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Submission + - Homo Deus – How data will destroy human freedom (

Strudelkugel writes: At the heart of this spellbinding book is a simple but chilling idea: human nature will be transformed in the 21st century because intelligence is uncoupling from consciousness. We are not going to build machines any time soon that have feelings like we have feelings: that’s consciousness. Robots won’t be falling in love with each other (which doesn’t mean we are incapable of falling in love with robots). But we have already built machines – vast data-processing networks – that can know our feelings better than we know them ourselves: that’s intelligence. Google – the search engine, not the company – doesn’t have beliefs and desires of its own. It doesn’t care what we search for and it won’t feel hurt by our behaviour. But it can process our behaviour to know what we want before we know it ourselves. That fact has the potential to change what it means to be human.

Comment Re:Wireless Keyboards (Score 1) 85

I always assume wireless keyboard are cheap consumer products built by the lowest bidder and designed by people whose primary interest is getting a product out the door in advance of or for the next big release of whatever their company's actual product is.

Right, I have always wondered about this, which is why I don't use a wireless keyboard for passwords even when it is available. (Yes that means using two keyboards at times.)

But my question: Has anyone studied how secure keyboards from Logitech, Apple, Microsoft and Dell are? You would think the big vendors would say something about it in their product descriptions, but I have never found anything on security. Anyone work for a keyboard manufacturer who can enlighten us?

Comment Re:Stargate Lesson (Score 1) 304

You and your colleagues are doing great work, no question about that. It's too bad that the story telling doesn't make use of it most movies today. I just watched the trailer for "Star Trek Beyond". I thought that it had spectacular effects, but could barely figure out what the story was. It looked like every other sci fi movie for the past ten years. Pew pew lasers, stuff blowing up, overdone aliens... Seriously Hollywood, you can't do better than this?

Comment Re:Not quite (Score 1) 1718

Not really. When added the to Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment limited the ability of the Federal government to restrict ownership of firearms. Not the state governments. For example, guns were banned in Tombstone, AZ. You might also be interested in knowing why you can't walk into a gun store and by a fully automatic firearm, or silencer, grenades, RPGs, etc.

Comment Re:The Apple upgrade treadmill is losing steam. (Score 1) 289

The fact that this story is dominated by the merits of a headphone jack tells me Apple is adrift with regard to phones. If they were to announce that they were getting rid of the idiotic hardware button and go to the soft buttons Android has, (plus the finger print readers or biometric recognition, etc), that would be interesting. The iPhone is just being carried by apps now. Not that apps aren't important, they are, they are the only reason I have an iPhone, but the thing is an anachronism.

Comment Re:Having used Android, iOS and Windows Phone... (Score 1) 242

It may be an edge case, but the WP will read text messages as they come in and allow you to respond, edit, etc all by voice without having to say "Hey Cortana". The scroll speed issue has to to with a finger flick. If you flick up or down in Facebook for example, the page will keep scrolling. In Safari it will only scroll for about the height of the screen. This started with iOS 8. Obviously apps are not subjected to this decision, but it's annoying in the browser. I have an iPhone 6 and have showed the scrolling issue to people in the Apple store. They don't know of a setting to fix it, so obviously the problem exists once someone demonstrates it. I just think the iPhone UI is archaic compared to the latest versions of Android and WP.

Comment Having used Android, iOS and Windows Phone... (Score 4, Interesting) 242

I think iOS is the worst in terms of UI: No back button, Closing an app takes you back to the "folder" it is in instead of the main screen, the keyboard just sucks (no built in swype like Android and Windows Phone?), no text message to speech and speech to text, including over bluetooth devices, like WP, slow vertical scroll rate in Safari compared to other apps and Android / WP browsers, and the physical home button. Next phone will be a Nexus again, unless Microsoft ever figures out a way to attract developers.

Comment Re:Minimum wage doesn't really matter (Score 1) 954

There's another huge benefit to automation that I have not seen mentioned within the posts for this topic: Automation minimizes litigation risk. I saw a situation where accounting screwed up an employee's paycheck. She worked a few hours of OT she was not authorized to work. Accounting screwed up her time sheet and didn't pay her for the OT because they didn't catch it. (This was a part time employee who never worked 8 hours / day, but worked consecutive days which also constitutes OT.) The total amount of OT not paid was $120. The employee found the error, then turned it in to the labor department. That $120 mistake turned into $4,000 because of fines. I kid you not. Guess what impact this has on prospective employers - Slow to hire, quick to fire. Zero tolerance for any mistakes. Add to that all of the other labor laws, and you have accumulate a number of disincentives to hire anyone.

Ridiculous labor laws increase the incentive to use robotics. Litigation risk is probably more significant than the dollar amount of a minimum wage.

Submission + - Don't like telemarketers? Use a bot designed to waste their time (

Strudelkugel writes: Hanging up on annoying telemarketers is the easiest way to deal with them, but that just sends their autodialers onto the next unfortunate victim. Roger Anderson decided that telemarketers deserved a crueler fate, so he programmed an artificially intelligent bot that keeps them on the line for as long as possible.

Anderson, who works in the telecom industry and has a better understanding of how telemarketing call-in techniques work than most, first created a call-answering robot that tricked autodialers into thinking there was an actual person answering the phone. So instead of the machine automatically hanging up after ten seconds, a simple pre-recorded “hello?, hello?” message would have the call sent to a telemarketer who would waste a few precious moments until they realized there really wasn’t anyone there.

Comment Re:Windows Phone Keyboard (Score 1) 118

I find the Windows Phone's default swipe keyboard to be the best I have used. I find it marginally better than both HTC's swipe keyboard and also Google's keyboard.

Totally agree. I don't understand why they don't add the feature to the Surface devices, too. I use the full keyboard in a conventional fashion, but I have become so used to swiping short notes that I find it to be faster than typing.

Submission + - The First International Beauty Contest Judged By Robots (

Strudelkugel writes: Robots are starting to appear everywhere: driving cars, cooking dinners and even as robotic pets.

But people don’t usually give machine intelligence much credence when it comes to judging beauty. That may change with the launch of the world’s first international beauty contest judged exclusively by a robot jury.

The contest, which requires participants to take selfies via a special app and submit them to the contest website, is touting new sophisticated facial recognition algorithms that allow machines to judge beauty in new and improved ways.

The contest intends to have robots analyze the many age-related changes on the human face and evaluate the impact on perception of these changes by people of various ages, races, ethnicities and nationalities.

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