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Comment Re:Another one bites the dust (Score 4, Funny) 365

Of course, the W10 telemetry is seriously nosey. But as this is M$ we are talking about, I ultimately cannot see them doing much useful with it. They are probably too disorganised internally to come up with anything worse than an intrusive, ad-laden personalised version of Clippy, based on that data. Or something like that.

It's outfits like Google that give me the heebie-jeebies these days, not good old "640k is enough for everybody" M$.

Comment Another one bites the dust (Score 5, Insightful) 365

Seriously. Whatever M$ has ever touched, turned to manure in short order. Think Skype et al.

On the other hand, as M$ is actually one of the less creepy tech companies out there these days (with Linkedin being very near the top), this might actually end up *improving* the business ethics of Linkedin. :)

Comment Re:of course: more revenue for doctors, hospitals (Score 1) 55

He was exceptionally lucky to survive 9 minutes without permanent brain damage. He might have had some residual heart function which delivered some minimal oxygen to the brain for the first few minutes of his "cardiac arrest". Good to hear that he made a full recovery: stories like that are much needed morale boosters for EMTs like myself, and many others: the sad truth is that even for us who bring plenty of kit and experience to the party, CPR does not end up doing much useful in most of the cases we see. The few where it does work of course make it more than worthwhile, though.

Comment Re:of course: more revenue for doctors, hospitals (Score 3, Insightful) 55

The thing is, with proper first aid (to wit, competently done CPR from the get-go), the "reasonable recovery" rate is significantly higher than just 2%. Of course, it is important to realise that with current medical technology, it will never get any higher than ~20% or so. I have the 20% figure from a cardiologist: according to him, 80% of cardiac arrest cases are for reasons that are lethal with our current medical capabilities anyway: even with the best pre-clinical care possible, these will not result in a positive outcome (that is, anything other than, at "best", lingering death).

However, there is quite a difference between 2% and 20%. That amounts to quite a number of people who might yet have a few years (or months, as the case may be) to live *with a decent quality of life* - iff no hypoxic brain damage occurs, that is. So investing effort into improving pre-clinical medical care (and in particular, competent first responders) is not wasted. You never know whether someone you know might fall into the 18% group.

Comment Re:How? (Score 2) 296

I was under the impression that on your computer monitor, there is this thing called the operating system that is capable of providing genuine 5k content to your heart's desire. To wit, and by geeky standards: more open windows with more (typographically, at least) legible code on one and the same monitor.

Comment Re:aren't there airports in switzerland? (Score 3, Informative) 220

Nitpick: in Europe, a typical freight train carries more like 4000 tons, not 10k. 10k trains are the multi-mile thingies you guys run across the Great Plains in the US. Here, we are a bit more limited w/r to train length, and some other factors. Your point is of course still valid, though.

Comment Re:Surrogate (Score 1) 37

Even if you could, the connection aspect would not be your only worry. Brain death usually leads to death of the remaining body in fairly short order, due to complications from a fairly large piece of decaying goo in the former person's skull. The rest of the body goes on, but those brain cells are dead, and start decaying. Presumably, one could actively remove the dead brain tissue, and fill the cavity with the connections needed for the ghola to work (to make an inaccurate Dune reference). Still. Science fiction, for now.

Comment VR? What the heck for? (Score 2) 53

After all these years, VR is still a technology desperately looking for a problem that it is actually needed for. Sure, Oculus headsets are nifty things: but outside some niche applications, actually useful they are not.

Either Mr. Zuckerberg has a vision that no one else is capable of seeing yet, or they are going to waste an enormous amount of money on what amounts to a buzzword frenzy.

Comment Re:Go Turing Test (Score 1) 109

I never said I thought it particularly likely that the neural network Google has come up with is inherently limited to Go-playing capabilities equal to, or less, of that found in gifted humans. However, with these networks you do have the issue that you never quite know where their limit is. Specifically, for some networks, throwing more hardware at them makes them more capable - but for others, that only has a very weak effect (if one at all).

Or put differently: if hardware was all that mattered, whales would be way more intelligent than humans (their brains are significantly larger, after all).

Comment Re:Go Turing Test (Score 1) 109

Nope, not necessarily. You are making a small but significant mistake here. If AlphaGo was a conventional program that was somehow able to actually, reliably analyse what it is doing... and to plan ahead based on fine-tuned (but known) heuristics that we as the designers of the system understand... but that no human player could ever use due to their complexity (computational and/or time-wise)... then it would stand to reason that future versions of it stand a good chance of pulling ahead of humans for all time.

But AlphaGo is not such a program. Sure, it learns from its mistakes (it is designed that way). But as we don't understand the inner workings of the net that well, there might well be a level of play at which such neural net based systems simply ceiling out at. And maybe, just maybe, that ceiling is actually within reach of gifted human players. Which would mean that no clear dominance can actually be established either way.

Comment Re:They want no cash (Score 0) 558

Have you ever considered the option that they track any and all purchases, and just give out those reward cards to create a believable front for them tracking and analysing all purchases on a per-person basis? (in addition to also wanting to create a stronger retailer-customer bond via said programmes, for those customers who fancy such a thing)

Note that this is actually not necessarily evil: I actually can't imagine why the likes of Safeway, Rewe et al. would ever care about you as a person. As in: that they would ever spy on you on a personal level. Like actually evaluating the fact that you bought a certain mix of products to reveal that you, as a person, live a particular lifestyle. Or something like that. To them, you really are just a number. All they care about is that they can optimise the stacking of their shelves, and their storage keeping and wholesale purchasing.

But they do care to track what goes on in their stores. They do care about every single customer, on a statistical level. But given existing privacy laws, the presence of a database of customer purchase histories on company computers would be a huge red flag.

Unless, of course, if there is a "customer care" programme which ostensibly tracks purchases for the hundreds of thousands of customers who voluntarily signed up for it. Do you really think these databases were ever audited whether they *only* contain the records of customers that signed up?

On the other hand, they might just not bother, if they have enough people with frequent customer cards. Who knows. But I would certainly not discount the possibility that everything gets tracked and stored permanently anyway.

Comment Re:They want no cash (Score 4, Interesting) 558

Guilty as accused, at least up to a point.

However, it is certainly not conjecture that most large retail outfits are actually multi-nationals. Which, by and large, centralise their IT, purchase and logistics operations across countries to some degree. It is also pretty much both logical and normal that said multi-nationals routinely store and analyse data about customer behaviour.

Do you really think that the likes of Rewe and Tesco would bother to exempt Belgium from these analyses?

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