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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 83 declined, 18 accepted (101 total, 17.82% accepted)

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Submission + - Homo Deus – How data will destroy human freedom (theguardian.com)

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.

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

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.

Submission + - The First International Beauty Contest Judged By Robots (techcrunch.com)

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.

Submission + - Apple offers $50 off Apple Watch with any iPhone purchase in select stores (macrumors.com)

Strudelkugel writes: Apple has started a new limited time in-store promotion that offers customers $50 off an Apple Watch Sport or Apple Watch with the purchase of any new iPhone, including the latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the company confirmed to MacRumors. Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès models are ineligible for the discount.

Submission + - Three counterintuitive scenarios for driverless vehicles (marginalrevolution.com)

Strudelkugel writes: The standard story is that traffic deaths will dwindle, cities will spread out magnificently, and you’ll all be reading Marginal Revolution on your morning commute rather than fighting the traffic. Maybe so, but what other options are at least worth considering, if only out of contrarian orneriness?

Submission + - Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill (technologyreview.com)

Strudelkugel writes: When it comes to automotive technology, self-driving cars are all the rage. Standard features on many ordinary cars include intelligent cruise control, parallel parking programs, and even automatic overtaking—features that allow you to sit back, albeit a little uneasily, and let a computer do the driving.

So it’ll come as no surprise that many car manufacturers are beginning to think about cars that take the driving out of your hands altogether (see “Drivers Push Tesla’s Autopilot Beyond Its Abilities”). These cars will be safer, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient than their manual counterparts. And yet they can never be perfectly safe.

Submission + - Meet a tomato feeding robot overlord, the ultimate wearable. (japantimes.co.jp) 1

Strudelkugel writes: As the world’s electronic companies scramble to set the agenda for wearable devices, the vegetable juice company Kagome has gone one step farther — unveiling a wearable tomato machine.

The Tomatan is a backpack that can be loaded with six midsize tomatoes — enough, say the makers, to power runners through this weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.

“Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue,” Shigenori Suzuki of Kagome said Thursday.

Submission + - The bane of restaurants - Smartphones (craigslist.org)

Strudelkugel writes: A restaurant in Manhattan compared video from 2004 and 2014 to see why service was slower than before. A few observations listed in the article:
2004:
Customers walk in.
They gets seated and are given menus, out of 45 customers 3 request to be seated elsewhere.
Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order...
2014:
Customers walk in.
Customers get seated and is given menus, out of 45 customers 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.
Before even opening the menu they take their phones out, some are taking photos while others are simply doing something else on their phone (sorry we have no clue what they are doing and do not monitor customer WIFI activity).

Submission + - IBM Sees Growing Enterprise Demand for Windows Phone (redmondmag.com)

Strudelkugel writes: "Actual end user momentum is trailing business interest," Szafranski said. "IT likes Microsoft and likes Windows. They've made a lot of investment in things like Active Directory and Exchange and as a result they have a lot of interest in seeing Windows Phone used by employees. I don't think anyone is going to be all Windows on mobile, but enterprises do want it and I think they have a strong opportunity when it comes to the enterprise side of purchase decisions."

Submission + - Microsoft abandons stack ranking (wsj.com)

Strudelkugel writes: In an overhaul of its employee-review system being announced Tuesday, Microsoft will stop requiring managers to rank workers on a scale of one to five on a "bell" curve. The system—often called "stack" or "forced" ranking— meant a small percentage of workers had to be designated as underperformers. The rankings were also crucial in allocating bonuses and equity awards.In place of the bell curve and numerical-ranking system, Microsoft managers will give employees more frequent feedback on how they're doing their jobs. Managers also will have more flexibility in how they dole out bonuses. The changes take effect immediately. The stack-ranking system was designed to ensure Microsoft's most-effective employees were awarded the lion's share of bonus pools, and were first in line for promotions. Such forced-ranking systems were widely copied after they rose to popularity at General Electric under CEO Jack Welch, but have fallen out of favor in recent years. Some current and former Microsoft employees say the software giant's system has serious flaws. Critics said the review program sometimes resulted in capricious rankings, power struggles among managers jockeying for their employees to get better reviews, and unhealthy competition among colleagues.

Submission + - Why are younger people losing interest in cars? (chicagotribune.com) 14

Strudelkugel writes: The average car on the road is 11.4 years old, according to Polk, a global automotive analysis firm, which reviewed 247 million light vehicles in the U.S. The age of cars has been gradually increasing since 2002, when the average car was 9.8 years old. Polk expects the trend to continue over the next five years. Automotive density is projected to decline to 77.5 cars per 100 people, down from 80 cars per 100 in 2007, according to Kelsey Mays of Cars.com.

Another study, from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, analyzed the reason for the decline in young driver licensing. Of the 618 unlicensed respondents aged 18-39, 26.9 percent said the main reason they did not get a license was “too busy or not enough time to get a driver’s license.”

Submission + - Microsoft buys the handset and services business of Nokia (nytimes.com)

Strudelkugel writes: Microsoft said it has reached an agreement to acquire the handset and services business of Nokia for more than $7.1 billion, in an effort to transform Microsoft’s business for a mobile era that has largely passed it by. In a news release late Monday night, Microsoft and Nokia said 32,000 Nokia employees will join Microsoft as a result of the all-cash deal. Stephen Elop, the chief executive of Nokia and a former Microsoft executive, will rejoin Microsoft, setting him up as a potential successor for Steven A. Ballmer, who has said he will retire as chief executive of Microsoft within 12 months after a successor is found.

Submission + - HR as a bot: Hiring developers by algorithm (nytimes.com)

Strudelkugel writes: WHEN the e-mail came out of the blue last summer, offering a shot as a programmer at a San Francisco start-up, Jade Dominguez, 26, was living off credit card debt in a rental in South Pasadena, Calif., while he taught himself programming. He had been an average student in high school and hadn’t bothered with college, but someone, somewhere out there in the cloud, thought that he might be brilliant, or at least a diamond in the rough. “The traditional markers people use for hiring can be wrong, profoundly wrong,” says Vivienne Ming, the chief scientist at Gild since late last year. That someone was Luca Bonmassar. He had discovered Mr. Dominguez by using a technology that raises important questions about how people are recruited and hired, and whether great talent is being overlooked along the way.
Google

Submission + - Google 'flaw' puts users' details on display (news.com.au)

Strudelkugel writes: EVERY time you purchase an app on Google Play, your name, address and email is passed on to the developer, it has been revealed today. The "flaw" — which appears to be by design — was discovered this morning by Sydney app developer, Dan Nolan who told news.com.au that he was uncomfortable being the custodian of this information and that there was no reason for any developer to have this information at their finger tips.
Privacy

Submission + - Privacy in an asymmetric market (totalinvestor.co.uk)

Strudelkugel writes: An insurance company will discount insurance premiums for drivers who volunteer to have their driving habits monitored. Insurance is an asymmetric market. The insurer does not really know how the insured will drive, so the actuaries assume the worst. But by adding the black box, the insured can get a discount by providing the insurer with more information. But that also includes privacy, the future value of which might be quite high:

Young Marmalade MD Crispin Moger states that they offer low-cost insurance packages because, “Young Marmalade buys many new cars and receives assistance from manufacturers, which is passed on to young drivers as Cash back. For example on the best seller Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SXi 3 door, the Cash back on that model is £3,558 and can help pay off your first year of car insurance.” Fortunately, when you purchase a low-powered car from Young Marmalade, the free installation of a black box can cut your insurance premiums into half. By monitoring the driving behaviour such as acceleration, braking, what time of the day the car was driven and at what speed, Young Marmalade provides affordable telematic insurance premiums.

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