Re:If someone can see your shares outside your lan (Score 1) 79

Why would we? There are plenty of usable protocols for service discovery, file sharing, instant messaging, etc., but because of NATs and firewalls, everybody is doomed to use HTTP[s] to some public cloud service instead. The fact that I cannot easily copy photos between my laptop and a cell phone of my friend laying on the same desk and connected to the same WLAN without coming through the remote cloud service is pretty disappointing.

Comment Re:Kind of sad, really (Score 1) 76

As much as I like NetHack (and I really do), it honestly does have a number of widely-acknowledged and somewhat serious shortcomings. Among other things: the chance-to-hit formula is so broken that it causes entire _categories_ of features (such as shields and two-handed weapons) to go mostly unused; Elbereth was severely unbalanced in 3.4.3 (the new version takes several measures to try to fix this -- it remains to be seen if they will be enough, I suspect not); spellcasting roles generally have to spend the first third of the game playing as handicapped melee combat enthusiasts, which is not as intended; the status area of the UI needs some serious improvements -- not least, it should be easier to notice when your hitpoints are getting low; if the Unicode support is good, that'll be news to me (I haven't had time to really look at the new version yet since the release -- the leaked version a year or so ago had preliminary Unicode support that needed help); the score formula is so broken that experienced players almost universally ignore score completely (both major tournaments focus on other things), and getting a _low_ score is substantially more challenging than getting a high one -- which would be one thing if the score system were designed that way, like golf, but it isn't; the last 50% or so of the game in terms of how long it takes you to complete it has the last 2% or so of the plot and interest and anything that matters, leading to situations where players get bogged down and don't play for weeks at a time because they have completed the interesting parts (up through the Castle) but aren't yet close to winning in terms of time investment -- this happens to a _lot_ of players, perhaps the majority of players who are sufficiently experienced to win the game repeatedly. Also, 3.4.3 had a number of rather serious bugs, including a number of crash bugs. Most of those are fixed in the new version. That's a good thing.

There's a reason the variant community is so active, with new variants popping up every few months. People keep seeing things that need to be _fixed_.

New Russian Laboratory To Study Mammoth Cloning 45

An anonymous reader writes: While plans to clone a woolly mammoth are not new, a lab used in a joint effort by Russia and South Korea is. The new facility is devoted to studying extinct animal DNA in the hope of creating clones from the remains of animals found in the permafrost. IBtimes reports: "The Sakha facility has the world's largest collection of frozen ancient animal carcasses and remains, with more than 2,000 samples in its possession, including some that are tens of thousands years old, such as a mammoth discovered on the island of Maly Lyakhovsky; experts believe it may be more than 28,000 years old."

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