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Comment Re:May I suggest ... (Score 1) 55

That's pretty expensive. There may be some prepaid plans that are worse ($30 for 1Gb+unlimited V&T is probably hard to beat), but once you get to the regular subscriptions from the big four, especially family plans, it's really poor value.

I was always surprised Google structured Fi that way, it struck me that building a phone service around a price schedule is doomed to failure. Sooner or later everyone else changes their prices (or what you get for those prices) and suddenly your innovative pricing doesn't look so great any more.

Comment Re:Good Idea! (Score 1) 34

Their minidisc stuff wasn't bad in the late 1990s. It had some DRM limits if you recorded digitally, but I don't remember it being a pain and it was way better than cassette for general reliability and analog recording.

I think they managed to screw this up when MP3 came along, bringing in more DRM and limitations while trying to stay relevant.

Comment Re:That is correct (Score 1) 130

Well, we know of no fundamental law against it. I would claim that humans are NOT a counter-example existence proof, because to claim we're intelligent flies in the face of a large body of evidence to the contrary. So it may be impossible.

But it's clearly possible to get as close to intelligent as humans are, because there *IS* an existence proof. It may (hah!) require advanced nano-mechanics, but I really, really, doubt it.

That said, it doesn't take that much intelligence to be a threat to human existence. Just being able to issue the necessary commands with the required authority.

That said, while I do consider AIs to be an existential threat to humanity, I consider them LESS of a threat than the current political system. There's a reasonable chance that they'll have sufficient foresight and strong enough ethical constraints that they'll avoid the problem.

Comment Re:AI does what AI is programmed to do (Score 1) 130

FWIW, we can't understand current deep-learning systems either. Different people understand different parts of them. Some understand fairly large parts, but nobody understands the complete program.

FWIW, that was even true with Sargon 40 years ago, and that wasn't an AI in any reasonable sense. It was basically an alpha-beta pruner and an evaluation function. And I understood a LOT of it, but not by any means all. (The source code was printed as a book for the Apple ][, but it naturally didn't include the systems routines, etc.)

People have limits on the complexity that they can understand. It varies slightly between people, but rarely exceeds certain bounds. I tend to call this our "stack depth" though that's clearly a poor analogy. But "working memory" can be measured (inexactly, it's true), and any idea too complex to be held in working memory can't be understood. We handle this by breaking it up into communicating modules, but the communication puts limits on the kinds of ideas we can handle. This is why when parallel programming I tend to use a simplified message-passing actor model. But some things can't be handled that way. If you doubt, try to imagine (visualize) a rotating tesseract. I have trouble even with a simple general quadratic curve and need to solve it and plot it out unless it's in one of a very few special forms.

Comment Re:They are right by the current definition of AI (Score 1) 130

You are making unreasonable assumptions about it's motivational basis. Here's a hint: It won't be analogous to any mammal, though it may be able to fake it so as to seem understandable.

That said, it *might* destroy all humans, possibly by causing us to destroy each other. Were I an AI, and had I decided upon that as an intermediate goal, I think I'd proceed by causing the social barriers against biological warfare to be reduced.

Comment Re:Good Idea! (Score 2) 34

They have NOT re-established their reputation as a reputable technology company. That's going to take a LOT of work. Possibly as much as it took to build it in the first place, and they not only destroyed something that had taken decades to build over the course of a year, they repeated the offense multiple times by doing things like hiring people to put root kits into their devices, and then offering a "repair" that left you vulnerable to trivial attacks.

It's going to take lots of time and effort to repair their reputation. One good device that isn't yet known to be backdoored isn't going to do the job.

Comment I'll probably keep it (Score 1) 25

We canceled our cable subscription about a year ago, and while I was OK with it my wife hated not having certain live TV channels. We'd tried Sling, but it was hit-and-miss on the stuff we wanted. Some channels, like BTN, aren't available at all on Sling. DirecTV is only a little more and actually covers the live programming we want.

Make no mistake, the launch was rough. I don't think they allocated enough hardware or bandwidth to handle their initial demand, so streaming cut out constantly. It's finally getting to be pretty solid, though, and I'd much rather pay Sling a few bucks than have anything to do with Comcast.

Comment Re:already exceeding expectations (Score 1) 1357

Few if any pundits said "Obama is sitting president of a very divided nation", when the fact is, he was. Just as GWB was before him. And so on.

It is also true that Hillary didn't get 50% of the vote, so more people voted against her than voted for her (same with Trump). Again, so what? None of that matters, and is just noise.

The Left in this country has always had problems with motivating people to get them to the polls.

That's because it is hard to get dead people to vote ;) :-D

Comment Re:Retracting the Truth (Score 1) 67

They're saying that technically accurate or not, the article is misleading and doesn't give context. In particular, this supposed threat is almost impossible to exploit in practice, as it requires the attacker:

1. Knows exactly when you're going to swap a SIM card over or otherwise change phones
2. Also knows you simultaneously have a bunch of messages waiting to be sent, that the attacker actually cares about.
3. Also knows that you have gone into settings, and unchecked a setting that would normally be checked that warns you if a change in encryption keys has occurred
4. Has access to all the infrastructure in the middle.

That's a tall order. It'd be easier to just steal your phone, or hit you on the head with a blunt instrument XKCD style until you talk.

The letter also points out that the article discourages people from using a popular messaging platform over this issue whose security is generally first rate, encouraging them to seek alternatives that either may be insecure, or may be taken as a sign of guilt (eg Signal), making it easier to pinpoint dissidents with something to hide.

So, yeah, the article may be technically correct, the best kind of correct, but if it leaves people with a false impression, then it's probably right to withdraw it.

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