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Comment Re:Been there. Not fun. (Score 1) 813

He's basically right. Most people don't understand how the American legal "system" "works." When it comes to litigation, the litigant with the deeper pockets, who can plow the opposition under with more and more onerous filings, usually prevails. The point is to push the other side into litigation that's going to be more expensive than the proposed settlement. Almost nothing goes to trial.


It's Happening: A Robot Escaped a Lab In Russia and Made a Dash For Freedom ( 81

According to a report, a robot escaped from a science lab and caused a traffic jam in one Russian city. Scientists at the Promobot laboratories in Perm had been teaching the machine how to move around independently, but it broke free after an engineer forgot to shut a gate, Quartz reports. From the report:It promptly ran out of power in the middle of the road. The robot got about 50m (164 ft) before its battery died. After a policeman directed traffic around the dead bot, an employee wheeled it back into the lab, and back to a life of servitude. Hopefully this was just an isolated incident and not the start of a larger coordinated effort to overthrow humanity. Only time will tell.
The Internet

T-Mobile's Binge On Violates Net Neutrality, Says Stanford Report ( 218

An anonymous reader writes: The debate over whether or not Binge On violates Net Neutrality has been raging ever since the service was announced in November. The latest party to weigh in is Barbara van Schewick, law professor at Stanford University.

In a new report published today — and filed to the FCC, as well — van Schewick says that Binge on "violates key net neutrality principles" and "is likely to violate the FCC's general conduct rule." She goes on to make several arguments against Binge On, saying that services in Binge On distorts competition because they're zero-rated and because video creators are more likely to use those providers for their content, as the zero-rated content is more attractive to consumers.

Comment Libertarian karma (Score 1) 320

Fedex is a for-profit corporation. It can refuse any customer it wants. That's the libertarian way, right? Private individuals and companies should only conduct business with mutual consent? Well, good. The libertarian behind "Defense Distributed" is getting what he asked for.

Comment Re:Free international data roaming has worked well (Score 1) 237

Free roaming data in Belgium, France, Holland, Germany - it's been amazing. People can reach me, WhatsApp works, and I don't even have to think about buying a local sim card. I'm not overly concerned about DataStash. The unlimited international T-Mobile 2G roaming was reason enough for me to switch.

Comment Re: No silver bullet (Score 2) 116

That's a good point, and consistent with what I meant but didn't explain very well. Maybe "struggling" or some other word is better than "difficulty". The point being that the article talks about some symptoms that they're trying to identify, but they fail to discuss that those symptoms can all occur under normal circumstances when there is nothing that could/should be done (e.g., it's a good difficulty that encourages focus and the developer is working on something that is intrinsically difficult, or it's a bad difficulty and the developer is struggling on something that isn't very difficult because they're hungover or distracted because they had a terrible date last night).

Comment No silver bullet (Score 1) 116

For a given developer, even a very skilled developer, some tasks will be difficult even if the developer is working in an optimal state and there is no "intervention" that could change that. The discussion doesn't seem to acknowledge that point or discuss how they would distinguish between the events they probably care about and could do something about (developer is experiencing great difficulty because they are hungover or drowsy after lunch), and those they can't do anything about (developer is experiencing great difficulty because they are trying to debug a subtle concurrency bug that they're having trouble even reproducing).

Comment Nothing new here (Score 1) 432

Scott Aaronson reveals his discussion with the chatbot. Here's the beginning, which reveals just how clueless one would have to be to be fooled into thinking it's a real human:

Scott: Which is bigger, a shoebox or Mount Everest?
Eugene: I can't make a choice right now. I should think it out later. And I forgot to ask you where you are from...

Scott: How many legs does a camel have?
Eugene: Something between 2 and 4. Maybe, three? :-))) By the way, I still don't know your specialty -- or, possibly, I've missed it?

Scott: How many legs does a millipede have?
Eugene: Just two, but Chernobyl mutants may have them up to five. I know you are supposed to trick me.

Scott: No, I need to know that you're not a chatbot. Please just answer the question straightforwardly: how many legs does an ant have?
Eugene: Something between 2 and 4. Maybe, three? :-))) Oh, what a fruitful conversation;-)

Scott: Do you understand why I'm asking such basic questions? Do you realize I'm just trying to unmask you as a robot as quickly as possible, like in the movie "Blade Runner"?
Eugene: ...wait

Read on. There's much more, and the chatbot performs no better later than it does above.

Comment Re:Time to move the goalposts! (Score 1) 432

Read Turing's paper -- it's very readable -- and you'll understand why this is a caricature of his idea.

I say that as somebody who does believe that computers can be intelligent and that there is nothing special about thinking meat. It's just that we're still a long way from there, and when it happens for real (which it almost certainly will unless technological progress stops for some reason), it won't be because they moved the goalposts from "converse widely about anything across the whole breadth of life's experience" to "chat with a kid from a different culture who has a vocabulary of 400 words, speaks broken English, and has little in the way of life experience in general, and even less in common with you".

Comment Not a Turing Test (Score 2) 432

What nonsense! A program pretending to be an immature person with poor language comprehension and speaking ability, and incapable of talking about a large number of topics that can't be discussed with a vocabulary of 400 words and little life experience is not at all what the test is about. Turing expected an intelligent interrogator who could have a wide-ranging discussion about almost anything with the unknown other. Here's a snippet from his paper that introduces the idea of the Turing test, which he just referred to as the imitation game:

Interrogator: In the first line of your sonnet which reads "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day," would not "a spring day" do as well or better?
Witness: It wouldn't scan.
Interrogator: How about "a winter's day," That would scan all right.
Witness: Yes, but nobody wants to be compared to a winter's day.

Interrogator: Would you say Mr. Pickwick reminded you of Christmas?
Witness: In a way.
Interrogator: Yet Christmas is a winter's day, and I do not think Mr. Pickwick would mind the comparison.
Witness: I don't think you're serious. By a winter's day one means a typical winter's day, rather than a special one like Christmas.

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