Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Oh shut up (Score 4, Insightful) 137

Yes, they are "just" programs, but programs that encode learning processes and produce structures that know how to do something without a human ever encoding the knowledge itself. The result of learning, however, is quite unpredictable. Even if the process is deterministic (it isn't always, noise is sometimes added to make it more likely to explore a wider solution space), it has as high a complexity that it's impossible to predict its end result short of actually executing it. It's AI in the sense that if as a human you try to analyze the end result, the trained learning structure, you will have no way (yet!) of actually grasping how the hell is the knowledge actually encoded in it, it's just an emergent property of myriad of weights between nodes in a large data matrix. It'd be as futile as trying to observe a high-resolution picture by looking at individual pixels, or understand a person's thoughts from looking at the exciting/inhibiting behavior at the junction of neurons in their brain. So, it's not really the programs that are the essential component of the AI here. They're well understood (analogous to how we have an understanding of the biology of the human brain). It's the emergent knowledge encoding that these programs create as they run and learn that's the essential component. I can imagine over time it'll also be a rich research area to come up with analysis methods to figure out what's going on in these knowledge representations (like psychoanalysis, but for AI). I sure hope we better figure that out before we let such systems near cars, airplanes, power plants, or stock markets.

Comment Apple does this (Score 1) 157

Apple seems to be doing this. They don't benefit anything from tracking their customers. Unlike, say, Google or Facebook who tracks their users for ads, Apple sells devices and as of late is consciously distinguishing itself with attention to privacy. To think about just few things:
  • iOS security whitepaper describes how is iOS and related technologies hardened against attacks. iMessage specifically is fully end-to-end encrypted with Apple never being in possession of messages' cleartext or the keys to decipher them.
  • Data on devices with iOS 8 on them not being accessible even by Apple. FBI and DoJ are up in arms about this and resorting to "think of the children" by scaring us how Apple devices will now be the choice of pedophiles and kidnapers. (To be honest, this ain't an Apple exclusive, as Google now provides this functionality in Android, so at least some Android devices are safe from being broken into.) Just be sure to disable unlock-with-fingerprint.
  • Safari on both OS X and iOS having the option to use non-user-tracking service DuckDuckGo as the search engine (I have set it up as the search engine on all my machines).

There are other measures; detailed privacy policy is found at https://www.apple.com/privacy/ and its subpages. For a while, a link to this page was prominently featured on Apple's front page. They're serious about it.
So yeah, if there's a significant market value in providing privacy-conscious products (that is, consumers recognize its value), then companies will react accordingly. Clearly, it ain't a full solution, but it'll be a significant force in tilting back the playing field somewhat.

Comment Re:Buyer Beware (Score 1) 473

Can you give me pointers where I can read more about this movie-production scam? I found this fascinating and would love to read more about the history. It's impossible to search for "movie scam" etc. because all I get is pages about movies depicting scams and cons why does that have to be such a beloved topic in storytelling, right? (Don't even get me started on "movie con", 'cause that only gives me movie-related conventions.)

Comment Sales != Marketing (Score 1) 258

I think the problem here is that people expect that App Store will do marketing for them. Well, it does, in form of the top lists, but they shouldn't really rely on it. What App Store is for is sales: a venue for people to buy your app, when they already know they want it. It is poor for marketing (making people aware of your app and wanting to buy it); you should handle that externally. It's not just an App Store issue either, although it's probably most prominent example - seller marketplaces like Etsy etc. are also exhibiting the problem, but they too can only be considered to be solutions to a sales problem, not a marketing problem.

Slashdot Top Deals

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak