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Comment Full article (Score -1, Troll) 82

Ok, so neither of those links were included in the summary when this was posted, but here is the full article:

Elon Musk Launches Neuralink to Connect Brains With Computers
Startup from CEO of Tesla and SpaceX aims to implant tiny electrodes in human brains
Neuralink is pursuing what Elon Musk calls 'neural lace' technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.
March 27, 2017 3:24 p.m. ET

Building a mass-market electric vehicle and colonizing Mars aren't ambitious enough for Elon Musk. The billionaire entrepreneur now wants to merge computers with human brains to help people keep up with machines.

The founder and chief executive of Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched another company called Neuralink Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Mr. Musk calls "neural lace" technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that may one day upload and download thoughts.

Mr. Musk has taken an active role setting up the California-based company and may play a significant leadership role, according to people briefed on Neuralink's plans, a bold step for a father of five who already runs two technologically complex businesses.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to a request for comment. Max Hodak, who said he is a "member of the founding team," confirmed the company's existence and Mr. Musk's involvement. He described the company as "embryonic" and said plans are still in flux but declined to provide additional details. Mr. Hodak previously founded Transcriptic, a startup that provides robotic lab services accessible over the internet.

Mr. Musk, 45 years old, is part businessman, part futurist. He splits his time between Tesla, which is under pressure to deliver its $35,000 sedan on time, and SpaceX, which aims to launch a satellite-internet business and a rocket that can bring humans to Mars. He is also pushing development of a super high-speed train called Hyperloop.

Somewhere in his packed schedule, he has found time to start a neuroscience company that plans to develop cranial computers, most likely to treat intractable brain diseases first, but later to help humanity avoid subjugation at the hands of intelligent machines.

"If you assume any rate of advancement in [artificial intelligence], we will be left behind by a lot," he said at a conference last June.

The solution he proposed was a "direct cortical interface"--essentially a layer of artificial intelligence inside the brain--that could enable humans to reach higher levels of function.

Mr. Musk has teased that he is developing the technology himself. "Making progress [on neural lace]," he tweeted last August, "maybe something to announce in a few months." In January he tweeted that an announcement might be coming shortly.

He hasn't made an official announcement, but Neuralink registered in California as a "medical research" company last July.

Mr. Musk has discussed financing Neuralink primarily himself, including with capital borrowed against equity in his other companies, according to a person briefed on the plans.

Neuralink has also discussed a possible investment from Founders Fund, the venture firm started by Peter Thiel, with whom Mr. Musk co-founded payments company PayPal, according to people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, Neuralink hired leading academics in the field, according to another person familiar with the matter. They include Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an expert in flexible electrodes; Philip Sabes, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco, who studies how the brain controls movement; and Timothy Gardner, a professor at Boston University who is known for implanting tiny electrodes in the brains of finches to study how the birds sing.

Reached by phone, Dr. Gardner confirmed he is working for Neuralink, but declined to elaborate on its plans. Dr. Sabes declined to comment. Dr. Tolosa didn't respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to SpaceX and Tesla, where Mr. Musk developed new rocket and electric-car technologies, proved they work, and is now using them to pursue more ambitious projects.

These people say the first products could be advanced implants to treat intractable brain disorders like epilepsy or major depression, a market worth billions of dollars. Such implants would build on simpler electrodes already used to treat brain disorders like Parkinson's disease.

If Neuralink can prove the safety and efficacy of its technology and receive government approval, perhaps it then could move on to cosmetic brain surgeries to enhance cognitive function, these people say. Mr. Musk alluded to this possibility in his comments last June, describing how humans struggle to process and generate information as quickly as they absorb it.

"Your output level is so low, particularly on a phone, your two thumbs just tapping away," he said. "This is ridiculously slow. Our input is much better because we have a high bandwidth visual interface into the brain. Our eyes take in a lot of data."

Others pursuing the idea include Bryan Johnson, the founder of online payments company Braintree, who plans to pump $100 million into a startup called Kernel, which has 20 people and is pursuing a similar mission.

Mr. Johnson said he has spoken to Mr. Musk and that both companies want to build better neural interfaces, first to attack big diseases, and then to expand human potential.

Facebook Inc. has posted job ads for "brain-computer interface engineers" and other neuroscientists at its new secret projects division. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing $60 million over four years to develop implantable neural interface technology.

The technology faces several barriers. Scientists must find a safe, minimally invasive way to implant the electrodes, and a way to keep them stable in the brain. It also isn't yet possible to record the activity of millions of the brain's neurons to decode complex decisions, or distinguish when someone wants to eat a bowl of spaghetti or go to the bathroom.

Then there is persuading people to get elective brain surgery.

In comments published by Vanity Fair on Sunday, Mr. Musk said "for a meaningful partial-brain interface, I think we're roughly four or five years away."

If Mr. Musk indeed takes an active leadership role at Neuralink, that would raise more questions about his own personal bandwidth.

Tesla is building the largest battery factory on the planet to supply its forthcoming Model 3 electric vehicle, and it will need to produce hundreds of thousands of cars to meet its goal and justify its lofty market capitalization, which is approaching that of Ford Motor Co.
SpaceX has struggled to launch rockets fast enough to send satellites into orbit for its customers. Ultimately it wants to launch an internet-access business powered by more than 4,000 low-earth orbiting satellites, ferry space tourists to the moon and then bring astronauts to Mars.

Even so, Mr. Musk has proved many naysayers wrong. Traditional auto makers said he could never sell a popular electric car. Military-industrial graybeards scoffed at the idea he could even launch a rocket.

Write to Rolfe Winkler at

Comment Re:never understood removing features (Score -1) 263

They have to get Chrome's memory footprint down to the smallest possible quantity. Why? So it can run flawlessly on shitty underpowered Indian cell phones. True fact. You want Chrome to have features you like and can run on your powerful iPhone? Racist.

Comment Typical Google logic (Score -1) 263

I use these features. However I probably use them once a week, at most. I'm sure the spyware, I'm sorry, telemetry people at Google notice this and say, "well we need to eliminate this feature." Just because I use it once a week doesn't mean it's useless. BUT evidently Google has this big fetish for removing every feature to make their products run on shitty Indian underpowered cell phones, so it's all got to go.

Comment Re:In a perfect world (Score -1) 554

"Until is is available to everyone, it is available to noone" has long been the rallying cry of making things accessible. It's not like Berkeley doesn't have the cash, either. They do. They just don't want to spend it here so they're trying to make the disabled people look like assholes for clearly adhering to a slogan that has reaped enormous benefits in the past.

Comment Re:I know the way Slashdotters vote but... (Score -1) 305

Criticizing Sharia is 'hate speech,' Georgetown students say "My critique of these speakers is not an effort to silence free speech," but only that "these speakers are not exercising free speech, they are exercising hate speech, a speech of the kind that no organization, especially at Georgetown, should endorse or give a platform to."
"I for one, reject and condemn any organization that hides behind the righteous principles of free speech,"

Here's a bunch of op eds from students supporting the Berkeley Anti-Free Speech Riot of 2017:

Comment Re:Too many bad analogies (Score -1) 66

This is a part of the Dunning-Krueger Effect: "high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others."

In this case "high-ability" doesn't mean talented, it just means someone who is familiar with "cosplay conventions" and it doesn't occur to her to explain it. She's fully familiar with the idea and can't imagine a world in which people don't know what a cosplay convention is. The sad thing is these folks think that they're explaining things to regular people, but regular people's lives are completely alien to them so they have no frame of reference.

Comment Re:24/7 job (Score 5, Informative) 513

That's exactly what IBM did. It even ended pager-pay... since we were always on the clock.

For reference,

Information technology professionals are not entitled to overtime pay.

And my favourite:

Information technology professionals are not covered by the daily and weekly limits on hours of work

From what I could find, these were laws meant to cover fisheries and agriculture, where the seasonal nature of the work meant that the only time you would work on a harvest or catch was when there would be work. It was understood that the nature of the work was feast-or-famine, and it was paid hourly. If they had to pay overtime, they would be paying nothing but overtime. Strangely, the rules also included accounting, some screwball argument that month-end and year end was a busy period and that people could take time in lieu or have downtime between busy periods.

Somehow this slippery slope was extended to IT. As a salaried employee, it meant they could pay you *nothing*.

Thank you Dalton McGuinty.

Comment Re:Serious question (Score -1) 300

The deep state does indeed exist. You didn't see the intelligence agencies come straight out and say they're not going to share intelligence with him? Illegally leaking tapped phone conversations to harm him? Jeez. What more does it take?

We are ruled not by Congress, and not even by the President, but by the federal administrative state. This tapeworm-like state-within-a-state is theoretically subordinate to the President (in most cases) and always supposedly exists to execute the will of Congress. In reality it is a monoculture of permanently ensconced leftist bureaucrats who act at their own initiative to advance their ideological goals, except when they work with a President to more aggressively advance their ideological goals. I refuse to call bureaucrats "civil servants," since mostly they serve nobody but themselves and their ideology, and those few who do try to serve Americans as a whole, or are part of legitimate federal functions such as the VA, are structurally part of a system that denies the servant role.

"What Washington Gets Wrong," and itâ(TM)s two scholars from Johns Hopkins University who do a massive survey of senior unelected executives in government, basically the deep state, and asks them a bunch of questions. And as the authors describe the deep state has contemptuous attitudes towards the average American.

"They think theyâ(TM)re far less educated than they actually are," he continued. "They think they are far more dependent than they actually are. Theyâ(TM)re arrogant, they believe, and say in the surveys if the American people want one thing, and they think itâ(TM)s wrong, theyâ(TM)re going to push something else. Thereâ(TM)s a massive disconnect, and the deep state is real, and itâ(TM)s a threat to our republic form of government."

Look, this is just posturing on your part so you can try to make me feel bad. Ever since the election you have made it quite well known JUST HOW MUCH you hate us. I mean, it's really ugly. Tim Goodman said it best, you utterly despise everything we stand for and don't want anything to do with any of us. I'm never going to convince you of anything, after all how do you have a conversation with IRREDEEMABLE DEPLORABLES?

In this election, if you support Donald Trump, you are "the others." I have zero interest in knowing, interacting with, tolerating or otherwise sharing my time or bits of my life with anyone who supports Trump. I don't say that defiantly or righteously, just as fact. Don't follow me on social media. Don't talk to me at parties, at school functions, as a neighbor or even as a friend. Your decision says all I need to know about you. You can't unspin it or rationalize it to me.

Comment Re:Infosec professionals (Score 1) 498

Alicebob, ALICEbob, aliceBob, aliceBOB, ALICEBoB, AliceBob....

But then, we're talking about systems which usually require three character classes, so more likely:

AliceBob!, Alic3bob, AliceB0b, Alice1Bob, alice-Bob, Alice!bob, alice4Bob....

All of this assuming a twit user who's intentionally trying to pick something weak.

"something better" is more likely trust relationships or automated secret management in the form of tight password manager integration. I don't think it unlikely to see this in the next 10 years. Some people have it today. You might say a 64 character random unicode string is still a password, but it's getting tough to distinguish it from a more arbitrary shared secret.

Comment Re:Infosec professionals (Score 1) 498

Yes, mandatory character classes reduce the entropy of the password, but password attacks are not random and most passwords are not random. If you use a 2^16 character set for the password on an 8-character password, yes, a user might pick a random number between 1 and 340282366920938463463374607431768211456 and render it in printable and non-printable unicode but more than likely they'll pick "alicebob".

Removing the combinations comprised solely of a single character class means that yes, the attacker doesn't need to guess the smaller set of passwords, but it also means that no password is within that smaller set.

Password managers and solutions for the hundreds of unique passwords users have is a separate issue. There are a lot of issues around passwords, none of which can be looked at in isolation. Password management and character classes are two parts.

E.g., the specific details as to why a password policy is put in place has to do in part with what the specific technology supports. This NIST guideline means that software should be supporting better methods. 10 years from now, one would hope they're universal, but one would also hope that in 10 years passwords will be replaced with something better.

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