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Submission + - Writers Guild of America is moving closer to a strike, but does anyone care? (

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: A decade ago, Hollywood writers brought the entertainment industry to a standstill when they walked off the job for three months in a dispute over pay for movies and TV shows distributed online.After the collapse of talks with the major studios, the Writers Guild of America is seeking a strike authorization vote from members. While the union has until May 1 to reach an agreement, tensions are as high as they've been in years, say people close to the negotiations not authorized to comment. But with all the alternative content available, does anyone care? Most of their threats have fallen upon deaf ears, partly due to the easy access to hundreds of millions of hours of already-existing content. Would the writer's strike have any serious impact on your life?

Submission + - Can Robots Help Children With Autism?

An anonymous reader writes: Sunday is World Autism Awareness Day, and landmarks around the world will "light it up blue" as a show of support, including New York's Rockefeller Center and the White House. "Autism spectrum disorders affect an estimated one out of every 68 children in America..." President Trump posted Friday, and autistic characters have now even been added to the new Power Rangers movie and on Sesame Street.

But technology could also play a role in improving the live of the autistic. Reuters is reporting on a robot specifically designed to help teach communication and interaction skills to autistic children, while Vanderbilt University has 20 studies exploring more ways that robotics and technology could help, according to Zachary Warren, an associate professor of pediatrics. "A child may not respond to their mother calling their name but may automatically respond to a robot action or a piece of technology," Warren says after one program which showed improvement in five out of six participants. "If we can use that technology to shift how that child responds, then we may have a very valuable system to that child, that family and maybe for autism intervention."

Submission + - New CGI Script Shows Random Slashdot Stories (

An anonymous reader writes: For my computer science class, we each did a final project where we used our programming skills to create something original on our own. So I wrote a CGI script that displays a random Slashdot story! Every time you refresh the page, it displays a different story from the year 2016. And you can also just load stories from a specific editor — whipslash, BeauHD, msmash, and EditorDavid. Slashdot forever!

Submission + - Singapore Wants To Test Flying Taxi Drones (

An anonymous reader writes: "Commuters in Singapore might soon be able to ride a flying taxi home at the end of the day," writes the New York Post. "The country's Minister of Transport is in negotiations with tech companies to start trials on taxi drones that can pick up passengers, says a story by Singapore's Business Times. The driverless pods, which resemble the speeding hover bikes in Return of the Jedi, would stop for passengers based on an 'e-hail' similar to what Uber uses, the report says." Flying taxis have already been prototyped, including the Hoversurf Scorpion and the Volocopter VC200, while Dubai plans to begin testing Ehang 184 self-driving flying taxi drones in July.

Though Singapore is a small country with a relatively small workforce, the head of their ministry of transportation "noted the availability and affordability of data and the rise of artificial intelligence are already upending the transport sector globally," reports the Singapore Business Times. To that end, Singapore is also considering on-demand buses that optimize their routes, but also driverless buses. "It has signed a partnership agreement with a party to build and put such buses through a trial, and will be signing another agreement quite soon."

Submission + - SPAM: What Google Needs to Do About YouTube Hate Speech

Lauren Weinstein writes: Google has announced some changes and apparently more are in the pipeline, so far relating mostly to making it easier for advertisers to avoid having their ads appear with those sorts of content.

But let’s be very clear about this. Most of that content, much of which is on long-established YouTube channels sometimes with vast numbers of views, shouldn’t be permitted to monetize at all. And in many cases, shouldn’t be permitted on YouTube at all ...

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Windows 10 Is Just 'A Vehicle For Advertisements', Argues Tech Columnist (

An anonymous reader writes: Since the launch of Windows 10, there have been numerous complaints about ads in various forms. They appear in the Start menu, in the taskbar, in the Action Center, in Explorer, in the Ink Workspace, on the Lock Screen, in the Share tool, in the Windows Store and even in File Explorer.

Microsoft has lost its grip on what is acceptable, and even goes as far as pretending that these ads serve users more than the company — "these are suggestions", "this is a promoted app", "we thought you'd like to know that Edge uses less battery than Chrome", "playable ads let you try out apps without installing". But if we're honest, the company is doing nothing more than abusing its position, using Windows 10 to promote its own tools and services, or those with which it has marketing arrangements. Does Microsoft think we're stupid?

Submission + - SPAM: Secure OS? PLEASE!

peetm writes: Very simple /. question:

What with Vault 7 Exposé; could someone please — please — point me towards a 'secure' OS. 1) that is still functional, vis-a-vis modern standards.

OS/X; Linux; Windows aren't safe — and, of course, no OS will ever be probably! But surely, there must be something (see point 1) — Kaspersky?

Submission + - SPAM: US police agencies with their own DNA databases stir debate

schwit1 writes: Dozens of police departments around the U.S. are amassing their own DNA databases to track criminals, a move critics say is a way around regulations governing state and national databases that restrict who can provide genetic samples and how long that information is held.

The local agencies create the rules for their databases, in some cases allowing samples to be taken from children or from people never arrested for a crime. Police chiefs say having their own collections helps them solve cases faster because they can avoid the backlogs that plague state and federal repositories.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Bansai's Mark Hammond on AI: It's about Teaching (

TheDataDiva writes: Mark Hammond talks artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the singularity, and teaching baseball in this Q&A. He answers the question of why machine learning is not a collection of 'if' statements, and lays out the fundamentally different architecture. The future for developers, he says, is teaching machines.

Submission + - SPAM: McDonald's Growth Plan Includes Mobile Apps And Big Mac Deliveries

Mickeycaskill writes: McDonald's is to use mobile apps and other technology to improve the customer experience as more people shy away from the fast food giant.

Mobile apps will allow drive-thru customers to avoid the queues and pick up their food more rapidly and the self-service kiosk rollout will be expanded.

But perhaps most intruigingly is the prospect of delivery, done through an application.

McDonald’s believes its global footprint makes it “uniquely positioned” to lead the delivery charge, with 75 percent of people in the US, France, Germany, Canada and the UK living within three miles of a Big Mac.

It already makes a huge amount of money from food deliveries in areas such as China, South Korea and Singapore – nearly $1 billion annually – and its convenient nature and close proximity to so many potential customers could make McDonald’s ideally placed to significantly expand its delivery capabilities.

“We are building a better McDonald’s, one that makes delicious feel good moments easy for everyone, and I believe the moves we are making will reassert McDonald’s as the global leader in the informal eating out category," said CEO Steve Easterbrook.

Submission + - 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump (

asjk writes: Article describes how the young, disaffected users not only helped elect Donald Trump but also "invented the meme as we use it today." Further, the author claims Anonymous arose from the users utilizing discussion forums without becoming members, hence, anonymous.

Submission + - Techdirt asks judge to throw out suit over "Inventor of E-mail" (

walterbyrd writes: Michael Masnick, who founded the popular Techdirt blog, filed a motion today asking for a defamation lawsuit against him to be thrown out. Masnick was sued last month by Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur who claims to have invented e-mail in 1978 at a medical college in New Jersey.

In his motion, Masnick claims that Ayyadurai "is seeking to use the muzzle of a defamation action to silence those who question his claim to historical fame."

Submission + - SAP "named-user" license fees are due even for indirect users, court says (

ahbond writes: Beverage firm Diageo could be on the hook for an additional £55 million in license fees because it gave Salesforce users access to data held in an SAP system. SAP's named-user licensing fees apply even to related applications that only offer users indirect visibility of SAP data, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday in a case pitting SAP against Diageo, the alcoholic beverage giant behind Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer.

The consequences could be far-reaching for businesses that have integrated their customer-facing systems with an SAP database, potentially leaving them liable for license fees for every customer that accesses their online store.

"Business are signing up to an open-ended direct debit which they can't withdraw from. It's really not surprising that many are now choosing the certainty and low cost of Google and Amazon Web Services"

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