Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Humans, not AI... (Score 1) 188

Any AI in the foreseeable future will be under control of human beings, either due to laws or financial ownership. I'm not the least worried about AI, but having watched this election, the humans in my country scare the shit out of me.

I agree that it seems implausible that an AI will "rebel" and set its own goals, that is still sci-fi. But ordinarily those scary men would have to enlist the help of many others, like the old DDR (East Germany) where almost a hundred thousand of a population of 16 million were STASI agents. Use a NSL, use a computer to transcribe it and analyze who is talking to who when and about what and for how long and you could have a quite Orwellian database with only a hundred people involved. Same thing with bank transactions, electronic tickets, number plate scanners, facial recognition, deep packet scanning and whatnot the automatic collection and processing enables a very small but organized and powerful fraction of the population to surveillance and control the rest.

I'm not really sure we could reverse that trend because just like we might discuss the pros and cons of everyone having tiny little digital cameras on them at all times it is still extremely unlikely to change. The average person is leaving more and more electronic traces and even those who try to avoid it is often found by metadata from their friends or they stand out by being the black hole that isn't sharing. Very often the system is rigged towards it, for example we didn't want bus drivers to get robbed so much so now it's a lot more expensive to pay cash than a prepaid subscription or cell phone payment, both of which link to a real identity here in Norway. People do what's cheapest so the few people who pay cash stand out. And really it's no problem until it is a problem, but then you're usually too late to change it.

Comment Re:Were the users randomized? (Score 1) 435

Not when you have a selection bias, it isn't. If your sample selection is consistently biased, no sample size will be large enough.

Agreed, but outside math class you have to look at the percentage and make an educated guess about how special they realistically could be. If you have a thousand employees your number one is probably a genius and your very worst a moron. The 10th from the top is also probably pretty smart and 10th from the bottom pretty stupid. The 50th smartest isn't aren't all that special though, if he can be more efficient with a Mac well it seems worth trying the top 100 or 200 too. It could of course theoretically be that performance drops off a cliff because it takes some minimum skill and understanding you just dipped below, but realistically if that happens it's probably the kind of thing only 1% or 0.1% of your employees grok. If 5% can use a Mac so can probably most of them.

Comment Re: OMG that's a dodgy check (Score 1) 323

Here's the problem I have with this:

Program Expenses
(Percent of the charityâ(TM)s total expenses spent on the programs and services it delivers)

This doesn't say exactly what those expenses ARE, because it could well be that they spend 95% of their "program expenses" on admin, salaries, bribes, and various other overhead, and that only 5% actually trickles down to the nominal recipients.

This is something I became aware of while perusing tax info from a particular class of charities -- where "administrative expenses" is typically charity-speak for "owner's salary"... explaining why "administrative expenses" tends to be an upper-five to lower-six figure number even for charities that are basically one-man bands.

Comment Re:Different election this time? (Score 1) 323

Someone pointed out that if Trump actually had a proper collection of skeletons, they'd already be on parade... if one jock-talk tape is the best they can do (at least, with documentation so the tale can't be promptly refuted by genuine witnesses) there probably isn't anything all that terrible waiting to be unearthed.

Comment Re:Tired of this space obsession (Score 1) 87

The way I look at is if the reusable rocket guys get the cost of orbital rockets down to 1/10th of the cost that it is now, lots of options open up. If you can get 10 trips up for the cost of 1 now, suddenly assembling a Mars-distance ship in orbit and all the fuel and supplies to make it happen seems pretty plausible.

Assuming the rocket is really the blocking cost. A Falcon 9 expendable is around $62M * 130% = $80M for 22,800 kg to LEO. Even a hundred launches for 2,280,000 kg payload (Saturn V had 140,000 kg to LEO) would be "just" $8 billion and they've spent more on that developing the SLS before it's flown once. Granted it'd be some assembly required but >20 ton modules aren't trivially small either if we design good interlocks and docking in space is pretty routine now with the ISS. So for the sake of argument, say we're now down to $800 million instead that's basically pocket change in this context. We'll still need everything else, uniquely designed for this particular mission. I think a one-off mission will still be >10 billion. Musk is thinking further out than that though, he'll want to bring the price so far down we'll want to keep going. Not one mission but ten, hundred or a thousand. Good for him, but there's still some pretty big hurdles to cross... they need a customer who's willing to pay.

Comment Re: Can't read my posts either. Strange obsession (Score 1) 545

Nope, just tired of crappy ad hominem arguments that don't actually say anything beyond "we're right, you're wrong". Give me reasons and rationale and hard data (and I don't mean conveniently doctored data, like Mary Koss did), not just BS, and I'll listen. I might even change my mind, like I did on basic income -- once hard facts got laid out, not just leftist whining about their mythical notions of equality.

But hey, keep that bag over your head and complain how everyone else is in the dark.

Comment Re:This is dumb (Score 1, Interesting) 194

That's what they said about iTunes, and Apple found a way. So I wouldn't count them out here...

Only because the music industry was totally oblivious to what would happen when they let Apple control the DRM, the same way IBM let Microsoft control the OS. They had to drop DRM because they were being buttfucked by Apple who used their market power to sell cheap music and expensive iPods and all their customers were locked in since FairPlay protected music wouldn't play anywhere else.

The motion picture studios have never been that stupid, even long before iTunes they controlled CSS on DVDs, they control AACS/BD+ on BluRays and AACS 2.0 on UHD BluRay and they have no reason to drop DRM. At worst even if it's broken they can still try using the DMCA and EUCD to make decryption tools illegal. And unlike the iPod that filled a need for a device people didn't have there's already tons of ways to play movies and series.

It's of course possible that Apple could find their Achilles heel but I don't think it's very likely, with or without Jobs. The industry would most certainly smell a trap, even if they couldn't figure out what it was. As much as I'd like them to just give up and have the convenience of a torrent site I think it's just very wishful thinking. That said, there are a lot of cable cutters so maybe...

Slashdot Top Deals

Brain off-line, please wait.