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Submission + - The AI is taking over (

Taco Cowboy writes: No, this is not a scifi flick, but real life

The subway system in Hong Kong has one of the best uptime, 99.9%, which beats London's tube or NYC's sub hands down

In an average week as many as 10,000 people would be carrying out 2,600 engineering works across the system — from grinding down rough rails to replacing tracks to checking for damages

While human workers might be the one carrying out the work, the one deciding which task is to be worked on, however, isn't a human being at all.

Each and every engineering task to be worked on and the scheduling of all those tasks is being handled by an algorithm, aka, Artificial Intelligence

Andy Chan of Hong Kong's City University, who designed the AI system, says, "Before AI, they would have a planning session with experts from five or six different areas. It was pretty chaotic. Now they just reveal the plan on a huge screen."

Chan's AI program works with a simulated model of the entire system to find the best schedule for necessary engineering works. From its omniscient view it can see chances to combine work and share resources that no human could

However, in order to provide an added layer of security, the schedule generated by the AI is still subject to human approval — Urgent, unexpected repairs can be added manually, and the system would reschedules less important tasks

It also checks the maintenance it plans for compliance with local regulations. Chan's team encoded into machine readable language 200 rules that the engineers must follow when working at night, such as keeping noise below a certain level in residential areas

The main difference between normal software and Hong Kong's AI is that it contains human knowledge that takes years to acquire through experience, says Chan. "We asked the experts what they consider when making a decision, then formulated that into rules – we basically extracted expertise from different areas about engineering works," he says


Submission + - The future of IT? Get ready to blow stuff up (

coondoggie writes: "If IT is to successfully move into the future it's going to need to blow up its current way of thinking and the way it supports mature technologies. "Mature technologies are code for obsolete," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research. "You must dare to employ creative destruction to eliminate legacy, and selectively destroy low impact systems.""

Submission + - Moore's Law Extrapolated (

An anonymous reader writes: Something really struck home looking at this Moore's Law extrapolation: Assuming Moore's law holds, within my useful coding lifetime (2053) I will be able to go to Best Buy and pick up a computer with more computational power than all the brains of the entire human race combined.

Now THAT is some incentive to not let them promote me out of software development!

I have spent a lot of time wondering how to truly utilize s system that powerful, and what that manner of utilization really means. I would guess I would program it utilizing some sophisticated variation of neural networks and genetic algorithms which are rather more dynamic than what we use now and running it through simulated world environments. Within minutes of training it would have morphed into something that I will never intellectually be capable of understanding. I may train it for the right results and be able to measure that but I will never know WHY it does things the way it does.

It would be like rolling a snowball down a hill where it picks up more snow as it goes along, only the hill is 100 billion miles long. Given what is possible with AI in our weak systems today, I have very little doubt that I could teach a system like that to do anything I can do better than I can do it. At which point, what is the point of having jobs or a job driven economy?

More importantly, how would you control a self-programmed AI which is so totally beyond your ability to understand? Asimov's laws of robotics are impossible to rigidly code for an entity like that because I don't know HOW it identifies what is or is not human. I could try and train it over many simulated iterations, but how will I know that if I turned it loose in a physical robot shell that it would not destroy the human race in order to protect the simulated humans in the computer that it was trained against?

Even if you realized, within the first second, that it had chosen to betray you, that one second is equivalent to it having had 222 human brain-years to plot your death. And if this kind of processing power was as common as a desktop, sooner or later there WILL be a runaway AI doing things we don't understand and won't like.

Any great ideas on how to prevent Skynet-on-your-desk?


Shuttleworth Answers Ubuntu Linux's Critics 382

climenole writes "Technomancer wrote: 'Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Linux's founder, maintains that he and Ubuntu are doing right by the Linux community and the even larger open-source community. In recent weeks, Ubuntu has been criticized for not giving Linux enough support. Specifically, the complains have been that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, doesn't do enough for producing Linux source code.'"

Best Way To Archive Emails For Later Searching? 385

An anonymous reader writes "I have kept every email I have ever sent or received since 1990, with the exception of junk mail (though I kept a lot of that as well). I have migrated my emails faithfully from Unix mail, to Eudora, to Outlook, to Thunderbird and Entourage, though I have left much of the older stuff in Outlook PST files. To make my life easier I would now like to merge all the emails back into a single searchable archive — just because I can. But there are a few problems: a) Moving them between email systems is SLOW; while the data is only a few GB, it is hundred of thousands of emails and all of the email systems I have tried take forever to process the data. b) Some email systems (i.e. Outlook) become very sluggish when their database goes over a certain size. c) I don't want to leave them in a proprietary database, as within a few years the format becomes unsupported by the current generation of the software. d) I would like to be able to search the full text, keep the attachments, view HTML emails correctly and follow email chains. e) Because I use multiple operating systems, I would prefer platform independence. f) Since I hope to maintain and add emails for the foreseeable future, I would like to use some form of open standard. So, what would you recommend?"

Submission + - Indi game studios pledge to go Open source (

conares writes: The Humble Indie Bundle experiment has been a massive success beyond our craziest expectations. So far, 131,770 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,210,115. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.88% to charity: $373,743 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play Charity.

Now it's our turn to give back. As of 5/11/10, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, and Penumbra Overture pledge to go open source. We are preparing the sources right now and will be releasing them ASAP. We spent last night preparing Lugaru and it is available now. The code is still a little rough (no Visual Studio project yet, for instance) but hopefully with the help of the community we can rapidly make it more accessible to everyone.

Submission + - Apple A4 Processor Teardown (

Plocmstart writes: Here's what is claiming to be the first teardown of the A4 processor. "Apple's iPad chip is a single-core ARM A8 made by Samsung. Through various benchmarking testing, UBM TechInsights was able to find out the details of the A4 processor."

Submission + - HTML: Still not all it's cracked up to be ( 1

GMGruman writes: Neil McAllister was helping out a friend whose Web developer disappeared. Neil's journey into his friend's Web site ended up being an archaeological dig through unstable remains, as layers of code in different languages easily broke when touched. Neil realized in that experience that the ever-growing jumble of standards, frameworks, and tools does little to ease the pain of Web application development — and in fact makes it harder. Although the Web is all about open standards where anyone can create varuations for their specific needs and wants, Neil's experience reminded him that a tightly controlled ecosystem backed by a major vendor does make it easier to define best practices, set development targets, and deliver results with a minimum of chaos. There's something to be said for that.

Submission + - Fiber to the Home: One Local Utility's Triumph (

mujadaddy writes: In 2004, I was getting my MS in Telecom Engineering in Lafayette, LA, and the municipal power & water utility, "Lafayette Utility System"/LUS was publicizing a proposal to connect every home in the city with fiber. I and a few friends had some concerns, so two of us went down to LUS. We met with Terry Huval, Director of LUS, a very busy man who found the time to answer all our technical questions about the plan — we were blown away with how competent and forethoughtful they had been. The many, inevitable lawsuits on the road ahead were our, and his, only reservation.

Now, it's a reality.


Submission + - The Original Game-Maker (

aderack writes: Everyone knows about Mark Overmars' Game Maker. Before it hit the scene, though, there was a different Game-Maker in town. For its time it was powerful and sophisticated, and enjoyed a large development community. The thing is, this was mostly pre-Web; the community traded in diskettes and dial-up boards, and the company behind the software ceased development around the time the Web exploded. So until now there has been scant information out there. DIYGamer is rectifying that with a series of articles about the old Game-Maker scene. Here's the introduction, and here's an article on one of the better game artists.

Submission + - Adobe demoes Flash running on Android

recoiledsnake writes: Adobe Evangelist Ryan Stewart has posted a video on Youtube that showcases a preview version of Flash running smoothly on an Android Nexus One on a variety of sampled sites on the Web. Streaming video of TV shows is demoed on the CBS and NHL web sites and a couple of games are shown running with the touch features working nicely. All the web pages and Flash content demoed are normal desktop oriented web pages and weren't optimized for mobiles. Coming on the heels of Android sales overtaking the iPhone and a possible anti-trust enquiry against Apple, will iPad and iPhone users that want Flash be able to opt-in for a Flash player App? Or will all iPhone OS users be denied access to ubiquitous Flash content and video on the Web due to Jobs' whims? This may accelerate sales of Android phones(and future tablets) even further.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Flash: the next <TABLE>

When Flash was introduced, it was for creating vector-based animation and basic interactive games. (Kind of like Shockwave but lighter.) It became very popular very quickly because it did lots of neat stuff with very small (vector-based) files and because the browser plugin itself was only a few hundred kilobytes at a time when most people were on dialup and most other plugins (like Shockwave and QuickTime) were several megabytes. Once you downloaded the plugin (just a few minutes) you could


Submission + - Google to Pay $500 For Bugs Found in Chromium (

Trailrunner7 writes: Google is starting a new program that will pay security researchers a $500 bounty for every security bug they find in Chromium, the open-source codebase behind the Google Chrome browser, as well as for bugs found in Chrome itself. The company said Thursday that the plan is both meant as a reward for researchers who have been contributing bugs to the project already, and as a way to encourage other researchers to find security flaws in Chromium. Google said it will pay a base bounty of $500 for most bugs contributed, but may raise the payment to $1337 for bugs that are "particularly severe or particularly clever." The program is modeled after one started some time ago by Mozilla, which also pays $500 bounties. Other organizations have been buying vulnerabilities privately for several years now, most notably the Zero Day Initiative from Tipping Point, and VeriSign's iDefense Labs unit. Those companies pay far more than $500 for vulnerabilities, and researchers say that private organizations, such as government agencies, routinely pay tens of thousands of dollars for critical remotely exploitable bugs in popular software.

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