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Comment Re:What makes them think they can deliver? (Score 1) 124

Google has been working on this AI problem since probably 2008 or so and been road-testing self-driving cars since 2011. As far as I know BMW has no development at all on this concept.

BMW has been making cars since 1916. How long has Google been making them? How hard is it for established manufacturers to get the tens of thousands of parts in a road car 100% correct at design time? Google is not infallible. If they do indeed decide to mass manufacture their own cars (which I doubt) it will take years and billions of miles to iron out all the issues. Engineering isn't software.

Say you're BMW's favourite kind of customer: you buy new, all the gimmicks, change your car for another BMW every 4-5 years and have been doing so for 20 years. Are you going to start buying Google's plastic toy car that's only been in production for 2 years instead? You might buy one to go with your BMW, especially if you live in a city, but you're still going to buy the BMW.

Research and development is an extremely long process, there, and as far as I know BMW's R and D is focused on building cars.... they probably don't have people who even know about robotics, let-alone AI for the self-driving problem.

Presumably they'll do what Google, Apple, FB and the rest of the tech-cartels do when they want to muscle in on something: buy it in.

Actually, having said that, I very much doubt BMW will be competing with Google for car sales anyway, because I very much doubt Google will be retailing their cars. They will either operate the fleet themselves or sell them to other fleet operators or just sell the software.

Comment Why not a combination of age and rating? (Score 0) 162

Why not simply use a weighted combination of rating and age (well, youth) for the ordering algorithm? Turn the knob for rating down to nearly zero and you get nearly the same behavior as Twitter has today. Then you can slowly turn it up if you want a slightly different kind of community. This is basically the approach taken by Reddit, Hacker News, and many other aggregation sites -- they may differ on the exact formula, but it's always some weighted combination of age and rating.

Submission + - NSA Shares Intel on Americans with Israel ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The UK's Guardian newspaper is reporting that the NSA shares the raw intel collected on Americans with Israel. No doubt the Israeli's are respecting the the Constitutional rights of US Citizens in utilizing this information, so nothing to worry about!

Comment A recommendation for those seeking privacy (Score 2) 470

> Does anyone have replacement recommendations for people who used these services?

For those from outside the US, your best bet is probably to use small, local players who might not yet have had pressure applied to them. For those inside the US, I have one recommendation: run for Congress.


Microsoft Research Takes On Go 175

mikejuk writes "Microsoft Research has used F# and AI to implement a consumer-quality game of Go — arguably the most difficult two-person game to implement. They have used an interesting approach to the problem of playing the game, which is a pragmatic cross between tree search with pruning and machine learning to spot moves with a 'good shape.' The whole lot has been packaged into an XNA-based game with a story."

One Night Stands May Be Genetic 240

An anonymous reader writes "So, he or she has cheated on you for the umpteenth time and their only excuse is: 'I just can't help it.' According to researchers at Binghamton University, they may be right. The propensity for infidelity could very well be in their DNA. In a first of its kind study, a team of investigators led by Justin Garcia, a SUNY Doctoral Diversity Fellow in the laboratory of evolutionary anthropology and health at Binghamton University, State University of New York, has taken a broad look at sexual behavior, matching choices with genes and has come up with a new theory on what makes humans 'tick' when it comes to sexual activity. The biggest culprit seems to be the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism, or DRD4 gene. Already linked to sensation-seeking behavior such as alcohol use and gambling, DRD4 is known to influence the brain's chemistry and subsequently, an individual's behavior."

Comment Re: Bank "stealing" from you (Score 2, Informative) 398

If your bank is adjusting your balance downward without explanation, there are several places you can report it and get action. The local police are not one of them.

It could be a case of someone inside the bank committing fraud, in which case the management of the bank would LOVE to know about it and have the chance to act (I know... I work for a bank). It is even possible (although unlikely) that the bank officers are in on it and are attempting to defraud consumers. In the first case, reporting it to management will resolve the problem, and probably VERY quickly and politely. Search your bank's website or other documents for the name of the bank's COO or CEO and send a letter to that person. If you truly believe that the bank's management is "in on it" then you can report them to the banking regulators ( gives contact info in the USA). They will certainly follow up (and afterward I can assure you that your bank will hate you... but they'll also treat you fairly since they know the regulators are watching).

Of course, it is also possible that the bank was right and your own records were wrong. Be prepared to discover that you were wrong and apologize if that turned out to be the case. Don't let fear of this prevent you from following up if you feel cheated, just keep an open mind.


Fine Print Says Game Store Owns Your Soul 262

mr_sifter writes "UK games retailer GameStation revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of customers, thanks to a clause it secretly added to the online terms and conditions for its website. The 'Immortal Soul Clause' was added as part of an attempt to highlight how few customers read the terms and conditions of an online sale. GameStation claims that 88 percent of customers did not read the clause, which gives legal ownership of the customer's soul over to the UK-based games retailer. The remaining 12 percent of customers however did notice the clause and clicked the relevant opt-out box, netting themselves a £5 GBP gift voucher in the process."

Submission + - Can a Computer Finally Pass the Turing Test? ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: "Why not develop music in ways unknown...? If beauty is present, it is present." That's Emily Howell talking — a music-composing computer program written in Lisp by a Santa Cruz professor. Classical musicians refuse to perform Emily's musical compositions, and the professor says they believe "the creation of music is innately human, and somehow this computer program was a that unique human aspect of creation." But Emily raises a disturbing question. With the ability to write music even classical purists can't distinguish from the compositions of humans, have we already reached the moment where a computer can pass for human? (The article includes a sample of her music, plus her intriguing haiku-like responses to queries. "I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily... Life and un-life exist. We coexist.")

Comment A Plea to the Rest-of-the-World (Score 4, Funny) 406

Dear Rest-of-the-World:

I realize that you have already had to deal with an invasion of Iraq to eliminate imaginary "weapons of mass destruction" and a world-wide financial collapse (although, to be fair, you bear some of the responsibility for that one... after all YOU believed our our uncritical rating agencies). And we're still stumbling around on that ruining-the-planetary-climate issue. So I know it's a big favor to ask, but would you please, PLEASE restrain my country's insane leaders?

-- A Sane American.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.